Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. It’s on pace to receive 35 million tourists in 2017, its highest number ever, with a good portion of those visitors spending time in Bangkok. If you ask people what their favorite thing about Bangkok is, then the most common answers will surely be the temples, the nightlife, the low prices, and our personal favorite – the food. In case you haven’t heard, Bangkok is a food lover’s paradise, so much so that CNN named it the very best street food city in the world.
Ren and I have been to Bangkok several times through the years and the one thing that keeps us coming back is the food. There’s no shortage of good food to be had in Bangkok. Just take a walk along Yaowarat Road in Chinatown and you’ll see what I mean. But if you’re interested in trying the best of everything – the best Pad Thai, the best tom yum goong, the best Thai curry rice, or even the very best restaurant in Asia – then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide are ten restaurants, street food stalls, and local markets that you should seriously consider visiting on your next food trip to Bangkok.
Bangkok is huge and these eateries are scattered throughout the city. To help you track them down, I’ve included a location map at the bottom of this post.
1. Nhong Rim Klong
This was our very first meal in Bangkok, and it may have been my favorite in our two weeks in Thailand. I was so excited to visit this place that we went straight here after dropping off our bags at our AirBnB. Located just a short walk from Wattana Panich, which is the second eatery on this list, Nhong Rim klong isn’t a restaurant, but a street food stall situated by a canal. It isn’t the most picturesque of settings but the stellar food more than makes up for its lack of ambiance.
Like nearly every eatery on this list, I learned about Nhong Rim Klong through eatingthaifood.com, the single best resource for Thai food in Bangkok. The cooks prepare the food in a kitchen situated on top of a bridge, while customers sit at three or four tables by the side of the canal. Thankfully, any smells emanating from the canal are masked by the delicious aromas wafting from the open kitchen.
In spite of its spartan appearance, Nhong Rim Klong is popular so be prepared for a wait. Apart from its dine-in customers, we saw people getting bag after bag of takeout around noon, so if you can, then it’s best to go during off-hours to avoid the lunch rush. Just don’t wait too long lest you run out of food. They close at 4:30PM.
This is the dish that got me super excited to eat here. What you’re looking at is pad kee mao crab, which is a stir-fry dish made with huge chunks of crab along with vegetables like eggplant, onion, garlic, chili, ginger, and sweet basil. See those white nuggets mixed in with all the vegetables? Those are hunks of the most delicious, most succulent crab meat. I love crab so this is the kind of dish I could eat everyday. It’s so good, especially when eaten with steamed white rice.
Nhong Rim Klong is known for another crab dish called galam bee pad nam pla neua boo. It’s made with stir-fried cabbage topped with egg, crab meat, and shrimp. Several customers were eating that as well. If we weren’t visiting another restaurant and joining a Chinatown street food tour right after this meal, then I would have loved to try that too!
How beautiful does this look? This dish is called goong tod gratiem, or jumbo shrimp fried in garlic. The perfectly cooked shrimp is succulent, meaty, moist, and very garlicky. Like the pad kee mao crab, it’s absolutely delicious.
Nhong Rim Klong
Address: 30 Ekkamai 21 Alley, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand
Operating Hours: 8:30AM-4:30PM, Mon-Sat
What to Order: Pad kee mao crab, Goong tod gratiem, Galam bee pad nam pla neua boo
Expect to Pay: THB 300 – Pad kee mao crab, THB 200 – Goong tod gratiem, Galam bee pad nam pla neua boo
How to Get There: Take the BTS to Ekkamai Station. It’s a little too far to walk to Nhong Rim Klong from there, so it’s best you take a taxi or Uber to get to the restaurant.
2. Wattana Panich
If you visit Nhong Rim Klong, then you may want to enjoy a bowl of Thai beef noodles at Wattana Panich as well. It’s just a short walk from Nhong Rim Klong and easy to spot with its gigantic bubbling cauldron of beef stewing out front.
Have you ever seen such a thing? Wattana Panich is famous for the beef slow-braised with spices in this very cauldron. We went on a street food tour led by a chef who has a restaurant in Hua Hin, and he told me that Wattana Panich is his absolute favorite place to eat in Bangkok. And it’s all because of this beef.
As described, Wattana Panich is famous for its beef which you can get in a bowl with noodles, or served on its own with a side of rice. We just had rice at Nhong Rim Klong so we went with the version served with kuay teow noodles and beef meatballs, called kuay teow neau buai. It was absolutely delicious. The broth was flavorful and the beef ridiculously tender. If you’re traveling to Bangkok and enjoy beef noodle soup, then you have to try this.
