Experience Thai culture in the most authentic way possible — by visiting one of Bangkok’s many street food vendors.

For a sensory overload, head to Yaowarat in the heart of Bangkok’s Chinatown, where barbequed seafood rules. You’ll also be able to find Chinese dishes including dim sum, roasted chestnuts, fruits, flat noodles in broth, and oyster omelettes.

Photo by Vincent Carabeo

Have a hankering for Pad Thai? Bangkok’s Pad Thai Thip Samai, located in the Old City (Rattanakosin) is rumored to serve Bangkok’s best plate of pad thai. Having trouble finding it? Locals generally refer to the restaurant as Ghost Gate Pad Thai (Pad Thai Pratu Pee), a nickname for the neighborhood.

For Thai food inspired by immigrants from neighboring China, India, or Malaysia, head to the Bang Rak area of Bangkok, where visitors will be able to find curries, roti, roast duck, rice porridge, crispy pork, and dumplings.

If you’re new to Thai food and want to ease into the experience, head to Khao San Road, known for its cheap backpacking accommodations. The food here is delicious — but catered to westerners (read: less spicy, less sour). You’ll find dishes like fried rice, tom yum, and pad thai here, as well as an abundance of vegetarian options.

Some popular Thai dishes include: som tam (papaya salad), khao pad (fried rice), pad thai kung (noodles and shrimp), khao mun gai (steamed chicken on rice), gai bing (chicken skewers), and pad krapao moo (pork stirfried with basil).

Vegetarians should become familiar with key phrases: kin jey (I eat vegan/I am vegetarian) and mang sa wee rat (without meat).


Photo by Tatiana Stelmakh

Header image by James Sutton; Video by Daniel Eskils.