Thai Street Food

One of the joys of Thailand is all the wonderful food sold by street vendors. A top 10 list of dishes that are even better to buy from street vendors than from restaurants is offered. There is a great variety of food, it is easy to find, and many vendors ensure the food is clean and of high quality at a low price.

Thailand is well-known as “the land of smiles.” Thais are friendly and well-known as “food lovers.” Many say “Thais love to eat. Thais eat several meals per day.” In response to these comments, I have to say, yes, Thais love to eat but we eat 3 meals per day just like the rest of the world. The difference is that Thais love to snack. Our snacks range from fresh fruits to deep-fried food. In Thailand, it is so easy to find food. Street vendors are everywhere. If there are people, there are food. One of the greatest joys of living or traveling in Thailand is the abundance and variety of food.Street vendors, street food, roadside stands, food stands, food stalls or whatever you would like to call it, simply involves something mobile that allows an owner (or a cook in most cases) to push them around, from home and back. Many people may think that street food is not clean, but in fact with many vendors it is clean. And many of the owners are unpretentious. The owners push a cart from home to their selling location and then back home and clean the cart every night. Street food offers an incredibly cheap price and some offer incredibly good taste. Sometimes it is even better than a famous restaurant.Some street vendors offer such good food that you will have to wait for a table along the street. Particularly in these cases, street food is not only for poor or middle class people – you will often find a businessman or wealthy people ordering the street food. Do not expect a menu from a street vendor because there are not any. Most street vendors only offer one dish, just their specialty. Street food offers a wide variety of choices – curry, fried rice, noodle dishes, stir-fried, salad, fresh fruits, desserts, etc. Basically you name it. You might be able to even find grilled lobsters in China town at a reasonable price. Of course, I cannot forget to mention all the bizzare food like deep-fried frogs, deep-fried birds, deep-fried grasshoppers, etc.The following are the top 10 street food dishes that I think are better than what restaurants have to offer. In other words, you should buy the following food from a street vendor rather than from a restaurant.

  • Som Tum – Spicy shredded green papaya salad with peanuts and tomatoes
  • Larb – Spicy minced meat with chopped shallots, onions, chilies and coriander
  • Khao Mun Gai – Steamed chicken with rice cooked in chicken stock and garlic
  • Jok – Rice porridge with ground pork, fresh ginger and green onion (some may add egg)
  • Lad Nah – Stir-fried thin or wide rice noodles with light gravy bean sauce and Chinese kale
  • Hoi Tod – Fried oysters in batter with egg on a bed of beansprouts
  • Pad Thai – Stir-fried medium rice noodles with egg, dried shrimp and fried bean curd sprinkled with peanuts (served with beansprouts)
  • Satay – Slivers of chicken or pork grilled on a stick, served with sauce and cucumber
  • Khao Moo Daeng – Chinese-style red pork with rice, boiled eggs and cucumber
  • Khao Tom – Rice soup with a selection of meat and vegetable side dishes

There is so much more street food than I can list here. The above 10 dishes are those I particularly think are better to buy from a street vendor. One of the greatest joys of living in Thailand is the opportunity to try out food from different places at a reasonable price. I grew up in Bangkok and I have to say that Bangkok has bad traffic. I mean very bad traffic. You can literally sit in a car or a bus for hours and hours. Even though people in Bangkok live with bad traffic, most people will travel a long way through heavy traffic just to eat street food. I have to say I was among them.Another type of food vendors that I want to mention are not on land, but instead on canals (called Klong in Thailand). Along Klongs, you may find sellers paddling their boats selling fresh fruit and vegetables, noodle dishes, curries, etc. just like street vendors. The quality can be just as good as the street vendors.Street food can be as good as restaurant food. It is fresh, cheap and good. Part of the fun of living in Thailand is the chance to find street food that is even better than food in restaurants. Some street food may not be as clean, but in many cases, vendors do a good job of making sure the food is clean. There is certainly food for working class people, and food can be found in a wide variety of locations. Next time when you smell some mouth-watering food, stop by and give it a chance. You will not only experience good food, but friendly people as well.

How and what do Thais eat?

Thai cuisine’s inviting array of meals, desserts, drinks and snacks combine with an enjoyment of eating as socializing. Thinking about Thai ways of eating together helps fill in a reflection on Thai food.
The majority of Thais do not use many of the formal eating manners of Westerners; Thais have their own set of manners based largely on practices of communal eating. Thais put a lot of emphasis on eating as a social activity. For Thais, eating should be a simple pleasure and does not involve complex rituals of etiquette. Today, a fork and spoon are widely used, and the general practice is to use the fork to push food onto the spoon. The spoon is generally held in the right hand and serves as the only utensil from which to take bites. Eating straight from the fork is considered crude. The use of the fork and spoon is attributed to King Rama V in the latter part of the 19th century. He found no use for knives since Thai food is already chopped up. Chopsticks are sometimes used, particularly for eating some noodle dishes influened by the Chinese. While a fork and spoon are commonly used, for some parts of Thailand, such as in the east or north east, eating by hand is still common. There is also an exception for sticky rice as most Thais would eat sticky rice with their hands.When dining out, senior women in a group usually order for all (although others do the ordering sometimes). All dishes can be shared, over several courses. Steamed rice is a mainstay of communal meals and is always served first for each individual. Then, only in small amounts (1-2 tablespoons), food is dished up and put on top of the rice. Thais do not like to pile different food on top of their rice because the tastes might get mixed together. Thais generally eat dishes one at a time and then come back to eat the next dish. Piling up food or overloading your plate with food is considered rude and uncouth as there is no hurry and more food can be ordered as needed.Thais love to eat, six to seven times per day is not very uncommon. Thais also love to dine out in a group of friends and family. Eating alone is not very common. There are restaurants and food stands (food vendors) almost everywhere in Thailand. Thais’ generally don’t think in terms of dieting. Most Thais eat often but small amounts each time. Thais eat breakfast, lunch and dinner; however, many Thai people snack a lot, almost any time of the day or night. Snacks can include a wide range of choices, such as a bowl of noodle soup, fruits, fried food or desserts.Thai food is famous for its spicy quality, but there are many mild or non-spicy dishes. Rice is a staple food. Typical breakfast dishes for Thais are:

