Thai Food Guide

Thai food guide

Thai-style grilled pork on skewers: Moo Ping

Moo Ping

Thai-style grilled pork on skewers, known as “Moo Ping”, is one of most popular street foods in Thailand. You will find Moo Ping nearly everywhere you go. They are made by marinating bite-sized pieces of pork with an earthy, slightly spicy cilantro-garlic-peppercorn marinade. Once the pork has marinated in these wonderful flavors for a few hours, the pieces are threaded onto bamboo skewers and grilled, basting every few minutes with coconut milk to seal in all of the rich, deep flavors and moisture, and then served with warm sticky rice.

Thai papaya salad, widely known as Som Tam, is a great partner for this dish, often served with a dipping sauce which seems to vary from vendor to vendor. Jaew sauce, dried chili dipping sauce, is one of the common accompaniments to serve with this kind of grilled pork.  Moo Ping vendors usually sell throughout the day, but you will find them mainly in the morning and late afternoon, perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack. It will fill you up for several hours so you have the energy to keep going until dinner time rolls around. Moo Ping is worth it!

Cost: 5-15 baht
Spicy Level: 0

Thai Fish Cake: Tod Man

Tod Man

Tod Man, or Fried Fish-Paste Balls or Fish Cake, is a highly-recommended appetizer on the menus of most Thai restaurants or even on street vendors. These fish cakes are unlike the Western deep fried varieties which are battered before being deep fried. Tod Man Pla is a Thai-style fishcake made with fresh fish paste, long beans, red curry paste and kaffir lime leaves. Each bite of the fish cakes is bursting with the briny flavors of the fish, the fragrance and heat from the red curry paste, and the crunchiness of the long beans. You can also change the protein from fish meat to shrimp, crab and squid.

The dish is best eaten hot right out of the fryer and dipped into a slightly tangy and spicy chili dip served with steamed rice as a main course. The accompanying chili dip is also easy to make as well, using diced cucumbers and chopped peanuts that adds texture and crunch to the sauce, making them an excellent dipping sauce for the fish cakes. They are absolutely yummy!

Cost: 40-80 baht
Spicy Level: 2.5

Thai food guide

Thai Roasted Duck on Rice: Khao Na Ped

Khao Naa Ped

Khao Na Ped, otherwise known as Roasted Duck on Rice, is a Thai dish with Southern Chinese influences (Thai word: Khao-na-ped) and is a delicious dish made of sliced roasted duck on top of steamed rice with a unique Thai gravy sauce served with some pickles like ginger or other vegetables. Often served with a small bowl of soup, it looks very similar to BBQ Pork on rice and you might even find them at the same vendor, although the authentic varieties are actually very different.

What distinguishes Khao Na Ped is the sauce, which is a lot less thick and sweet compared to Khao Moo Daeng. You will notice these shops by the lines of hanging ducks. Some restaurants serve the duck together with noodles known as Ba Mee Ped (Noodle Roast duck).

Cost: 40-80 baht
Spicy Level: 0

Thai food guide

Thai BBQ Grilled Squid: Pla Muek Yang

Pla Muek Yang

Pla Muek Yang is a popular street snack, culminating in grilled squid over charcoal and cooked thoroughly while a marinated sauce is added to the squid during the cooking process. Grilled or BBQ squid is a great Thailand street food. In local markets or on the street, you will find this dish on many food stalls.

The great secret about this dish is the sauce that comes with the grilled squid. The stunning Thai spicy sauce has a seafood base of lime juice, fish sauce, and chili, which really does take the taste to another level.

Location: Restaurants and street food vendors
Cost: 10-120 baht
Spicy Level: 0 (depends on the sauce)

Thai food guide

Thai Soy Milk: Nam Tai Hoo

Nam Tao Hoo

Soy milk (Nam Tao Hoo) is a staple Thai daily breakfast and night snack. Sometimes after waking up, we just want a warm healthy drink that is light and tasty. It’s also popular to have Nam Tao Hoo in the evening or at night after a meal. Soy milk can be found at local markets or on the streets.

Many vendors have a big pot full of soy milk, which they flavor with either white or brown sugar. In Thailand, Nam Tao Hoo (soy milk) is usually enjoyed with “Patongo” (Patongo is the Thai version of the donut, a blob of lightly sweet dough deep fried until fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside). You can also add toppings to soy milk such as black sesame, millet, jelly, sago, red beans, or even basil seeds, or whatever they offer in your soy milk. If you are a very health-conscious person, you don’t have to add sugar as it’s still delicious.

Cost: 5-10 baht
Spicy Level: 0

Thai food guide

Thai Vegetable with Chili Paste: Num Phrik With Pug

น้ำพริก ผัก
Num Phrik with Pug

Nam Phrik is a generic term that may refer to any type of spicy, chili-based, watery hot sauce typical of Thai cuisine. Nam Phrik is a type of Thai dip or hot sauce using fresh or dry chilies, garlic, shallots, lime juice and often some kind of fish or shrimp paste. In the traditional way of preparing the sauce, the ingredients are pounded together using a mortar and pestle, with either salt or fish sauce added to taste.

Nam Phrik is kind of like the “veggies and dip” of Thai cuisine, but instead of carrot sticks, there’s boiled bitter melon (and other vegetables) and in place of ranch dressing you will find fermented shrimp paste and roasted chilies. Nam Phrik is a very general term for any kind of spicy chili sauce that is normally eaten as a condiment or dipping sauce for fried fish and lots of boiled vegetables. There are many different types of nam prik in Thailand, the most popular variations include nam prik kaphi (chili sauce with fermented shrimp paste), nam prik pla too (chili sauce with de-boned mackerel fish) and nam prik pla raa (chili sauce with fermented fish sauce). If you like a hot and spicy kick to your food, accept no substitutes.

