Thai Street Snacks | Finger Food Guide

Exploring Thailand wouldn’t be complete without browsing through its ubiquitous street stalls and grazing on a buffet of Thai street snacks. But for some people, that’s easier said than done. Choosing from the many options on display can be a little a lotta overwhelming, especially if it’s your first visit. We’ve been there, done that, and it’s not fun when your stomach is growling in hunger but your eyes are saying, “What the heck is that?”

Try These Easy-to-Eat Thai Street Snacks

We’ve put together a list of Thai finger foods that are almost all less than a dollar (even for several pieces) and can be nibbled on while you’re walking around. In other words, you don’t need to be sitting down with a set of silverware to enjoy these tasty treats and it won’t hurt the bank.

Our list includes details such as both the English and Thai name (with proper pronunciation, tones and all), a short description of what it looks like, as well as a summary of how it tastes to help you get a better idea of what you’re in for. In no particular order, here are snacks that you can find from many street hawkers in Thailand.

Roti Gluay | Banana Crêpe

Banana Roti Thai Street Zaitceva

How to Really Pronounce It

roh-dtee glôo-ai | โรตีกล้วย

What to Look For

Look for a cart that has bananas, eggs, and cans of Carnation sweetened condensed milk on display. You’ll see the vendor slapping out a thin disk of dough and cooking something on a griddle that looks like a crêpe.

What Banana Roti Tastes Like

Roti is a sweet treat that’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. A classic combo is banana and egg filling, which tastes similar to banana custard. You can also put Nutella, peanut butter, mango, corn, and even cheese inside. When finished cooking, drizzle sweetened condensed milk, chocolate, or honey on top.

How to Eat It

The roti will be cut up into bite-sized pieces and served on a little tray or plate. Grab a thin bamboo skewer to stab each piece.

Moo Bing Kao Nieow | Grilled Pork & Sticky Rice

Pork Skewers - Moo Bing | Food Guide to Thai Street Snacks

How to Really Pronounce It

mǒo bpîng côw nee-ǒw | หมูปิ้งข้าวเหนียว

What to Look For

These carts will be paired with a small grill, so you can smell the smoky goodness of moo bping from a little way down the road. Look for short skewers of bite-sized meat that’s usually orangy red with charred edges.

What Moo Bing Tastes Like

Moo bing is usually made from a fatty cut of pork, so it’s tender and extremely flavorful (think bacon). It’s also got a sweet and salty flavor thanks to a marinated made of oyster sauce, soy sauce, and palm sugar, among other things. The grill gives it an unmistakable smokiness.

How to Eat It

Buy 3 or 4 pieces and eat it directly off the skewer in between small bites of sticky rice, which can be bought separately for around 5 baht per bag.

Ideam Khanom Bung | Thai Ice Cream Sandwich

Thai Ice Cream Sandwich - Ideam Khanom Bung | Food Guide to Thai Street

How to Really Pronounce It

i-dtim kà-nǒhm bung | ไอติมขนมปัง

What to Look For

It’s a literal ice cream sandwich! Look for a scoop or two of ice cream (coconut, mixed fruit, or Thai tea flavors) that’s been pressed into a bun or between two pieces of white bread. Some popular toppings include coconut cream, toasted peanuts, and shavings of fresh coconut.

What a Thai Ice Cream Sandwich Tastes Like

This unassuming sandwich is a frozen, squishy treat that’s perfect while walking around in the hot afternoon. Simple yet fun, it really shows an east-meets-west snack style. It’s also great that the bread helps to prevent any ice cream drips.

How to Eat It

Pick your ice cream flavor, your toppings, and then eat it like a sandwich or a hotdog.

Nam Ponlamai Bun | Fruit Smoothie

Fruit Smoothie - Nam Ponlamai Bun | Food Guide to Thai Street Snacks

How to Really Pronounce It

náhm pòhn-là-mái bùn | น้ำผลไม้ปั่น

What to Look For

Street stalls that have access to electrical outlets will power up their blenders and make all sorts of combinations of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

What It Tastes like

Tropical freshness. A good smoothie vendor will toss in ample amounts of fruit and vegetable and put just enough ice and water it to get it cold and give it the right consistency. Don’t be afraid to try some unusual combinations such as mango and avocado or pineapple, orange, and watermelon.

TIP: Don’t buy a fruit smoothie from a vendor that has syrups on display. Stick with vendors who use fresh fruit.

Khao Nieow Mamuang | Mango Sticky Rice

Mango Sticky Rice - Khao Nieow Mamuang | Food Guide to Thai Street

How to Really Pronounce It

côw nee-ǒw má-môo-ahng | ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง

What to Look For

Look for a scoop of creamy white rice topped with yellow-orange mango slices. Variations include a drizzle of coconut cream or a sprinkling of puffed rice on top.

