When in Bangkok, don’t get stuck in a Pad Thai rut. It may be the city’s classic street food dish, but Thailand’s capital is a street food mecca that is also reasonably priced. Here are 10 of the best street food dishes to try before leaving Bangkok.
1. I-dtim Ma Phrao (Coconut Ice cream)
When it’s too hot in Bangkok, this is the best roadside snack to keep you cool. It can be found throughout 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 are friendly.
2. Khanom Wan Thai (Thai Sweets)
Many Thai sweets use coconut or banana as a base and are much less sweet than Western candy, but they are so beautiful that it’s difficult to resist trying them all. Favorites include Khanom Thom, which have a nutty centre and are covered in shredded coconut.
3. Kuay Teow Reua (Boat Noodles)
There’s an alley where locals order dozens of bowls of boat noodles at once. You can order a variety of dishes, including rice or egg noodles topped with pork, beef, or fish balls and spiced with the condiments on your table. Because the portions are small and the prices are low, the ordering is frenetic.
4. Khao Man Gai (Chicken with Rice)
This Chinese-inspired dish is deceptively simple, but when done correctly, there’s nothing quite like it. The rice is cooked in chicken broth and accompanied by crunchy cucumber as a side dish. The green chilli sauce that comes with it adds a great kick.
5. Deep fried Catfish
This catfish dish is super light and full of flavour, combining the crunchiness of spiced batter with delicate flaked fish, proving the theory that most things taste better deep fried. It’s a popular Thai dish from the Isaan region. This specialty can be found in the back alleys near the river.
6. Duck - two ways
There are two dishes worth trying: the simple but delicious Thai Chinese roasted duck with rice and egg, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, order a side of duck feet wrapped in intestines – an intense burst of flavour that makes it worthwhile to overcome your fear of eating the more unusual parts.
7. Khao Soi (Chicken Noodle Soup)
This Chiang Mai classic is difficult to find in Bangkok, but once you’ve tasted the rich curry broth and deep fried crispy noodles, you’ll be searching every Thai menu for it.
8. Fish Mousse Parcels
Steamed in a banana leaf, this delicious red curry spiced fish mousse is topped with thick coconut cream and chilli. It has a strong, distinct flavour.
9. Som Tam (Sour Papaya Salad)
Som Tam never tastes as good as it does at a food stall, possibly because the refreshing papaya salad is freshly muddled in a heavy, chili-lined mortar. It’s the perfect blend of sour, sweet, fresh, and spicy, served with peanuts, tomatoes, and crunchy green beans. It can be served with or without dried shrimp, soft shell crab, or salted hard boiled eggs.
10. Khao Niew Mamuang (Mango and Sticky Rice)
Sukhumvit Soi 38 used to be the best place in town for all types of street food, but due to recent regulations, many stall holders have vanished. It’s still worth a visit for the food court and, most importantly, the best mango and coconut sticky rice in town.