Where And What To Eat When You're In Bangkok
Wondering where to eat in Bangkok, Thailand? This is an in-depth food guide to help you find some of Bangkok's best food. From Thai street food, Bangkok’s best mango sticky rice to 5* insect dining and so much more, this will show you some of the best spots for foodies.
Bangkok, a city with almost 12,000 restaurants registered on TripAdvisor and so many more undocumented; I wanted to help you get through this maze and find you some of the best places to eat in this city. Having lived in Bangkok for nearly 4 months, visited it countless times and with the help of some experienced food bloggers, these are some of the restaurants that should NOT be missed during your visit to Bangkok.
So, in no particular order, let’s start:
Ekkamai Macchiato - Home Brewer
From the moment you walk into this little cozy restaurant, you’ll be greeted by the most attentive staff. The coffee tastes amazing and if you haven’t had Japanese curry before, I highly recommend you try it here – so tasty! However, worth mentioning is that they only supply limited numbers of items on their menu; it doesn’t hurt getting here early to make sure you have a wider range of selection to choose from.
Just to note, it’s quite common in Thai culture to receive your food at different times to your company – even in expensive restaurants. I initially thought it was a little disrespectful and a sign of bad service, but I’ve come to learn it’s just a cultural norm.
Budget: $9 – 11 USD for breakfast with coffee.
If you’re not sure what food you’re fancying, The COMMONS is the perfect place for you. Basically, it’s a modern, high-quality, gourmet food court. Whether you want a burger, pizza, Thai food, sushi, incredible coffee, etc. you have it all in one convenient location. It can get busy, but this only adds to the atmosphere. I highly recommend you check it out.
Budget: Upper end at $8 – 15 USD for an entrée; but it’s definitely worth it.
Thip Samai Pad Thai
On most nights you’ll see a line of people waiting to try ‘Bangkok’s best pad Thai’. Close to Khao San Road, this restaurant is open 7 days a week 5pm - 1am and there can be roughly a 20 minute wait on an average day. The kitchen is out the front, so while you’re waiting for a table you can see it all happening – using basic equipment, they create this incredible thai dish with the perfect technique and tasty ingredients. Uniquely, they cook the egg really thinly and wrap the whole pad thai within, like a parcel.
I’ve had a fair few pad Thai’s before and I can say this lives up to the hype. However, my favorite item I bought was actually their freshly squeezed orange juice – definitely one to try!
Budget: $7 – 8 USD for pad Thai and the best fresh orange juice in the world!
Crêpes and Co.
One of the greatest ways to start your day in Bangkok is a trip to Crêpes and Co. a French-style breakfast and brunch spot. The Greek crêpe was incredible – filled with chicken, feta and olive oil, in a very, very tender crêpe. For dessert, I highly recommend the orange and mascarpone crêpe; fluffy, citrusy and creamy – unbelievable!
It’s quite common to see a 17% tax on your food bill – 10% service fee and 7% VAT fee. Not every eatery charges it but it’s often difficult to tell this till you go to pay!
Budget: $7 – 8 USD per crêpe.
The streets of Bangkok provide some of the best places to eat, for so cheap! This is one of the incredible things about Bangkok, you don’t need to spend big money to get big results. If you avoid street food, you’re missing out on a big part of Bangkok.
Here are my main tips for finding the best street food, safely:
Look out for fresh food. If it’s being prepared right in front of you, freshly fried or just cut from the fruit, it’s more than likely going to taste great and be safe to eat.
If you aren’t certain if the food looks fresh, look out for locals. If locals are eating there, it means the food tastes good, is probably harmless to eat and if there are lots of people, the food won’t have been sat around for hours.
Probably one of my top picks is somewhere I used to eat almost 5 times a week while I lived in Bangkok. 10 meters away from Prumplum Umeshu Bar & Bistro (search this on Google Maps), is a collection of street food stalls. They’re a little out the way, but I highly recommend checking them out. My top choices are the egg noodles with pork or fried chicken and rice. If you do visit here – I’d love to know. Although I’ll always recommend my local spot, you can find these amazing places anywhere in Bangkok!
Budget: A meal at a street food stall can be roughly $1 - $3 USD.
