Bangkok’s Best Street Eats
People in Thailand take food so seriously that sometimes instead of “How are you?” you’ll be greeted with “Have you eaten?”
From street stalls to high-end restaurants, food here is excellent. But there is no city in the world that can beat Bangkok on the amount of street food available. Don’t equate price with quality, as some of the best dishes in the country are found in the humblest places.
Best Markets for Eating
- Lang Suan Lunch Market: It’s cramped and crowded and only open for lunch, but Lang Suan offers quality and selection that can’t be beat in downtown Bangkok. There are plenty of small stalls for on-the-go eating, or you can also sit down if you’re looking for a more substantial meal.
- Thong Lo Night Market: This market offers everything you could possibly want, from pad thai to som tam (spicy papaya salad), in a location convenient to the Skytrain.
- Trok Isara Nuphap: Here you’ll find the typical guay teow (traditional noodle soup) as well as some less common street food—fresh crepe spring rolls and noodle soups with curled noodles.
- Nakhon Chai Si Road: This long road in Dusit has some of the best small shophouse restaurants and a huge selection of different things to eat. You’ll see few foreigners hanging out here, but from the crowds of locals that flock here for lunch and dinner, you’ll know you’re in the right place.
- Tanao Road: This busy street in the Old City is all about excellent, inexpensive old-school food. Stop into traveler favorite Chote Chit on one of the side streets for a casual sit-down meal, or hit some of the shophouses on the main road for rad nar (rice noodles in gravy) or sweet toast.
Best Streets for Eating
Street Food How-To’s
• Unless there’s a line of people waiting, just grab any empty chair and have a seat. In some places there’s a server and a cook, but if it’s just a cook, you’ll need to get up to order.
• Most street-food vendors do not speak English, but you can either discreetly point to what someone else is eating, or trust that they’ll serve you the most common or popular thing they make. Vendors usually specialize in just one or two dishes, making ordering easier.
• Utensils are in a small box or utensil holder on the table. Napkins are either very small pieces of tissue or rolls of paper in dispensers.
• Condiments, such as fish sauce and chilies, are brought to your table when your dish is served and will often be taken away for the next patron after you’ve taken what you need.
• Water may be served out of a pitcher, but is always either boiled or purified. Sometimes the water served is tan or brown in color; that just means it’s been boiled with tea leaves. If you want bottled water or soft drinks, just ask. Most vendors have some bottled drinks.
• Tipping is generally not expected at street stalls.
© Suzanne Nam from Moon Bangkok, 5th Edition