The Best Street Food In Bangkok: The IDEAL 22 Restaurants



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Perhaps no city on the planet has more often been named the street food capital of the world than Bangkok. Indeed, it feels as if the Thai capital would exist in a kind of liminal space between meals, were it not for the incredible range of sticks, skewers and sweet treats aimed at distracting appetites until dinner. 

This is a city that’s always eating, and though it boasts an ever growing roster of groundbreaking, gravity defying high end restaurants, the main focus of the culinary culture in Bangkok is of course found on the street.

One for the pedants before we begin; defining exactly what ‘street food’ is in Bangkok has become an increasingly difficult endeavour, particularly as some vendors have been moved off the streets and indoors, often to the basement or top floor level of enormous, glitzy shopping malls that are just about as far from the street as is physically possible.

Street food, in the case of this roundup, is about the dishes and the cooks, rather than whether or not there’s a roof over your head or you can see blue sky as you eat. Indeed, the distinction between street food and shophouse is sometimes blurred only by a shutter. 

What connects them is harder to define. Often, but certainly not always, people are thinking of one bowl wonders when they talk about street food. Generally considered ‘cheap eats’, these are family recipes, dishes, a sense of hospitality and a system of serving (and often queuing!) that has been refined over generations.

Anyway, you’re here for Bangkok’s most iconic, legendary, downright delicious street food dishes rather than a discussion in semantics, right? With that here, here’s a selection of the best places to eat street food in Bangkok.

Khao Gaeng Jek Pui, Yaorowat (Chinatown)

Ideal for homestyle Thai curry and a game of musical chairs…

Sure, some of the best curries in Bangkok are found in the city’s fancier restaurants, all perfectly balanced flavour profiles, chunks of meat braised until tender and near surrender, and an adornment of makrut lime leaf julienne so fine it passes for green baby hair. 

And then, there is Jek Pui. A traditional Bangkok-style raan khao gaeng (rice and curry) restaurant, the whole orchestra is conducted on the street, with several huge pots of enticing curries lined up out the front of a Chinatown shophouse, their surfaces dappled with separated coconut milk, all cooled down to Bangkok room temperature – the perfect ambience for curry in the capital.

Pull up a red plastic stool in the chaotic but calm street level dining space (nicknamed ‘music chairs curry’ for the procession of diners it receives and quick turnaround it delivers), and order a yellow curry of pork, the Jek Pui signature, with some deep fried slivers of Chinese sausage as an extra garnish. It’s sweet, it’s salty and it’s pure perfection. 

  • When is Jek Pui Curry open? Jek Pui is open daily, from 2pm to 7:30pm.
  • How long should I expect to queue? You’ll be able to find a stool fairly quickly, even at peak times (it’s usually busiest straight after opening).
  • How much should I expect to pay? The yellow curry with a couple of sides and a bottle of water won’t be more than 100 THB (just over £2).

Closest BTS/MRT: Wat Mangkon MRT (a 5 minute walk from there)

Address: 25 Mangkon Rd, Pom Prap, Pom Prap Sattru Phai

Raan Jay Fai, Phra Nakhon

Ideal for arguably the world’s most iconic street food destination…

© Streets of Food

We couldn’t really go much further into an article about the best streetfood in Bangkok without mentioning the universally acknowledged queen of the scene; Jay Fai

What is there left to be said that hasn’t already been covered? Yes, you’ll have to wait for several hours to eat the begoggled septuagenarian’s wok work. Sure, you might have to share a table with other hungry food tourists. Nope, these aren’t ‘normal’ streetfood prices, with most dishes in the 1000 THB region (around £25), but you’re paying for some seriously premium ingredients here.

Get over those hurdles and the massive wait, and get ready for a crab omlette the size of a newborn baby, properly filled with huge chunks of white meat. Chase it down with an expertly seasoned tom yum soup, replete with huge river prawns, properly spicy and tangy af, and forget that you waited so long.

Simply put your name down and note your number – it’s your call if you hang around with a beer in the adjacent cafe or risk losing your place in the queue by heading off for a couple of hours. You’ll see the last number on a sign out front – if it’s beyond your number, you’ve missed your slot and these guys do not make exceptions and allow for retrospective queue jumping. Your loss.

