Thailand is know the world over for the amazing street food the country has to offer. In fact, I’d probably go so far as to say that it is almost the number one reason why people go and visit. (That would be after some of the most breath-taking scenery and architecture in the world.) While in Thailand, I really took it upon myself to eat like the locals. For the first two weeks, we didn’t even step inside of a sit-down restaurant. That meant we were eating on the fly, on the street.
Street food in Thailand is an institution that unites everyone from the richest mogul to the poorest worker to the sunburnt tourist and everyone in between. And there is a good reason why. Hawkers generally specialize in just one dish, so you can be assured that ONE dish has reached a level of absolute and complete perfection. Think about it, if your entire livelihood is based off of just one dish, you better make sure it is damn good. And they are. Street food in Thailand has earned it’s stellar reputation.
The classic Pad Thai, the unbeatably simple but delicious Khao Man Gai (chicken and rice) and thousands of other Thai dishes are cooked and served street-side. There is basically something to suit everyone’s tastes. Walk down any street in Bangkok and you will be surrounded by a flurry of sighs and smells sure to make your stomach growl. Whole grilled fish with abundant fresh herbs, fried rice, green papaya salad, the list just does not stop!
So imagine eating on the street. Hygiene regulations are sketchy. Food is prepared every day as Bangkok’s many scooters whizz by. Dishes are washed in huge basins right on the sidewalk. Does this mean the food is bad? No! If you didn’t eat street food in Thailand solely because of hygienic reasons, yeah, I’d call you crazy. You’d be missing out on some of the best, freshest and cheapest foods anywhere in the world. And maybe sometimes, just sometimes, you get the company of unexpected friends while dining street-side!