Bangkok is one of the world’s greatest street food cities and as soon as you arrive and start exploring the city, you’ll discover that there’s an abundance of delicious things to eat everywhere you look.
Along with street food, Bangkok is a also a city where restaurants of all levels, serving both Thai and an extensive range of international cuisine, are flourishing. You can eat modern Thai meal for lunch and sit down for a world class Italian dinner (there are so many food possibilities).
For this Bangkok guide and tips I’m focusing on Thai food. I’ve classified the main levels of food you’ll find in Bangkok, and suggested some of my personal favorite places to eat them.
THAI STREET FOOD
Thai street food is one of the ultimate joys of being in Bangkok.
You can get anything from a snack to eat while you’re walking down the sidewalk, to an entire sit down meal feast on the streets of Bangkok, twenty four hours a day.
Bowls of piping hot noodles, stir fried dishes over rice, Thai curry and rice, grilled meats, and green papaya salad, are just a few examples of foods you’ll encounter.
A few of my favorite Bangkok street food areas:
- Wang Lang Market – Located across the Chao Phraya River from the Grand Palace, Wang Lang Market is one of Bangkok’s premiere foodie destinations. During the day, you’ll find an immense amount of Thai street food filling the lanes of the market, both snacks and full meals are available.
- Chinatown (Yaowarat) – Exploring the congested and chaotic streets of Bangkok’s Chinatown never gets old; There’s so much delicious food to try. In the day time, you’ll find markets and some food stalls, but street food really comes alive in the evening and throughout the night.
- Silom Soi 20 – For a good central Thai morning market, check out Silom Soi 20. Both fresh ingredients and food ready to eat are available. I personally love the Thai chicken biryani, and the black sticky rice and custard at the front of the market.
Some of my favorite street food stalls:
- Som Tam Jay So (ร้านส้มตำเจ๊โส) – Som Tam Jay So is one of my go-to spots in Bangkok for real deal Isaan food.
- Kuay Jab Nay Lek (ก๋วยจั๊บนายเล็ก) – This stall in Yaowarat serves amazing peppery pork soup with noodle rolls.
- Doy Kuay Teow Reua (ต้อยก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ) – Boat noodles are one of the most popular noodle dishes in Bangkok, and this is one of my favorite spots.
- Tom Yum Goong in Bangkok (ร้านต้มยำกุ้งบางลำพู) – This street food stall in Banglamphu is a little on the dirty side, but they make one of the best versions of tom yum goong in the city.
- Somsak Boo Op (สมศักดิ์ ปูอบ) – You might have to wait to get a table here, but they make an incredible version of shrimp and mung bean noodles – called goong ob woon sen.
- Vegetarian: Chamlong Asoke (จำลอง (สันติอโศก) – This is one of the greatest vegetarian food courts in Bangkok, located across the street from Chatuchak Market in northern Bangkok.
- Halal: Yusup Pochana (ยูซุปโภชนา) – This restaurant is a little off the beaten path, but they serve some awesome Halal Thai food.
Also, don’t miss my full list of best restaurants in Bangkok here.
Local Thai food restaurants (shophouses)
While I truly love street food and the atmosphere of dining on the streets of Bangkok, I would say the actual best Thai food comes from local restaurants, or shophouse restaurants – the taste of food is often just one notch above street food.
Some shophouse restaurants actually started off as street food stalls, but due to success or progression, they have since moved into a more permanent facility. Shophouse restaurants are where many of the best traditional Thai and Thai Chinese chefs operate from.
Here area a few local Thai restaurants I love:
- Soei (ร้านเส่ย) – This has long been one of my favorite restaurants in Bangkok. The food is dangerously tasty, spicy, and full of vibrant flavors.
- Mit Ko Yuan (ร้านมิตรโกหย่วน) – Serving some of the best tom yum goong, Mit Ko Yuan is an old shophouse restaurant that serves mostly stir fried Thai dishes.
- Som Tam Sida (ส้มตำสีดา) – Positioned in the middle of Wang Lang Market, Som Tam Sida is a fantastic family run Isaan restaurant.
- Laab Udon (ร้านลาบอุดร) – Located right off the Surasak BTS station in Sathorn, Laab Udon serves Isaan food including the full spectrum of different som tam (green papaya salad) and dishes off the grill.