What Mango Sticky Rice Tastes Like

Chances are you’ll get a perfectly ripe mango, so you’re in for a sweet treat. The glutinous rice is mixed with coconut milk and a bit of sugar and salt. After being cooked, it’s a dessert-like creamy coconut sticky rice.

How to Eat It

With a spoon because you’ll probably want seconds.

Miang Kham | Leaf-Wrapped Bites

Betel Leaf Wrap - Miang Kham | Food Guide to Thai Street

How to Really Pronounce It

mêe-ahng kahm | เมี่ยงคำ

What to Look For

While browsing through street stalls, look for dark green leaf bundles about the size of golf balls. Sometimes they’ll be on bamboo skewers while other times they’ll be laid out individually. The wild pepper leaves are filled with diced tidbits (raw ginger, raw garlic, sliced chilies, nutty peanuts, toasted coconut shreds, lemongrass, teensy lime wedges, raw shallots) and served with a shrimp-based sweet and sour sauce.

What Miang Kham Tastes Like

This one-bite snack packs powerful flavors. Sweet, salty, pungent, sour, and spicy, it’s an excellent representation of Thai flavor combos. A little goes a long way but it’s a fun, very unique, and easy-to-eat Thai snack.

How to Eat It

Skewers usually come with three of four bundles on the. Buy one or two skewers and dip the bundles directly in the sauce. Don’t unwrap them. Eat everything, leaves and all.

Pa Tong Go | Thai-Chinese Fried Pastry

Thai-Chinese Fried Pastry - Pa Tong Go | Food Guide to Thai Street

How to Really Pronounce it

bpa-tâwng-gǒh | ปาท่องโก๋

What to Look For

A wide, shallow vat frying up pairs of dough sticks shaped like chromosomes (or sometimes dough disks) that are about 2-3 inches long. When finished frying, they’re a golden brown color.

What Thai-Chinese Fried Pastry Tastes Like

The fried dough is a mix between a donut and bread. They are crispy on the outside and slightly chewy on their honeycombed inside. By themselves, they are rather plain, so it’s not uncommon to eat them with custard or soy milk.

How to Eat Them

Buy 5 to 10 pieces and dip them in white custard (sungkàyăh, สังขยา) or green pandan-flavored custard (sungkàyăh bai dtuey, สังขยาใบเตย) that’s made of coconut milk and egg. Or between bites enjoy sips of hot soy milk (náhm dtôw hôo, นำ้เต้าหู้) that’s lightly sweetened and flavored with ginger.

Satay | Satay

Satay | Food Guide to Thai Street

How to Really Pronounce It

sùh-dtày | สะเต๊ะ

What to Look For

Look for vendors grilling skewers of yellowish chicken (gài, ไก่) or pork (mǒo, หมู). This snack is served with two dipping sauces.

What Satay Tastes Like

The meat is lightly flavored with a plethora of Thai spices and gets its characteristic yellow color from turmeric. What really gives the uumph to this Thai street snack is the sauces. One is a chunky peanut sauce flavored with garlic, soy sauce, and tamarind paste. The other is a clear sweet and sour dipping sauce with tiny bits of green cucumbers, red chilies, and purple shallots.

Khanom Krok | Thai Coconut Pancakes

Thai Coconut Pancakes - Khanom Khrok | Food Guide to Thai Street

How to Really Pronounce It

kà-nǒhm kròhk | ขนมครก

What to Look For

The name ‘pancakes’ is a little misleading. We like to think of them more like warm, spongy pillows of heavenly deliciousness. They are cooked in a special cast iron skillet that makes half spheres. When the outsides are crispy (but the insides are a bit gooey still), the vendor will take them out and place two halves together creating a sphere. Typically 4-5 pieces per package are served.

What Khanom Krok Tastes Like

It’s a dessert made from coconut milk and rice flour, so it’s sweet and creamy but has a little more structure to it than coconut pudding. They can be served plain or the halves are sprinkled with minced spring onions, shredded carrot, or diced sweet potato or pumpkin while it’s cooking.

How to Eat It

You can expect to get 3 to 5 pieces when you order a set of khanom krok. Use your fingers or grab a small bamboo skewer to spear it. Get ones that are fresh off the skillet, but just be sure to wait until they cool off so you don’t burn your mouth.

