The Bangkok Food Experience
Visiting Bangkok is always a good idea. The range of experiences this town has to offer is never-ending. The capital of Thailand has everything — a seaside, nightlife to remember, exotic culture, and of course, food like you have never seen before and probably won’t try anywhere else. So if you are not sure what the popular food in Bangkok is or where tourists eat, you’ll find all the info you need below.
The Top Foods in Bangkok That Everyone Must Try
Thai cuisine and culinary tradition essentially come from Thailand’s neighbors, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia, which influenced the culture of Thailand for over a century. It’s often described as spicy, light, and always with a strong aroma.
The list of dishes you have to try is pretty long, but here’s some of the food tourists must try in Bangkok.
Tom Yum Goong
In translation, this is Spicy Shrimp Soup. It is a symphony of taste, and as a tourist, you must try it. The ingredients that go into this dish are chili, lemongrass, galangal, shallots, kaffir lime leaves, fresh lime juice, and plenty of fish sauce. There is also a creamy version that includes fresh prawns and mushrooms.
Gaeng Daeng means Red Curry, and it is a core flavor for a number of other dishes, but it can be served as an individual dish as well. It’s prepared by cooking red curry paste in coconut milk and adding any type of meat, such as chicken, pork, duck, shrimp, or, for the vegetarian version, tofu.
The famous Pad Thai, or Thai-style Fried Noodles, is a must-try. This thin rice-noodle delight is prepared with eggs, fish sauce, and meat of your choice. The noodles are stir-fried, then topped with peanut shavings, some sugar, dried chili flakes, and a squeeze of lime. It has a little bit of everything — it’s spicy, sweet, salty, and sour.
Khao Pad or Fried Rice is often perceived as a Thai go-to. Khao Pad translates to “fried rice,” which basically is a whole dish with added eggs and onion. It’s simple and quick when you think of it, but it’s extremely tasty.
Som Tum (Spicy Green Papaya Salad)
This is a popular Thai snack. “Som” refers to its sour taste, and “tum” is the pounding sound of the large pestle that is used for crushing the ingredients. This dish represents the classic mix in Thai cuisine — a fruity flavor with spiciness all around.
Tom Kha Kai (Chicken in Coconut Soup)
This chicken and coconut soup is rich in flavor and just screams Thai. Besides chicken and coconut, they add lemongrass, lime juice, some ginger, fish sauce, basil, chile paste, and cilantro to this culinary perfection.
Pad Krapow Moo Saap (Fried Basil and Pork)
This dish is prepared by stirring garlic and chilies, then throwing in pork. After that, they add four fried eggs and season everything with three types of sauce — oyster, soy, and fish sauce. The dish is finished with sugar and basil leaves. Perfect!
Gaeng Keow Wan Kai (Green Chicken Curry)
Another favorite Thai dish, Thai Green Curry is a great blend of coconut cream and green curry, which are blended in delightful curry paste. It goes well with rice, especially if it’s mango sticky rice!
Where to Try These Foods
The city has a variety of restaurants to offer, and if you’re wondering where to eat in Bangkok, this shouldn’t be a problem, regardless of the time of the day or part of the city you are in. All of these dishes can be bought from street vendors too. You can find them all over Bangkok. There are a lot of options to choose from, but like in any business, there are the famous ones people talk about all the time. There are also some hidden places for those who like to explore and try the food locals eat. So let’s start with street vendors.
Jay Fai gained worldwide fame when her food stall got a Michelin star in the guide’s Bangkok edition. At that time, she was the only street food vendor with that status. This 75-year-old super granny is famous for her style featuring black aviator sunglasses. Her name translates to “sister mole,” and it refers to the mole on her face.
Sukhumvit Soi 38
If you want to add a little adventure to your eating, you should check out some of Bangkok’s famous quarters. Sukhumvit Soi 38 is a night market that offers an authentic experience of Thai street food with fresh ingredients and clean stalls. If the night leads you there, you’ll probably eat at a wobbly table on the street, with cars parked all around you. Nevertheless, the food is tasty, the prices are low, and most menus are in English.
Petchaburi Soi 5 and Soi 10
These night markets are the favorite spots for locals after a long day at work. A lot of the street food you can find in the evening is takeaway, but there are also places to sit and enjoy a meal. The street comes alive with tourists and locals at night, and you can find all sorts of noodle and salad vendors, fruit stalls, and of course, deserts.
If you are hungry during the day, you should definitely visit Yaowarat Road. Food is just one of many reasons to visit Bangkok’s Chinatown, but you should pre-plan it. Try one of the aforementioned dishes after shopping or sightseeing.
Wang Lang Market
This market is part of the hidden Bangkok, so you won’t see many tourists there. It is a busy street in the middle of a street block, with food stalls on both sides. Local people come here not just to eat but to shop for other essentials.
Handle With Care
No food list, especially coming from an exotic place such as Bangkok, should be complete without a disclaimer. Asian food, much like their culture, is rather exotic and almost always spicy, so be ready to shock your senses with a mix of flavors. Do not be surprised if you burn your tongue a little.
There is another thing you should be aware of all the time — a foreign country is not just new for you; it’s also new for your body. Every cuisine has its rules for preparing meals as well as different ingredients, from cooking oils to the types of vegetables or meat you have never heard of or tried before. Spices and ingredients that are new to your stomach can grant you a not-so-sunny day in the toilet, and nobody wants to spend their vacation that way. If you sense that your stomach is growling or that something doesn’t add up when you swallow the food, it’s better to leave it be.
Also, food poisoning is a serious issue in Thailand. Not all vendors respect health regulations, so be extremely careful where you eat. The rule of thumb is to buy food from vendors or restaurants that have a lot of local customers lining up. They should know what vendors to avoid and which ones are trustworthy.
If all these precautions don’t help, be sure to bring some medication like loperamide and rehydration salts for diarrhea. Also, whatever happens, be sure to drink a lot of bottled water, even if you don’t feel sick at all.
That’s it — you are now fully equipped to wine and dine in Bangkok like there’s no tomorrow. Bon appetit!