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The 3 Thai dishes that made it to Asia’s best street food list

CNN unveiled a list of Asia’s best street foods this week, and naturally Thailand makes several appearance on the list. Here are the 3 Thai dishes that have been named the best street food in Asia.

We know what you’re thinking: how can it be that only 3 Thai dishes made the list? Surely, CNN knows that we’re a street food haven?

[Hero and Featured Image Credit: Streets of Food/Unsplash]

Thailand on CNN’s Asia’s Best Street Food list

best street food in asia thailand
Image Credit: Alessandra Sio/Unsplash

Before this turns into yet another is-khao-soi-really-a-soup debacle, street food enthusiasts will be happy and intrigued to know that CNN dug a little deeper and really did their research on this one. On the Asia’s Best Street Food list, you won’t find uber common staples like som tum or pad Thai, but rather lesser mainstream entities like our world-famous omelette, or even northeastern-style sausage. It’s pretty niche, but we’re quite impressed.

The list expands to a lot of countries, too, and may be of interest to avid travellers and foodies. Have you, for example, ever indulged in Asam laksa in Malaysia? Or Ema datshi in Bhutan? What about Falooda in Pakistan? Or Fuchka in Bangladesh?

With these and more famously-known items (like bubble tea, banh mi, and chili crab) all making an appearance, CNN’s best street food list is an interesting and educated read. Given the many countries on the list, it’s also an inclusive one, with a whole separate article for the Middle East and Central Asia — which are also part of the Asian continent.

All this to cool our rage over the small number of random Thai dishes on the list.

best street food in asia thailand tom yum
Image Credit: Streets of Food/Unsplash

The 3 Thai street food dishes that made it

So which Thai dishes are actually the best street food dishes, according to CNN?

The first mention (the list is alphabetical) is crab omelettes. Whilst they do not mention the most famous Michelin-starred street food chef Jay Fai at all, we assume that this is what cast a spotlight on the dish that we’ve enjoyed for many years now. Apparently, “crab and eggs are a match made in heaven — and the crispy edges, fluffy textures, and a drizzle of sweet chili sauce takes this wok-cooked dish to the next level.”

Next is the recently-notorious khao soi. The northern curry noodle dish has long been enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, so we fully understand the love for this one. CNN even knows what we like to enjoy it with: “mustard greens, freshly chopped shallots, lime wedges, and chili paste.”

The third and last dish is sai krok Isan. This northeeastern pork sausage is known for its sour and garlicky flavour, often times filled with sticky rice or noodles. According to the listing, “condiments like ginger, chillies, and cabbage typically round out the perfect bite.” We couldn’t agree more.

Other Thai mentions

A kind of bonus? Laos’ nam khao crispy rice salad makes an appearance on the list, and there is mention that this can also be found in Thailand.

In that sense, we get a whole three-and-a-half mentions on this list, which is already somewhat commendable. We’re trying not to let it get to us too much, as we know CNN actually really enjoys Thai food. One year, they even named Massaman curry one of the best foods in the entire world. Good times.

You can find the full list on CNN Travel’s 50 of the best street foods in Asia.

The 3 Thai dishes that made it to Asia’s best street food list

Lisa Gries

Creative Content Director, Bangkok

Lisa is the Creative Content Director at Lifestyle Asia Thailand. When she’s not knees-deep in SEO analysis or editorial calendars, you’ll likely find her in downward-facing dog at the yoga studio, or immersed in conversation at a secret bar in China town. Lisa writes mostly on dining, travel, and pop-culture, and is a huge fan of soup dumplings, Riesling, and power napping — in exactly that order.


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