I’ll admit that the first time I walked by an array of street food vendors, I felt, as my generation feels far too often–“sketched out”. Then I remembered that I came to this culture rich country in order to gain a new perspective of the world. These are three street foods that have changed my perception, and quite honestly have just improved my quality of life.
1. Thai Smoothies
Okay, smoothies are already one of the greatest human creations; blending a bunch of awesome fruits together with ice and yogurt is in my opinion an invention worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize. Why? Because great smoothies make people happy.
If you’re having a Thai style street smoothie for the first time, it will probably go as follows. You’ll approach a stand with a Thai woman swiftly putting fruit and ice and honey into blenders. You’ll choose up to three fruits from the fairly large selection including mango, pineapple, papaya, banana, coconut, kiwi, and more.
Once you’ve picked which fruits you’d like, the lady will ask you if you want yogurt–saying no to this question is completely offensive to your taste buds. Fresh fruit, ice, yogurt, honey, and milk goes into a blender meanwhile the smoothie artist behind the stand puts a few dollops of plain yogurt at the bottom of your cup. Once blended, the fresh and fruity mixture is gorgeously poured into the cup, topped with a dome lid, and finished with a colorful straw.
You’ll pay the vendor 25 baht ($0.80), which sometimes feels like stealing to me, then you’ll take your first sip. If you do it right, and make sure the straw is touching the yogurt bottom, your mouth will be flooded with sweet flavors balanced perfectly with the thick tart yogurt. Then you’ll realize that your life is better now, knowing such a thing exists.
I know exactly what you’re thinking: street and sushi are two words never to be associated with one another. I’m going to debunk that right now.
All over chiang mai there are sushi vendors selling a variety of delicious rolls. You can be skeptical of the idea of buying raw fish from a food cart, but that’s no way to live your life. If I, the self-proclaimed vegetarian that can’t let go of sushi so is “technically” a pescatarian, can eat street sushi then chances are so can you.
There’s smoked salmon sashimi, seaweed salad rolls, rolls with cucumber and crab topped with spicy tuna or covered in salty crunchy goodness. It’s a sushi lovers dream and the cost will make you weep tears of joy. Most street sushi vendors will sell the more intricate pieces for 10 baht each, and the others for 5. One can walk away with six pieces of sushi for 40 baht. ONE. DOLLAR.
The cleanliness skeptics should know that something so cheap and delicious doesn’t stay on the shelf very long therefore, the vendors are constantly making fresh rolls. If spending two dollars or less on delicious sushi isn’t bliss, than I can’t fathom what is.
My mouth is watering just typing about this stuff. Roti traditionally is an Indian flatbread similar to naan or, well, flatbread. In Thailand, there are vendors that sell hot roti usually stuffed with something sweet. The most common options are banana and Nutella; a marriage arguably more beautiful than Barack and Michelle…(I said arguably).
Slices of banana are put into an open-sided pocket of warm roti that’s perfectly soft and crisy at the same time. Before being folded together, a beautiful amount of Nutella is spread over the bananas and the warm pocket become complete. It shouldn’t cost you more than 40 or 50 baht, and the effect it will have on your taste buds is priceless. It’s sweet, warm, and tastes like love.
Honestly, this romantic description of it does not quite do it justice so you’ll either have to take my word or come to the land of smiles and taste it for yourself. Considering how much I love this place, my vote’s for the latter.