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David Thompson: Thai street food recipes


I am addicted to these. Along the street there are small grills, often just a large metal bowl with a rack perched on top. I’ll stop and look and long for the fruits of their labour C smoky grilled skewers of pork. I’ll smuggle some home as if carrying a guilty secret to relish in private. Sometimes, most of the time, I’ll break into the cache on the way home.

Grilling is one of the more popular techniques of the streets, where there are many ad hoc pieces of equipment and the grill is one of the most common. They are everywhere, grilling pork, satays, dumplings and squid.

Using a charcoal grill imparts a depth of flavour that makes meat such as this grilled pork irresistible. It is important to light the grill 30-60 minutes before using and allow the coals to burn until they glow gently. If you have a charcoal grill you’ll know how long it takes to get to the right stage. Grilling over too high a heat will char and burn the pork before it is cooked and smoky.

Very often there will be a small piece of pork fat at the bottom of the skewer. This helps to moisten the pork as it grills. The Thais use mangrove charcoal from near the mouth of the Chao Phraya River. Not everyone has a charcoal grill, however, and these pork skewers can also be cooked on a chargrill plate on the stove top or under a preheated grill. While the taste will be less complex, they will still be extremely agreeable.


pork loin or neck 300g

pork back fat (optional) 50g

bamboo skewers 12-15

coconut cream 4tbsp

For the marinade:

coriander roots 1 tsp, cleaned and chopped

pinch of salt

garlic 1 tsp, chopped

ground white pepper ? tsp

shaved palm sugar 2 tbsp

dark soy sauce a dash

fish sauce 2tbsp

vegetable oil 2 tbsp

Slice the pork into thinnish pieces about 2cm square. Cut the pork fat, if using, into rectangles, say 2cm x 5mm.

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