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Bangkok is a captivating city with world-class street food, bustling markets, and restaurants.
Knowing what to eat in Bangkok, also known as the City of Angles, can be overwhelming, with food available at every street corner, day and night.
After spending several months exploring the culinary delights of Bangkok, we’ve put a spotlight on the local dishes, including those with worldwide recognition.
While in the Land of Smiles, use this Bangkok food guide to know the best food in Bangkok and where to eat it.
Aroy Aroy or yummy, yummy in Thai.
Bangkok Food Guide Map
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST: One of the best ways to explore the best Thai food in Bangkok is on a food tour with a local guide. Having a local English-speaking guide makes a huge difference, and you’ll also discover the best food in Bangkok that is often off the beaten path. See the 7 Best Bangkok Food Tours To Take
Top 15 Best Places To Eat Thai Food in Bangkok
1. Pad Thai, Phat Thai, or Phad Thai – Thailand’s National Dish
Pad Thai is one of the most recognizable and delicious Thai dishes. Outside of Thailand, you will find the noodles served with chicken, pork, or beef.
In Thailand, the rice noodles are accompanied by shrimp, prawns, tofu, and, increasingly, chicken.
Extremely popular in Bangkok, this Thai dish has an interesting and surprising origin. Pad Thai was created by the Thai government more than 85 years ago to build nationalism.
Rice noodles emerged as the winner, and they were both cheap and filling.
With the addition of vegetables, bean sprouts, and inexpensive protein, it was the perfect nutritious meal for a county that was facing economically challenging times
You’ll find this delicious Thai food throughout Bangkok, from street food stalls to local restaurants.
Where To Eat The Best Pad Thai in Bangkok
Thip Samai, one of our favorite restaurants, is widely considered to have the best Pad Thai in Bangkok. Their pad thai stands out because it’s wrapped in egg, which gives it a special presentation and scrumptious flavors.
Address: 313 315 Maha Chai Rd, Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
Hours: Open Wed-Mon,, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm; Closed Tuesday
Tip: Expect long lines to get seated, but the wait is worth it. Ask for a table upstairs where it’s more airy.
For a more local experience, head to Yaowapha, a hidden gem spot for equally amazing pad thai. Filled mostly with locals, you’ll appreciate the local atmosphere while savoring delicious Thai food.
Address: 158 Chakkraphet Rd, Wang Burapha Phirom, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
Hours: Open daily, 9:00 am–5:00 pm
Tip: Visit the nearby Pak Khlong Talat market, one of the largest flower markets in Bangkok,
2. Kaeng Kari – Thai Yellow Curry
Compared to green or red curry, Thai yellow curry is popular for its mild, sweet, and savory flavors.
The use of turmeric is what gives this traditional Thai food its distinctive color. This delicious curry is made with coconut milk, including yellow chili peppers, garlic, lemongrass, and curry powder.
The two most popular proteins in yellow Thai curry are chicken and seafood. Though you’ll find some versions with beef.
The dish is often served with a side of steamed rice, but rice noodles can also be used.
If you are not a fan of spicy food, you’ll enjoy this yellow curry dish instead.
Where to Eat The Best Thai Curries in Bangkok
Khao Gaeng Jek Pui (Je Chie) is a well-known local curry stall that’s popular and busy. There are no tables but chairs to sit in while you eat.
You’ll find three types of Thai curries served daily, and the yellow curry is one of the most popular. This is one of our favorite spots in Bangkok for delicious and quick Thai curries.
Address: 25 Mangkon Rd, Pom Prap, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok
Hours: Open daily 4:00 pm– 7:30 pm. Closed Monday
Tip: Expect to find lines of people waiting to sit and eat. Fortunately, the queue moves fast.
3. Hoi Thod – Thai Oyster Omelet
The Thai oyster omelet is another beloved Bangkok street food that you’ll find at most street corners in the city.
It’s a battery-eggy fried oyster and mussels dish of Chinese origin. Even though it’s called an omelet, it looks more like a fried pancake.
Depending on where you have this delicious food, the oysters and mussels may be baked into the omelet or served on top.
It is typically served with an assortment of condiments like fish sauce, fresh chilies, green chili sauce, and a sweet tomato-based sauce.
