Fun Street Foods from Thailand

Jodi Ettenberg August 29, 2012 11

Those who have travelled with me know that I’m slightly obsessed with food, and my preferences while on the road are to eat it where locals do: street stalls, night markets, hawker stalls and early morning shopping runs. That’s not just because of the food itself, but also because of the wonderful chaos those places bring; they are a chance to watch and learn, and see how people in other places treat their food.

I wanted to share some of my favourite foods from my years in Southeast Asia, starting with the country I’ve seen the most of in my travels: Thailand.

1) Pad Pongali. This is one of my most treasured dishes, and while it looks less appetizing than some of the options below, it tastes superb. Made with a meat of your choice, celery root, onions and green or red peppers, it is seasoned with a dry yellow curry that stays in your food memory long after you’ve finished eating.

Pad Pongali - picture courtesy of Jodi Ettenberg

2) Tom Yum. This sweet, sour and spicy Thai soup is full of incredible tastes. Each bite kicks back after the zing of coconut milk disappears, with the lingering flavours being the strong lemongrass, kaffir lime and galangal that make it so special.

Tom Yum

3) Pad Naem. A very difficult dish to find in Thailand, I’ve only managed to locate this one at a night stall in Chiang Mai. Made with sour northern Thai sausage, vegetables and spices and sautéed with vermicelli noodles and served over rice, it’s an explosion of flavour with every bite.

Pad Naem

4) Som tam. Made from unripened papayas pounded in a mortar and pestle with a laundry list of ingredients, som tam salads are a must-try for anyone visiting Thailand. Be sure to specify how spicy you like your food; you’ll find peanuts, tomato, fish sauce and more, but also more than a few hot chili peppers to accompany them!

Som tam

5) Your friendly street meat vendor. With more than just chicken skewers on the street, Thailand’s street meat isn’t to be avoided. Chicken feed, pork skewers, mystery meatballs of the pork, chicken or fish variety and even the occasionally water buffalo jerky, there is tons to try, with a 5 cent bag of sticky rice to accompany your protein. Fun experimentation lies ahead!

Your friendly street meat vendor




  1. Gem Clark August 29, 2012 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    ok, i’m a vegetarian and all these tasties are making me want to eat meat. but only this meat. and maybe some hainanese chicken… but other than that no thank you but definitely a big thank you for this post it all sounds incredible – now book me onto the next plane to thailand! :D

  2. Jodi August 29, 2012 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    Glad you enjoyed Gem! I was vegetarian for about 7 years and so I do tend to try out all the veg dishes as well. Perhaps we’ll do a vegetarian version next time!

  3. Brown Vagabonder August 30, 2012 at 9:40 am - Reply

    I love Thai food – it is my favorite food out of all the countries I have visited – Can’t wait to go back :)

  4. Audrey @BackpackingTB September 4, 2012 at 11:11 am - Reply

    The som tam looks delish! I love street food. :D

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  6. Paulo August 16, 2013 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    How you can tell a vegetarian? Don’t worry, they’ll let you know! Seriously, in this Buddhist country and indeed, the region, vegetarian eating is not an issue.

  7. allan giles April 11, 2014 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    I am a 68 aussie male.looking forward to next trip to Thailand to sample streer food .your site will give me ideas. allan

    • Daniel Sendecki April 14, 2014 at 11:23 pm - Reply

      Welcome, Allan! Looking to sample street food? There’s never a bad time to visit Thailand—what with its stunning beaches, verdant forest and year-round sunshine. Interested? Start you search here.

  8. albert wilson August 23, 2014 at 8:28 am - Reply

    That BBQ right there is my all time favorite. When I was in Thailand promoting my book about vegetable carving every night I will skip my food from hotel and jump out to the nearest street just for this food.

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