Before I visited the city, Bangkok seemed to be the most interesting capital in South East Asia, with a mix of modern, culture, uniquity, and history. What I didn’t know was that its culninary was breathtaking as well.
Yes, Bangkok is chaotic. It is crowded, noisy, hot, humid. Local people there don’t seem to appreciate (or at least want) Vietnamese tourists. You need to bargain for everything, from taxi fare to tuktuk drive to a souvenir t-shirt. Besides from a range of Buddhist temples and the overly crowded Grand Palace, there are not many other attractions to see. I don’t even like Buddhist temples, so there is literally nothing worth seeing in Bangkok for me.
But Bangkok is one of the cities I will definitely go back to visit infinite times, just for its heavenly street food.
With close proximity to Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok doesn’t cost an arm and leg for me to get there. In fact, the flight there is shorter than the one to my home town. And VietjetAir – the Vietnamese budget airline – sells roundtrip tickets for as low as 1 million VND (US$ 43). A regular ticket price is never more than 3 million VND (US$ 130). Everything else there – accommodation, food, transport – is approximately the same price as Ho Chi Minh City, which means incredibly cheap. There are not many cities I can say that about.
And the food… Anywhere you go, you can find incredible food. Thai food is characterized by the overly sweet and spicy taste. And Thai sweet stret dessert is simply the best, invading neighbor countries for its creativity and deliciousness.
Where to enjoy those?
Anywhere. I could just stop at the crappiest stall on the street and have amazing food.
But for a proper, sit-down meal, food courts at malls are the best choice. After some time in the unbearable heat of Bangkok, it’s also a smarter choice to sit in an air-conditioned space. For 200-300 baht, a person could enjoy a hefty, aesthetic, delicious meal with signature Thai dishes. If you go with a group of friends, it’s even better. Each of you can order 1 dish you like best, and share with others.
This was our meal at JJ mall:
And at Siam Center:
For street food, snacks, and other types of light meals, Chatuchak market and Khaosan Road are the most famous places.
Chatuchak market is a weekend market that has everything – clothes (make sure to bargain, hard, for clothes), pets, souvenirs, antiquities, electronics, cosmetics, and, an amazing food section.
There is a lot of weird food here. But surprisingly, anything tastes awesome.
On the other hand, Khaosan road is the backpacker pedestrian stret of Bangkok. You have more options for western food here, and the Thai food is mostly familiar dishes as well:
Compared to Chatuchak market, the pro of Khaosan is, you guess it, the atmosphere. You can listen to the music from the nearby bar while munching down on a plate of Pad Thai, or watching a street performer while slowly licking your spoonful of coconut ice cream (coconut seems a big thing in Thailand). There are many other activities you can enjoy at Khao San, not just shopping as at Chatuchak. I (maybe) will have another post about Khao San, since it deserves its own spot.
The “real” local food
As amazing and delicious as it is, food at those places I mentioned above is, I’m afraid, not cooked the way everyday dishes are cooked at an ordinary house.
I have been to Bangkok twice. The first time I went with older, more “high-end” co-workers who took taxi everywhere, hired professional local guides, ate at malls and restaurants only, and absolutely didn’t stop for street food. The second time, I backpacked with a younger backpacker. We rented a scooter and if we were hungry, we stopped at the first place selling food we saw. We didn’t care what they were going to give us. We didn’t eat at a mall food court once.
The result? Waaaaaaayyyy more spicy food (like how on earth can someone digest such level of spicyness? Doesn’t their stomach bleed?). The food doesn’t look as good as it does in malls, and you can definitely tell that there aren’t that many different types of spices put into a dish. But I think it’s an interesting addition to the touristized (altered to better suit the taste buds of tourists from different parts of the world) food at famous touristy places.
My recommendation at these places? MORNING GLORY!!!! It’s amazing!!!!