We enjoyed this Thai dish, particularly the oysters, which we found to be surprisingly fresh and very tasty.
Eating a Thai oyster omelet is a tasty way to immerse yourself in local Thai-Chinese culture through food.
Where to Eat Hoi Thod
Nai Mong Hoi Thod is one of the most famous restaurants in Bangkok for Thai oyster omelets.
It’s been awarded a Bib Gourmand by the Michelin Guide, as well as several other accolades in its more than 30 years of existence.
Nai Mong Hoi Thod serves two types of oyster omelets: soft and crispy. No matter what kind you order, you can expect to receive a fair-sized portion with sizeable oysters.
Address: 539 Phlap Phla Chai Road, Bangkok.
Hours: Open Wed-Sun, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm; Closed Mon-Tues
Tip: Plan to pay more for your Nai Mong Hoi Thod oyster omelet compared to other places in Bangkok. Cash only.
4. Kuay Teow Kua Gai or Guay Tiew Kua Gai – Thai Fried Noodles with Chicken
Thai fried noodles are an extremely common Bangkok street food. Around Chinatown, you’ll find many street food stalls making this traditional Thai food.
The most common way of making this dish is with chicken, which is the “gai” in the name.
A dish of Chinese origins, the noodles are stir-fried on high heat in a wok over a charcoal fire.
Along with the noodles, chicken is added, usually followed by an egg, which is fried.
The key to the dish is cooking the noodles until they turn golden brown and are slightly crispy.
The softened, runny egg yolk adds a nice contrast to the noodles and fried chicken. Add some tangy sauce and chili flakes, provided as condiments, and enjoy one of the best Thai foods in Bangkok.
Where to Eat Kuay Teow Kua Gai
Popular due to being a Michelin-award-winning street food eatery, plan to wait in line.
The roasted chicken fried noodles with a runny egg are by far the most beloved dish. The sizes can run on the small side, so order an extra serving or try both the chicken and shrimp versions.
Address: 419 Luang Road, Wat Dhebsirin, Bangkok
Hours: Open daily, 2:00 pm–11:00 pm
Tip: Add a hint of sweet chili sauce to your fried noodles to contrast the savory flavors
5. Tom Yum Soup – Thai Hot and Sour Soup
Tom Yum soup is one of the most popular Thai soups, not only in Thailand but in Thai restaurants around the world.
The word “tom” means boiled and “yum” refers to its sour, salty, and spicy flavors.
Tom yum soup with shrimp, also Tom Yum Goong, is one of the most popular varieties. However, there are other versions available with squid, fish, or chicken.
The ingredients in Tom Yum soup can be many, including lemongrass and galangal, a plant that’s related to ginger.
Coconut milk can sometimes be added depending on what version you select.
Shallots and garlic give tom yum soup more potent flavors, while lime juice added at the end gives the dish some sourness.
Where to Eat Tom Yum Soup
This simple, no frills eatery in Chinatown serves what many consider the best street food seafood in Bangkok.
It’s a tiny shophouse with tables and crowds spilling over on the sidewalks. With a reputation for having extremely fresh fish and seafood at affordable prices, it tends to get busy with locals and tourists alike.
The Tom Yum Goong soup with shrimp is outstanding, as is the grilled prawns and fresh fish cooked with lime.
Address: 49, 51 Phadungdao Yaowarat Rd, Bangkok
Hours: Open daily, 4:00 pm – 2:00 am
Tip: Grab a seat in the airconditioned interior dining room for a more comfortable experience
6. Ba-Mii Puu Nam – Crab Noodle Soup
Crab noodle soup is a classic Thai dish found at seafood restaurants. The crab noodle soup is made using broth from seafood and sometimes other meats such as pork.
Freshly made egg noodles, which are wheat-based, are added to the broth, and they become soft, bouncy, and flavorful.
The soup is also served with chunks of crab meat or full-size crab claws.
The egg noodles develop a soft but chewy texture as they cook, which we appreciate.
Thai cuisine often uses blue crab, which comes from the coasts of the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand.
