Street food in Thailand, price and description

Prices for food in Thailand – Thai cafes, street food at macashnikas

Everybody knows the word combination “Thai cuisine”, but only those who have visited this country at least once had a chance to taste and know what they eat in Thailand. And those who live there or spend the winter are even luckier – for them this exotic food becomes commonplace. I know that some people get bored with Thai cuisine during the winter, but I haven’t, so I can give only positive feedback. Now in Moscow I sometimes try to cook something Thai or just go to a Thai cafe.

But I have never eaten in Russia, indeed, normal Thai food, that Tom Yam and Pad Thai are very different from what I am used to in Thailand. But it may well be that you will like Russian Thai food better, as more adapted, after all, any Asiatic food is specific.

About Thai food

Cult of Food

It is safe to say that Thailand has a cult of food. Thais don’t even hesitate to eat everywhere (some soup or pot roast is often eaten straight from a plastic bag while sitting on the bus stop or just on the sidewalk), it is even impossible to walk without bumping into food on sale – it is everywhere. You can thank for this primarily the so called makashnikov (a vendor of any kind who carries his “kitchen” on wheels, whether it’s a bike or just a bicycle). About them I will tell separately below.

Eaten everywhere Eating out of bags at the train station.

Is it dangerous to eat in Thai cafes?

Thais tend to eat only freshly cooked food and do not leave the cooked food for the next day. So even in the street cafes, which seem to be scary at first sight, the food will be fresh and delicious. In general, food is often prepared right in front of you – whether it’s fried pancakes, pad Thai or even soups. This is especially evident in the food courts of hypermarkets, where noodles are fried in sauce, ingredients of tom yam are thrown into broth and tom-tam salad dressing is pounded in a mortar right in front of you. Thais also put lots of hot peppers, curries, and other spices in their food that kill excess germs.

At first buying food from these dubious mushrooms was a bit scary, but after trying it once, we realized that often the food in the makashnitsa or simple cafes (including fukdortah) is even tastier than in a polished European cafe. And not once during all the time we spent in Thailand, we personally have not poisoned and had no problems with digestion, although we tried to eat in different seemingly not presentable places.

So for the safety of food in Thailand do not worry. Do not immediately rush to try everything, but afraid of Thai food, bypassing it, do not. You should just forget about the unsanitary conditions.

Eateries at the Flower Festival in Thailand

What to try from the food, the main dishes

Thai food may seem to have little variety, but it is far from it. Sometimes you even wonder at the boldness of their culinary art in the mixing of seemingly incongruous products and flavors. The basis for all dishes is rice and its derivatives. Rice itself comes in several varieties (brown, crumbly white, and sticky), and rice pasta amazes with its variety of forms. To Thais, rice is like bread for us, it can be served with anything. And there is a great variety of anything! I can’t say that I tried all of Thai cuisine, but a couple dozen dishes for sure. Pad Thai and Khao Pad are still my favorites.

  • Pad Thai Kung is rice pasta with vegetables, sprouts, shrimp and sauce. Occasionally it might say Fried noodle on the menu, but it probably won’t be Pad Thai.
  • Kao Phad (fried rice) is fried rice with vegetables, chicken, or shrimp.
  • Tom Yam is a sour and terribly spicy soup, usually with shrimp and mushrooms (Tom Yam Kung), but can also be with chicken (Tom Yam Gai).
  • Tom Kha is also a soup, but less sour and less spicy than Tom Yam, with more coconut milk added. Also served, either with shrimp or chicken.
  • Som Tam (Papaya salad) is a spicy green (unripe) papaya salad with flecks of small shrimp. If not warned, it will be very spicy. In its different varieties there is an egg, rotten crab, etc.
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Keep in mind, if you don’t say “no spicy” when you order it, get ready to be a fire-breathing dragon. But don’t worry, if you live in Thailand long enough, you gradually get used to the spiciness of the dishes, and then it’s not even enough. By the way, sometimes walking past the cooking his eyes even begins to get watery from the pepper, and only wonder how they are there quietly standing over the stove.

