Burger King's marketing team may have obtained inspiration for their slogan in Bangkok because with Thai food you can always “Have it your way!”
The underlying highlight of any visit to Bangkok is the provision of street food that seems to sprawl indefinitely. It's sometimes hard to imagine that the demand can even profit from the seemingly endless supply.
Stall after stall, all abundant with wonderful food and spewing heavenly aromas into the street can be an intoxicating experience for the senses.
On the streets of Bangkok there's such a food fury of delight, that it's easy to slip into confusion, wanting to eat everything, but hesitant to dive in and choose anything.
In the peak food rush hours, stall owners might notice you are a foreigner, and make a conclusion as to what dish you want to eat (the dish that every foreigner wants…right?…WRONG).
In order to take full advantage of Bangkok's exuberant array of street food, there are a few things to keep in mind.
If a street stall or restaurant is packed with business elsewhere in the world, there are three possible reasons: lovely ambiance, cheap food, or delicious food.
In Bangkok, there's only one reason, delicious food. Price can help, but in the end, Thai people are willing to dish out for what is most delicious.
Look to the Locals
Local people know what to eat and where to eat it.
A great method of determining what new dish to try is to simply walk around and see what people are ordering and what looks good.
Don't hesitate to converse with the street chef to inquire about what that person just ordered.
It's beneficial to even point to a dish he has cooked up and ask him to make the same thing for you.
Go on Food Adventures
An adventure with a determination to strictly focus on eating will always bring rewarding effects.
Lots of street stalls specialize in only a few dishes, so don't be ashamed to eat a few small portions and then head to the next stall to sample the next specialty.
Sample a Wide Range of Dishes and Complimenting Flavors
Thai's love to mix and match a meal order until it is balanced to perfection. In order to take full advantage of Thai food, it's a necessity to order a wide range of dishes that will make full use of the taste buds that are embedded within your mouth.
A red chicken curry (panang gai), stir fried pork with basil (pad ga pao moo), stir fried morning glory (pad pak bung), and lastly, a palette cleansing sour spicy soup (tom yum), is an example of a well rounded Thai style meal.
Save Room For Dessert
Thai sweets are not usually the airy fluffy type.
Popular dessert options are more in the form of sweet snacks or dessert meals, characterized by sweet sticky rice, super-ripe fruit, and sugary creams.
Exploring the world of Thai desserts is exciting and needs to be fully taken advantage of.
Eat Lots of Fruit and Vegetables
Thailand, like all of South East Asia, produces a dazzling array of tropical fresh fruits and vegetables.
Some of these naturally grown delicacies are specific only to the region.
To take full advantage of the supply, balance the porky goodness with some freshly cut fruit and odd-looking vegetation.
Get in Touch with Local Bloggers and Tweeting Foodies
Bangkok is full of local and expat Bloggers and Twitter fanatics that are obsessed with eating Thai food.
There's a community of eaters that frequent the latest street food stalls and aim to devour all forms of Thai food.
Use social media searches to take advantage of locating Thai food, and browse user food finds.
Though street food is rampant throughout all of Bangkok, there are a few streets that offer mind-blowing arrays of glorious food.
For a few suggestions on where to get Bangkok street food head to the Victory Monument area, Chinatown Yaowarat, Ratchawat Market, or Sukhumvit Soi 38.
Luckily, developing a habit for eating Thai street food is not an expensive addiction.
Even with a low Thai food budget, there are endless street opportunities to indulge in deluxe meals for just a few dollars!
It can take years to fully explore the range of street food in Bangkok, but if you can leverage your advantage and sample a wide range of Thai foods, you will at least take part in that everlasting supply of Bangkok street food!
Mark was raised in central Africa before migrating back to the U.S. for University. After graduating, he decided to continue traveling the world. On Migrationology, he shares the cultural side of travel from a slow-paced local perspective that often revolves around his love for eating all forms of food. Join him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @migrationology.
Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:
- G Adventures for small group tours.
- World Nomads for travel insurance.
- Hostelworld for booking hostels.
- Rail Europe for train passes.
Mads Bang Jensen
Saturday 10th of March 2012
Hi Mark. Great artikel. I've made my own top three over my favourite street food stalls which in some way ain't fair because there should be no limitation regarding street food in Bangkok.
What's your favourite dish and do you have a "secret" place to go?
Monday 23rd of May 2011
I love street food in Thailand, its really an awesome way to try a bunch of different types of food for a reasonable price. The food is really awesome and you really get a chance to support the "little guy" in Thailand
Thursday 19th of May 2011
Hey there, I like your Blog and what you said about check what the Locals are doing! That is what I usually do - or try to do - when I get myself into Bangkoks street food heaven. Like, when I see one place where no ones sitting I will think twice if I check out this place!
Your Blog also reminds me of a guide I recently found in a bookstore in Paragon called the Famulous Eateries Bangkok. They present lots of places to eat all around Bangkok that are famous amongst the Locals but hardly known by foreigners. I can not judge if they are famous but I eating through their recommended places and so far all of them where pretty awesome!
Thursday 10th of March 2011
Mark Wiens I am inspired! I'm off to Bangkok soon and I'm quite bold with street food. This time I'm going with a friend who loves spicy Thai food too but is concerned about the lack of refrigeration and that she may end up with a dose of food poionning with very good reason! Any top tips on what can I tell her to reassure her please? All advice gratefully received. Susan.
Friday 11th of March 2011
Hey Susan, yes, as Dave said, the street food in Bangkok is some of the most cleanly street food I've ever seen in the world. Food is cooked immediately after being ordered so it's always hot and fresh, without sitting around. The water in Bangkok is also sanitary, so eating washed vegetables is almost always fine. Lastly you can tell your friend that I've been eating street food in Thailand for almost 2 years now and I have not gotten sick even once from the food! I wish you all the best eating in Thailand! You will love it!
Thursday 10th of March 2011
Once you get there, point out to your friend how clean the food vendors are in Bangkok --- some of the cleanest conditions you'll find anywhere in the world!
Wednesday 9th of March 2011
Mark, having eaten with you and Joel plenty of times (most recently last month!) I can attest that you're an excellent go-to expert for Thai food. Great suggestions and as always, you've made me hungry again.
Friday 11th of March 2011
Thanks so much Jodi!