Blue crab is distinct for its sweet flavor and buttery tones as well as its exceptionally tender meat.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you are planning on traveling to Chiang Mai, please see our food guide 15 of the Best Authentic Chiang Mai Food and Where to Eat It
Where to Eat Crab Noodle Soup
This discreet Chinese-style shophouse in Bangkok’s Chinatown is unlike other noodle shops in Bangkok.
Odean is renowned for their gigantic and tasty crab claws. You can have your noodles and soup mixed or can ask for a dry version with the broth on the side.
No matter which version you select, get a generous serving of the crab claws.
Address: 724 Charoen Krung Rd, Chinatown (near Wat Traimit)
Hours: Open daily, 8:30 am -7:30 pm
Tip: Choose what you want to pay for the size of your crab claw. The bigger, the meatier, and the more delicious.
7. Khao Na Ped – Roasted Duck on Rice
One of the best Thai foods to eat in Bangkok is roasted duck, a dish of Thai Chinese cuisine and influences.
Khao Na Ped is easily available at Bangkok street stalls with lines of hanging ducks around the stall.
This delicious Thai food and one of our favorite Bangkok foods consists of roasted and slightly crispy duck layered on a bed of plain rice.
It’s served with a sweet and sour broth on the side, with chili peppers and soy sauce provided as condiments.
Our first introduction to roast duck was on a food tour, and we highly recommend it as an experience to be savored while visiting Bangkok Thailand.
Where to Eat Khao Na Ped
Prachak Petyang, a family-owned shop with a reputation for its exceptional roast duck, was one of our favorite local Thai restaurants.
Opened in 1909, you can taste and understand how this 5th-generation Bangkok restaurant stays in business.
The roasted duck delivers on all fronts. Its skin is perfectly crispy, with lemongrass flavors deliciously seeping through the tender duck breast.
Address: 1415 Charoen Krung Rd, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok
Hours: Open daily, 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Tip: The interior airconditioned dining room provides relief from Bangkok’s heat.
8. Som Tam – Green Papaya Salad
Ranked by CNN as one of the Top 50 Foods in the World, Som Tam, or green papaya salad, is considered one of Thailand’s national dishes.
This dish is believed to have originated in Laos, in the northern Isaan region which borders the two countries.
While there are many variations of this traditional Thai food, grated green papaya, and chilis are the main ingredients.
Tamarind juice, fish sauce, dried shrimp, peanuts, lime juice, and other ingredients are added and mixed using a mortar and pestle.
The resulting sweet, zesty, sour, and spicy flavorful salad is typically paired with sticky rice for a delightful meal.
We tried the original Laos green papaya salad while exploring the local food specialties in the country. The preparation style and ingredients differ, and the Lao version is spicier.
As one of the beloved traditional dishes, you’ll find green papaya salad everywhere in Bangkok.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: Lao Papaya salad is a vibrant and easy-to-make salad at home. Bring the authentic flavors of this Southeast Asian country into your kitchen with this simple Lao Papaya Salad Recipe: How To Make The Famous Laotian Salad
Where to Eat Green Papaya Salad
Jungle Food Two Sisters Shop restaurant is located in the Bang Rak area of Bangkok.
This local eatery specializes in Isaan food, and its name refers to the cuisine of the mountainous area in northern Thailand.
While you’ll find other traditional dishes, you want to get the Som Tam or green papaya salad. Made fresh to order, you can ask for a mild version if you don’t like spice.
The seating is limited, and the ambiance is local. Enjoy an authentic Thai food experience.
Address: 36/2 Charatwiang Road, Bangkok
Hours: Open daily, 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Tip: In addition to the green papaya salad, also order the lemongrass salad. These two salads from Jungle Food Two Sisters were some of the best authentic Thai foods we had in Bangkok.
9. Gaeng Kiew Wan – Thai Green Curry
Thai curries are divided into three main categories based on the color of the chili paste used.
Green chili is one of the most popular Thai dishes, and it’s from the central region of the country.
The base is made using green chili peppers, garlic, lemongrass, coconut milk, basil, and lime leaves.
This flavorful and vibrant green chili sauce can then be added to chicken or meat and served with a side of fragrant Thai rice.
While green curry is sometimes referred to as “sweet green” curry, it is not necessarily sweet.
