Let’s just start it this way– there’s so much food in Bangkok, I was simply spoiled for choice. Fom the time I first set foot in the city center (after taking the Airport Rail Link from Suvarnabhumi Airport) until I reached the comforts of my hotel, I was tempted again and again by the many restaurants, cafes and roadside food stalls I passed on the way. I have heard so much about the wonders of Bangkok food, and I couldn’t wait to begin my culinary journey in this vibrant capital city of Thailand.
From high-end fine dining, to simple Thai cuisine and its variety of street food– there is something for anyone waiting to sample the spiciness and sourness of the amazing Thai cuisine. During my visit to Bangkok, I had the opportunity to treat myself to a range of delicious food (honestly, I’m still salivating thinking about everything that I’ve eaten throughout my trip)– and I believe I enjoyed a huge range of them in many different environs.
I had dinner way up in the sky, slurped on noodles while cramped together with locals, licked my fingers clean after eating with my hands, waited in long queues just to get a table… well, the list goes on. So here’s sharing with you some of these amazing food adventures– it’s my top 10 favorite food experiences during my visit to Bangkok.
1) Award-Winning Thai Restaurant
Metropolitan by Como: 27 South Sathorn Road, Tungmahamek, Sathorn, Bangkok.
If there’s one sit-down luxury restaurant you need to visit in Thailand, it’s Nahm. It’s the second Nahm Restaurant (first one is in London) opened by renowned Michelin Chef David Thompson— and it serves Thai cuisine with a twist. I visited the restaurant during lunch (12-2pm) and ordered the set menu for ฿1,600 (US$45) per person; and the dishes were exquisite. Soft and succulent fowl meat sticks and egg nets with prawns for starters, followed by the tastiest bowl of clear duck soup, and the mains of wagyu curry (which was absolutely delicious) and stir-fried pork (super spicy, but oh so good!). Was it worth it? You bet!
2) Romantic Dinner in the Sky
Sirocco & Sky Bar
The Dome at Lebua Tower: Level 63, 1055 State Tower, Silom Road, Bangkok.
Offering one of the most gorgeous views of Bangkok from way up high, I just couldn’t resist having dinner at Sirocco, and late night drinks at the Skybar. The restaurant and bar is located at The Dome on the 63rd floor of the Lebua State Tower— and is said to be the highest alfresco restaurant in the world. Dinner was extremely costly, my a la carte 3-course meal (foie gras for starters, Iberico pork for mains and a piece of cake for dessert) cost me approximately ฿4,000 (US$110). For the price, the food is nothing to shout about, but the 360 degree panorama of the city definitely is. So skip the meal, and just enjoy the view with a glass of Hangovertini (a cocktail inspired by the movie Hangover 2, which was shot here) in hand.
3) When in Thailand, Eat Tom Yum
Pee’Aor Tom Yum Noodles
Ratchathewi: 68/51 Soi Phetchaburi 5, Between Soi 5 – 7, Phaya Thai, Ratchathewi, Bangkok.
There is no way that I’ll make a trip to Thailand and not have at least… one bowl of tom yum. On this trip to Bangkok, I decided to go in search of what I heard is the best gigantic bowl of tom yum noodles I’ll ever taste. Pee’Aor is a small unassuming restaurant hidden between messy rows of old shop houses in the Ratchathewi district. It has no signboards, so just follow the delicious smell and the throngs of hungry looking people. The menu is extensive– Thai dishes and a variety of tom yum dishes, but I was here for one thing only. The massive seafood-filled (lobster included) tom yum noodle bowl cost me ฿999=US$28 (for two); but it was so mouthwatering, tongue-wagging (cause it was a little spicy) and lip-smackingly good that it was worth ever penny. I will definitely be back.
4) Thai Salad Heaven
Som Tam Nua
Siam Square: 392/14 Siam Square Soi 5, Pathumwan, Bangkok.
I was walking around Siam Square when I chanced upon Som Tam Nua. The restaurant was packed with patrons waiting outside for a table, so I did a quick check online (it is indeed popular with rave reviews) and decided to try it out. I was alone, so they managed to squeeze me into one of the corner spots. I ordered the recommended Som Tam (spicy green papaya salad) and deep-fried chicken, and absolutely enjoyed my delicious meal. The som tam was one of the best ones I’ve tasted, and the fried chicken was s0 crispy and juicy (I think it stole the show). The price of the meal was pretty decent too, at about ฿250 (US$7) in total.
5) Best Pad Thai in Bangkok
Thip Samai Pad Thai
Pratu Phi Pad Thai: 313 Maha Chai Road, Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok.
Dubbed the best pad thai (stir-fried rice noodles) in Bangkok– Thip Samai is always filled to the brim with locals and tourists. I arrived just a little after opening time at 5pm, and there was already a long queue snaking its way through the alfresco tables outside the restaurant. I didn’t have to wait very long though, and standing in line gave me the opportunity to witness the many cooks dance in tune with the clanking of their woks– churning out plates and plates of pad thai like a factory machine. I got a table inside the restaurant (with a/c) and ordered the Superb Pad Thai (pad thai wrapped in an omelette), along with orange juice and a coconut shake. The pad thai was indeed delicious, but if there’s one reason why I will return– it is for that freakin’ awesome pulpy orange juice.
