Bangkok has amazing food. Not many people would argue that point. What’s even better is that often the best food in Bangkok is the cheap street food. Here are my favorite foods I have eaten in Bangkok.
The classic Thai noodle dish. You can get this at carts on the street or in hole in the wall places or in fancy restaurants. My favorite is from a street vendor just across the Pinklao Bridge from the Grand Palace and Khao San Road. After you cross the river there is a pedestrian bridge. On the sidewalk on the left hand side of this pedestrian bridge (facing away from the river) is my favorite “pad guy.”
Pad See Ew
The first time I had this dish, it was made by the “noodle lady” outside of Suk 11 on Sukummvit Soi 11. I thought it was the most amazing thing I have ever eaten. I have tried it elsewhere and the dish is often not good, bland taste and overcooked noodles. The only person who can even compete is the “pad guy” in Pinklao.
Similar to carrot cake found in Singapore, this dish involves steamed radish (daikon) stir-fried with other vegetables. The only place in Bangkok I have gotten this was from, you guessed it, my “pad guy”. It was the only thing in the neighborhood I didn’t get sick of eating during our 6 weeks staying in Pinklao
This is a delicious, often spicy (asked for it “my pet” if you don’t want spicy or “pet nit noy” if you want a little bit spicy), tomato based soup with lemon grass, ginger, and all sorts of other tasty flavors. You get it with Gai (chicken) or Kung (shrimp). Besides the protein, most of the “goods” in the soup are inedible. But the broth is fantastic. It can be found anywhere from streets stalls to fancy restaurants.
This is the coconut based version of Tom Yum. I like this one slightly better, so it took my a while to remember which one was Yum and which was Ka.
Khao Man Gai (Chicken Rice)
This is a very plain dish. It’s rice and chicken. That’s it. The rice is cooked in chicken stock giving it a delicious flavor. It often comes with sweet chili sauce or another spicier sauce that you can use if you want. If there was ever a Thai dish for picky eaters, this is it.
Gai Tawt (Fried Chicken)
Think of the best fried chicken you have ever eaten. Now imagine it with perfectly crispy skin and juicier meat. That is Gai Tawt. Street stalls all over Bangkok sell it. It’s best when it comes straight out of the fryer. In Pinklao under the pedestrian bridge we had a favorite “fried chicken guy.” Arwen cleverly dubbed him our Gai Guy.
If you have never eaten the best of all poultry, you should get on a plane to Bangkok and remedy that right away. Like chicken rice, it’s just duck and noodles (and a mild sauce). You can find this all over Bangkok in street stalls, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, small food courts. Just look for the ducks hanging in a glass case. It is good everywhere, but my favorites are in Chinatown, and in the neighborhood near the Saphan Taksan BTS station
This oyster omelet is fantastic. It can be found all over Bangkok, but I especially like the one served at a cart on a side street just off the main road in Chinatown.
This Thai noddle soup comes in all kinds of varieties. I like them except the one with all of the fish balls.
Pah Tong Koh
These Thai, for lack of a better word, doughnuts are best right out of the fryer. The round ones are thicker and doughier. The X shaped ones are lighter and crispier. Usually 4 for 10 baht they are the best deal in town. Street carts serving these are mostly out in the morning, so get out early before they run out of dough. If an evening craving strikes, there is a shop that sells them in the Giant Swing neighborhood. Don’t forget to get the green pandan sauce for dipping They are also delicious dipped in sweet condescended milk that can be bought at 7-11
Mango Sticky Rice
A whole sliced mango with sticky rice, covered in sweetened condensed milk and salty crispies. Find a shop or street stall selling it, buy it, eat it, repeat.
Toast with milk
When a friend came to visit us in Bangkok, she was giddy at the notion of a toast shop. There’s a big one in the Giant Swing neighborhood that is often crowded with teenagers. There are also street carts that toast the bread over charcoal. You can get a variety of toppings, chocolate, pandan, peanut butter. But I loved it with sweetened condensed milk. That stuff is good on almost anything.
After discovering Milo in Malaysia, we were thrilled to find out you can get it in Thailand, too. There are drink carts everywhere, often with no English signs. Just say, “Milo Yen” as you will be given an icy, chocolatey, delicious drink. Milo is also surprised good mixed with Coke. It tasted like a chocolate ice cream coke float called a Brown Coke. We dubbed the Milo/Coke combo a Holy Cow.
Pork on a stick. These juicy square shaped morsels of meat served on a stick are one of the greatest culinary creations. Street carts selling them are everywhere. Look for one with a high turn over, selling them shortly after coming off the grill. They taste better and are safer.
Crab with Yellow Curry Powder
You may have noticed every item on the list can be bought at a street cart. There is really no need to enter a real restaurant in Bankok, except to eat this. Krua Apsorn’s crab with yellow curry powder is one of the best dishes I have ever eaten.
One more exception, and this one is not even Thai food. Din Tai Fun’s soup dumplings would probably rank in my top 10 favorite foods of all time. The chain of this Taiwanese restaurant is in Central World Mall.
Have you been to Bangkok? What are your favorite foods there?