Street food on Koh Koh Chang.
What is street food?
This is fast food. Something that you can quickly order and eat on the spot or order and take home. This includes all types of pasta or rice and curry dishes; fried snacks; meat on sticks; or fruit and drinks.
Instead of selling it in a service restaurant, it is usually sold off the roadside from a food table or cart. Street food vendors often start with a cart and then move to a larger store in a fixed location that has more space and living space. But they will still sell the same dishes as when they had a small roadside stall.
Most street food sellers also specialize in one dish or one type of food from a specific region of Thailand. This avoids competition on the side of the road; it allows sellers to sell dishes that they prepare best, and also means that people know where to go to get a particular dish.
Street Food Stalls on WhiteSand Beach on Koh Chang
One of the features of street food is that it must be pre-prepared at home or quickly prepared on site. Buyers do not want to wait 20 minutes for a meal. They want it now.
This need for hasty eating or getting meals on the move began when Thailand began to urbanize in the sixties. When cities grew and people moved to work, they had less time to cook for themselves. Instead of living in a multi-generational family, where there will always be one or two people cooking for the family at home, people lived in their own small apartment and spent virtually the whole day at work. Over the decade, the idea of buying cheap food on the street has replaced home cooking in urban areas.
Nowadays, it is quite rare to find a couple or even a family living in the city who cook their own food every day. Wherever you work or live, you’ll find something cheap and tasty at hand. It’s not as cheap as cooking for yourself, but much less time consuming. One of the main disadvantages of this take-out addiction is the amount of plastic and polystyrene waste it produces. Another downside is that because it is price sensitive, good quality ingredients are rarely used. Currently, more and more sellers are using processed ingredients and super sweet sauces with the addition of MSG to add flavor. Abbreviations are often used so that suppliers can still make a reasonable profit.
Where can you find street food on Koh Chang?
On Koh Chang, you will find stalls in various places along the main road. There are individual stalls everywhere, but there are several areas where they are easy to find.
In the late afternoon and early evening, the area in the center of the village, near 711, becomes a small food market with stalls and local residents selling different types of food to other villagers. Here you will find several traditional snacks such as Khao Lam – sticky rice cooked in coconut milk in a piece of bamboo on a charcoal grill.
A few kilometers south, on the more touristy White Sand beach, is the island’s most famous night market. Vendors set up their “store” from about 17:00 in the center of the beach (on the road) north of Kacha Resort. However, despite the popularity it is a bit touristy however and I am never impressed by the high quality. But there is a wide range of food to try.
There are many stalls at the far north end of Klong Prao Beach, near the entrance to Coconut Beach Resort. Both early in the morning and later from late afternoon. They are usually quite limited – Kebabs and Pad Thai are, of course, what people buy. But at the stall near the V Mart supermarket you will also find some great pasta.
A better option are dining outlets north of the Klong Prao temple. They are open all day and serve both tourists and residents. Additional stalls and stands are also set up early in the morning – targeted at children going to school and people going to work. And there are various stalls in the early evening, when the resort staff finishes the shift and people return home at the end of the day. A wide selection means that everyone can try something for themselves.
Kai Bae does not have much space for people to set up small stalls every day, the main road is very narrow, with barely enough space for two vehicles to cross and no pavement in front of existing stores. So you will find dishes from street stalls – but they will be rather in small roadside restaurants, and not from food carts or makeshift stalls. Check the area near Morgan Restaurant and the entrance to Nang Nual Resort in Kai Bae to find small dining options and several stalls.
Is Thai street food safe to eat?
In general, it’s safe like any other type of food. But there are too many variables to give a definite answer Yes or No.
Personally, I stick to dishes cooked in front of me that are hot and freshly prepared. I avoid stalls with a pile of pre-cooked pieces of meat