  • Jok: ground rice soup with minced pork and ginger, with green onions sprinkled on top, and egg can be added;
  • Khao Tom: rice soup with a selection of meat and vegetable side dishes;
  • Kao Loa Lead Moo: soup which consists of various pig organs such as kidney, liver, heart and stomach as well as ground pork and prepared blood;
  • Khao Man Kai: rice cooked in chicken broth with slices of boiled chicken on top.

Lunch usually includes quick dishes like noodle soups, fried noodles, rice dishes and curries. Dinner is generally served communally in a series of large plates or bowls. There is always steamed rice and 4-5 side dishes, and at least one soup. The 4-5 side dishes consist of a wide variety of food, at least one vegetable dish, one seafood dish, one meat dish, and one spicy dish. Examples of dinner dishes are: curry dishes, dry curry dishes such as Phanaeng, steamed crab (Pu Neung), deep fried fish (Pla Thod), roasted sliced squid (Pla Meuk Yang), fried rice (Khao Pad), Tom Yum soups, etc. After the meal, Thais like desserts. There are so many kinds of dessert in Thailand. Depending on the type of dessert and preference of the eater, sometimes the dishes are shared. The famous desserts are Mangoes with Sticky Rice (Khao Niaw Ma Muang), Bananas in Coconut Milk (Kluay Buat Chi), and combinations of fruit with ground up ice (Nam Kang Sai).Almost every street corner has a selection of food vendors selling a wide variety of snacks, from fried insects (such as grasshoppers) to Spring rolls. Examples of snacks are: Coconut pudding (Khanom Krok), Sticky rice in banana leaves (Khao Tom Mud), Spring rolls (Po Pia Tod), Charcoal-roasted eggs (Kai Ping), Steamed tapioca with minced pork filling (Sa Koo Sai Moo), Fried fish balls (Luk Chin Tod), Fried fish cakes (Tod Mun) and Charcoal-grilled chicken (Kai Yang). As for drinks, there are many kinds, such as fresh juice, tea, Thai iced tea, soda, water and beer. Fresh juice can be pineapple, coconut, cantalope, mango, and orange.The many enticing combinations of foods, as well as the cultural styles of eating, help enhance life and represent many opportunities for creativity and enjoyment.

Famous Thai beaches and why one should visit them

Thailand is a country which is internationally famous for its beautiful beaches. Thousands of tourist’s flock every year to the Thai beaches to party enjoy the sun and basically have a good time. Here is a list of popular Thai beaches and what each beach is famous for:

 

Koh Phangan- Beach bar

The Flip Flop Pharmacy on this beach is one of the most popular beach bars. The bar brings out the hidden beauty of the island and has a relaxing vibe; the bar holds a number of full moon parties which is mainly why so many tourists visit the destination. With a drinks menu to rival most bars, the Flip Flop Pharmacy offers mellow music, comfortable pillows, low tables with everything lit by lanterns under the stars. One can spend the perfect evening relaxing under the stars sipping a cool beverage.

Koh Tao – the Beautiful beach

Koh Tao is a picture perfect beach where one needs to arrive either early in the morning or just at sunset to get the perfect picture. Nangyuan beach near Koh Tao connects the three small islands by a sliver of sand bar and linked back clear water which is only thigh deep. The beach is beautiful and allows you perfect access to the three islands.

 

Similan Island – Ideal snorkeling destination

If you are one who loves to explore the underwater marine life, then you should grab your snorkeling mask and immediately head to the Similan Islands. There is a national park located west of Khao Lak on the islands which offers some of the best diving sites in the world which cannot be missed out on. There are also several shoals of colourfully bright coral reef you can swim to as well as soft beaches which are perfect for a picnic with your friends.

 

Phuket – the Rooftop bar views

When planning your Phuket package, one must visit Baba Nest which offers an incredible experience if being suspended over Phuket’s Cape Panwa Peninsul. The rooftop bar of Baba Poolclub at Sri Panwa guarantees you a view that will take your breath away of the Andaman Sea. After swimming in the infinity pool, you can relax enjoying the view on the sunken seats provided.

 

Koh Samui and Phuket – Wild beach clubs

Though many like opting for a relaxing evening sampling delicious Thai dishes, there are several tourists who prefer a more luxurious touch to their evenings. When planning your Phuket package you should seriously consider how you wish to spend your evenings. On Koh Samui’s Nikki beach one can get the opportunity to eat sushi, champagne along with music from international DJs while on Phuket’s Catch beach club on Surin beach is known to throw rave parties all night.

 

Be it a holiday travelling the length of Thailand or a simple Phuket package, the country has a lot to offer in terms of interesting beach experiences. So when you decide to visit Thailand, make sure you research the different types of beaches and what they are famous for to ensure that they get the beach experience of their choice.