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The price of food in Thailand

Let’s talk about how much food costs in Thailand. The prices of food in cafes are mostly low. Even in the capital you can eat inexpensive almost everywhere, you can choose from numerous food courts in shopping malls, and even inexpensive restaurants at hotels in Bangkok.

Prices for food in Thailand in cheap cafes start from 30-60 baht for a simple dish such as fried rice with shrimp, and increases depending on the civility of the cafe and its proximity to the sea. Exactly the same rice with shrimp in the cafe on the shore or cafe with the interior will cost about 120-200 baht. Civically and inexpensively you can eat in food courts in supermarkets, prices 50-100 baht per dish. As you can see, the prices are not too high, and everyone can choose how much they can afford. This is why Thais and foreigners residing in Thailand do not cook at home as there is not much sense in it.

Here are some more examples of food prices in the food courts: cat-tam from 35 Baht, pad Thai and fried rice from 40 Baht, a large plate of noodles with various fillings from 60 Baht, tom yam from 60 Baht.

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The prices are about the same in simple Thai cafes not on the beach. European dishes will by definition be more expensive, from 150-200 baht. For example, spaghetti bolognese or cream soup, depending on the place, will cost 200-250 baht or more. Cocktails – from 40 baht and above, up to 180 baht in tourist bars by the sea. The same tom-yam in a tourist spot will cost in a cafe for tourists and 80 and 120 and 200 baht, depending on the interior and promotion of the place. Russian cuisine in cafes in the resorts is usually worth between 100 and 200 baht. Coffee costs from 40 to 120 baht per cup (if natural), cocktails – from 20 baht and above.

Thai menu at a simple coffee shop Cafe shop window in a mall Fried Rice Tom Yam with mushrooms - 80 baht Rice with vegetables in oyster sauce - 50 baht Shrimp Monsters - platter for 300 baht Fruit shakes in Phuket - 30 baht

Types of Thai cafes


As already mentioned, you can find snack bars in Thailand practically on every corner. It is a cart on wheels, where you can buy soups, som-tam salad (made of green papaya), rice, noodles, pancakes, pureed vegetables or drinks.

In addition, all kinds of kebabs and barbecues are very popular with Thais. Anything that can be strung on a stick is smoked in the form of kebabs, the rest is just on the grill. Often barbecues stand right along the street, filling everything with very pleasant kebab smells.

Makashnitsa selling drinks Traditional roti - pancakes with stuffing Afternoon tea at Pai Cooking potato chips

Street Cafes for Thais

I noticed an interesting feature: Thais themselves do not pay much attention to the place where they eat. So, there are ordinary plastic chairs, so there is a half-worn cloth on the table, so the walls are shabby, it’s not a big deal! Farangs (that is, you and I) prefer to go to better maintained places, where it is somehow more pleasant to sit.

At first, ordering food was difficult for me, because so much of it had meat in it, and I am partially a vegetarian. And if there was no menu in English, then it was a disaster. A little later, I got out of the situation by ordering something with seafood. Usually it was either meat or seafood. And then I adapted to explain in English, or on my fingers that I just want rice with vegetables. And God forbid you say “without meat”, only “no meat”. Because the first week we just blew the brains of the locals with our without and other vocabulary. In the same way we should say “no spicy”.

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Although, if you go to a popular resort, like Phuket, Pattaya and Samui, then there will be no problem at all, the menu will be present not only in English, but sometimes in Russian. Especially when it comes to more civilized cafes, but about them below.

Thai food court at market A simple Thai café in Chiang Mai Back alley cafe in Bangkok The whole family for lunch on the banks of the Mekong Free ice water only at cheap cafes Traditional spice rack on the table A beachside cafe in Phuket by day

Cafes for tourists and foreigners

In popular tourist places there are no problems to find cafes of almost any cuisine. First of all it is European cuisine, all kinds of pizzerias, kebabs, hamburgers, sushi. Of course, there are also Russian cafes, as without them. Often cafes for Europeans also offer local cuisine, but it is more adapted for foreigners there, almost not spicy.

Of course, the interiors in such cafes are much more interesting, everything is clean and beautiful. Often these are closed rooms with air conditioning. But also the prices are higher than in simple street Thai cafes.