Typically in North America, if a restaurant is located within a mall, I’d associate it as being poor quality cuisine. However, in Bangkok, malls are actually central to the culture and you can always find incredible places to eat in one of the many malls, all over the city.
Menya Itto in Erawan Bangkok shopping center is said to be one of the best ramen spots in the entire city; owned and run by a Japanese individual who came over to share their craft with Bangkok. You’ll find an amazing array of multi-cultural food in Bangkok, from all around the world.
Budget: $7 USD for affordable and really tasty ramen or $40 USD if you want to splash out and have the wagyu beef ramen.
This may sound funny, but it would not be a Bangkok food guide without showing you one of the main meal sources myself and many other backpackers have had – the 7/11 ham & cheese toastie. This incredible sandwich gets toasted right in front of your eyes, providing you with a melty, cheesy, hammy or whatever flavor toastie you choose, goodness. I’m not sure if it’s real cheese or processed cheese but either way, it’s a must-try if you’re a budget backpacker. There are also many other great takeaway meals sold in 7/11’s, if you’re on a budget!
Budget: $0.80 USD for cheesy toasty goodness.
We tried this amazing spot through recommendations from some Bangkok locals and I’m so glad we did! Everything was completely authentic, with beautiful décor and a great atmosphere. They even make fresh homemade coconut milk every morning and it tastes incredible!
Budget: Depends massively on the dish, roughly between $6 – 17 USD. It’s not the cheapest of places, but worth a visit for unique Thai food.
Octave Sky Bar
A great spot for an evening cocktail is Octave Sky Bar. Situated on top of the Marriott Hotel in Sukhumvit. There are so many sky bars to choose from in Bangkok, but the reason I always come back to this one is for its chilled out vibe while watching the sunset.
Budget: $12 USD for a cocktail (compared to $25 USD you’ll pay in many other bars). If you visit between 5 - 7pm, there’s 50% off!
We were advised to visit the Thong Lor district – an area with many trendy restaurants – and head to Mae Varee to pick up some of the best mango sticky rice. If you have never tried this dish before, it consists of mango, rice and coconut milk (with a lot of sugar) - you’ve got to have it while you’re in Thailand. The dish was amazing – possibly the best mango I have ever eaten!
Budget: $5 USD per portion
One Ounce for Onion
Down a little alley in the Thon Lor area, you’ll probably think you’re going the wrong way, but eventually you’ll arrive at One Ounce for Onion – a uniquely named western-style spot for coffee and breakfast. If you’re into your coffee, particularly drip style, this is a must-visit for you. The fried chicken, croissants with creamy spicy sauce and the waffles were all unreal! Definitely a hidden gem you need to check out.
Budget: $7 USD per dish
Wattana Panich is a restaurant that’s been serving the same dish for over 30 years and a favorite amongst the locals. Many westerners will find this place a little out of their comfort zone. The main dish, beef noodles, can be seen being prepared and doesn’t exactly look that inviting; a cauldron full of beef and beef fat. Nevertheless, I highly recommend trying it if you’re looking to experience local cuisine. Similar tasting to Vietnamese Pho, the beef was tender and delicious.
Budget: $3 USD for a bowl of their specialist beef noodle dish.
Insects In The Backyard
One of the craziest dining options available at the ChangChui market (a unique spot to visit in itself) is Insects in the Backyard. This restaurant is like no other; imagine insects and combine them with gourmet ingredients, created by a great chef. You’ll get to experience silkworm nachos, caterpillar cocktails, scallops with ant caviar and many more unusual options.
In all honesty, some parts of this meal did push me mentally. I had to get past the psychological side of eating these foods and once I finally did, I actually enjoyed what I was eating. A surprisingly tasty and unique experience. This is not just a novelty thing, this is actual food that is predominantly found in an area called Isan, a region in East Thailand.
Budget: 3-course meal costs $30 – 40 USD. Not cheap, but truly fine dining with insects.
That’s my full Bangkok food guide. You can check out the video version here. Are there any places you love to eat and recommend visiting in Bangkok? If so, make sure to comment them below.
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And guys as always, let’s get lost in the next one!