Bangkok food gets us really excited. Our days revolve around what and where we’ll be eating. There is simply not enough time nor stomach space to explore all the delicious food this city has to offer, but one can sure try! Our list of Must Eats Bangkok is in no way exhaustive, but are our favourites, the things we eat and the places we go to eat them whenever we’re in this amazing city. We’ve included specific restaurants/street food vendors as well as certain dishes which can be found on virtually every corner. In Bangkok you’re only ever a few metres away from your next bite.
Note that we eat street food 95% of the time. Sure our bodies sometimes go ‘what the heck?!’ from all the chilli we eat but we have never gotten sick from street food in the ten plus visits we’ve made to Bangkok. On the street or at restaurants you’re often given a cup of ice for the bottles of water that are on the table- we drink that too and have never had a problem. Just go for it!
Chasing a Plate’s Pricing Guide
$ 50THB (approximately $1.50USD) or under per plate/bowl/item
$$ 200THB to 300THB (approximately $5.50-$8.50USD) for a meal for two
$$$ around the 500THB-1000THB (approximately $15-30USD) mark for a meal for two
Must Eat Number 1
Mango sticky rice and durian sticky rice $
Chinatown and street food vendors
When these fruits are in season, they are truly spectacular. Plus, these combinations of sticky rice, coconut milk and fruit are a Thai classic! Durian may not be to everyones taste (it smells a bit like pungent stinky socks), but we think the custardy, rich fruit is pretty tasty.
Must Eat Number 2
A meal in Yaowarat (Chinatown) $$-$$$
Whilst there are lots of street food vendors that line the streets of Chinatown, there are two main seafood restaurants on one of the corners of Yaowarat (you can’t miss them). Dishes are cooked to order and include grilled prawns, clams in a sweet, chilli sauce and steamed fish. It’s a great spot to people watch whilst enjoying your seafood dinner and a few beers.
Must Eat Number 3
Thai dessert stalls $
Chinatown and street vendors
You’ll often see dessert street vendors loaded up with plastic jars or bowls filled with brightly coloured tapioca balls, jelly and puddings. It can be a bit confusing but we usually just point to a few things and what shows up is usually tasty! We like the pink, jelly covered water chestnuts that are served with ice and coconut milk or the green pandan squiggles with brown sugar and coconut milk (lod chong). Chinatown has a couple of dessert vendors who offer a good range of Thai and Chinese desserts.
Must Eat Number 4
Pad Thai $
Street vendors on Sukumvit Soi 31 and at Victory Monument are our favourite.
Pad Thai- you can’t visit Thailand and not have one right? There’s something special about sitting on a street corner tossing chilli, sugar and a squeeze of lime onto your noodles whilst sipping a beer from the 7/11 (if the street vendor doesn’t sell drinks you can whip to the 7/11 and buy your own drinks to have with your meal).
Must Eat Number 5
Boat noodles and khanom tuay (coconut puddings) $-$$ (depending on how many bowls you have!)
We never leave Bangkok without having a feed of boat noodles. So named because they used to be served by vendors who travelled by boat along Bangkok’s canals, these small bowls of noodles which are usually available with pork or beef are cooked in a rich broth seasoned with cow or pigs blood and garnished with beansprouts, herbs and crispy wonton skins. Eat and stack (your bowls) is the way things are done here and don’t forget to leave room for the coconut puddings which are the perfect end to the feast.
Must Eat Number 6
Anything on a skewer $
Grilled chicken wings, sausages, meatballs, intestines- you name it, it’ll be on a stick. Just eat it all, it’s all good!
Must Eat Number 7
Noodle soups $
Noodle soup vendors are a dime a dozen. Chinese style noodle soups with slices of BBQ pork, wontons and egg noodles, fish balls with rice noodles, yen ta fou (Thai red soup), there’s lots of choice. If you like a bit of spice, try Tom Yum noodles! A perfect light lunch.
Must Eat Number 8
Chicken on rice $
Street vendors and restaurants
There’s something very comforting about poached white chicken on fatty rice. It’s simple, nourishing and dead cheap.
Must Eat Number 9
Pad kra pao $
Street vendors and most restaurants
They say pad kra pao is the dish most widely eaten in Bangkok. We’ve eaten it at breakfast, lunch and dinner and it never fails to satisfy. This fiery stir-fry of meat, holy basil and chilli is best eaten topped with a fried egg on rice. We like ours with moo (pork) but it’s great with gai (chicken) too. Don’t leave Bangkok without eating this dish.
Must Eat Number 10
Fresh fruit $
The Thais love to snack on fresh fruit so you’ll find street vendors with carts filled with pineapple, watermelon, green mango and papaya all over the place. You’ll also find juice vendors squeezing pomegranate, oranges and lime which make for a nice pick me up.
Must Eat Number 11
Coconut ice-cream $
Roaming street vendor
When it’s scorching hot outside, the tinkling bell which heralds the arrival of the ice-cream vendor is irresistible. Coconut ice-cream is a MUST when in Bangkok- get it in a cone, in a cup with peanuts and evaporated milk drizzled over the top or in a bun!
Must Eat Number 12
Thai coffee and Thai tea $
You’ll see every second person holding a plastic bag containing a Thai iced coffee or tea around the streets of Bangkok. The sugary hit you get from these condensed milk heavy drinks is a great pick me up. Look for vendors who use filtered coffee rather than instant.
Must Eat Number 13
Fried chicken $$
Soi Polo , street vendors
We love fried chicken so we find ourselves in serious trouble when in Bangkok- it’s everywhere! Our favourite place to visit is Soi Polo, a restaurant next to Lumphini Park where you can sit in air-conditioning and eat som tam (papaya salad), sticky rice and fried chicken to your hearts content!
Must Eat Number 14
A meal at Soei $$-$$$
Check out our Soei post for address details.
If you’re sick of eating on the street and want to enjoy a bit of a long lunch, head to Soei. One of our favourite restaurants in Bangkok, this place does epic dishes like choo chee mackerel curry and raw prawns (goong chae nam pla). It’s a real locals place and does delicious, home-style food.
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Watch our Bangkok Street Food video below!