Salapao | Chinese Steamed Bun

Thai-Chinese Steamed Bun - Salapao | Food Guide to Thai Street Wratten

How to Really Pronounce It

sah-lah-bpow | ซาลาเปา

What to Look For

A white, puffy bun that is usually in a glass display case or in a tall metal steamer. The different flavors are distinguishable by the colored dots (or lack thereof) on the tops or bottoms of the buns.

What Chinese Steamed Buns Taste Like

Salapaos can be either sweet or savory and should be served hot. Sweet fillings include mashed sweet bean filling or custard while savory fillings are often minced meat with herbs or saucy grilled meat. The bun is divine. Fluffy yet slightly chewy, it offers a little sweetness that complements the fillings.

How to Eat It

Buy one or two and eat it like a donut. Just make sure to peel off the thin piece of paper on the bottom or eat around it.

Khao Lahm | Bamboo Sticky Rice

Thai Bamboo Sticky Rice - Khao Lahm | Food Guide to Thai Street

How to Really Produce It

côw lăhm | ข้าวหลาม

What to Look For

Tubes of tan or green bamboo roughly 1 inch in diameter and about 10 inches long. They may or may not be cooking on a grill.

What Bamboo Sticky Rice Tastes Like

Only eat what’s inside the bamboo. You’ll find sticky rice that is slightly sweet and creamy thanks to coconut milk and it’s dotted with tender black beans.

How to Eat It

This is a fun snack to eat. Pull out the banana leaf ‘plug’ from the top of the bamboo tube and then peel back the grilled bamboo like a banana, revealing the molded rice inside. Rip of bite-sized pieces as you work your way down to the bottom of the bamboo tube.

Related Read: Cheap Eats at Chiang Mai Gate Food

Sungkaya Fuktong | Thai Pumpkin Custard

Pumpkin Custard - Sungkaya Fuktong | Food Guide to Thai Street

How to Really Pronounce It

sùngkàyăh fúhk-tawng | สังขยาฟักทอง

What to Look For

This dessert is usually made with small Thai pumpkins that are about the size of a flattened soccer ball football and are dark green on the outside and a yellow-orange in the inside. It is cut into a wedge and the hollowed part is filled with a cream-colored egg custard.

What Thai Pumpkin Custard Tastes Like

Thai pumpkin is milder in flavor than your bright orange Northern American pumpkin but still tastes distinctly pumpkin. The gourd is steamed so the flesh is very soft. This dessert is complemented well by the rich and creamy coconut custard.

How to Eat It

Eat the pumpkin flesh and custard and discard the pumpkin skin.

Sai Grok Isaan | Isaan Sour Sausage

Isaan Sour Sausage - Sai Grok Isaan | Food Guide to Thai Street Snacks

How to Really Pronounce It

sîgh gràwk ee-săhn | ไส้กรอกอีสาน

What to Look For

Sour sausage is pinkish in color and can be found on skewers or in long chains of 1 centimeter balls. The vendor always has a grill going to cook up these tasty morsels.

What Isaan Sour Sausage Tastes Like

It’s tangy, smoky, and garlicky and has a buttery, slightly chewy texture. A little bit goes a long way, so many times the vendors mix rice or clear noodles into the casing to serve it.

How to Eat It

One skewer is usually enough. Otherwise, buy 5 to 10 mini balls and grab a small bamboo skewer. In between bites of sai grok Isaan, nibble on the accompanying slices of ginger, chopped raw cabbage, and (if you dare) prik kee noo chilis.

Mamuang Klook Prik Glua | Green Mango with Salt, Chili, & Sugar

Green Mango Salt, Chili, Sugar - Mamuang Klook Prik Glua | Food Guide to Thai Street

How to Really Pronounce It

má-môo-ahng klóok prík gleua | มะม่วงคลุกพริกเกลือ

What to Look For

Vendors with slices of green mango with small plastic bags or containers of a white and red dipping powder. Some might already sprinkle the seasoning on the fruit.

What Green Mango with Salt, Chili, & Sugar Tastes Like

Green mangos are tart, crunchy, not sweet and kind of suck the spit out of your mouth. The sliced fruit is served with a seasoning made of sugar, salt, and dried chilies, so it has that classic Thai flavor profile: sour, sweet, salty, and spicy. Our favorite is when it’s made with smoky dried chilies.

How to Eat It

Grab a slice of fruit and dip it in the seasoning as little or as much as you’d like.

TIP: If you have the taste for something more adventurous and don’t mind fish sauce and shrimp paste, try mamuang nampla wan (má-môo-ahng náhm blah wăhn, มะม่วงน้ำปลาหวาน). It’s green mango served with a sweet and fishy dipping sauce made of chilies, sugar, fish sauce, and shrimp paste. It’s one of those snacks that pack a lot of flavor in each bite and very popular with local Thai people, but it’s definitely for the brave visitor!

