Bangkok has no shortage of places to eat or foods to eat. When we went there recently, my list of foods and places to try was long, but alas, I couldn’t get through it all!
This vibrant city in Thailand has so much to offer in the food scene, from tasty street foods to dine-in restaurants to dessert houses. There really is a bit of everything and it’s so hard to choose.
As a the partner post to A Day Out In Bangkok, here are some of the places we ate at that I think are definitely worth mentioning!
Not only can you find so many things to buy at the Chatuchak Market, you can also have a great sampling of food while you’re walking around! The offerings are plenty and it’s hard to decide exactly what to eat.
Aside from food stalls scattered around the market, there is a large covered area with food stalls set up around the perimeter. Plastic tables and stools are set up in the middle of all these stalls for make-shift dining. While there are no walls separating each stall’s “restaurant”, somehow the lines are defined and they will seat you in the appropriate area belonging to them.
All the food is cooked in their make-shift kitchens, fresh and hot, and served to you within minutes of ordering. It’s an amazing operation, all in the open for you to see!
One dish we knew we had to get when we saw it was whole salt-grilled fish! We had this for the first time when we went to Chiang Mai last year and loved it. So it only made sense to have it again here in Bangkok! The crusty salty fish skin was opened up to reveal perfectly cooked and delicious fish, especially when eaten with the accompanying sweet and spicy sauce!
We also had some tasty pork fried rice and stir-fried morning glory…it was a well-rounded meal for the four of us!
So much like Bangkok in general, this dining experience at the market is a bit frenetic! It’s crowded, hot, and noisy! But the food is really good and cheap and again, it’s one of those experiences you just have to have if you come to Bangkok!
After a meal like that, which we tried to keep light so we could eat more food, we stumbled upon a stall selling roast pork belly. Oh my goodness me…it looked so incredible that I had to stop and try it!
It seemed like quite a popular stall considering the line-up of people waiting to order, and there were also several people standing around the stall, devouring this tasty offering.
Needless to say, I was not disappointed. Super tasty pork topped with fresh thick cucumber slices and chopped coriander, and drizzled with a wonderful sweet and spicy Thai chili garlic sauce. So so good! We all loved it!
After all that food, we decided it was a good time to move on to dessert!
We had to try Thai coconut ice cream which comes on a bed of chunky coconut, set in a coconut shell as your bowl! You can top the ice cream with peanuts or corn or other choices that aren’t your typical ice cream toppings, too. We stuck with just peanuts and it was pretty good!
If you want a fresh fruit option, you’re in luck! Fresh fruit is everywhere in the market and it’s cheap! And one of the best things is that being in this part of the world means you have access to so many amazing tropical fruits like mangos, durian, rambutan, papaya, guava, passionfruit, etc.
This is only a very VERY small sampling of the food you can get at Chatuchak Market, but it gives you a bit of an idea of what is there. Besides finding plety of Thai dishes such as pad thai and curries, you can also get kebabs, burritos, and even paella!
Laem Charoen – Emquartier Mall
This restaurant came highly recommended by my friend, Kara, and I knew we had to take her up on her suggestion when she said they had the best crab fried rice! Let’s just say that we were so happy with this restaurant that we actually went twice on this one trip!
Laem Charoen has several locations throughout Bangkok, but we chose to go to the one in the Helix building of the Emquartier Mall. As luck would have it, when we arrived for dinner, they asked if we wanted to sit outside…so we happily accepted. We had no idea that they even had outdoor seating, and once we saw the view, we were happy they had a table open!
So nice! And it wasn’t too hot, so sitting outside was perfect!
And of course, not only were the view and atmosphere good, so was the food. On our first visit there, we ordered the highly recommended crab fried rice, stir-fried pea sprouts, and prawns with glass noodles. We also ordered fresh fruit smoothies which were so refreshing.
On our second visit, we had, yet again, crab fried rice (because it was so good with all those big crab chunks!), stir-fried morning glory, scallops and garlic, and lime steamed sea bass. Oh, and more refreshing smoothies!
If you’re looking for a good local restaurant, this is a good one to visit. And if you want to try and score the view outside while you dine, go to the Emquartier location!
Lek-Rut Seafood Restaurant – Chinatown
As if Chinatown wasn’t crazy enough to walk around, we decided we’d eat dinner there, too!
Lek-Rut is a popular restaurant and is supposedly the first restaurant in this area. Whether or not that is true, it attracts a huge crowd of people wanting to dine there.
