Coming to Thailand on a budget and want a quick meal on the cheap? I want to try something different so i skip the indoor restaurants and hotel buffet because, even though they are still cheap. I'm into exploring the food that eventually i can reproduce and bring the flavors to people that haven't experience that kind of culinary palate and standards. The traditional street stalls/mobile store will beat them every time in both price and taste.
I think my favorite part about my trip to Thailand was the street food. It was fun to go hunting the streets for a meal. My Thai is not that good and I just had to point to what I wanted and only screwed up a couple of times and got things that were not what i was expecting. I ate most of my trip on the streets and never got sick in a weeks of travel.
Street stalls/mobile store are all over Thailand, you won't be able to go a block without seeing at least one portable stall set up selling food aside from clothing stalls. Most of them will be set up as a portable restaurant, complete with portable gas canister and hotplate. Then they set up the little plastic stools or chairs, unfold foldable tables and set out disposable wooden chopsticks or small spoons and forks most of then put tissue on the table which i find it neat cause most of the food chain/restaurant are cutting back. Everything is cooked in front of the punter it's always fresh and piping hot, what unbelievable smells and tastes.They also have like a cafeteria where all food are already cooked. I explore the stall cause i can see how they prepare,from ingredients to cooking and serving it.
Almost anything you try at a street stall will be delicious. There are thousands of different dishes but some are only available in certain areas of Thailand. Stall have certain schedule that they fallow (i think) cause i see them in different time and day in some street i tried to ask them but since most of them doesn't speak English it is quite challenging although i find it fun at sometime. Lucky that i meet this young girl who greet me everyday and always ask me to dine at their Mexican restaurant (not to Mexican for me) good thing she turns out to be a Filipino made my life easier since i speak Tagalog, gave me this notes to help me to try. Here are some of the dishes I think are the best and that are readily available all over the street.
1. Pla Tong Go. Deep fried Thai donuts. These are served in every market or street stall area in the mornings.
2. Drinks. Coffee, lattes, green tea drinks, tea and coffee shakes, Thai iced tea, fresh fruit juices, orange juice (flavored the Thai way with salt), bottled water, cola drinks, blended ice drinks, iced chocolate and more- all of these are available at street stalls. Why look for expensive coffee? i would just go down from the hotel where i stayed in buy this coffee everyday to start up my day.
3. Phad Thai. one of the most well-known dish all over the world probably second tom yum goong. Pad Thai is made from noodles, bean sprouts, eggs and dried shrimp that are all fried together and served really hot. Then add spring onion, lime juice and peanuts and a touch of sugar and dried chili pepper. One of the best things on the street in my opinion and very filling.
4. Jok. Thai rice porridge that is boiled and boiled until it's gluey and sticky. It's served with different types of meat, green onions, ginger, and usually a raw egg that semi cooks itself with the heat from the porridge.
5. Noodles. The most popular food for Thai locals. It's cheap, filling, spicy and tastes great. It's available 'dry' or 'wet' with soup or without. You can order different sizes and types of noodles, as well as different sizes of bowls! It comes with meat or without, with fish balls and liver or without, and to spice it up you take it to your table and add your own dried chili, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce and vinegar. I usually end up with two bowls as the first is so delicious I can't resist another one.
6. Salapao. These are based on the Chinese steamed dumplings and are filled with pork, red bean, custards, and many other things. They are very cheap, around 5-8 baht each and are eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
7. Som Tam.also known as tam bak hung. This is the most famous Thai street stall dish. In fact, it's the most popular spicy salad, especially loved by women. It's made from unripe papaya, which is then mixed with shrimp paste, green beans, peanuts, and tomatoes. Then they add a few hot chillis to spice it up. It's also serve in restaurants all over Thailand, but I still think the street stall version is the best.
8. Tom Yam Goong. Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp most probably the most famous soup in Thailand. This soup is best appreciated hot and spicy, but if you're not partial to chili, you can greatly reduce the spice, or even omit the chili altogether and still enjoy a very satisfying and unique Thai style soup. A classic spicy lemongrass and shrimp soup recipe
9. Khao Pat. Typical fried rice, you can order it with just vegetables, or with shrimp, chicken or pork. It's a heavy dish, but very cheap so you can be full from just one plate. It's also sometimes served with a fried egg on top.
10. Pork or Chicken Sate. Pork or chicken grilled on a stick over a flame, it's served with peanut sauce, and chopped up cucumbers, onion and sugar in vinegar. Delicious and great for a quick snack. Philippines have BBQ and my favorite is in Mang Raul's.Food on a stick!
11. Kanom. This is the cover-all word for 'dessert' and it's all over the place. From tiny little desserts made from rice and bananas or pumpkin and served in banana leaves, to coconut pancakes, mango with sticky rice, fried bananas, pumpkin custard, or simply crushed ice served with a sweet syrup and condensed milk, they are all delicious. Make sure, no matter what you eat, you save room for dessert.
12. Crispy Bugs. well just for experience that i tried it was Ok but not my favorite. Check out my picture trying it.
13. Fruits. different kinds of fruits that are already peeled, seedless serve in a plastic with spicy salt, they even provide stick for it.
Some people are nervous about eating street stall food, citing the dangers of uncleanliness or disease. Some of us have sensitive stomach and not really use of spices and experience to have upset stomach but not food poisoning, guess i live in Asia so long that i got immune with it.
If you are up for exploring food, the main thing is be a little adventurous, try new things, remember, most dishes are going to be less than US $1, so even if you hate it, it's not very much money wasted. You'll be surprised at what you will love. And don't forget to carry first aid medicine for those who have sensitive tummy cause not all will be available in Asian land.
Enjoy the exploring the street food in Thailand!