What Makes Thai Fried Chicken the Best in the World? (Ayutthaya Night Market)

 What Makes Thai Fried Chicken the Best in the World?

Thai Fried Chicken with Sticky Rice, Ayutthaya, Thailand

Thai street food-style fried chicken is the best in the world! While exploring the Ayutthaya Night Market in Siam's old capital, I bought some of this crispy deep fried chicken with sticky rice. Prepared in the southern (Hat Yai) style and topped with crispy fried shallots, Thai fried chicken (gai tod ไก่ทอด) is unbeatable. But what exactly is it about Thai fried chicken that makes it so good?

Thai fried chicken with sticky rice
Thai fried chicken with sticky rice - the best in the world?
Of course, "best" is subjective, but after nearly a decade of living in Thailand (and a lifetime of eating chicken), I stand by my opinion. But what actually makes it so good?

Originating in the coastal southern city of Hat Yai, gai tod started as a Halal Muslim dish imported into Thailand from neighboring Malaysia.

Thai chicken is prepared in a marinade of fish sauce, coriander root, garlic, and palm sugar (as well as each shops individual secret ingredients). It's the fish sauce that gives the chicken its signature salty and umami flavor. The chicken is very lightly battered, then deep fried in oil until the skin is crunchy and crispy. It is always served with a packet of Thai sticky rice to offset some of the rich oiliness of the chicken, and is usually topped with optional crispy fried shallots, which contribute an important element to the overall taste of the chicken.

Where elsewhere, fried chicken is a quick and easy dish, there's an extra element of care and culinary intention in Thai fried chicken that give it that special edge which sets it apart. Colonel Sanders would be proud.

various pieces of Thai fried chicken served with sticky rice in Ayutthaya, Thailand
what is it that makes Thai fried chicken so delicious?

More Thai chicken dishes!

Visit the Ayutthaya Night Market

While this dish can be found on streets throughout Thailand, I bought this serving from a vendor at the Night Market in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

There is actually more than one night market in the old capital of Ayutthaya. I was very impressed with the street food market, which opens up every night at 4:30pm on Naresuan Road. Every evening, barriers are put up closing half of the road off from traffic. The street market is a fun place to try lots of amazing central Thai cuisine.