A Meat Lover’s Guide to the Thai Street Meat Cart
Warning: This post contains explicit meat photos.
Thais have an obsession with the pig and chicken.
Pieces of pork or chicken are used as a flavoring ingredient in infinite Thai dishes from soups to curries to stir fries.
But the purest way to enjoy Thai meat is when it’s lightly marinated in sweet soy sauce, roasted over charcoal, dipped into spicy nam jim jaew sauce (น้ำจิ้มแจ่ว), and either eaten plain or with some sticky rice.
Thai Meat Cart
Today, I’m taking you on a tour of a Thai street meat cart to deliver you an analysis of the meaty grilled items that are common at street food carts around Thailand.
If you’re a meat lover and looking for some delicious Thai street meat, you’ll be in heaven right here:
Kor Moo Yang (คอหมูย่าง)
The most major attraction at these meat carts is the pile of grilled pork neck known as kor moo yang (คอหมูย่าง). You can either buy it as an entire steak, or you can have the vendor slice it up thinly for the option of dipping it into the spicy sauce to make it extra flavorful.
Some of the pieces are extremely fatty – almost pure fat – but if you search through the pile, you can normally find some pork pieces that are less fatty.
Normally these carts will allow you to dig through the pile and choose the exact piece you want!
Pork, pig skin, garlic, chillies, salt, sticky rice and a little fermentation are the ingredients that go into these famous sticky and sour sausages.
When you are able to grab a skewer of nam and munch it like a hot dog with beer, you are well on your way to discovering the local side of Thailand. Nam is popular and widely available throughout the country.
There are many different types of nam and it is cooked in a number of different ways, sometimes deep fried, sometimes served in salad dishes and on the meat carts it is often grilled.
Chef Shane has a great recipe and he’s even experimented making nam with kangaroo meat!
Sai Krok Isaan (ใส้กรอกอีสาน)
Northeastern Thai Sausage is a combination of ground fatty pork, rice, salt and a few spices filled into pig casings, fermented for a few days and grilled. The fermentation gives these Thai sausages a slightly sour taste.
They are normally just eaten plain, sometimes with a bite of a fresh chili to add some spice or a bite of cabbage to cut the grease.
If you like pork, there’s hardly a chance you’ll dislike these tasty Thai sausages!
She Simmers has written some quality info on Northeastern Thai sausage and has written a recipe.
Tab Gai (ตับไก่ย่าง)
Tab gai are delicious skewers of chunky chicken livers roasted to perfection. They are marinated in the same sweet soy sauce blend that most of the other Thai street meat items are also marinated in.
Thais hate eating meat dry or overcooked, so the liver is taken off the grill before it becomes tough or too dry.
I’ll admit, chicken gizzards are one of my favorite things to eat off the Thai street meat cart. To me, their slightly chewy texture beats out liver any day (but of course that’s my opinion).
A stick usually includes about 4 or 5 chicken gizzards and wow are they tasty!
Gai Yang (ไก่ย่าง)
If chicken innards are not your thing, you’ll be happy to know that many street food carts also offer grilled chicken. The chicken is often of the dark meat variety, the leg flattened out with the skin in tact.
As the chicken is grilled it creates a lovely flavorful glaze over the meat, coating it in sweet saltiness. I like to eat gai yang (ไก่ย่าง) dipped in sauce and accompanied by sticky rice and sometimes som tam green papaya salad.
Nang Gai (หนังไก่ย่าง)
It’s not one of the most healthy Thai food options, but you can also get skewers of grilled chicken skin if you like!
That’s exactly what it is, same marinade, but with zero chicken and all chicken skin (fat)!
Of course, many Thai street meat carts have a variety and different selection of grilled meats, but this is a normal and very common cart in Bangkok.
Look for the cart that looks similar to the one above, it should be a simple cart on wheels, but it will surely be loaded with lots of pork and chicken!