Bangkok revels in its status as a culinary Mecca.
From shriveled street vendors doing alchemy with sizzling woks to chef prodigies shaping the food scene, the city boasts one of the most diverse culinary scenes in the world.
That’s why eating is a common thread that runs through even a short stay in the Thai capital.
Chinatown and Rattanakosin
Bangkok’s oldest enclaves encompass visitor highlights such as the Grand Palace and the riverside temple of Wat Pho. Other draws include neighborhoods such as Chinatown and Banglamphu, both of which have plenty of dining options.
To start the day the old-fashioned way, visitors can fill up on sweet coffee, soft-boiled eggs and fluffy toast spread with butter and sangkaya (coconut cream made from a tropical plant called pandan) in On Luk Yun.
After touring the royal sites, travelers can stop for lunch at Roti Mataba for pan-fried flatbread stuffed with spicy toppings.
Roti Mataba serves butter-fried roti flatbread, which is stuffed, served with curry, or covered in sweetened condensed milk and sugar.
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For a more upscale midday meal, there’s Nusara, where Michelin-starred chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn pays homage to his late grandmother with his take on traditional Thai recipes. He said it can be difficult to please both travelers and discerning local customers, who often want different things.
“Tourists want to try Thai food – they want to try traditional recipes,” he said. “On the other hand, local Thai customers like to eat something that tastes familiar, but…they want something new, so it forces chefs to find new ways to work with ingredients and flavors. Thai.”
Snacks are an integral part of Thai food culture. For that, there’s Nai Mong, which serves hoi thod (oyster pancake), near Wat Mangkon station, or Lao Tang for tender, braised goose meat in the heart of Yaowarat Road, the main thoroughfare. of Chinatown.
Queues form early in the evening outside Jay Fai, where the Michelin-starred owner invites visiting foodies with dishes such as pad kee mao (drunken noodles) and khai jiew poo ( crab omelet).
Jay Fai is Thailand’s first street restaurant to win a Michelin star. Chef and owner Supinya Junsuta, 70, covers her eyes with ski goggles while preparing her wok-fried dishes in Bangkok, Thailand.
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A more refined alternative to the Michelin garlands in the Old Town is 80/20, where Canadian chef Andrew Martin reinforces the restaurant’s reputation for its boundary-burning flair.
Highlights of its menu include “Stormy Sea”, a dish of squid, mangosteen and chilli, inspired by the chef’s fishing trips to southern Thailand, and “Isaan Market”, which focuses solely on seasonal mushrooms found in the mountainous regions of the country. northeast region.
Silom and Sathorn
There’s nothing screwed up about the foodie scene in the Silom and Sathorn business districts.
Jok Prince, near the junction of Silom Road and Charoenkrung Road, is a stall famous for its sweet and smoky jok (Thai-style rice congee). From there, it’s a short walk to Tuang by Chef Yip, which serves up some of the best dim sum in town – and the cheapest.
Visitors can weave their way east between Sathorn Road and Silom Road, stopping at the centuries-old Hindu shrine Sri Mariamman Temple and some of the area’s best-known street vendors.
Two of them have their specialties directly in their names. Som Tam Jay So, on Soi Phiphat 2 between Convent Road and the Chong Nonsi skytrain station, serves up a must-try “som tam”, or spicy papaya salad. Near Shangri-La Bangkok, Baan Phadthai, which means “House of Pad Thai”, is well known for what is perhaps the country’s most famous dish.
Som tam is a sweet Thai salad made with ripe papaya, long beans, lime, garlic, peanuts and sugar.
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For a memorable gourmet dinner, there’s Saawaan, where Sujira “Aom” Pongmorn serves up beef salads, crab fat dips, grilled pork neck, and hot and sour soups in delicate portions.
For a break from Thai cuisine, travelers can head to Yen Akat Road, one of the area’s busiest thoroughfares, for beef tartare and truffle risotto at Cagette Canteen & Deli. For another side of Europe, there’s the two-Michelin-starred Suhring, a German fine-dining restaurant run by twin brothers that was voted #6 of “Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants” in 2021.
Siam and Sukhumvit
The hyper-commercial heart of Bangkok is more than a shopper’s paradise. Breakfast here can be a healthy acai bowl or Luka’s breakfast burrito at Siri House, a serene haven with lovely green gardens near the Chidlom Skytrain station.
For a more formal Thai lunch, there’s Paste — voted No. 38 on the 2020 “Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants” list — where traditional cuisine is served with creative twists.
Travelers can follow the office crowds to Sanguan Sri on Witthayu Road to sample fragrant curries such as gaeng kiew wan nuea (beef green curry) in this expat-friendly part of Bangkok.
A spirit of culinary internationalism is alive and well at places like Appia, a Roman-style trattoria, as well as El Mercado, where a hand-curated menu features dishes such as New Zealand mussels and Australian tenderloin.
Mango sticky rice is a simple but famous Thai dessert made with sticky rice, coconut milk, ripe mangoes and mung beans.
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Those who want to celebrate a trip to Bangkok in style can do so in the bustling setting of Mia. Its exquisite tasting menu features cod confit with prawn and mussel mousseline and Hokkaido scallop with apple and dill sorbet.
If there is room, a finishing touch of Thai cuisine can be had at Mae Varee at the junction of Sukhumvit Road and Sukhumvit 55. This is a fruit shop famous for serving the classic Thai dessert, sticky rice with the mango. It is currently ranked #10 out of 428 dessert places in Bangkok.