Thai street food is world famous, but probably every third store that you stumble across will have some form of food on a stick for sale.
So why is food on a stick so popular in the Land of Smiles? To be honest, we are not really sure why, but it is probably because it is easy to carry and eat on the go. They are also cheap and very quick to cook, although sizes and prices will differ between stalls. The food will often be pre-cooked and then warmed as it is ordered.
The food itself varies from Isaan sausages (sour pork sausages), to hot dogs, to fish balls, to chicken hearts, to tofu, to squid. Options aren’t however limited to meat/fish. Barbecued eggs on a stick are a very common sight. Not often seen but equally as delicious is grilled mushroom wrapped with bacon.
We are partial to eating food on a stick any time of the day, but in particular we find they make for a great breakfast on the run, or a tasty late night snack!
One of our personal favourites is satay – mouth watering chunks of chicken or pork skewered and marinated with condensed milk, lemongrass, soy sauce and curry paste overnight before being barbecued and then served with a dish of peanut sauce and pickled cucumber salad. The peanut sauce is very quick and easy to make – coconut milk is heated and mixed with masaman curry paste, fish sauce, sugar and chunky peanut butter.
Moo ping is another of our favourites – it is a Thai style pork BBQ (it is different from satay) that has a smoky taste with hints of garlic and pepper. The meat is usually pork hindquarters or pork shoulder which offers a balance of meat, fat and muscle. It is often accompanied by num jim which is a dipping sauce made of tamarind juice, fish sauce, sugar, chilli, rice powder and onion. The sauce has a nice sweet yet spicy flavour which really compliments the moo ping.
This being Thailand however food that is available on stick also strays into the more urm shall we say unusual and exotic – anyone for scorpion?!
Many visitors to Thailand are, understandably, cautious about eating food from the street and we understand. At least one of our meals every day is from the street, and we are rarely ill. However our top tips for seeking out good street stalls are to check whether the stand has a cooler (i.e. what have the vendor transported their products to the stall in), whether the food looks fresh (you may want to avoid food that has a hard “glaze” as chances are it has been sitting out in the sun for a while) and last but not least – is the raw and cooked food kept apart?
So, what is your favourite food on a stick? Is there one you haven’t tried yet that you are keen to sample? Have we missed out on any of your favourites?