Aside from the beef, Wattana Panich is also famous for its goat. We didn’t have it but if you’re a fan of goat, then you may want to try their kuay teow pae as well. It’s described as being incredibly tender, perhaps even more so than the beef.
Address: 338 Phanit Anan Alley, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand
Operating Hours: 6AM-7PM, daily
What to Order: Kuay teow neau buai (Thai beef noodles), Kuay teow pae (Chinese-style braised goat)
Expect to Pay: THB 100 – beef, THB 200 – goat
How to Get There: Take the BTS to Ekkamai Station. Upon exiting the station, make a right onto Ekkamai Road. Wattana Panich is a little closer from here than Nhong Rim Klong, so you can either walk or take a taxi or Uber to get to the restaurant.
3. Pe Aor Tom Yum Goong
Like Pad Thai, tom yum goong is one of Thailand’s national dishes so you can’t visit Bangkok without trying this dish. Pe Aor Tom Yum Goong (also spelled P’Aor or Pee Aor) was featured in the Bangkok episode of Luke Nguyen’s Street Food Asia, and is considered by many to serve the best tom yum goong in Bangkok.
This is where the magic begins, in that tom yum broth. According to Mark Wiens, it’s rare to find the creamy version of tom yum goong soup served with noodles in Bangkok. Pe Aor specializes in it. If you watch the Bangkok episode of Street Food Asia, the cook describes to Luke how they use non-fat milk in the broth instead of coconut milk, making it somewhat of a cross between a Singaporean laksa and Thai tom yum. Another thing that makes Pe Aor’s tom yum so special is that they infuse the broth with fat from shrimp heads. Tom YUM indeed!
There’s our beautiful bowl of kuay teow tom yum goong nam khon. Check out the size of that prawn! I haven’t eaten enough tom yum in my life to say this the best, but it was absolutely delicious. It was creamy, rich, sour, and just immensely flavorful. If you enjoy tom yum goong, then you have to try a bowl at Pe Aor.
We ordered this dish as well based on Mark’s recommendation and it was fantastic too. Called khao goong rad sauce man boo, it’s a rice dish topped with a jumbo prawn sliced in half and a ladleful of man boo or crab fat. Yes, crab fat! As you’d expect with dishes made from crab fat, it was rich and simply delicious.
Pe Aor Tom Yum Goong
Address: Soi Phetchaburi 5, Khwaeng Thung Phaya Thai, Khet Ratchathewi, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10400, Thailand
Operating Hours: 10AM-9PM, Tues-Sun
What to Order: Kuay teow tom yum goong nam khon, Khao goong rad sauce man boo
Expect to Pay: THB 100 – Kuay teow tom yum goong nam khon, THB 60 – Khao goong rad sauce man boo
How to Get There: Take the BTS to Ratchathewi Station. After exiting the station, make a left on Petchaburi Road, then a right on Petchaburi Soi 7. Make a left on Petchaburi Soi 5 and the restaurant will be on your right.
4. Khao Gaeng Jake Puey
Khao Gaeng Jake Puey is perhaps one of the most legendary street food stalls in Bangkok. It was also featured on the Bangkok episode of Street Food Asia and is recommended by virtually everyone who knows good Thai food. We were already planning on visiting this place on our own, but we were pleased to find that it was one of the stops on our Bangkok Backstreet Food Tasting Tour with A Chef’s Tour. Our private tour guide Natt of Your Thai Guide also raved about this place. It’s practically a Bangkok institution.
Based on what I’ve read, Khao Gaeng Jake Puey has a reputation for being the Soup Nazi of khao gaeng or Thai curry rice. They expect you to already know what you want by the time you reach the front of the line, otherwise they’ll send you back. 😆 Luckily, our tour guide did all the ordering for us but I would have just pointed at the first delicious thing I saw.
Khao Gaeng Jake Puey is a true street food stall. They open at 4PM and don’t have any tables. Diners sit holding their plates of curry rice whilst sitting on these red stools. Images of diners on these red stools against those worn green doors is one of the most iconic street food scenes you’ll find in Bangkok. It’s a beautiful sight.
I don’t know what it’s called but we enjoyed this creamy bowl of Thai curry with chicken and noodles. I was expecting rice but these noodles were just as good. It was delicious. Curry is one of my favorite foods so I’ll definitely be eating here again on our next trip to Bangkok.
Khao Gaeng Jake Puey
Address: 427 Mangkon Rd, Khwaeng Pom Prap, Khet Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100, Thailand
Operating Hours: 4-9PM, Tues-Sun
What to Order: Curry of the day
Expect to Pay: About THB 60 per plate of curry rice
How to Get There: Khao Gaeng Jake Puey is located in Bangkok’s Chinatown at the corner of Charoen Krung Road and Mangkon Road. Take the MRT to Hua Lamphong Station (Bangkok Train Station). Upon exiting the station and crossing the river, you can walk straight on Charoen Krung Road to get to Khao Gaeng Jake Puey.