  • When is Jek Pui Curry open? Jay Fai is open from 9am to 7:30pm, Wednesday to Saturday. It’s closed on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
  • How long should I expect to queue? In the words of Van Morrison, for hours and hours and hours and hours and hours, and hours and hours and hours 
  • How much should I expect to pay? A full spread of Jay Fai classics plus a couple of cold ones is going to cost upwards of 2500 THB (£55) a person.

Closest BTS/MRT: Sam Yot MRT (a 10 minute walk from there)

Address: 327 Maha Chai Rd, Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon

T&K Seafood, Yaorawat 

Ideal for a kerbside seafood feast…

Bangkok’s Chinatown and, more precisely, its defining thoroughfare Yaowarat Road, is full of eye-catching, attention-grabbing seafood spots, with tanks of live fish and shellfish in their skimpiest swimsuits bobbing about in fish tanks for all to see, and huge clusters of plastic stools at motorbike exhaust fume level competing for passing custom.

To our mind, the best of the bunch is T&K Seafood, where the catch is plump and the nahm jim seafood deliciously piquant and punchy. Here, some of the dishes beyond the basic boiled or grilled seafood really hit the spot, too. We’re big fans of clams stir fried in chilli jam, the bivalves here big, briny beauties and the drifts of fresh Thai basil a welcome note of complexity. Even better, is the squid in a viscous, rich salted duck egg yolk sauce, which is punctuated by Chinese celery to lighten everything up. 

Order a couple of big sharing beers and a pitcher of ice, get chatting to a neighbouring table, and you’ve got yourself a wonderful night out. 

  • When is T&K Seafood open? From 4pm to midnight, daily.
  • How long should I expect to queue? You can usually find a table pretty swiftly, though at peak times (around 7pm), you may have to wait ten minutes or so. Turnaround here is fast, though, so don’t worry.
  • How much should I expect to pay? A generous spread of fresh seafood and a couple of cold ones is going to cost around 1000 THB (£22) for two.

Closest BTS/MRT: Wat Mangkon MRT (a 3 minute walk from there)

Address: 49, 51 Phadung Dao Rd, Samphanthawong

Tai Heng, Yaorawat

Ideal for peaceful, familial Chinatown shophouse style dining…

© Streets of Food

Still in Chinatown, though off the main artery and into the tangle of side streets, Tai Heng is essentially a couple of massive marble tables in the ground floor garage of a family home where they have pretty much perfected two dishes you don’t often see sharing a menu let alone a table; khao man gai (poached chicken over rice seasoned with chicken fat) and Thai suki hang

The latter is a stir-fried noodle dish that, at its best, forms a kind of homogenous tangle of sticky, charred noodles, egg and seafood that sings with wok hei. Its distinctive, shocking pink (from red bean curd) dipping sauce – sharp, rich and energetic – seals the deal.

And so it is here, where both dishes have pretty much been perfected, the khao man gai’s chicken an off-pink tender that would be in danger of scaring off the tourists if only they could find the place, but is expertly poached and just so good. The sukiyaki stir fry (do order it ‘hang’, as in dry) is equally as exemplary. 

Chase both down with an iced tea, breathe in the surprising serenity of Yaorowat’s backstreets, and get ready to launch yourself back into one of Bangkok’s busiest, buzziest areas.  

  • When is Tai Heng open? From 10am to 5pm, every day except Sunday.
  • How long should I expect to queue? Due to its side street location and hidden gem status, you likely won’t have to.
  • How much should I expect to pay? Both dishes and a cold tea won’t set you back more than 150 THB (£3.30).

Closest BTS/MRT: Wat Mangkon MRT (a 5 minute walk from there)

Address: Yaowarat Soi 8, Talad Noi, Sampangtawong

Elvis Suki, Pom Prap

Ideal for charred noodles and grilled seafood on the road…

© Author’s own

For arguably Bangkok’s best version of sukiyaki, head next to Elvis Suki (the one on Soi Yotse, rather than the pretenders across the city piggybacking on the name), who have mastered the dish so comprehensively that the restaurant is now named after it. And, of course, named after Elvis Presley – the owner is a big fan and they are the self-proclaimed ‘king’ of the dish. It’s a damn good version, with a seriously smoky kiss from the coal stove over which its stir fried. 