Chiang Mai's Civic Cafe Phuket cafe - do-it-yourself cooking My typical Thai food

Video of street food

And for starters, a video of how they cook Rotti, and how I tasted grasshoppers with maggots :)

P.S. In the next articles I will talk about Thai supermarkets and Thai markets.

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Street food in Thailand

The street vendors sell ready-to-eat or made-in front of tourists with local products and spices is considered to be a landmark and a trademark of Thailand. The vendors on wheels offer cold snacks and hot dishes, fruit and drinks related to the traditional national cuisine. The menu of some street cooks can rival the restaurant assortment, but more often the variety is limited to just a few, if not one or two of the most popular dishes. Portions are stacked in plastic pouches or light food containers or, if there are tables, on plates. On the streets you can also see pedestrians with baskets on a “loom”.

Modern Thais pay little attention to the interior and presentation of the places where they stop to eat. The main thing for them is the taste of the food on offer, and it is often better on the street than in restaurants.

Eating in Thailand in macashtikas

Mobile, less often stationary, carts for cooking and serving food can be compared to street canteens or cafes, mostly on wheels, but not always with tables and seats. There are several variations of makashnitsa in Thailand:

  • A hand-pushed cart;
  • a trailer for a bicycle or moped;
  • a converted bike;
  • A bench on wheels set up permanently.

Thai street food

Carts are set up in busy streets, squares, markets, and parking lots. Pre-prepared snacks are purchased by Thais themselves for home or working lunch break, and cooking shows are often staged for tourists with cooking in front of those wishing to refresh themselves. At the same time, appetizing aromas and smokiness spread throughout the neighborhood. Many vendors specialize in exotic Thai fruits, dashingly peel them, cut into slices and create whole compositions from them. There are those who sell only tea and sweets, or skillfully fry ice cream, or make fresh cocktails.

The sound of a bell or whistle lets you know when a Thai street food cart is approaching. There are no standards for the design of carts, so their appearance depends solely on the imagination of the owner. They are equipped with counters and display cases, braziers and other devices for cooking. Traders regulate working hours on their own or agree on a mutual agreement with business neighbors so that no one is left offended and tourists are not left without food.

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Thai street food

The word “makashnitsa” itself has an uncertain origin, but it is clearly not without our compatriots, as the Thais call their mobile mini kitchen stalls “mouth khen” (nothing other than “push”). In fact, there are several variants and many of them boil down to the concept of “dipping” – whether the ingredients in boiling water, or cooked food in a sauce, or something else somewhere. Although there is an opinion that the word is derived from Thai “poppy poppy” (a lot, a lot) or “poppy mac aroi” (very tasty).

Famous Thai dishes

Many street cooks prepare food according to close to home recipes, happily demonstrating their expertise. Mobile and stationary carts sell almost all traditional Thai dishes, so the choice is vast and the eyes are diverted. It is better to start tasting the local cuisine with the most famous dishes that have long been tried and appreciated by tourists around the world. But desperate culinary extremists can immediately proceed to try insects, pork knuckles, fried lard or a mixture of strange-looking ingredients.

One of the most popular foods in Thailand is noodles. It is served as a separate dish or with meat, seafood, vegetables and sauce, added to soups, salads and even fried. In addition, the range of Thai street food always includes rice, sweets, fruit and drinks.

Appetizers and Salads

The catfish there is made from sliced green papaya fruit with the addition of peanuts, tomatoes, lime, shrimp and chili peppers. You have to be prepared for the salad to be spicy. It can also act as a laxative.

Catfish Salad there

Tha bon tein is eggs on a stick baked on a grill. This snack in egg shells stuffed with the contents of eggs mixed with spices can often be found on Thai streets. The filling resembles a kind of omelet, flavored with “smoke”.

Po pia thot – fried rolls of vegetables with the addition of chicken or pork. There is a variant of cooking only vegetables for those who prefer vegetarian food – po pia pak.

Roti – rolled pancakes filled with banana and sweet sauce. Alternatively, there can be cheese, something from meat products or chocolate, condensed milk inside.