Khanom Buang | Crispy Thai Crêpes

Royal Crispy Cream Crepes - Khanom Buang | Food Guide to Thai Street

How to Really Pronounce It

kà-nǒhm bêu-ahng | ขนมเบื้อง

What to Look For

Vendors smearing sweet batter on griddle to make a small crêpe 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Before it turns a golden brown, they’ll add a white soft-peaked meringue filling, toppings, and then fold it in half similar to (dare we say) a taco.

What a Crispy Thai Crêpe Tastes Like

This can be either a sweet or savory Thai street snack that is super crispy and simultaneously creamy. The dessert version is perfect for sweet tooths (they’re a bit too sweet for us) and has toppings like shredded coconut and sweet golden egg yolk threads. Savory toppings include spring onions, pork threads, shrimp, and egg.

Khao Tom Mud | Banana Leaf Sticky Rice

Banana Leaf Sticky Rice - Khao Tom Mud | Food Guide to Thai Street

How to Really Pronounce It

côw dtôhm mút | ข้าวต้มมัด

What to Look For

Cylindrical packets of grilled or steamed banana leaves that are a few inches long. After they’re cooked, the glossy, Crayola green banana leaves turn to a muted brown-green.

What Banana Leaf Sticky Rice Tastes Like

Sweet, sticky, creamy with flavors of roasted banana and coconut.

How to Eat It

Peel back the banana leaves and take bites of the sweet insides.

TIP: There are many Thai street snacks wrapped and grilled in banana leaves. Some are tourist-friendly while others are off-putting to untrained tastebuds (such as ones filled with fermented meat!!) One way to avoid getting a pungent surprise is to ask the vendor, “wăhn măi” which means, “Is it sweet?” If the vendor replies, “wăhn,” then it’s sweet. If the vendor says, “mâi wăhn,” that means “not sweet”, so it’s definitely not banana and sticky rice inside!

Gluay Khaek | Thai Fried Bananas

Fried Bananas - Gluay Khaek | Food Guide to Thai Street Waradee

How to Really Pronounce It

glôo-ai kàek | กล้วยแขก

What to Look For

Vendors make this popular snack by slicing bananas long-ways, battering them, and then deep-frying them to a dark golden brown.

What Thai Fried Bananas Taste Like

Thai fried bananas don’t taste like any ol’ fried bananas. The batter is usually made of coconut flour and rice flour. Sometimes wheat flour is used and sesame seeds are added, too. They are naturally sweet, super crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside. There aren’t any toppings or drizzled syrup on the fried bananas, so eat them right out of the bag or from your plate.

Ba Be Kiew | Thai BBQ Skewers

BBQ Skewers - Ba Be Kiew | Food Guide to Thai Street

How to Really Pronounce It

bah bee kee-ew | บาร์บีคิว

What to Look For

Look for colorful kabobs that include bite-sized pieces of marinated pork, chicken, or beef paired with a tiny tomato, and slices of onion, green bell pepper, and pineapple.

What Thai BBQ Tastes Like

These barbecue skewers are lightly marinated and then glazed with tangy tomato sauce (dare we say ketchup?) and generous amounts of ground pepper while they’re on the grill. We personally enjoy several of these BBQ skewers with a grilled skewer of sticky rice (khâo jèe, ข้าวจี่).

Related Read: How to Eat Thai Food 101

Gyoza | Potstickers

Pot Stickers - Gyoza | Food Guide to Thai Street

How to Really Pronounce It

gee-ew-sâh | เกี๊ยวซ่า

What to Look For

Little moon-shaped dumplings wrapped in semi see-through wrappers that are half-fried, half-steamed. They’re filled with different combinations of shredded vegetables, minced meat, and herbs. They have a thin, dark brown sauce served with them or drizzled on top

What Potstickers Taste Like

Easily eaten in two or three bites, they are a light snack with flavors of garlic, soy sauce, and ginger. Because they have all sorts of fillings, they are vegetarian-friendly and These have all sorts of fillings.

Khao Nieow Sungkaya | Custard Sticky Rice

 Banana Leaf Custard Sticky Rice - Khao Nieow Sungkaya | Food Guide to Thai Street

How to Really Pronounce It

côw nee-ǒw sùngkàyăh | ข้าวเหนียวสังขยา

What to Look For

Look for leaf-wrapped snacks in the shape of a pyramid.

What Khao Nieow Sungkaya Tastes Like

These are one of our favorite Thai street snacks. They are a sweet combination of creamy coconut egg custard and coconut sticky rice. The coconut milk flavor is not overpowering, but it does give it an exotic taste.

