Don’t let yourself get stuck in a Pad Thai rut when you visit Bangkok. It may be the city’s classic street food dish, but Thailand’s capital is a street food mecca and it’s also great value for the money. Here are ten of the best street food dishes you shouldn’t leave Bangkok without trying.
1. Som Tam (Sour Papaya Salad)
Som Tam never tastes as good as it does from a food stall, perhaps because the refreshing papaya salad is freshly muddled in a heavy, chili lined mortar. Served with peanuts, tomatoes and crunchy green beans; it’s the perfect balance of sour, sweet, fresh and spicy. Have it with or without dried shrimp, soft shell crab or salted hard boiled eggs. Be careful not to overdo it on the chili – even the mildest version of this dish packs a punch!
Find it at: Silom 9, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500
Price: Starts at 40 baht (~1.25 USD)
2. Fish Mousse Parcels
This delicious, red curry spiced, fish mousse is steamed in a banana leaf and topped with thick coconut cream and chili. It has a strong, unusual flavour. Find it at Bangkok’s Green Lung in the east of the city, a great place for unusual food, and much better than the touristy floating markets further out of town. Grab some Fak-Khao too, a spiky orange fruit that doesn’t often make it to other stalls in the city.
Find them at: Bang Nam Pheung Floating Market, Amphoe Phra Pradaeng, Chang Wat Samut Prakan 10130
Price: 20 baht (~0.62 USD)
3. Khao Soi (Chicken Noodle Soup)
This classic dish from Chiang Mai is tricky to find in Bangkok, but once you’ve tasted the rich curry broth and the deep fried crispy noodles you’ll be desperately searching every Thai menu for it. There’s a street food stall in Ari that opens at 7am so it’s best to get there for an early lunch or you might miss out. It’s the best we’ve tried in the city though: chicken that falls off the bone and a good mix of sides – the pickles are a must.
Find it at: Hann Khao Soi Lover, Phahonyothin Rd, Ari, 10400
Price: 50 baht (~1.56 USD)
4. Duck- two ways
If you’re lucky, the friendly octogenarian owners will be on site when you visit this small stall near Saphan Taksin BTS. There are two dishes worth trying, the simple but delicious Thai Chinese roasted duck with rice and egg, or if you are feeling more adventurous, get a side of the duck feet wrapped in intestines – an intense burst of flavour that makes it worth getting over your fear of eating the more…unusual…parts.
Find them at: 211 Charoen Wiang Road, Bang Ra, 10500
Price: Starts at 40 baht (~1.25 USD)
5. Deep fried Catfish
Proving the theory that most things taste better deep fried, this catfish dish is super light and full of flavour, and combines the crunchiness of spiced batter with delicate flaked fish. It’s a popular dish from the Isaan region of Thailand. Head down the back alleys near the river to find this speciality. After lunch take the boat (4 baht) back across the Chao Phraya River to explore the old European neighbourhood and its crumbling buildings.
Find it at: Khlong Ton Sai, Khlong San, 10600
Price: 80 baht (~2.49 USD)
6. Khao Man Gai (Chicken with Rice)
This Chinese inspired dish is oh-so-simple, but when it’s done well, there’s nothing quite like it. The rice is cooked in chicken broth and is served with crunchy cucumber as a side. The green chili sauce that is served with it adds an awesome kick. A stall on Khao San Road sources its chickens from the family run farm just out of town, and will serve you the ideal pre and/or post party dish. The owner is there from 11pm until she sells out, usually around 3am.
Find it at: Just across from Wat Bowonniwet Wihan near Sip Sam Hang Road, Phra Sumen, 10200
Price: 40 baht (~1.25 USD)
7. Kuay Teow Reua (Boat Noodles)
There’s an alley just off Victory Monument where locals order dozens of bowls of boat noodles at a time. There’s a variety of dishes you can order: rice or egg noodles with pork, beef or fish balls, and then spiced with the condiments on your table. Portions are small and prices are low, hence the enthusiastic ordering. If you want a challenge, try eating 20 bowls – winners get a free bottle of cola!
Find them at: 1/7 Khwaeng Samsen Nai, Khet Phaya Thai, 10400
Price: Starts at 12 baht (~0.37 USD)
8. Khanom Wan Thai (Thai Sweets)
Many Thai sweets use coconut or banana as a base and are a lot less sweet than Western candy, but they are so beautiful that it’s hard to resist trying them all. Favourites include Khanom Thom which have a nutty centre and are covered in shredded coconut. Head to Chinatown to find both Khanom Thom and another favourite, Luk Chup; made from sweetened mung beans that taste nothing like the miniature pieces of fruits they resemble.
Find them: Yaowarat Rd, 10100
Price: Starts at 30 baht (~0.93 USD)
9. I-dtim Ma Phrao (Coconut Ice cream)
Does ice cream taste better when eaten out of a coconut shell? The answer is yes, yes it does. When Bangkok gets too hot, this is the best roadside snack to cool you down. It can be found across the city, but a favourite stall has to be the one on the corner of Khao San Road, where the portions are generous and the ice cream makers friendly.
Find it at: The corner of Khao San Rd and Chakrabongse Rd, 10200
Price: 35 baht (~1.09 USD)
10. Khao Niew Mamuang (Mango and Sticky Rice)
Sukhumvit Soi 38 used to be the best place in the city to get all kinds of street food, but sadly, recent regulations have seen a lot of stall holders disappear. It’s still worth a visit for the food court, and most importantly, the best portion of Mango and coconut sticky rice in the city. Sit on the street and feel smug that you’re enjoying a better version of the dish at half the price of those on the opposite soi, where a well-known, expensive mango shop is located.
Find it at: left hand side of Sukhumvit Soi 38, Bang Chak, 10260
Price: 60 baht (~1.87 USD)