Last Updated on July 27, 2021 by Chef Mireille
Breakfast in Thailand is very different than what you might be used to with western breakfasts. While there are many options for breakfast in Thailand and American breakfast options will be available in most hotels, here is my compilation of the Top 5 Thai Breakfast Dishes if you are like me…and you prefer to eat like a local!
Whether you choose to enjoy these options at your hotel, in a local restaurant or from a street side vendor, this is a great guide so you know what to eat in Thailand.
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One of the best parts of my trip travelling throughout Southeast Asia was enjoying the street food and no one is better at that than the Thai’s. When you go to Thailand, skip the hotel breakfast and enjoy the meal like the locals do…from streetside hawkers and roadside cafe’s.
Food in Thailand Price
Although the hotel breakfasts might be convenient, you will have more options, save some money and usually more authentic flavors my buying streetside. The hotels, especially the larger ones that cater to westerners, often mute the traditional flavors for western palates.
In Thailand, you can’t walk more than 10 steps without passing a vendor selling something delicious like fresh fruit juice to curry and sticky rice to roti canai. The options are endless. The only challenge sometimes is finding some place to sit down to eat it.
However, there are often many streetside café’s that offer seating with food just as inexpensive and as delicious as the street vendors.
You will not spend more than $5 USD on your filling delicious Thai Breakfast!
How do you eat when on vacation? My philosophy has always been “When in Rome… you know the saying…
Why eat bacon and eggs when I can get that any time I want. I really don’t understand tourists who go to other countries and complain when they can’t get the food they are used to. If you want what you’re used to, stay home. My pet peeve is when I read reviews (and unfortunately its usually Americans) complaining about poor service if the restaurant did not include pancakes for breakfast as an example. You’re in another country. Why not explore the culture by stepping out of your comfort zone and eating breakfast the way the locals do!
If you’re planning a vacation to Thailand, here’s just a few examples of some of the possibilities you can enjoy for breakfast if you take the plunge and eat like a local. Skip the continental breakfast at the hotel and explore breakfast in Thailand like a local. Thailand has one of the largest street food cultures in the world and it starts at breakfast.
What is a Typical Breakfast in Thailand?
Khao Soi Gai
Soup is a very common breakfast item in most of Asia. This is a Coconut Curry Noodle Soup with Chicken. It includes both boiled noodles and also topped with deep fried noodle bundles. It originated in the northern city of Chiang Mai, but it is a just as popular Thai breakfast in Bangkok. You can get this at restaurants large and small, as well as street side vendors. This was my breakfast all of the three mornings I was in Chiang Mai. It encompasses the perfect balance of multi faceted flavors common in Thai foods. Try it yourself with my Khao Soi Gai recipe here of this popular soup.
Sticky Rice Combos
Sticky Rice is the staple grain of any meal that does not include noodles in Thailand. Any variety of savory dishes can be had with the ubiquitous sticky rice.
On just about every street corner you can find Fried Chicken or Pork served with sticky rice in a small plastic bag or the meat may be grilled on a stick instead of fried.
Here are just a few of my favorite Sticky Rice Combos you can enjoy for your Thai Breakfast.
- Frog legs
- Morning glory with Fried Pork
- Milk Pork
Omelette’s are prepared differently in Thailand that you are probably used to. First of all in a Thai Omelette, the eggs are flavored with fish sauce or lime juice. Even a plain Thai Fried Omelette is deep fried in as much oil as you would use to make french fries or any other deep fried food.
They are made two ways – either crispy or fluffy. In the fluffy version, a bit of flour is added.
They are also often stuffed with either pork, oysters or other seafood.
Try it yourself with my crispy style Thai Fried Omelet Recipe here.
This is the closest thing you can get to an American breakfast. It’s very similar to French Toast, except it topped with sweetened condensed milk, instead of maple syrup. There is also a savory version of this made with pork or shrimp. My favorite version was the Thai Shrimp Toast.