Yam denotes spicy, acidic salads. Almost all of them have lime juice, chili peppers and various herbs. Additional words indicate the main ingredients: fresh vegetables (yay), seafood (thale), calamari (pla mik), banana flowers (hua pli), fried egg (hua dao). But the European salad with fresh vegetables dressed with mayonnaise is simply called yam salad.If the first word instead of “yam” is “lap”, it means that the salad will be hot.

Thai street food

Khanom (khanom) includes a range of sweet snacks that include cakes, pastries, jellies, creams, and various desserts. They are arranged on trays that are set up behind glass display cases.

Tempura – this word clarifies that vegetables, meat, fruit or seafood will be cooked in a batter.

Meat and fish dishes

Satay (satay) shish kebab is made of various meat or fish products and flavored with spicy sauce. The latter can be waived by saying “mai phet (ped)” (not spicy) when ordering, although tourists are also perfectly understandable in English – “no spicy”. You can put pieces of meat or fish, balls of minced meat or pasta on the sticks. Pork shish kebab is often called muu ping.

Pad kra pau muu kai dao, according to Thais, is quite difficult to spoil, even for a young cook. The dish includes roasted ground pork mixed with two kinds of chillies, asparagus, and basil leaves. Rice should be expected as a garnish, and a glazed single egg as an accompaniment. If chopped pork is used instead of minced meat, “muu kai” will change to “muu chin” in the name.

Gan keo uan is similar to soup, but there is just a lot of sauce in this meat dish. Eggplant and peas are included, and basil, cane sugar, and green pepper curry paste are added to give the sauce its characteristic color.

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Onion chin ping , or grilled meatballs. They are made of minced fish or meat and eaten with a spicy sauce.

Thai street food

Thot man pla is fish fritters and thot man kung is shrimp fritters.

Khau man kai is a piece of boiled chicken (traditionally rooster) with a side dish of rice (possibly curry) and vegetables. Separately, a broth is served (often from a pork shank) and a spicy but sweet sauce. In the khau mok kai variant, the chicken is fried in dough (batter).

Khau pad kai is fried rice with chicken, served with an egg and vegetables.

Khau kau muu includes a portion of rice with pork flesh that has been boiled and sliced beforehand. In addition, large leaves of herbs are put in the plate.

Khau muu daeng is served with slices of baked pork tenderloin with a crispy crust, appetizingly laid on a layer of rice and generously drizzled with oyster-soy sauce. There will also be a hard-boiled egg and cucumber and green onion. Broth is offered as a supplement.

Khau nyeu is a special kind of sticky rice, khau suai is steamed jasmine rice.

Chok (jok) is common in the range of street food in Thailand. Slightly cooked rice resembling liquid porridge is served with fish sauce, meat (your choice), and eggs, and garnished with herbs. When cooked, garlic and ginger are added. Choke is able to give you an energy boost for a whole day.


Not only has the traditional Chinese product caught on in Thailand, but it has also become one of the most popular items on restaurant and street food menus. Vendors offer a choice of noodles with additional meat, fish and vegetable ingredients. Not surprisingly, the broth used to make them is mostly chicken feet.

Thai street food

Pad Thai, or Thai fried noodles, is the most popular among tourists. They are sold all over the place, cooked in front of customers, seasoned with garlic, crushed nuts, cane sugar, dried shrimp, tofu and eggs, and served with pieces of chicken or whole shrimp and sprouted beans, herbs and lime slices. The Pad Thai dumplings are not to be missed.

Pad si yu (kai – with chicken, muu – with pork) is made of rice noodles fried in soy sauce, with the addition of eggs and boiled pieces of broccoli. The dish is not spicy, as the recipe does not originally call for the use of chili peppers.

Some varieties of noodles found in street food in Thailand are kuai thieo (rice noodles for making soup), bami (yellow wheat noodles), wunsen (transparent noodles made from bean flour).

A common name for hot sour spicy soups in Thailand is tom yam . They can include seafood, shrimp, meat products (clarification will be in the third word).

Tom yam kung is cooked in meat broth (chicken or pork) with the addition of shrimp and mushrooms (oyster mushrooms or mushrooms that look like pale grebes), as well as roots (you do not need to eat them), herbs, lime leaves and coconut cream. This is a traditional Thai dish. Varieties are tom yam kai (with chicken), tom yam thale (with seafood), tom yam pla (with fish), etc.