That said, it’s not the only thing you want to order here. The scallops – plump and fresh – grilled in their shell with a dressing of minced pork fried in sweet garlic butter are a revelation, blessed with that same charcoal smokiness as the sukiyaki, and bubbling and spitting on arrival to the table. In the best possible way of course…

Open until 9:30pm nightly, and popular with the after-work crowd, there’s both air conditioning seating across the road and sociable, street side seating infront of the woks. The beers flow here, naturally.

  • When is Elvis Suki open? From midday until 9:30pm, daily.
  • How long should I expect to queue? You should usually get a seat pretty swiftly after arriving.
  • How much should I expect to pay? Single dishes, including the famous sukiyaki, are priced at around 100 THB each (£2.20).

Closest BTS/MRT: Wat Mangkon MRT (a 15 minute walk – best to get a taxi).

Address: 200/37 Soi Yotse, Phlapphla Chai Road, Wat Thep Sirin, Pom Prap Sattru Phai 

Kor Panich, Phra Nakhon

Ideal for the city’s most historic mango sticky rice…

© Author’s own

Time for a sweet treat, we think, and it has to be Thailand’s most iconic, beloved dessert; mango sticky rice. In a city where you’ll see Nam Dok Mai mangoes being peeled, sliced and served over rice on just about every street corner, it’s wise to seek out the best, to separate the coconut milk’s head from the tail, as it were.

Doing the good stuff for almost a century, Kor Panich is one of Bangkok’s most revered purveyors of mango sticky rice, their historic shophouse a mecca for lovers of this truly gorgeous dessert. 

What more is there to say? The mangoes are only picked and peeled when at their most honey-sweet. The coconut cream is hand pressed daily – none of that UHT, soapy stuff here. It’s seasoned just right – salty, sweet but not overpowering, allowing the inherent coconut flavour to still sparkle. Even the toasted mung beans have been taken to just the right shade of dark brown and crispy.

Though there’s a modest amount of seating within the shop, most takeaway from Kor Panich. The shophouse is open from 7am to 6pm daily, though be warned; they often sell out by mid afternoon.

  • When is Kor Panich open? Kor Panich is open daily, from 7am to 6pm.
  • How long should I expect to queue? Primarily a takeaway operation, you should be served swiftly here.
  • How much should I expect to pay? The classic dessert is on the more expensive side here, at around 120 THB (£2.60). You’re paying for some serious quality, though.

Closest BTS/MRT: Sam Yot MRT (a 15 minute walk – best to get a taxi).

Address: 431 433 Thanon Tanao, San Chao Pho Sua, Phra Nakhon

Read: The best street food close to Khao San Road

Doy Kuay Teow Reua, Phaya Thai

Ideal for bowls and bowls of exemplary boat noodles…

© Author’s own

The streets and canals surrounding Victory Monument BTS Station are famous for their boat noodles, a popular street food in Thailand that originated from the canals (or ‘khlongs’) of Central Thailand. The dish is named after the vendors who traditionally sold these noodles from boats that navigated the country’s vast network of waterways.

Boat noodles are a flavorful and aromatic noodle soup dish characterised by its rich, dark broth, which is commonly made from a mixture of pork and beef, as well as spices and herbs. The broth is often thickened with pig’s or cow’s blood, which gives it a distinctive taste and a deep colour. However, some places may serve it without blood for those who prefer it.

Though you could alight at Victory Monument and head straight for ‘boat noodle alley’, where a stretch of shophouses serve up the good stuff, you’ll find an even better bowl if you exit the station at the opposite side to that alley. Around a ten minute walk away, the guys at Doy Kuay Teow Reau are doing some truly ‘best in Bangkok’ bowls of boat noodles, rich and thick from blood and with a peppery back kick. We say bowls in the plural, as it’s expected you knock back several at any and all boat noodle shops. Well, it would be rude not to…

  • When is Doy Kuay Teow Reua open? Daily, from 8am to 6pm.
  • How long should I expect to queue? A sprawling, alfresco dining room, you’ll always find a table.
  • How much should I expect to pay? A bowl of boat noodles here is around 20 THB (50p), but expect to eat several, as is tradition.

