Oct 19 , 2011
Bangkok is a food enthusiast's dream—it has more than 50,000 restaurants, most of which are inexpensive, relative to their western counterparts. Whether you want to eat like royalty or like the common man, here are the ins and outs of Bangkok food. Bring an appetite, and a sense of adventure.
Bangkok Street Food
Any discussion of Bangkok food should begin with the veritable sea of Bangkok street food you’ll find. As its name suggests, street foods are purchased and eaten on the streets, typically from vendor carts and anyone with an enterprising spirit and a good recipe. Far from an upper class indulgence, street food is a cheap source of energy for common people, and it is also some of the most delicious Bangkok food around. If you’d like to go on a hunt for street food, you’ll probably just have to walk a few feet outside of your Bangkok hotel—street vendors are everywhere.
Soup is a common Bangkok street food. One of the most ubiquitous is pad Thai, which consists of stir-fried noodles with eggs, fish sauce, and spices. You’ll also find tom yam kung, a spicy soup with prawns and lemongrass. For a quick, mess-free pick-me-up, try satay, or skewered meat with hot sauce. You’ll find that spices and hot sauces are popular on Bangkok foods, so brace yourself accordingly.
If you’d really like to step outside of your gastronomical comfort zone with your Bangkok food adventure, head to Khao San Road, where carts selling edible insects wait to tantalize your taste buds. The bugs are deep fried and sprayed with a soy-based sauce, making them pretty tasty. They have long been a staple Bangkok food amongst the city’s working classes, and you’ll discover that they’re actually pretty tasty.
Aside from the all-encompassing moniker “Thai food”, visitors who have done their homework will appreciate the subtle differences in cuisine between Thailand’s different regions. Bangkok food offers tastes of each region for you to try. Food from the northern region, for example, is generally served on small plates, and is meant to be shared. Southern Thai food is influenced by Indian and Muslim cuisines, which is evident in the most common southern dish found in Bangkok – massaman curry, which has beef, tamarind, and dry spices typical of Indian curries.
Chinese food is also a popular cuisine among Bangkok food options, and the best place to go is the ethnic community of Yaowarat, where you’ll be able to select from delicacies sold at street food prices. If you’ve wanted to try bird’s nest, Yawarat offers the perfect opportunity.
To celebrate a special occasion or mark a new business deal, you’ll want to explore Bangkok’s fine dining options. For the utmost in luxury Bangkok food, reserve a table at the fabulous Breeze, atop the Lebua at State Tower. Breeze sits on the hotel’s 52nd floor, with a full al fresco dining experience that leaves guests in awe.
The setting alone is worth having a meal here, but the food is also exemplary. You may order ala carte or from a prix fixe menu, and you’ll be presented with delicacies like Chilean sea bass, wok-fried lobster, and chicken & sharkfin soup. With wine, meals can run up to $500 a head, but this is still less than you’d expect to pay at similar restaurants in the west.
Now that you have an overview of Bangkok food options, check out this list of the 5 best Bangkok restaurants.