As the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA) attempts to clear the streets and regulate popular street food destinations like Yaowarat (Chinatown) and Khao San Road, Thai street food hawkers are disappearing across the capital, and only few are being offered alternative locations. For many, these push-cart cooks are not only part of Thailand’s charm, but also a necessity: feeding the stomachs of Thais and foreigners alike at a price that everyone can afford. Here are some of our absolute favorite Thai street dishes that we’ll dearly miss.
Moo Ping (หมูปิ้ง)
You can spot the little grills from a mile away, usually smoking up a storm over hot charcoals, and with a stench that’s sure to leave your hair smelling smoky for the rest of the day. These barbecued pork skewers are an incredible snack that most locals would grab for breakfast alongside a small bag of sticky rice. Marinated with garlic, peppercorn and palm sugar, these skewers are both a convenient and delicious to-go option.
Pad Krapao (ผัดกะเพรา)
Whether it’s cooked with pork, beef or seafood, Pad Krapao is the basil stir-fry of your dreams and a street food staple. With just enough chilli to give a kick to your day, and paired with a mouth-watering basil, lime and sugar sauce, this basil dish is so popular you can find it worldwide — but of course the best servings come from Thailand itself.
Pad Thai (ผัดไทย)
Everyone knows it, everyone loves it, and not having such convenient access is a real let down. Pad Thai is another Thai dish which took the world by storm and for good reason: bean sprouts, rice noodles, shallots and egg make for a simple yet delicious meal.
Khao Kha Moo (ข้าวขาหมู)
Recognized from afar while it stews in a large pot, this fatty pig leg dish is a favorite among both locals and foreigners for its sweet and heavy serving. Fatty pork leg, pickled vegetables, boiled egg, chilli and rice topped with coriander, this dish is on the heavier end of the scale but at just B40 ($9.5), it’s one we love.
Kai Pa Lo (ไข่พะโล้)
Even though this dish’s roots are very Chinese (think lo mei), this egg and pork soup is such an easy and delicious breakfast. Made in a large pot with star anise, sugar and cinnamon, Kai Pa Lo is a Chinese five-spice soup typically served over rice, which will fill your belly for a full day of work or play.
Khao Mun Gai (ข้าวมันไก่)
Hainan chicken rice is good, but in our opinion it doesn’t hold a candle to the chicken rice you find in Thailand. Made from boiled and/or fried chicken, khao mun gai is the southeast Asian variant served with soup, sauce, cucumber (to counter the oil) and rice drizzled with chicken broth. It’s hearty, filling and aroi mak (very delicious)!
Khao Niew Mamuang (ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง)
Who could forget mango sticky rice? While it’s not usually as colorful as the three-color creation above, this warm, gooey dessert is one of Thailand’s most popular sweet treats. Fresh mango, sticky rice and coconut milk make the ultimate combination of sweet, salty and savory.
See also: 7 Asian cities for street food lovers