Closest BTS/MRT: Victory Monument BTS (a ten minute walk from there).

Address: Ratchawithi Soi 18 (Wat Makok), Thanon Ratchawithi

Thanee Khao Moo Daeng, Phaya Thai

Ideal for premium pork purveyors in Bangkok’s buzziest neighbourhood…

Just one BTS stop further along, in Ari, you’ll find one of Bangkok’s most cherished – legendary, even – pork purveyors. Thanee Khao Moo Daeng are famous for two things; their moo krob (crispy pork) and their moo daeng (stewed red pork), and both are superb, the latter in particular boasting a fluorescent, viscous gravy whose sheen needs to be seen to be believed. It tastes bloody wonderful.  

The shop, as with so many on a lunchtime in bustling, residential Ari, is popular with office workers during their break. Ideally arrive a little before, at 11am or so, or after lunch, from 2pm onwards.

© Streets of Food
  • When is Thanee Khao Moo Daeng open? Daily, from 8am to 4pm.
  • How long should I expect to queue? You’ll only have to wait a little while if you rock up between midday and 1pm.
  • How much should I expect to pay? A large version of each dish, over rice, is currently 90 THB (£2).

Closest BTS/MRT: Ari BTS (a 3 minute walk from there).

Address: 1161-3 Soi Phaholyothin 7

Som Tam Jay So, Silom

Ideal for no-holds barred Isaan food…

Another Bangkok institution that’s always packed with office workers during the lunchtime slot, is Som Tam Jay So, the so-called ‘Queen of Som Tam’.

She has well and truly earned her culinary crown, with intensely spicy, funky, fiery som tams made out front in a huge pestle and mortar by the cheeky, safety glasses-wearing host. Sure, she might chastise you for your less than perfect Thai when ordering, and tease you for the weight you’ve put on since your last visit, but it comes from a place of love.

And boy has love gone into the salads here, the ‘jungle’ version of papaya salad here (tam pa) an absolutely doozy of fermented fish sauce and heaps of both dried and fresh chillis. It will wake you up from even the darkest of hangovers. Hell, it could bring someone back from the dead, we think.

Pair it with some grilled pork neck – fatty as you like, its sugary marinade having caught on the grill to an inviting char – and some fresh sticky rice, and luxuriate in one of Bangkok’s finest street food experiences.

Oh, those safety glasses are for protection against errant chillies when pounding the salads, by the way…

© Streets of Food

Read: 7 of the best places to eat som tam in Bangkok

  • When is Som Tam Jay So open? Closed on Sundays, Som Tam Jay So is open every other day from 11am to 5:30pm.
  • How long should I expect to queue? You will likely have to wait for a table (though there has recently been some spillover seating set up in the parking lot next door) unless you arrive after around 2pm. 
  • How much should I expect to pay? Som tam salads here start at around 70 THB (£1.50), as does the grilled pork.

Closest BTS/MRT: Sala Daeng BTS (a 7 minute walk from there)

Address: Phiphat 2, Silom, Bang Rak

Somsak Pu Ob, Thonburi

Ideal for steamed ‘claypot’ crab made by a legend…

© Author’s own

Now in its third decade of steamed crab slinging, Somsak Pu Ob is one of Bangkok’s true streetfood institutions, a culinary tour-de-force that’s busy from the moment the woks are fired up at 5pm every night (except Mondays, when they’re closed) until Mr. Somsak downs tools for the evening just four hours later.

It’s no surprise that service hours are short and exclusive here; the owner – and only the owner – works the four stoves for the entirety of that service, exacting precision timings on some seriously high quality seafood. 

The pu ob woonsen is the must order, no doubt, a dish of crab and glass noodles simultaneously fried and steamed in pork fat in a dedicated skillet, simply seasoned with plenty of black pepper, the sliced greens of spring onion, and both soy sauce and oyster sauce. Those noodles are sticky and giving, and have caught a little on the bottom of the pan, creating a caramelised crust that’s just beautiful. Roll up your sleeves and crack open the crab claws, here having taken on the sweet richness of the pork fat, and have yourself a merry old time. The small accompanying bowl of nahm jim seafood may feel superfluous (you can’t improve on perfection, and all that), but the bright, tart sauce lightens and lifts the whole thing.