5. Thipsamai Pad Thai
As you can see from the long line of waiting customers, Thipsamai is one of Bangkok’s most popular restaurants. There’s a queue practically from the moment they open at 5PM till closing. It was one of the stops on our Bangkok tuk-tuk night tour with Expique and our guide had someone already standing in line for us so we didn’t have to wait! Open since the mid-1960s, Thipsamai is popular because they’re known for serving some of the best Pad Thai in Bangkok. However, not everyone seems to feel that way, at least not anymore. Read on to find out why.
Just a quick side note, you may have heard of Raan Jay Fai, a restaurant that’s been making headlines lately for being the only street food vendor to be awarded a Michelin star in the first ever Bangkok Michelin Guide. Her stall is located just a couple of doors to the left of Thipsamai. We were planning on eating there but opted not to at the last minute, a decision I so regret now. It’ll definitely be the first place we visit on our next trip to Bangkok.
Thipsamai offers two versions of Pad Thai – one wrapped in egg and another made with fat from shrimp heads. The version pictured below is the one wrapped in egg, otherwise known as Pad Thai haw kai goong sot. I’ve had Pad Thai many times both in and out of Thailand, but I’ve never had it like this before. It was delicious.
Ren had the version made with fat from shrimp heads, called Pad Thai sen jan man goong. It was delicious too, but I love egg so I preferred the Pad Thai haw kai goong sot.
As popular as Thipsamai still is, some Thais do feel that its best days are behind it. According to one of our tour guides, the restaurant has changed hands since it first opened and hasn’t been the same. In keeping with demand, they’ve hired multiple cooks to produce quantity, a move that some feel is at the expense of quality and consistency. Personally, as a foreigner, I thought their food was delicious. The way I see it, unless you’re Thai and used to eating Pad Thai all the time, then you won’t really know the difference.
Should you choose to eat at Thipsamai, I strongly urge you to get a glass of their freshly squeezed tangerine juice as well. Ice cold with a thick sediment of pulp bits, it is so refreshing and delicious. It’s made fresh daily and prices are based on market prices. When we were there, this glass of tangerine juice actually cost more than the Pad Thai! It cost THB 85 as opposed to just THB 80 for the Pad Thai.
Thipsamai Pad Thai
Address: 313-315 Maha Chai Rd, Khwaeng Samran Rat, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand
Operating Hours: 5PM-2AM, Mon-Sat
What to Order: Pad Thai haw kai goong sot, Pad Thai sen jan man goong, Fresh tangerine juice
Expect to Pay: THB 80 – Pad Thai, Around THB 85 – Fresh tangerine juice
How to Get There: Thipsamai is near the Giant Swing and Wat Saket. It isn’t really near any train stations so unless you can walk to the restaurant, the it’s probably best for you to go via taxi or Uber.
6. Soei Restaurant
I trust Mark Wiens when it comes to Thai food, so when he called Soei one of his favorite restaurants in Bangkok, I was 100% sure I’d like it. And I did.
On the wall outside the restaurant is a banner with Mark, his friend Dwight, and P’Soei the chef/owner. The words are in Thai so I have no idea what it says, but right next to it is a second banner with another of my favorite food personalities – Andrew Zimmern. He’s posing with P’Soei and on the banner it says “The best Thai chef you’ve never heard of”. I did some digging and it looks like Mark was the one who brought Andrew to Soei. Clearly, Andrew loved the food as evidenced by what he said at Soei:
“We’ve eaten six dishes, five of which have been the best dishes of their types that I’ve ever eaten. And the sixth one is the first time I’ve eaten anything like it, and the quality of the cooking here, and the skill, and precision, a lot of great technique… this is an amazing, amazing place.” – Andrew Zimmern
That pretty much sums up what you can expect from Soei Restaurant.
What you’re looking at here is an appetizer of fried Indian mackerel cheeks called kaem pla too tod. I knew I had to order it when Mark described it as a dish he hasn’t seen anywhere else but Soei. The dish consists of just the outer layer of the mackerel head deep-fried with garlic and served with a side of chili sauce.
Here’s a better look at the head. Notice it’s jaw and eye socket there? Because it consists only of the outer layer of the head, it’s extremely light and crisp, like you’re eating a fish head potato chip. It’s so damn good and a must-order at Soei.