- Ran Ruam Dai (ร้านรวมใต้) – For a true taste of authentic southern Thai food, this is one of my favorite places.
- Vegetarian: Su Ki Jeh Ru Yi (สุกี้เจหรูยี่) – This is a pretty classic Thai Chinese vegetarian restaurant located behind Hua Lamphong train station.
- Halal: Muslim Restaurant (ร้านอาหารมุสลิม) – Located in the heart of Bangrak, this legendary Halal restaurant serves good Thai biryani and an assortment of curry.
Fine Thai Dining (higher end)
When you choose a fine dining Thai restaurant in Bangkok, you have to be careful. There are many high end restaurants that serve mediocre food (at best), that’s actually watered down from the real Thai taste, but just prettified.
The good news is, there are a growing handful of higher end Thai restaurants in Bangkok that are truly serving outstanding Thai food, using high quality ingredients, and being creative, yet not compromising the balance and robustness of Thai flavors.
- Paste (Note: Location is at Gayson Plaza, Ratchaprasong) – Paste is the leader of modern progressive Thai food in Bangkok. Acute attention is paid to every detail of flavor and balance and you can taste the passion of the chefs in the cooking (Paste also offers vegetarian options on their menu).
- The Local – The Local is another one of my favorite nicer sit down Thai restaurants in Bangkok. It’s a nice setting and great food.
- Baan Thai Family Recipes – What I really like about Baan is that the food tastes like food you’d eat at a Thai home, but using high quality and sustainable ingredients.
NOTE: For a more extensive guide to Thai food, check out my Eating Thai Food Guide. You’ll learn Thai eating etiquette and tips and useful instructions on how to order Thai food.
SOME OF MY FAVORITE THAI DISHES
10 of My Favorite Thai dishes
- Tom yum goong (ต้มยําากุ้ง) – Tom yum goong, Thai shrimp soup, is one of the most essential dishes in Thai cuisine. I love it so much, I dedicated a t-shirt to it! The soup has countless varieties, but lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, chilies, and in this case shrimp, are mandatory.
- Pla pao (ปลาเผา) – A whole fish is stuffed with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, rolled in a salt crust, grilled over charcoal, and served with chili garlic sauce.
- Som tam (ส้มตําา) – Som tam refers to any variety of different green papaya salad that’s an essential dish in Isaan (northeastern Thai and Laos) cuisine.
- Pad ka prao (ผัดกะเพรา) – One of the most popular and widely available Thai street food dishes is pad ka prao, a choice of meat stir fried with lots of garlic, chilies, and the all important holy basil.
- Kuay teow reua (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ) – Boat noodles as they are commonly known, are a pork based Thai soup noodle, and a favorite in Bangkok.
- Kuay teow neau (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเนื้อ) – Another noodle Thai noodle soup dish I enjoy is beef noodles, usually served with fall apart tender braised beef and rice noodles.
- Boo pad pongari (ปูผัดผงกะหรี่) – Pongari is a type of Thai yellow curry thickened with eggs. It’s often made with crab, but you can also order it with squid or even chicken.
- Goong pad sataw (กุ้งผัดสะตอ) – Stir fried stink beans with shrimp, or with another protein, and chili paste, is easily one of my favorite dishes in Thailand. You’ll find it at many rice and curry stalls.
- Hor mok (ห่อหมก) – If made correctly, hor mok, a type of fish curry custard, can ben extremely good. Pieces are fish are mixed with curry sauce and herbs, and steamed. Hor mok is available and rice and curry restaurants.
- Nam prik kapi (น้ําาพริกกะปิ) – Nam prik refers to any type of Thai chili dipping sauce, and this version is mainly flavored with shrimp paste. It’s typically eaten with vegetables and rice, and you’ll find it at markets throughout Bangkok.
There are hundreds of different and unique Thai dishes, and if you see something that looks interesting and delicious when you’re in Bangkok, you should try it.
The list above includes just a few of my favorite dishes that I frequently eat (and that are quite common to find), but it should not limit you – there are so many other dishes to try to!
KUAY TEOW GAI – THAI CHICKEN NOODLES