Jok Rice Porridge
Known as Jook in Korea and Congee in China, this thick rice porridge is a common breakfast item throughout Asia. Starchy sticky rice is cooked into a porridge consistency and then garnished with a variety of meats, eggs and/or vegetables. Flavored with fish sauce and soy sauce in Thailand, it’s a tasty way to start the day.
Eat like a local and you will come back home craving Khao Soi..instead of pancakes!
Looking for what else to do in Bangkok – Check out this post for more ideas!
Ready to go to Bangkok and taste all the delicious food? Which are you most excited to try?
To help you in navigating Bangkok, check out the Bangkok Public Transportation Guide HERE.
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Interesting that they have these dishes for breakfast. Some of them are similar to what you have at lunchtime
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
Sounds like they have some awesome options to try!
Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy
We had the most amazing breakfasts when we were in Thailand. There were nothing what we were used to, but SO good.
Looking forward to tasting!
Ha I was just venting about this very thing with a friend yesterday – I really don’t understand people going to places like Thailand and spending the whole time eating burgers and fries! We were in Thailand a few years ago and the local food was just out of this world – I loved the breakfasts and the hot curries in the evenings 🙂
exactly. Part of traveling to me is experiencing the culture; not just seeing the sights. Food is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in local culture.
Very interesting post Mir…you must have enjoyed all that breakfast right..:)
Nico @ yumsome
Thai street food is some of the best in the world, and so cheap too!
I lived in northern Thailand for 2.5 years, and the amount of times I’d see tourists order a load of food from street carts, then just leave it, and dive into the nearest ‘safe-looking- restaurant which catered to Westerners. Madness!
It was a complete contrast to when I lived in India – tourists and locals alike ate at street carts, and I didn’t come across any Westerners who found it odd to eat ‘curry’ for breakfast!
Living in south Asia was heaven for me; I’ve never understood the concept of having cereal, milk, cake, and sweet things in general, for breakfast. It was great to live in parts of the world where certain meals are ascribed to certain parts of the day, and where people have the same attitude to food that I do… eat all the food all the time! LOL!
what a great experience. I would love to live there. On this same trip, I also spent a few days in Mumbai and I absolutely loved it and the food. I was lucky enough to have a local Mumbaite born and bred friend who was my guide and new where all the best street cart vendors were.
I think India is a different kind of tourist. Thailand has become so popular that it’s practically a required stop if you go to Asia and people mostly go there for the beaches. India I think takes a more adventurous spirit.
Nico @ yumsome
Actually, I think you may be right about Thailand; we used to get tourists who’d come up from the south, and think it was entirely appropriate to wander around the city, clad only in their bikinis.
Northern Thailand is far more modest and conservative than the southern islands, and barely-clad bodies (male and female) make people really uncomfortable. Some cafés and restaurants actually refuse to serve people when they’re dressed like that, and I don’t blame them.
Actually, two of the worst examples of behaviour from tourists I saw in Chiang Mai were a couple of drunk guys trying to poke lighted cigarettes into the rear ends of some lion statues in a temple, making jokes about butts (seriously, these guys looked like they were in their thirties), and three couples, who decided that the seating area outside the bridal shop on my road was an appropriate place to sit down, smoke weed, and drink loads of beer.
Conversely, I never once saw any bad behaviour from tourists when I lived in India. I suspect that part of the reason is that – at least where I was in Kerala – alcohol is strictly controlled, there is no party culture there, and people were just more respectful. There was a broader range of ages too. Also, it’s far less Westernised than Thailand, so you may be onto something re. adventurous spirits; as a Westerner, living in Thailand was easier than living in India (which in turn, was easier than living in Morocco!).
By the way, I had a layover at Mumbai airport once – going through security was an experience I never wish to repeat. Not because of the staff – it was the other passengers! Males and females were separated into their own queues, and I soon understood why; while the men calmly queued, and waited their turn, the women behaved like piranhas in a feeding frenzy. I felt so sorry for the two stressed-out guys manning the luggage scanner, especially when several women decided that they would reach inside to retrieve their bags. They were insane! Never, ever mess with Indian women!
I remember the amazing buffets of Thailand, incredible tasty delights!