The coconut cream used in the cooking gives it its milder flavors, even though Thai green curry is one of the hottest curries.
The curry’s green color comes from the use of Thai green chilis, also known as Bird’s eye chili
As you indulge in this traditional and one of the favorite Thai dishes, prepare your taste buds for the heat.
Where to Eat Thai Green Curry
Than Ying restaurant serves genuine royal Thai cuisine. It’s an upscale restaurant with elegantly dressed tables, with white table linens, and napkins.
The Thai Green Curry with chicken or Gang Kiew Hwaan Gai, was one of the best we enjoyed in Bangkok.
The eggplants soaked in green curry and perfectly paired with chicken stole my heart away.
While not too spicy, the fragrant rice and aromatic sweet basil perfectly complemented the curry and rice.
Address: 10 Pramuan Rd, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok
Hours: Open daily, 11:30 am – 10:00 pm
Tip: While the food is excellent, the service can be inconsistent
10. Gai Yang – Grilled Chicken
Gai Yang is a delicious street food and a local favorite. In Bangkok, you’ll find many vendors selling grilled chicken at street food stalls all over the city.
This style style grilled chicken typically involves grilling chicken spatchcock-style over wood fire coals.
Part of what makes this a Bangkok food not to miss is the vibrant and punchy chicken marinade.
For no less than 12 hours, the chicken is marinated in a delicious mix of lemongrass, cilantro, soy sauce, and fish sauce.
The chicken is typically served with sticky rice and a spicy lime dipping sauce, often mixed with fish sauce.
This Thai-style grilled chicken originates from the Isaan region of the country, and it is also sometimes referred to as “Thai barbecue chicken.”
It’s one of the most popular street foods you’ll find in Bangkok and one we recommend trying.
Where to Thai Grilled Chicken
Located across from Pak Khlong Talat, Bangkok’s main flower market is Chaiyapruet restaurant, known for its outstanding chicken.
We were not expecting to be blown away by grilled chicken and were pleasantly surprised during our visit.
The grilled chicken was covered in spicy chili sauce, and it paired perfectly with a side of rice and vegetables.
This legendary chicken restaurant is famous for their grilled chicken throughout Bangkok.
Address: Ban Mo Rd, Bangkok, Phra Nakhon
Hours: Open daily 1:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Tip: Try the unusual local favorite, caramel crispy chicken
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you like Thai grilled chicken and are heading to Chiang Mai, see where to have the best grilled chicken and other Isaan foods 12 of the Best Chiang Mai Thai Restaurants You’ll Want to Try
11. Royal Stir Fried Cuisine – Thai Flowers with Minced Pork and Seafood
Royal Thai cuisine is the traditional dishes and foods that were once reserved for royalty.
These dishes took more time to prepare and had to taste good and look good, too. This cuisine was called “Chao-Wang food”, meaning food for people living in the palace.
Over time, Royal Cuisine became widespread, with ingredients and recipes available to the common people.
Savoring Royal Thai cuisine was one of our highlights in Bangkok. While the variety and recipes of royal cooking are vast, we particularly enjoyed the stir-fried dishes.
One dish was with stir-fried string beans with shrimp and minced pork. And the other had stir-fried Thai flowers with minced pork.
Both these mouthwatering and exquisite dishes had us begging for more.
As you explore what to eat in Bangkok, add Thai Royal cuisine to your culinary agenda.
Where to Eat Royal Thai Cuisine
Krua Apsorn is a famous Bangkok restaurant that is over 100 years old. The owner of the restaurant used to cook for the Royal Thai family and made the cuisine accessible to all.
It’s an unassuming restaurant with a number of accolades lined up along the walls.
We discovered this local gem on a food tour in Bangkok, and we went back several times on our own.
For an introduction to authentic Royal Thai dishes, Krua Apsorn is well worth the visit.
Address: 169 Dinso Rd, Wat Bowon Niwet, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
Hours: Mon-Sat, 10:30 am – 7:30 pm; Closed Sunday
Tip: The service can be inconsistent
12. Kway Teow Rua or Kuai Teow Ruea- Boat Noodle Soup
Eating boat noodles is a culinary experience not to be missed when visiting Bangkok Thailand, especially for the first time.
