How to Eat Thai Street Food

OK, yes (as I admitted a couple posts ago) we are eating food from the Bangkok street stalls. And we haven’t gotten sick yet. The food is unbelievably delicious. But there are a few things to remember before you head to your first food stall:

Be brave!
Yes, it takes some courage to start eating food cooked by the side of the road in a foreign country. But this is one experience you need to have. I have simply never had such good, inexpensive food. You can get a great meal of Thai street food for $1.50. So be brave, walk up to the food stall serving the food you are most dying to eat, point at what you want and you will be well on your way to enjoying a genuine, Thai experience.


Eat cooked food
To ensure a decent level of hygiene, only eat food that has been cooked in front of you. The heat will kill the bugs. Steer clear of raw fruit or veggies (at least for the first few days while your stomach adjusts) as they may be washed in water that has not been purified. The locals can handle it but be careful here.

Living life dangerously! We are bad examples. We had raw fruit smoothies within our first week in Thailand... not generally a great idea but an expat friend talked us into it:)

Try new stuff
There is amazing range so don’t be afraid to branch out. We have been experimenting a lot with different dishes. The first night it was pastries, an omelet, spicy chicken, basil, rice and a fried egg. Since then it’s been a bit of a free for all. Curries, soups, stews and an embarrassing array of desserts. There is endless variety so there is no excuse not to indulge your inner foodie.

I'd like.... everything.

Skip Monday
A lot of Thai street food stalls close on Monday so you may want to stay indoors for your meals as the work week starts… Eat at the mall instead. In fact, a lot of the popular street stalls have their own branches in Bangkok malls (which stay open.). I’ll dedicate an upcoming post to the malls here but let me just say right now that they are so large they really should issue customers GPS devices.

The water issue
To avoid spending all night on the throne, stay away from tap water in Bangkok. It is not fit for drinking. However, restaurants that serve water generally serve purified water so you are typically OK having some.

To drink or to suffer curry burn... that is the dillemma.

Go with the crowd
There is safety in numbers when it comes to Thai street food. Hit up the busy stalls. They are busy for a reason and can be trusted more than the ones that get less traffic. This is one time it is absolutely appropriate to bow to peer pressure.

Have you had street food in Thailand? What did I miss? Feel free to add to the list in the comment section.



Bjorn Karlman

Bangkok, Thailand

10 thoughts on “How to Eat Thai Street Food”

  1. Try this stuff in India (eating Indian street food on the road) and it would be your last post that you’d write. ahhahhaha actually write the post before you eat Indian food on the street!

    I’ve been to Thailand – followed rule 1 in the Lonely Planet guide book – don’t eat Thai food or drink food smoothies. haha You guys are very brave – I take it you bought medical insurance for this adventure.

    Jokes aside, I thought there was only way to eat any kind of street food – fast!

    Is it just me or are you beginning to look more Thai too?

  2. Bjorn, BJORN! ….. Love your posts! I am in Puerto Rico and the best food I’ve had has been from local vendors! … I am in bliss here and do not want to leave! So many adventures in life to take .. and you are on the fast track! Love to you and your Jamie! This is what I did tonight! Amazing! check it out! …. Enjoy your life friend … You’ve got this!

    1. NICE! I checked out the site. I am WAY jealous:). I wouldn’t want to leave either. I like your style, how long are you there for?

  3. I am still dreaming of some chicken we ate at a street vendor near a famous mall in Bangkok. (And I don’t like chicken all that much) Also, the fresh squeezed orange juice is amazing! We didn’t get sick when we were there and we ate a lot of street food. When my brother was there, he got Iranian food near an English school he worked out. He said it was really good but I couldn’t tell you where it was, though. sorry.

      1. Heather! I’ve been working up my courage to test the fresh squeezed oranges… Gots to have me some! How do I get in touch with your brother?

  4. Thank you for sharing your adventures! After spending several years traveling…I miss it! I love living vicariously through others journeys! Enjoy to the fullest! Being with your best friend and traveling…..priceless!

    1. Thank you so much for checking in Jenn! I appreciate the kind word and would love to hear some of your travel stories. Keep in touch!

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