We had been eating at different places all day so we were here primarily for the kaem pla too tod. But we couldn’t order just that so we asked our server for recommendations, and he suggested this plate of chu chee pla too, which fittingly, is a dish of mackerel cooked in a coconut milk curry. We had already eaten the heads so why not the bodies too! Slathered with a rich and creamy curry, the fish is deep-fried so you don’t have to worry about any bones. You can eat the entire fish whole, tail included. It’s really delicious and made for a wonderful mackerel meal.
Address: Phibun Watthana 6 Alley, Khwaeng Samsen Nai, Khet Phaya Thai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10400, Thailand
Operating Hours: 10AM-9:30PM, Sun-Fri
What to Order: Kaem pla too tod, Chu chee pla too
Expect to Pay: THB 90 – Kaem pla too tod, THB 150 – Chu chee pla too
How to Get There: Take the BTS to Ari Station. From there, you can catch a taxi or Uber to the restaurant.
7. Som Tam Jay So
This is another restaurant highly recommended by Mark. They specialize in Isaan food which is a Lao-influenced cuisine from the Northeastern part of Thailand. According to Mark, it’s one of the most authentic Isaan restaurants in Bangkok so it’s hugely popular. We were there around noon and the place was packed with lunch-going office workers.
As their name suggests, one of their specialties is som tam or Thai green papaya salad which they prepare at a station near the front of the restaurant. Here’s the cook mixing all the ingredients together in large clay vats.
This version of som tam is called tam pa, which translates to “jungle pounded salad”. It’s basically a mix of shredded green papaya, tomatoes, kulantro, crab, and chopped up freshwater apple snails dressed in a fermented fish sauce. When I ordered it, the lady pictured above gave me a ladleful of the fish sauce to smell. It has a pungent odor so I think she was just making sure I could handle it before serving us a plate. I enjoyed it – it’s intensely flavorful and spicy – but Ren didn’t. She found it too fishy so you may want to steer clear of this if you don’t appreciate overly pungent food.
These barbecued chicken wings are a little easier on the palate. They’re sweet, smokey, and juicy and go great with the som tam. We ordered just one each at first but they were so good we wound up ordering more.
Som Tam Jay So
Address: Soi Phiphat 2, Khwaeng Silom, Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10500, Thailand
Operating Hours: 10AM-6PM, Mon-Sat
What to Order: Tam pa, Pik gai yang
Expect to Pay: THB 50 – Tam pa, THB 17 – Pik gai yang (per wing)
How to Get There: Som Tam Jay So is just a short walk from Chong Nonsi BTS Station. Upon exiting the station, turn into Soi Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra 3. Walk straight for a few minutes and the restaurant will be on your left.
If you’re looking for an extra special restaurant in Bangkok, then this is it. Gaggan is a two Michelin star restaurant that’s also the 7th best restaurant in the world and the very best in Asia, according to this list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Helmed by Chef Gaggan Anand who’s known for his molecular gastronomy techniques, Gaggan is the only Indian restaurant to ever make that Top 50 list.
Gaggan doesn’t have an a la carte menu. Diners experience a tasting menu comprised of 25 bite-sized courses that are often as mind-boggling as they are beautiful. Pictured below is Chef Anand’s take on idli sambar, a traditional South Indian breakfast dish made with fermented black lentils and rice.
This one is his interpretation of Thai green curry with mushrooms served on a chicken skin “chip”.
This briquette-looking dish is called “charcoal”. It’s made from eggplant containing a lotus stem filling and topped with onion powder. Crazy right? Check out my post on Gaggan for pictures of all 25 courses.
Address: 68/1 Soi Langsuan, Ploenchit Road Lumpini Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand
Operating Hours: 6-11PM, daily
What to Order: 25-course tasting menu
Expect to Pay: THB 5,000++ per person
How to Get There: Take the BTS to Chit Lom Station. Upon exiting the station, make a right onto Soi Langsuan (ถนน หลังสวน). Walk straight for about 5-10 minutes until you see the Gaggan sign on the right side of the street (pictured below). The restaurant is at the end of this alley.
9. Or Tor Kor Market
Located next to the popular Chatuchak Market, Or Tor Kor Market is known for selling only the highest quality produce. It’s so clean and pleasant that it feels more like a department store than an actual wet market! In fact, so highly regarded is Or Tor Kor that it was named one of the world’s 10 best fresh markets by CNN.
Prices are higher here than at other markets, but you can always be guaranteed of the quality of their produce. I first learned about Or Tor Kor Market when I saw this video by Mark Wiens. He recommended Or Tor Kor for its quality produce, an example of which are these perfect-looking segments of durian. At THB 300 per 100 grams, they’re expensive for sure but super delicious. If you’ve never had durian before but are curious to try it, then this is a great place to do it.
