You know what time it is. Street food time, Thailand Edition. In Thailand, street food is everywhere and eaten by Thai locals (and yours truly!) for all meals of the day. No introduction, let's get straight to business - me and this gigantic spider crab are gonna 'splain to you how it's done. Rawr!
Covered in sesame seeds and filled with sweet red bean paste, these chewy steamed dumplings make part of a tasty street breakfast. (Rating: 3 krathongs)
John purchased these pretty steam-baked muffins in Chiang Mai. While the banana leaf wrapper makes a cute wrapper, these fluffy treats have a mild flavor (pumpkin without any spices?) that's unimpressive and hard to identify. (Rating: 2 krathongs)
This soft crepe was one of my favorite breakfast finds in Thailand. It is stuffed with sweet, fresh coconut that makes a wonderful bite when combined with it's soft, warm exterior. (Rating: 4 krathongs)
A cup of local strawberries, sweetened with a sugary plum jam. They looked amazing but were actually crunchy, very under ripe, and ended up in the trash. (Rating: 1 krathong)
Little griddle-fried dumplings with various sweet fillings. We liked the taro (a mild, starchy root vegetable), which was piping hot. (Rating: 2.5 krathongs)
Overall, Thai BBQ doesn't measure up to the Chinese equivalent. Most of the street BBQ we saw was really processed mystery meat sausages or suspicious looking fish balls. The ubiquitous BBQ pork skewers were a wonderful exception, and almost always cut from tender pieces of meat and seasoned with a tangy teriyaki-like sauce. (Rating: 4 krathongs)
Sapodillas are a tropical fruit grown in Southeast Asia and Latin America. Their sweet flesh tastes like a bit like a mild green grape, much like lychees and rambutans. (Rating: 4 krathongs)
Another permutation of the Thai pancake are these little dessert tuiles. The white filling tastes like a coconut merengue, and the yellow floss is made from egg yolk. They are fun to eat because of the satisfying crunch made by the fortune-cookie shaped shell, though after 1-2 bites the sweetness can be a bit overwhelming. (Rating: 3 krathongs)
I'm counting this Pad See Ew as street food because it cost less than $2 and we ate it on plastic chairs. This dish is a staple of the Thai stir fry noodle repertoire, and a deft use of tamarind and chili bring sourness and heat to the jiggly noodles and stir fried morning glory. (Rating: 5 krathongs)
The famous Thai Iced Tea became a quick favorite. Andrew didn't realize that Thai Iced Tea actually exists in Thailand until we saw it everywhere. A heavily steeped black tea is mixed with tinned milk, sugar, and a hefty helping of sweetened condensed milk before being poured over ice. Ranging from "good" to "amazing," the best ones have an orangey color, slightly smoky flavor, and are sweet but not cloying. (Rating: 3.5-5 krathongs, depending on where you got it from and the tea/sweetness balance.)
Coconut sorbet served in a coconut shell and topped with peanuts was the perfect afternoon treat when we visited the Chatuchak Market in Bangkok. The vendor scrapes the meat on the bottom of the shell so that when the sorbet is gone you can munch on cold coconut meat. Yum! (Rating: 4 krathongs.)
Cheap smoothies are one of the best things about being in Thailand. After some extensive and highlight scientific sampling (I mean testing...) we have determined that the most superior flavor of all is banana passionfruit. The banana adds creamyness and body, while the fresh passionfruit (pictured) provides a tart, exotic sweetness. Plus it's really fun to crunch on the passion fruit seeds. Thai smoothies are also made differently than I used to at home- they use fresh fruit instead of frozen, water, ice and a pinch of sugar syrup. No yogurt, no juice. The final product feels lighter and more slurpable- I'm a convert. (Rating: 5 kratong)
You can think of Thai chicken wraps as the fun cousin of the taco. Points for crunchy lettuce and fried noodles, though the heavy squirt of hoisin made it a little too sweet and gloopy. (Rating: 2 krathongs.)
This is pad thai from the *allegedly* most famous stall in Bangkok. It was really good though! A poor pad thai just tastes like plain noodles, but an expert one like this had delicious balance of salty, sweet, spicy, and sour. To our surprise, he didn't put peanuts on top, but I think we forgave him because we went back two nights in a row! Rating: 5 krathongs.
Saving the best for last, here's mango sticky rice from *allegedly* the most famous vendor in Bangkok, who just so happens to be right next to Mr. Pad Thai. Really, the secret's in the mango sourcing rather than the preparation, but it's also important that the rice isn't too dense, that the coconut milk has a pinch of salt, and that the fried mung beans are crispy but not too hard. (Rating: 824,972,973,087,694,512 krathongs)