How to Eat It

Unwrap the leaves and eat what’s inside. Be sure to have a wet wipe or place to wash your hands nearby since eating these can get rather messy.

Sai Oua | Northern Thai Sausage

Northern Thai Sausage - Sai Oua | Food Guide to Thai Street Snacks

How to Really Pronounce It

sîgh oò-ah | ไส้อั่ว

What to Look For

This pork sausage is generally easy to spot thanks to it’s long, circular coils rolled up on display. It is red-brown on the outside and when cut into bite-sized pieces you’ll see a lighter inside bits of red, green, and yellow.

What Sai Oua Tastes Like

It’s smoky, pungent, and is heavily flavored by several spices that you might not be familiar with: lemongrass (which doesn’t taste like lemon), kaffir lime leaf (which doesn’t taste like lime), and galangal (which looks like ginger but doesn’t taste like it). Basically, you’re just going to have to try it!

Tod Mun Pla | Fish Cakes

Fried Fish Cakes - Tod Mun Pla | Food Guide to Thai Street Somwat

How to Really Pronounce It

tâwt mun bplah | ทอดมันปลา

What Fish Cakes Look Like

Little deep-fried golden brown patties with flecks of dark green in them. They are served with a clearish red dipping sauce.

What They Taste Like

This is a very flavorful but not spicy snack. Red curry paste and kaffir lime leaves add flavor to the mild white fish. The yardlong beans (similar to green beans) are thrown into the mix and provide the green speckles. Sweet chili sauce, which is also not spicy, is served with the savory fish cakes.

Guay Tiew Lui Suan | Thai Summer Rolls

Fresh Summer Rolls - Guay Tiew Lui Suan | Food Guide to Thai Street Food

How to Really Pronounce It

gǒo-ai dtee-ǒw loo-ee soǒo-ahn | ก๋วยเตี๋ยวลุยสวน

What Thai Summer Rolls Look Like

They look very similar to a fresh Vietnamese roll. Rather than deep fried, the herbs, vegetables, and meat (minced or sausage) are wrapped by a semi see-through white wrapper and are served with a spicy green dipping sauce.

What They Taste Like

Thai basil, cilantro, and a little mint add a light and fresh but satisfying flavor to the rolls. However, the green sauce on the side gives a pop of flavor thanks to the lime juice, garlic, chilies, and fish sauce. It’s a great twist on Vietnamese summer rolls.

Khanom Krok Khai Nok Krata | Fried Quail Eggs

Fried Quail Eggs - Khanom Khrok Kai Nok | Food Guide to Thai Street

How to Really Pronounce It

kà-nǒhm kròhk kài nóhk grà-tah | ขนมครกไข่นกกระทา

What Quail Eggs Looks Like

Like miniature fried chicken eggs! Vendors cook them in the same cast iron skillet used for khanom krok, so they end up cooked in a spherical shape. Before they’re cooked, the egg is a white with black or brown patches.

What They Taste Like

They taste just like a chicken egg. The bottom has a nice little crust on it and the egg yolk can be a little gooey or cooked all the way through.

Pla Muek Yang Nam Chim | Grilled Squid with Green Chili Sauce

Grilled Squid with Green Chili Sauce - Pla Muek Yang Nam Chim | Food Guide to Thai Street Snacks

How to Really Pronounce It

Blah mùek yâhng náhm jêem | ปลาหมึกย่างน้ำจิ้ม

What to Look For

It’s pretty easy. Look for the stall cooking whole squids on an open grill. They’re usually white or purple and have slash marks on them. Once they’re cooked, the vendor will slice it up into bite-sized pieces and serve them with a side of fiery green chili dipping sauce.

What Blah Muek Yang Tastes Like

Really good grilled calamari. The dipping sauce is sour, garlicky, and spicy!

How to Eat It

Grab a small bamboo skewer or use your fingers to dip the pieces in the dipping sauce.

Although we could double or even triple this list, what you find above will keep you satisfied for several outings of feasting among street stalls. Plus, it’s applicable to many major cities in Thailand.

If it’s your first time eating street food, we also address some common questions and safe eat tips in our post, Is It Safe to Eat Thai Street Food? Although Thailand’s food handling and preparation practices may be different from what you’re used to, don’t be so afraid that you miss out on some of the best parts of Thailand – it’s unique street food culture!

If you’re planning a trip to Chiang Mai, you might also like…

The Chiang Mai
Local Food Guide

This guidebook contains twenty must-try Thai meals and where to find them. It also includes a map and the restaurants’ names and locations in Thai script to show your tuk-tuk or songthaew driver, so they’re easy to find.

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