Or Tor Kor was the last stop on our Bangkok market tour with Natt of Your Thai Guide, and she took us to stall 11/40 to have hoy tod and Pad Thai. It’s one of several kiosks at the Or Tor Kor food court offering different types of prepared Thai food.
Hoy tod is a crispy dish of oyster or mussel omelette. According to Natt, this is the only place where her father will eat hoy tod whenever he’s in Bangkok. That’s exactly the kind of local knowledge we look for when we travel! Because hoy tod calls for a lot of oil to get it as crisp as possible, it isn’t the healthiest dish around but it’s seriously delicious.
Stall 11/40 is known for their Pad Thai as well which Natt thinks is much better than Thipsamai’s version. Personally, I enjoyed them both, but I would never argue with a local. 😉 If you visit Or Tor Kor Market, then you have to check out this stall.
Or Tor Kor Market
Address: 139/4 1, Samsen Nai, Phaya Thai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10400, Thailand
Operating Hours: 7AM-6PM, daily
What to Order: Hoy tod, Pad Thai, Durian
Expect to Pay: About THB 60 per order of hoy tod or Pad Thai, THB 300 per 100 grams – durian
How to Get There: Take the MRT to Kamphaeng Phet Station. Go to exit no. 3 and walk across the parking lot to the market.
10. Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market
Khlong Lat Mayom was the first market we visited on our Bangkok market tour with Natt of Your Thai Guide. Bangkok is known for its floating markets and Khlong Lat Mayom is a great one to visit. Located near Central Bangkok, it isn’t as big as Damnoen Saduak or Amphawa Floating Markets, but it’s less chaotic and easier to access. I haven’t been to Damnoen Saduak or Amphawa but I’ve read they’ve become quite touristy in recent years. Khlong Lat Mayom is frequented mostly by locals so it’ll give you a much more authentic floating market experience.
Khlong Lat Mayom offers both fresh produce and prepared food so you’ll find many different Thai dishes here.
Pictured below are trays of tako, which is a Thai pudding dessert topped with coconut custard. We’ve only had these at Thai restaurants outside of the country, so it was great to finally try the real thing. Serious yum.
Many tables were enjoying pla pao which is salt-crusted grilled fish. According to Natt, it’s a popular dish at floating markets so we decided to try it as well. Served in a box and made with different types of fish, you take chunks of the fish meat and wrap it in lettuce leaves with noodles, veggies, and sauce. We tried the Thai tilapia and it was moist, smokey, and very fresh-tasting. It’s light too so two people can easily polish off the whole fish without feeling too full. If you like fish, then you should definitely try pla pao at Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market.
Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market
Address: Soi Bang Ramat, Bang Phrom, Khet Taling Chan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10170, Thailand
Operating Hours: 9AM-6PM, Mon-Fri
What to Order: Pla pao
Expect to Pay: THB 180 – Pla pao
How to Get There: There’s no easy way to get to Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market by public transportation. The best way is to go by Uber or Taxi. It should cost you around THB 200 or so each way from Central Bangkok.
There is so much amazing food to be had in Bangkok that this list of 10 barely scratches the surface. But I do hope it gives you a few ideas and points you in the right direction. As previously described, most of these food recommendations came from Mark Wiens of eatingthaifood.com.
Whenever I do restaurant research before a trip, I usually consult multiple sources like trusted local food blogs and crowd review websites. Not so with Bangkok. Mark’s the man when it comes to Thai food in Bangkok so I only needed to consult one website for this trip. Many thanks to Mark for these awesome food recommendations.
As much as we loved visiting these restaurants, we found that Bangkok isn’t the easiest city to get around in using public transportation. The subway system is pleasant but still limited, which meant that we had to hop in an Uber more often than we wanted to. We usually don’t have problems visiting multiple restaurants on foot but we found it more challenging to go from one restaurant to the next in Bangkok. We were there the week of the Royal Cremation as well which may have had something to do with it. Entire areas were blocked off to traffic and ferries were running limited routes on the Chao Phraya River.
In any case, to help you find the places mentioned in this guide, I’ve pinned them all on the map below. It includes a bunch of others as well that we wanted to visit but just couldn’t get to.
To help you with your travel planning, you can refer to our full 4-day Bangkok itinerary on Sygic Travel. It’s a more complete version of the map above which includes attraction suggestions as well.
You can also download a copy of our entire 2-week Thailand itinerary in editable Word format by signing up for our FREE newsletter below. It covers Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Chiang Rai. Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoy these awesome eateries in Bangkok!