© Streets of Food

There are now several branches of Somsak Pu Ob across the city, but if you want the main man to cook your dinner (you do), then it’s to the original, across the Chao Phraya and into Thonburi district, that you should head.

  • When is Somsak Pu Ob open? Open daily from 5pm to 9pm, except on Mondays, when it’s closed.
  • How long should I expect to queue? Arrive at opening time and you may get lucky and nab a table. Otherwise, expect a wait. Fortunately, there’s a ticketing system.
  • How much should I expect to pay? The signature dish is 310 THB (£.6.75).

Closest BTS/MRT: Wongwin Yai (a 7 minute walk from there)

Address: 2 Charoen Rat Rd, Khlong Ton Sai, Khlong San

Guay Jub Mr. Joe, Charoen Krung

Ideal for Bangkok’s crispiest pork…

Though the fortifying rice noodle broth of guay jub is the headlining dish in this famous Charoenkrung shophouse, pretty much everyone is here for one thing; Mr Joe’s famous crispy pork.

You won’t want to miss the guay jub, though, which boasts a pork broth spiked with inordinate amounts of pepper, that familiar rasping heat the perfect foil to all kinds of offal bobbing about in the bowl. It’s gorgeous, but really is a warm-up for what has to be some of the best (see: crispiest) pork in the city. Hitting the table already sliced into bite sized pieces, its fatty layers clearly distinguishable, its skin puffed and bubbled and gloriously golden, it’s impossible not to order a second round of the stuff. And a third. And a fourth…

So tender it only requires a little ketchup manis for dipping, Mr Joe is open from 7:30am to 4:30pm, though often closes earlier if they sell out.

  • When is Guay Jub Mr. Joe open? Open daily from 7:30am to 4:30pm.
  • How long should I expect to queue? A large, multiroom shophouse, you won’t have to wait for a table, even at peak times.
  • How much should I expect to pay? The noodle soup is 75 THB (£1.60), a plate of the crispy pork is also 75 THB.

Closest BTS/MRT: Saphan Taksin BTS (a 20 minute walk – taxi recommended!)

Address: 313/7 Chan Rd, Wat Phraya Krai, Bang Kho Laem

Soi Polo Fried Chicken, Lumphini

Ideal for the Issan holy trinity…

You can’t come to Bangkok and not eat the classic chicken and green papaya salad combo. Soi Polo Chicken is reputedly one of the city’s finest at this dream team, which, when paired with sticky rice, is known affectionately as ‘the holy trinity’.

Their birds are fried to a crispy skinned finish, seasoned generously and served with three dipping (another holy trinity) sauces to complement. The best of their papaya salads comes with salted, dried baby shrimps and crabs given a similar treatment. The meal-deal is completed with a much needed ice-cold lager. It’s a cracking option if you’re on budget, and a place we’ve been back to more times than we’re proud to mention.

  • When is Soi Polo Fried Chicken open? Open daily from 7am to 8:30pm.
  • How long should I expect to queue? You’ll likely endure a short wait for a table. Beers are served to those milling around, though.
  • How much should I expect to pay? The holy trinity for sharing plus a couple of beers will set you back a little over 500 THB (£11).

Closest BTS/MRT: Lumphini MRT (a pleasant 20 minute walk through Lumphini Park).

Address: 137/1-3 Sanam Khli Alley, Lumphini, Pathum Wan 

Laab Ubon, Sathorn

Ideal for late night drinking and feasting…

An absolute Bangkok institution beloved of chefs, strays, late night workers and early morning risers, Issan alfresco operation Laab Ubon is open from until 4am nightly, and only really gets going post midnight.

Serving a decent som tam, properly juicy salt-crusted tilapia and a never ending supply of grilled chicken, strangely for the eponymous nature of things, the laab exactly isn’t our favourite version here. Not to worry; really, you’re at Laab Ubon for the cold, icey beer, the live footy being shown in the middle of the night (coinciding with British and European kickoff times perfectly) and the everpresent good natured vibes of the place.

