The best Thai food IS in Thailand and it has made me have a whole new appreciation for Thai food. The street food in Bangkok IS definitely among the best in the world! My theory with the street food in Bangkok is it tastes so good because it is made with love. I spent so much time sitting on the streets and watching them prepare and cook-the amount of time and preparation is beautiful. I read that "persistence" is an important principle of Buddhism for Thai people, which leads them to have a strong work ethic. They work so hard on their local creations whether a roti filled with Indian curry fillings, a stew, a papaya salad, or a curry. It is all made with time, effort, and love. The freshest ingredients, the spices, vegetables, and types of noodles/meats are incredible. Garlic and chillies add an extra kick to spice up the dishes, especially the Jungle Curry, which is made with extra hott chillies.
Thailand is influenced by cuisines like Indian, Malay, and Cambodian. Many Thais of Chinese background are running the Chinese-Thai restaurants among the strip of incredible food in China town. I would move to Bangkok just for the food I decided. It is so far the best food I have ever had while traveling and I am ranking food in Thailand number one with Istanbul ranking at number 2.
Also, what makes the food taste so good is-the price. An amazing, fresh meal with vegetables, rice/noodles, chicken/seafood can cost anywhere from $1-$3. I met a guy who said he did not spent more than $1.00 on a meal, which one can do, but I will pay an extra dollar for the food that I want. No tip and no tax- it is incredible to just be able to sit down enjoy a meal and not have to worry about tipping and paying an extra $5 or so in tax-amazing. In USA, you would pay anywhere from $10 to $15 for one of these dishes. That is basically a week to two weeks of food in Bangkok. And in Bangkok, they give you a variety of choices for the price. For instance, you can get 2-3 dishes with a rice or noodle-buffet style presentation, but not an unlimited buffet. It is great seeing the visual creations in front of you and that is how I was able to learn what I liked because there is a such a wide variety of foods.
Many more photos, which will be posted through Picasa-please stay tuned=)