These noodles were served from boats floating on the canals in Bangkok, and that’s how they got their name.
Now on “land”, the most popular place for boat noodles is near Victory Monument in Bangkok.
Staying true to their origin, these are small-sized bowls, which were necessary so that the soup wouldn’t spill because of the moving water.
The boat noodles dish is dark and rich and loaded with noodles, herbs, and spices.
It is served with your choice of pork or chicken and pork meatballs.
One of the defining characteristics of the noodle soup is that it contains pork blood, which thickens the soup and adds rich flavors.
The portion sizes are smaller than typical Thai noodle soups, so plan on slurping down more than one bowl.
We each savored two bowls and loved our Thai boat noodles experience.
Where to Eat Boat Noodles in Bangkok
Victory Monument is home to several boat noodle street food stalls. There are several eateries in what is unofficially called Boat Noodle Alley.
Our favorite spot is Doy Kuay Teow Ruea, which is one of the most famous ones in the alley for its delicious food.
You’ll enjoy piping hot pork and beef boat noodles, which are remarkable. Enjoy several bowls and choose one with a combination of beef and pork.
Address: Ratchawithi 18 Alley, Thung Phaya Thai, Ratchathewi, Bangkok
Hours: Open daily 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tip: The alley can get extremely stuffy during the hot season as the kitchens are outdoors. Choose where you sit wisely.
13. Khao Kha Moo – Braised Pork Leg with Rice
One unmissable food in Bangkok is braised pork leg with rice, which you’ll find at many street stalls in Bangkok.
The most famous Khao Khao Moo is from the legendary cowboy hat lady in Chiang Mai, whom you should visit if your travels take you north.
This dish with Chinese influences consists of a slow-cooked pork leg that’s incredibly tender and served with rice.
The meat is cooked in a broth made with soy sauce, palm sugar, garlic, star anise, cinnamon, and others.
The dish is served with a Chinese-style boiled egg cut in half, along with pickled Chinese broccoli and mustard greens.
It’s a succulent and flavorful authentic Thai food that you should try from several street food stalls in Bangkok.
Where to Eat Khao Kha Mu
One of the best places for authentic and traditional Thai food in Bangkok is eating at Or Tor Kor Market.
This is one of the city’s largest fresh markets and a great place to try the local and delicious Thai food.
The market is exceptionally clean, with dedicated areas for cooked food. You can find Khao Kha Moo being sold by vendors in the cooked food section, where you can sit and eat.
If you are adventurous and curious about the infamous durian fruit. Try various durian fruit desserts after your delicious braised pork meal.
Address: 101 Kamphaeng Phet Rd, Chatuchak, Bangkok
Hours: Open daily, 6:00 am – 9:00 pm
Tip: Or Kor Tor market is worth exploring. Go in the morning when locals are shopping for the local vibe. And, then enjoy lunch from the various food stalls in the cooked food area.
14. Khao Niao Ma Muang – Mango Sticky Rice
Mango sticky rice is a classic Thai dessert considered the country’s national dessert.
It is one of the most popular desserts enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
This dessert is made from sticky rice, which is cooked in coconut milk.
The rich-flavored rice is then topped with slices of mango with fried mung beans sprinkled on top.
With the popularity of mango sticky rice, you’ll find plenty of food stalls, street vendors, and shops selling this delicious dessert.
As one of our favorite Thai desserts, we can unequivocally say it is one of the best Thai foods to have in Bangkok.
Where to Eat Mango Sticky Rice
What sets the different street food stalls selling mango sticky rice apart is the flavorful rice and freshest mangos used.
While exploring Bangkok food at Klong Toei, Bangkok’s largest market, we stumbled onto a nondescript local stall.
The vendor was in the middle of preparing the sticky rice and coconut cream mixture.
Immediately tempted by the whiffs of freshly made dessert, we sat down to savor one of the most delicious mango sticky rice desserts we’ve ever tasted.
Take your time perusing the stalls of the mango sticky rice vendors at Klong Toei market and get your taste buds ready for an unforgettable journey.
Address: 121 123,125 Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110; Find the mango sticky rice market vendor at 27 Rama 3 Road
Hours: Open daily, 7:00 am – 9:00 pm
Tip: Savor freshly made mango sticky rice at the stall and get one to go to enjoy later.