Thai Tom Yam Soup

Tom kha (khon) kung, in fact, provides the same set of products, but the dish is prepared with coconut milk. In tom kha kai, the shrimp is replaced by chicken. This soup should not be spicy.

Suk ki nam kai is suitable even for children’s stomachs, but before you feed the little ones, you will need to taste it just in case. The soup is made in a deep skillet fairly quickly. Clear noodles, sliced cabbage, and a pre-scrambled egg are added to the chicken breast broth.

Thai Curry

Curry is quite common in Thai street food. It is something in between a soup and a liquid hot dish. It includes meat, fish, seafood, or vegetables, as well as chili peppers, herbs, ginger, and coconut milk. Sometimes shrimp paste, cinnamon, cardamom, peanuts, etc. are added. A distinctive feature is the color of the curry dish, resulting from the additional components. The red curry (keng phet) has red chilies, the yellow curry (keng luang) has turmeric, and the green curry (keng khieu vann) has green chili peppers.

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The above list of street foods covers only a small portion of the variety that Thais offer tourists to try. Most of the counters have price tags in English, but to get your bearings in the street food, it’s worth remembering the names of the main foods in Thai:

  • rice – khau (kau);
  • noodles – pad;
  • chicken – kai;
  • pork – muu;
  • beef – nua;
  • fish – pla;
  • shrimp – kung.

Safety of street food in Thailand

To get the most out of Thai street food and avoid stomach upsets, you need to know what to look out for in the first place. It is recommended to choose macashtnitsa with a crowd of customers, because the food there is clearly not piled up, and therefore – they will be fresher. You should also take into account the preferences of the locals. If they throng at a particular stall, then there is confidence in its owner.

Strangely enough, to get an upset stomach in Thailand, you can rather get in a restaurant than on the street, because the vendors of macashnikas, given the huge competition, value their reputation and do not risk to lose it because of a passing benefit or an oversight. They stand in certain places or take the same route, buying as much food as they can sell every day. In their range is always fresh and delicious food, otherwise they can not survive. But in the restaurants it may well be “stale”.

The Ministry of Health of Thailand is trying different ways to maintain the safety of street food. For example, macashnikas that meet the accepted criteria of sanitation are issued special certificates, which require confirmation every two or three months. Vendors cherish these distinctions and proudly display copies of documents, newspaper clippings and plaques with awards from true foodies in the most prominent places. Such “marked” places are sure to be tasty and safe.

If the food doesn’t look freshly cooked, it will be better to walk to a nearby macaroon. Don’t eat raw seafood or overly spicy dishes. Chili peppers do have the ability to kill germs, but in the untrained person, large amounts can cause stomach upset and colic. You can find suitable products on the street or ask for “no spice”.

Many Thais wipe their plates with napkins before food is placed in them. It is a good idea to follow their example. Also, carry water so you can wash your hands anywhere, or antiseptic.

Nevertheless, anything happens, so in the case of poisoning, especially accompanied by a fever, you need to contact the doctors (but what if it is a serious infection?). To avoid significant financial costs in this case, when you go abroad, it is recommended to make sure you have medical insurance.

As for the bright taste sensations, it should be borne in mind that the Thais make extensive use of the flavor-enhancing additive monosodium glutamate in the preparation of dishes. It only gives dishes a deeper flavor and is completely safe for health. Anyway, so say experts.

Prices for street food in Thailand

The cost of street food is quite affordable and depends on the location of the makashnitsa, the composition of the dish and the portion size. A catfish salad or a bowl of soup will cost about 35 Baht, a bowl of rice or noodles with some extra ingredients and a full meal – from 40 Baht. Meat kebabs or fruit will cost no more than 10-20 baht, for pancakes with stuffing you will need to pay about 15-25 baht, and for a popular and hearty noodle pad Thai – from 50 baht.

As elsewhere in the world, the trend of higher prices in Thailand is closer to areas with a concentration of people. However, all Thai street vendors try to follow the principle of “inexpensive and tasty” and thus win the attention and love of tourists. In any case, the food from the street is cheaper than cooked at home, so it is popular even among Thais.

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