Cost: 20-30 baht+
Spicy Level: 3-5

Travel ideas

7 holiday villas to stay in for a romantic escape in Thailand

A couple trip is the perfect opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of the daily life. Read more >


Thai Grilled Chicken: Gai Yang

Gai Yang

Gai Yang, or grilled chicken, is one of the classic Thai street foods. The Thai way of grilling chicken, known as Gai Yang (Gai = Chicken, Yang = Grill), you will see used amidst the vast cacophony od street food vendors. Throughout Thailand you’ll find many different types of grilled chicken, depending on regional location and different styles because of personal family recipes. The Thai-style grilled chicken marinate base that gives it its amazing flavors is made from a heap of garlic, lemongrass, black peppercorns, and coriander roots, which is then grilled over charcoal. Gai Yang is especially common to eat along with Som Tam (green papaya salad), and hot fresh sticky rice.

Cost: 30-120 baht
Spicy Level: 0

Thai Deep Fried Spring Rolls: Por Piah Tod

Por Piah Tod

Deep fried spring rolls, known as Po Pia Tod in Thai, most commonly use vermicelli (noodles glass), bean sprouts and wood ear mushrooms, creating the unmistakable aroma of a quintessential garlic-cilantro root-peppercorn paste.

Fried Spring Rolls are usually found sold on the street in Thailand. Typically, the vendors who sell them also sell deep fried tofu triangles, fried shredded taro cakes, fried shredded turnip cakes and fried corn cakes as delicious alternatives. You decide which ones you want (you can mix them) and the vendor dumps them in a bag, tops it with sauce and gives you a wooden stick to harpoon the food. You can also get spring rolls at some restaurants, usually of Chinese-Thai origin. The restaurant version usually is a lot nicer, with shredded vegetables and meat, sometimes seafood. There is another variety of spring roll which has one shrimp inside each roll, which are simply delicious.

Cost: 20-50 baht
Spicy Level: 0-1

Thai Salt-Crusted Grilled Fish: Pla Phai Kleua

Pla Phao Kleua

Pla Phao Kleua, more commonly known by Westerners as Salt-Crusted Grilled Fish, is a common Thai street food, grilled on big open charcoal fire, attracting everyone with its smoky aroma.

The three different kinds of this popular Thai street food fish are a red hybrid tilapia fish known as Pla Tabtim; a tilapia fish known as Pla Nil; and snapper fish known as Pla Kaphong. The Thai way of grilling a whole fish is one of the best methods, coated in a crust of salt, all-purpose flour, and a little water, stuffed with lemongrass stalks and kaffir lime leaves. A thick layer of salt crust covers the whole fish so the flesh inside keeps moist and succulent throughout the grilling process. The salt crust is removed before serving, but as the skin retains a little of the salt, it helps to flavor the meat, with the contrast of salty and sweet being really delicious. This is normally accompanied by a seafood dipping sauce made from lime juice, palm sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, garlic, and chili, alongside fresh vegetables. Thai grilled fish makes for an amazing meal!

Cost: 150-200 baht
Spicy Level: 1-2

Thai Fruits: Pon La Mai

Pon La Mai

Thailand is a country of fertile plains and hot tropical weather, as well as its more temperate northern regions, culminating in pretty much anything growing here. Thailand has many fruits that you might have never seen before that are simply scrumptious, and the best part is that you can find them easily on the streets or even when you’re relaxing on the beach or sitting in bar. Not only is fruit cheap, healthy and nutritious, it’s also a great way to rehydrate and is a superb snack. A piece of watermelon helps you to rehydrate after being out in the sun. Thai pineapples are very sweet and succulent, with a soft, fragrant pulp. Occasionally, a sprinkle of salt is added to temper its bite. Try some delicious Guava or green mango if feeling really adventurous, or experience it the Thai way by dipping it in salt, sugar and chili. You can’t come to Thailand without trying out its amazing fruits.

Cost: 10-40 baht
Spicy Level: 0-1 (Depends on dipping)

Thai Fried Pork with Sticky Rice: Khao Neow Moo Tod

Khao Neow Moo Tod

Khao Niew Moo Tod is known as Fried Pork with Sticky Rice and is one of the most popular and eaten dishes found in not just street vendors and restaurants, but also in places such as 7-Eleven. This is one of the more basic street foods in Thailand, using salted and marinated fried pork, garlic and fish sauce, served with hot and soft sticky rice. Fried pork with sticky rice is one of the best choices for those looking for a quick meal that is filling and inexpensive.

Location: Restaurants and street food vendors
Cost: 20-30 baht
Spicy Level: 0

Thai Mango Sticky Rice dessert: Khao Neow Mamuang

Khao Neow Mamuang


Khao Neow Mamuang, otherwise known Mango sticky rice, is a Thai dessert made with glutinous rice, fresh mango and coconut milk. It is a traditional Thai food eaten with a fork, spoon, or sometimes with your hands. It is prepared with glutinous rice, commonly called sticky rice. Unlike other desserts, mango sticky rice is served warm or at room temperature. It is among the most popular Thai desserts to eat in and outside of Thailand. You’ll find mango sticky rice all over during mango season. The best types of mangoes to use are the Nam Dok Mai (flower nectar mango). Mango sticky rice is widely revered in Thailand and is without a doubt the number one Thai dessert of all time. If you’ve been to Thailand and have sampled street food, the chances are that you’ve eaten mango sticky rice as it’s absolutely everywhere you go and a must-try dish!

Location: Restaurants and street food vendors
Cost: 50-120 baht
Spicy Level: 0

connect with us to get our latest tips!