Ever since Kor Parnich sticky rice earned a Michelin award, this legendary vendor has been elevated to rock star status.
In business for more than 80 years, it has grown in popularity with visitors. Seating is limited, but it is worth the wait. If busy, your other alternative is to take the mango sticky rice to go.
Address: 431 433 Thanon Tanao, San Chao Pho Sua, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
Hours: Mon-Sat, 7:00 – 6:30 pm; Closed Sunday
Tip: Compared to other street food stall vendors, the prices are higher at Kor Panich.
15. Thai Sweets & Desserts – Khanom
In Thailand, desserts are part of the street food culture and can be found from dawn into the night.
After eating spicy food in Bangkok, you’ll come to quickly appreciate the variety and diversity of Thai desserts.
There are an incredible amount of tantalizing Thai desserts, with a majority of them containing sticky rice,
Some of the most popular ones you’ll come across in Thailand are Thai crepes, known as Khanom Bueang.
Banana with sticky rice wrapped in a banana leaf, known as Khao Tom Mud, in Thai, is another commonly available dessert.
Glutinous rice dumplings covered in shredded coconut, is another popular Thai dessert we enjoyed.
Thai desserts come in all shapes, colors, and sizes They are a cheap street food in Bangkok, and we recommend trying as many different ones as you can on your travels.
Where to Eat Thai Sweets & Desserts
Visiting a floating market in Bangkok is one of the most unique experiences to be enjoyed.
Located next to Bangkok is the Taling Chan Floating Market. It’s called a floating market because boats are tied up along the river with vendors selling food and produce to visitors.
In addition to savory dishes, the range of Thai desserts is quite vast. At the market, you may find some vendors that speak a little English, or at the very least, the name of the dessert will be translated.
This is a great place to experience a unique market and enjoy discovering Thai sweets.
Address: 333 Chak Phra Rd, Khlong Chak Phra, Taling Chan, Bangkok
Hours: Open Sat and Sun; 7:30 am – 4:00 pm; Closed during the week
Tip: We recommend taking a Talin Chan market tour with a local guide for an in-depth experience. Transportation is provided, and having a local English-speaking guide will enrich your experience.
Tips for How to Eat Like a Local in Bangkok
When you first arrive in Bangkok, chances are you will find the sprawling mega-city to be quite intimidating.
And when it comes to the food, delicious smells will tempt you everywhere, and the options will be numerous.
On our first visit to Bangkok, we were overwhelmed by the local Bangkok food scene. However, after multiple visits and spending several weeks each time, we learned to navigate the city like locals.
To help you eat amazing authentic food in Bangkok, here are a few tips to guide you.
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1. Eat at The Local Markets
You will find many local markets in Bangkok. Some markets are large weekend markets, while others are local to the neighborhood.
The markets are typically organized by sections, and generally, the food vendors are at the periphery.
The market vendors tend to specialize in one type of dish. Walk around and find the dishes you want to try. Pull up a chair at a popular stall and enjoy the best Thai food.
2. Order Your Food in Bangkok Like a Local
When you don’t speak Thai, communicating can be difficult, especially when it comes to ordering food.
The good news is that the local shophouse restaurants or street food stalls focus on only ONE dish. This immediately makes things easier!
In addition, many of the local eateries have pictures on the wall, which also helps.
If you are ordering street food, you also have the benefit of seeing exactly what is cooking in front of you.
While most vendors do not speak English, the one word they know is “pork.”
You will easily be able to identify the fish, and after that, your options will most likely be pork (which is the most common) or chicken.
If you are ordering a noodle dish, don’t be intimidated by the many different types of noodles.
Simply place your order and trust the cook to use the right noodles for your meal.
Keep in mind that most times, no one will come and take your order. Be confident and act like the locals who place their order before taking a seat.
3. Portion Sizes and Eating Etiquette
Many of the dishes you will find at street stalls or shophouse restaurants are single dishes, which are complete meals by themselves.
This could be a plate of stir-fried noodles such as Pad Thai or a plate of rice served with a variety of toppings.