  • When is Laab Ubon open? Laab Ubon is open daily from 5pm to 4am.
  • How long should I expect to queue? The dining space is expansive – you won’t have to wait.
  • How much should I expect to pay? This one really depends on how many beers you end up sinking, but prices are reasonable. 

Closest BTS/MRT: Surasak BTS (a 2 minute walk, though do remember that the BTS shuts at midnight!). 

Address: 251 6 S Sathon Rd, Yan Nawa, Sathon

Here Hai, Ekkamai

Ideal for the most generous of crab fried rice dishes…

Here Hai simply wouldn’t survive a day in the UK, owing to the food costs involved in serving plates of crab fried rice with this much white crab meat. What, in this economy? Huge, mighty chunks of the stuff literally spill off the sides of your plate in this tightly packed dining room, the woks working overtime to service the never-ending stream of orders for the famous fried rice, only made more in demand by the restaurant’s recent floating on GrabFood.

It’s worth the massive wait, with the crab sourced directly from seafood-mecca Surat Thani daily. You’d be foolish to only order the crab fried rice. The fried mantis, showered in buttery sweet fried garlic, is superb, too, as are the giant river prawns, splayed open to reveal gooey, egg-yolk colour head juices. Perhaps best of all though is a riff on everyone’s favourite Thai go-to lunch; pad grapao. Here, it’s done with genuinely a dozen or more queen scallops, smoky but tender, and showered in rafts of holy basil. Yep, not content with their seafood generosity, these guys aren’t shy with the fresh herbs either!

  • When is Here Hai open? Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, Here Hai is open from 10am to 5:30pm on Wednesdays to Sundays, closing for an hour between 3pm and 4pm.
  • How long should I expect to queue? Anytime of day, expect to queue for at least an hour, even prior to Here Hai opening. You can put your name down and risk going for a wander, though.
  • How much should I expect to pay? The signature crab fried rice comes in a variety of sizes with different price points, from 440 THB (£9.60) to 1550 THB (£33.75) for a portion that will feed 4 to 6.

Closest BTS/MRT: Ekkamai BTS (a 15 minute walk in a straight line)

Address: 112, 1 Ekkamai Rd, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana

Ung Jia Huad, Central Sukhumvit

Ideal for every Bangkokian’s favourite comfort food…

No list of Bangkok’s best street food would be complete without mentioning a dedicated pad grapao peddler, such is the popularity of this most comforting of Thai dishes in the city and beyond.

Our favourite in the city (whilst we certainly haven’t eaten all of them, we’re making a pretty good go of it!) is found at Ung Jia Huad, just a five minute walk from the infamous red light district Soi Cowboy. Here, the minced pork arrives freshly stirfried, crisp but tender (the version with larger slices of pork is actually even better, we think). The fried egg boasts frilly edges and a richly coloured, runny yolk. The holy basil is scattered generously and wilted just right. The rice is freshly steamed and on point. 

Opposite the restaurant, there’s one of those beer pubs which is blessing drinkers with a fresh, constant application of mist, if you’re up for a cold one after your lunch.

Really, what more could you ask for?

  • When is Ung Jia Huad open? From 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.
  • How long should I expect to queue? You can usually cruise straight on in.
  • How much should I expect to pay? A classic pad grapao of pork is around 60 THB (£1.30).

Closest BTS/MRT: Sukhumvit MRT or Asok BTS (a 10 minute walk).

Address: Sukhumvit 23, Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana

Pad Thai Narok Taek, Thonburi

Ideal for one of the city’s best pad Thais…

Without wishing to repeat ourselves, no list of Bangkok’s best street food would be complete without mentioning a dedicated pad Thai seller, either, and the best we’ve tried in the city is at Pad Thai Narok Taek, nicknamed ‘Mad Man Pad Thai’ for the owner’s idiosyncratic, occasionally chaotic stir frying style.

It’s said that chef Aon Apilak Plurksawet gets through 25 woks a month, such is his rock’n’roll way with the wok (‘wok and roll’? nah) and the sheer amount of order he receives for this famously good version of a Thai classic, which number 400 or so a night, he says.

It’s an amazing version of this sometimes maligned dish – charred and grungy, and a little tart rather than cloyingly sweet, all to be enjoyed on the street right next to Plurksawet’s cart. With no version of pad Thai here clocking in at more than 100 THB, it’s also an absolute bargain.

