Street Thai snacks can tell you a lot about the place you are passing through. It’s a fun way to enjoy unique local dishes at minimal prices and to experience authentic local lifestyle and culture.
Here are five fun street dishes you might come across during your stay in Phuket. Most of the snacks presented on this page are available at the Phuket weekend market which is without doubt the biggest gathering of Thai snack vendors in Phuket. The market takes place on Saturdays and Sundays from 17:00 till 21:00.
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Moo ping (or grilled pork on skewers) and khao niao (sticky, or glutinous rice) is a classic street food combination you will find throughout the island. Each vendor has their own secret recipe but all have similar methods. The pork is marinated using fish sauce, palm sugar, garlic and coconut milk. Then it is roasted on a charcoal grill, resulting in tender, juicy and slightly sweet meat with a lovely aroma.
You can find moo ping and khao niao all day until late at night. Many locals enjoy the combination as breakfast because it’s fast and always tasty.
- Price Range: A skewer of moo ping is 10 baht while khao niao is five baht a pack
Once you get to taste this fried crisp and sweet flatbread, you will definitely want more. The Thai roti is rolled in butter, white sugar and sweetened condensed milk and is perfect as a light snack. You can ask for different fillings such as egg, banana, strawberry jam or marmalade as well as chocolate sauce. Roti tastes best when warm.
- Price Range: Starts from 12 baht
There is a certain pleasure to be had from street-style meatballs and sausages. You can have them grilled, deep-fried or steamed, depending on the food carts you come across. They’re delicious finger food on sticks that are also very cheap.
The common options are beef meat balls, fish balls, chicken balls, chicken sausages and pork sausages. A word of advice – if you dare dip them into the nam jim or spicy dip sauce, make sure to have a bucket of cool water close by.
- Price Range: 10-20 baht per stick
Yes, it’s hard to imagine what it’s like to have ice cream on a hot dog bun! Well, it’s delicious and very refreshing. The ice cream sandwich has been around in Phuket for many decades and is one of the common treats that are popular all year round, come rain or shine. The idea is also simple. First you put the filling in the bun and following by your choice of ice cream (coconut ice cream or i-tim kati is a must). You then enjoy it as though it were a real hot dog or sandwich. No spoon needed!
The extra fillings are banana, sweet taro, sweet corn, sticky rice, raisins, peanuts, jackfruit, candied palm seeds and so on. These help prevent the bun from getting soggy too quickly.
- Price Range: Starts from 20 Baht
Thais have adapted dim sum dumplings and sala pao (or steamed buns) from Chinese cuisine, therefore the taste is not exactly like what you find on the street in Hong Kong or China. Here it clearly has a strong Thai influence and very popular as breakfast.
Thai dim sum is quite interesting to look at. It usually consists of about 5-10 different dishes depending on the sellers. Once the big steamer is opened you’ll see plastic cups, each containing a couple of bite-size dim sum such as fish tofu, shrimp dumpling and pork sausages. As for sala pao, there are two kinds; sai wan or steamed bun with sweet stuffing and sai kem – a bun with salty stuffing, the most popular being pork and salted eggs stuffing. To order, simply point at the desired item; it’s not considered rude here.
- Price Range: Dim sum is 3-7 baht per piece while sala pao is 8-10 baht per piece