6) A Taste of the Curry Crab
Samyan: 315 Chamchuri Square Building, Room 101-102-103, Phya Thai Road, Patumwan, Bangkok.
Siam Square: 4th floor, Siam Square One Building, Rama 1 road, Patumwan, Bangkok.
Bangkok is famous for the curry crab, and the best place to get it is at Somboom Seafood. There are several branches all over Bangkok, so head to the one that is closest to you– mine was the new branch at Siam Square (there are many restaurants with similar names, so make sure you know where you’re going lest you get scammed). Even though it was packed during dinner, the atmosphere in the restaurant was pretty comfortable, with cushioned seats and a/c. A good selection of seafood and Thai dishes are served here as well, and I ordered me some prawn salad, vegetables and seafood tom yum to go with my plate of oozing orange curry crabs. The crabs were absolutely finger-licking good (hands are the best way to eat ’em)– and I lapped up that egg-filled curry sauce to the very last drop.
7) Sweet Mango Love
Siam Square: Siam Square Soi 3, Pathumwan, Bangkok.
Asiatique the Riverfront: Warehouse 1, Charoen Krung Rd, Wat Phraya Krai, Bang Kho Laem, Bangkok.
Mangoes! Everywhere you go in Bangkok, you’ll find street stalls selling the sweetest yellow mangoes. Being a mango lover, I was in fruit heaven. To me, every mango sticky rice (a famous Thai dessert) stall was equally as good as the other. However, if there is one place you have to visit to get your mango fix, it has got to be Mango Tango. The menu is all about mangoes, and only the mango. From mango sticky rice to puddings, juices and ice-cream– just pick your combination. The line is long, but orders come out quickly, and it’ll all be worth the wait. Don’t forget the mango ice-cream, it is to die for. I ordered it when I was in Siam Square, and I made sure I had it again when I visited Asiatique.
8) Dine Local Style with the Locals
Siam Square Food Plus
Siam Square: Between Siam Square Soi 5 and 6, Pathumwan, Bangkok.
In a sheltered alley that cuts through Soi 5 and 6 in Siam Square, lies a food court that serves up a storm of local food. Food Plus is so hidden that you will definitely miss it if you are not thoroughly searching for it. Almost unknown to tourists, it is frequented by the local workers and students in the area. Connecting tables with long benches are lined with small food stalls on both sides; so just order your food, then find an empty space and join the locals for a bite. The food arcade serves up a whole myriad of Thai fares such as beef noodles, fish maw soup, chicken rice, mix rice (just to name a few); and even pig innards like the stomach, intestines and blood curd. A meal here costs about ฿30-50 (US$1-1.50) a plate/bowl. It’s as authentically Thai as it can get– cheap and delicious food in a unique casual setting.
9) Ply the Alleys of Chatuchak
My Favourites in Chatuchak
Honey Roast Pork: Section 22, Soi 4, Chatuchak Market, Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, Chatuchak, Bangkok.
Coconut Ice Cream: Everywhere around the Chatuchak Market.
The Chatuchak Weekend Market is so huge, you’ll probably get lost in its maze of shops and lanes. But if there’s one thing that you can surely find… it is the food. There are rows and rows of food stalls lining the outdoor area of the market, selling every Thai fare imaginable. However, my must-eats at Chatuchak is without a doubt, the coconut ice-cream and the delicious honey roast pork. The coconut ice-cream is pretty easy to find as there are tons of stalls selling them all around the market. The soft and rich ice cream is served with slices of coconut flesh in small coconut husks, and is perfect to cool down from the hot Bangkok weather.
The honey roast pork on the other hand, needs some navigation skills to find. The shop is hidden between the many lanes of the market, but if you manage to locate it– you’ll be rewarded with the most succulent and tasty pieces of pork. Get a 100g bag of meat for ฿45 (US$1.3), or make it a sandwich for ฿50 (US$1.4).
10) When Night Falls in Bangkok
Street Food at Night Markets
Chinatown: Yaowarat Rd, Samphanthawong, Bangkok.
Sukhumvit: Soi 38, Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok.
Khao San: Khao San Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok.
Silom Walking Street: Silom Road, Bangrak, Bangkok (Sundays).
Last but not least, it is the jewel of Thailand’s culinary fame– the street food. You can’t say you’ve been to Bangkok unless you’ve bought a snack or a meal from a street food vendor; and either walked while eating, or sat by the roadside to enjoy your food. I had the opportunity to visit four night markets during my trip (there are dozens more around Bangkok), and I have never been so greedy in my life! With food like grilled pork, fried chicken, barbecued squid, pandan desserts and banana pancakes– the smell of freshly cooked food lingering in the air was too hard to resist. With all the choices, it’s difficult to name a list of must-eat Thai street food, so my advice is just simply… try them all!