At restaurants, food will typically come family-style for everyone to share. The rice and other dishes are usually served in big bowls and placed at the center of the table.
Using your smaller individual plate, serve yourself and eat to your satisfaction.
Do keep in mind that a pair of chopsticks and a spoon and fork are the traditional utensils. Rarely will you find a knife at the table.
When eating at local Bangkok restaurants, you may be required to share a table. If so, don’t “force conversation” unless invited to.
4. Spice Levels in Bangkok Food
The question about the spice level of the food is probably on your mind. It certainly was on ours on our first Bangkok trip.
From our experience, we found the food to be more spicy than Thai food in the U.S. Some soups and curries tended to have chili peppers hidden within.
Despite the spice, the food is still edible and very tasty. There is a wonderful balance of flavors between sweet, sour, spicy, and salty.
Many locals add more spices to their meals using various peppers and sauces that are found on each table.
If you are concerned about the spice levels, knowing these two words in Thai will help: not spicy – Mai pet and very spicy – Pet maak!
5. Cash & Tipping in Bangkok Restaurants
When eating at the local street food stalls or shophouse restaurants, be prepared with cash.
Most of the local joints do not accept credit cards. If you can pay with smaller bills rather than large bills.
At restaurants, especially higher-end restaurants, you will be able to pay via credit card. Just look for the Visa or Mastercard logo on the door or menu, and you will be all set.
Tipping is not common and certainly not expected at streetside stalls and eateries. If you have a favorite vendor or you want to show appreciation for a dish, leaving even your small change will be appreciated.
At restaurants, tipping is not mandatory but is appreciated. If you receive excellent service, by all means, feel free to tip about 5% to 10% of your bill.
Some restaurants do automatically add a 10% service fee to your bill. This acts as a “sort of tip”. In these cases, you do not need to add any incremental amount.
6. What To Drink With Your Meal
Water – You will find bottled water at street food stalls and restaurants alike. However, you can also drink the filtered plain water presented on the table.
Usually, you will find a bucket of ice and a tray of cups to serve yourself. It is free of charge. Otherwise, go for the bottled water.
Thai Coffee & Thai Tea – Thai Coffee and Thai Tea are popular accompaniments to hot spicy dishes or simply a delicious treat at any time of the day.
Unlike the coffee or tea you will find in North America, the traditional recipes in Thailand call for the addition of sugar and condensed milk.
While you can get either of the drinks hot, drinking them over ice is a refreshing and popular option.
Many local Thai take their iced coffee or tea to go. While I did enjoy the traditional iced Thai coffees and teas, I found them both way too sweet and more appropriate for an afternoon snack rather than a meal accompaniment drink.
7. Beer and Wine With Your Meals
Thai Beer is one of the most common drinks in Thailand. You will find Singha, Chang, or Leo, ordered by Claire’s level of preference.
All the beers are Pale Lagers, which Claire did not find very flavorful. The Leo is known as the cheap beer, and there is nothing exciting about it.
A bottle or can of beer will cost you between 50 and 80 Baht ($1.40 to $2.30 USD).
Wine – If you love to have wine with your dinner, then Thailand is not the place.
Generally speaking, the wine in Thailand is expensive, and you can expect to pay double the prices you would pay in North America as the wine is imported.
If you are eating like a local at a street food stall or in a shophouse restaurant, do not expect to find wine on the menu.
Once you move up to the “higher-end” restaurants, wine makes an appearance on the menus.
The selection of wines varies, as does the price point. Most wine lists will have wines from Chile, Australia, and South Africa.
With the heat in Bangkok, don’t be surprised to be served a glass of “refrigerated” red wine.
Have you been to Bangkok? In your opinion, what is the best food to eat in Bangkok?
Please let us know in the comments below.
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Rosemary is the editor-in-chief and strategist at Authentic Food Quest.
Traveling slow since 2015 with her partner, Claire, she has explored the cuisine in 45 countries and more than 240+ culinary cities.
Her writing about local food specialties has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post.
As a food and travel writer, Rosemary has co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
Rosemary is an avid runner when she’s not eating and exploring new destinations. She has run ten marathons and counting.
Before Authentic Food Quest, Rosemary held senior-level strategy positions in advertising.
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