There is a bit of a story with Lek-Rut with another restaurant immediately next to it. They both serve the same menu, are literally steps from each other, and compete with each other for patrons. The only way you can tell them apart is by the colored shirts they wear…Lek-Rut employees wear red and the other restaurant employees wear green!
How exactly they differ, I’m not sure, but we went for Lek-Rut (red shirts) and sat on plastic stools at a metal table, with a view of the insane traffic in front of us.
We ordered crab fried rice, morning glory, and curry scallops…all of which weren’t bad. We noticed a lot of people ordering fresh cooked seafood like crab and prawns, which might be what they’re better known for.
Sitting roadside while we ate our dinner was definitely not relaxing. It was hot, humid, and noisy…but I was still really glad we did it, and it’s an experience that you just have to try for yourself!
MidTown Restaurant – Siam Paragon Mall
MidTown Restaurant is a comfortable restaurant with a good selection of tasty food. Again, you can find the usual Thai classics, but they also offer some western options if you’re wanting a change. We got a mix of Thai and western for our meal, having crab fried rice (we were a bit hooked, by this point), morning glory (always a favorite), crispy pork belly, and grilled rib eye. It was all delicious!
And really awesomely good fruit smoothies just seem so common in Bangkok, it seems crazy not to get them!
If you’re looking for a mix of Thai and western choices for a meal in a full-service restaurant, MidTown is a good option to consider.
Terminal 21 Food Court
If you want cheap eats but don’t necessarily want street food, give the Pier 21 food court in Terminal 21 mall a try!
I know food court food doesn’t exactly sound appealing. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that food courts in Asia are really good, and often they are waaaaaay better than western ones! That is my own humble opinion, of course, but I will take real Asian food court food over western food court food any day!
The first thing you need to know is that none of the food vendors in this food court handle money. You have to go to the customer service counter which has COUPON above it.
You put money onto a card (I believe 500 baht, or $15USD is the maximum) and use that card to pay for your meals. Each vendor you buy from swipes the card through their machine which deducts the appropriate amount from the card and then it gets returned to you. When you’re done eating, you can take that card back to the COUPON counter and they will give you the balance back in cash. Easy!
Terminal 21’s food court has a reputation for its wide selection of food at ridiculously cheap prices. You’ll find local Thai cuisine, curries, Chinese, noodles, fried rice, soups, deep fried foods, desserts, drinks, coffee beverages…they cover it all! And speaking of cheap, you can get a plate of food for $1.50USD!
Oh and when you get your meal, it won’t come with any cutlery, with the exception of those that use chopsticks. You need to find the cutlery counters to get your own forks and spoons…next to which there is this nifty contraption that somehow sanitizes your cutlery when you stick them inside! I have no idea how it works, but I went along with it because why wouldn’t I want a clean fork to eat with?
You can also get fruit smoothies for ridiculously cheap, too…
Carrying trays of food around, retrieving cutlery, noise, crowds…fine dining, this is not. It is a food court, after all! However, on the days when you just want food that is hot, tasty, fast, and cheap, you just can’t beat this place!
The Glass House Silver – Pattaya
This restaurant is in Pattaya City and not Bangkok. If you happen to make the field trip to Pattaya like we did, this restaurant is definitely worth visiting for its food and the atmosphere.
Because, really…who would argue with dining beachfront with a wonderful view of the ocean?
The Glass House was a perfect location to chill for a leisurely lunch of fried rice, spring rolls, crispy pork belly, and spicy Korean pork. Good food in a relaxing atmosphere with a great view…you can’t go wrong!
Another couple of restaurants we went to in Pattaya were the Pink Salmon Restaurant and the Spa Cafe. Both had great meals to offer, both Thai and western. They are definitely worth looking up if you are in the the area.
So are you hungry yet? 🙂
It would take days upon days upon days to cover everything Bangkok has to offer in terms of food, and really, my stomach just wasn’t that big to handle it all in a week! And granted, there was just SO MUCH FOOD that by the end of the week, I was kind of exhausted from eating! I felt like I was gaining pounds just from the mere sight of food! That being said, I can’t wait to go back and try things I missed on this trip! The food in Bangkok is really that diverse and amazing.
If you want suggestions on things to see and do in Bangkok, be sure to read the partner to this post, A Day Out In Bangkok!
Give some of these a try when you visit Bangkok…and be sure to go hungry and bring comfortable clothes! 🙂