Welcome to Bangkok, capital city of a country with one of the most well known and beloved cooking styles on the planet. Meat and fish, rice and noodles, curries and coconut milk, herbs and veggies and, of course, plenty of spices blending harmoniously in a deceivingly complex mixture that has elated taste buds ever since it burst onto the international culinary scene in the mid to late 20th century. And now you want to sample some of the original goods? Well, my friend, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a quick look at some of the countless options you’ll encounter in this enormous, food-filled metropolis.
A fact to which most locals and seasoned travelers will attest, you don’t need to look much farther than the street to find incredible eating in Bangkok (provided outdoor dining in congested streets doesn’t turn off your dainty appetite, that is). To put it bluntly: go to Yaowarat Road. Dubbed “China Town,” this stretch of eateries and food stalls is typically devoid of caucasians (consider this a good sign) and replete with cheap, authentic, incredible meals. You’ll also find a healthy dispersion of delectable street-eats at the Soi 38 Night Market, located opposite Thonglor Street on the southern end of Sukhumvit Road. After 6 pm, it’s a perfect spot for sampling everything from succulent pad thai to mouth-watering duck noodles and more.
Itching for something a bit more formal? Well aren’t we the mollycoddled munchers. Disparaging comments aside, however, you’ll find a selection of restaurants offering upscale eating with a view at the popular Asiatique Riverfront, but be warned: the experience is highly catered towards tourists. Khao San Road, also touristy, is a bit more lively and gritty by comparison, with lots of places to grub down and mix it up with fellow out-of-towners. Then there are the lower Sois: 4, 11, 18 and so on. There’s plenty of diversity in restaurant selection here, which is usually more lively by night but still worth checking out during daylight hours. The bottom line is, you won’t go hungry here, but to really appreciate the taste of the Thai capital you may need to step outside your culinary comfort zone. Consider it a risk worth taking.