What's Bangkok Street Food
Street Food in Bangkok:
Thai Culinary Delights at Every Turn
Have you ever woken up in a foreign country with jetlag in the middle of the night – famished? In many countries, you would need to wait until morning to satisfy your appetite, but not in Thailand, and especially not in Bangkok. In most parts of the metropolis, it is almost impossible to walk more than five or ten minutes in any direction without bumping into a food stall, usually smack dab in the middle of the sidewalk. Just follow the smells, and look for groups of people waiting for food – a sure sign you’ve stumbled across a popular, and tasty, roadside attraction.
Food stalls on the streets of Bangkok can look a little intimidating to foreigners, but they provide convenient, delicious and cheap meals to the locals. Wherever you go in the city, these food stalls are plentiful and very often you will find a high concentration of them in particularly busy areas. Some street vendors operate in groups, often in local markets, which means you can go to the same place every night and have a different choice of meal. Some even open around the clock. The main attractions usually include a noodles stall, a made-to-order food stall, and 'curry on rice' stall.
Knowing what's what is essential when eating from food stalls. You should be able to figure out what kind of food a particular stall is selling by observing the ingredients in the glass display window and the way they're being prepared. There are many kinds of noodle stalls available; chicken noodles, duck noodles, egg noodles with wonton and 'moo daeng' (red barbequed pork), beef and meat ball noodles, 'yen ta four' (noodles in red soy bean paste with fish ball, squid and morning glory) - the list is endless. The noodles themselves come in different sizes and shapes too.
As you probably know, rice is to Thais what bread is to Westerners. It's usually eaten with different kinds of side dishes. 'kaao laad kaeng' (curry on rice) stalls are probably the cheapest and quickest place to eat. A wide range of different items on display can be chosen. Here, the ordering process is less tricky than with the noodles, because all you need to do is pointing to whatever you want. The price is also logical; the more items you order, the more you have to pay.
Another good place to eat at is 'made-to-order' food stalls. Basically, whatever you want, they will cook it for you. Most of these places don't provide a menu (and if they do, it will most likely be in Thai), but they all serve the same kind of food. Some of the most popular dsihes are 'kaao pad' (fried rice), 'pad kaprao' (stir-fried meat with holy basil leaves), 'kai jiaow' (Thai-style omelette) and 'moo kratium prik thai' (stir-fried pork in garlic and pepper).
While there are plenty of expensive white-tablecloth spots aroundBangkok serving refined Thai fare, the long lines at outside food carts let you in on the locals' secret -- street food is equally tasty at a fraction of restaurants' prices. Vendors sell popular dishes familiar to westerners like Pad Thai as well as unusual side dishes and local delicacies. If you can't read the menu, follow your senses and point to what looks good. You never know what you might find, and you can fill your belly for just a few dollars, or baht.