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One of the five things I love about Bangkok is the city’s culinary scene. Whether it’s munching on some local snacks in the street, hitting one of the city’s many amazing markets, or enjoying a meal in a nice restaurant, there’s a lot to keep your belly full and happy in the Thai capital. For me, one of the highlights of visiting this great city is simply eating my way through it. Here are some of the best parts about the foodie scene in BKK:
Some people are understandably hesitant to eat street food when traveling in a new country. It looks a bit dirty, it’s hot and muggy outside, and sure, you may see a rat scurrying under your stool from time to time. Should you work up the courage to try it, however, you just may be pleasantly surprised. Street food in Bangkok is so varied and prevalent that you could try a different snack three times a day for a whole week and still not put a dent in the menu. Eating this way is also incredibly cheap – you can fill up for $2-3 on a good street food meal. To be honest, I’ve had better meals in the street for a fraction of the price that they would be in restaurants. Should you find yourself traveling in Bangkok, don’t be scared and give the street food a try.
Bangkok is a city known for its markets, but it’s not just souvenirs and knick-knacks that are up for sale here. In addition to the big tourist markets like Chatuchak, you can also find some incredible wet markets throughout the city. Whether you’re looking to do your grocery shopping or just load up a plate full of Thai specialties for a couple of bucks and a great lunch, these are well worth visiting. One of the best in the city is Or Tor Kor, which is located just a stone’s throw from Chatuchak.
When I was studying Thai for a week, one of my favorite things to do was hit the local lunch market next door. From curries, to pad Thai, to fresh fruit juices, everything in these markets is delicious and very, very cheap. A typical meal in one of these places will set you back 30-50 baht, which is only about $1.5-2. You’ll get your main dish, rice, a bowl of soup, and some veggies. Add a drink for another 20 baht or so and you’ve got an amazing lunch for well under $5. Good luck finding that in the touristy areas! To find these places, look for clusters of office buildings; they tend to be around busy work areas and are set up to feed the masses during the lunch break. If you want a smaller crowd, wait until after 1 to head in.
If you’re like me, you probably cringe at the idea of shopping mall food courts. For Americans, that usually means nasty fast food, fake Chinese, and greasy subpar pizza. Not being particularly fond of shopping malls either, I usually try to skip out on this experience entirely. It’s a different ballgame in SE Asia though, especially in cities like Bangkok. People love to shop in BKK, and they love to eat just as much. As a result, you’ll find some amazing food courts in the city’s futuristic shopping malls. One of the best around is Eathai, which can be found in the basement of the Central Embassy.
Eating in the street and local markets is great and all, but sometimes you just want to sit down and enjoy a quality meal in a nice restaurant. You’ve got thousands of choices in Bangkok when it comes to dining out, so the hardest part is choosing what type of cuisine you’re going for. Whether it’s Indian, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Mexican, or anything in between, you’ll find it in Bangkok. Of course, your best bet is to stick with the local cuisine. Some of the best Thai restaurants in the world can be found in this city, so book a table and check out at least one on your visit.
Once you’ve got a full belly, it’s time to take advantage of another of the amazing aspects of Bangkok – the nightlife. Subscribe to the blog and check back next month as we dive into the raunchier side of the Thai capital to party down!