  • When is Pad Thai Narok Saek open? Open every day except Mondays, from 4pm to 10pm.
  • How long should I expect to queue? You may have to wait a few minutes for a seat, but turnaround is fast here.
  • How much should I expect to pay? No version of the dish exceeds 100 THB (£2.20).

Closest BTS/MRT: Wongwian Yai BTS or Khlong San BTS (a 15 minute walk from either)

Address: 286 Lat Ya Rd, Khlong San, Bangkok 10600, Thailand

Charoen Saeng Silom, Silom

Ideal for comforting, nourishing five-spice braised pork knuckle…

With a prime spot just off the intersection where Charoen Krung Road and Silom Road meet, the recipe for Charoen Saeng Silom’s delectable stewed pork leg has been in the family for several generations, and you can taste that deep sense of history in every bite.

Located down a nondescript alley away from the traffic, and with street level seating that catches the sun just right during lunchtime, Charoen Saeng Silom draws the crowds, make no mistake, and often sells out long before closing time. They’re all here for the same dish; that pork leg that’s been braised in warming, medicinal Chinese spices until its liquor is gelatinous and sweet. Served over rice and with a homemade spicy sauce that’s heavy on the raw garlic, it’s seriously good value at around 150 THB (£3) a portion. 

And this is one huge portion. Fortunately, the grandma here will be more than happy to (or, perhaps judging you that you weren’t able to finish a portion) bag it up for you.

  • When is Charoen Saeng Silom open? Open from 7am to 1pm, daily.
  • How long should I expect to queue? From around 11am onwards, expect to wait for 10 minutes or so for a seat. 
  • How much should I expect to pay? Expect to pay around 150 THB (£3.30) for a serving of whole pork leg, but this could easily feed two.

Closest BTS/MRT: Saphan Taksin BTS (a 10 minute walk from there).

Address: 492/6  Soi Charoen Krung 49, Suriya Wong, Bang Rak 

Soong Chai Yentafo, Central Sukhumvit

Ideal for a super refreshing bowl of pink broth…

Though tourists and guidebooks eulogise Jay Jia Yentafo as the city’s best version of yen ta fo noodle soup, we’re even more enamoured with a peaceful shophouse found just off Sukhumvit Road, somewhere between Asok and Phrom Phong BTS stops. 

At Soong Chai Yentafo, the noodles are slippery and sticky, the fish balls just the right side of fragrant, and the broth refreshing. Like, really refreshing. We’d argue that no Bangkok bowl is as refreshing as this.

Yen ta fo is a popular Thai noodle soup known for its distinctive pink broth, which gets its colour from fermented soybean paste. The dish typically includes a variety of ingredients such as fish balls, squid, morning glory, and sometimes pork or seafood. It is often garnished with fried garlic and served with a side of chilli sauce and vinegar to enhance its flavour.

  • When is Soong Chai Yentafo open? Open daily from 6am to 6pm.
  • How long should I expect to queue? Due to its location away from the main tourist areas of Sukhumvit, you won’t have to wait for a table here.
  • How much should I expect to pay? Expect to pay around 50 THB (£1) a bowl, though you might want to order two.

Closest BTS/MRT: Phrom Phong BTS (a 10 minute walk from there).

Address: 20 Sukhumvit Alley 22, Khlong Tan, Khlong Toei

Jay Oh Chula, Pathum Wan

Ideal for Bangkok’s most Instagrammable street food dish, and so much more besides…

Alongside Jay Fai, Jay Oh might be the Bangkok street food scene’s most recognisable aunty. At Jay Oh Chula, you’ll also find one of the city’s most iconic dishes, one with such a cult following that it’s been given homage in one of London’s most exciting recent restaurant openings. 

Yep, we’re talking about the tom yum mama noodles, of course, an absurdly stacked bowl of instant ramen noodles, tom yam seasoned broth that’s been thickened with evaporated milk, and all manner of other treats, including crispy pork, curls of braised squid, shell-on prawns and so much more. It’s all finished with an egg yolk because, well, why not? 

It’s an indulgent, delicious sharing dish, but it’s certainly not the only thing Jay Oh excels at. In fact, the more simply adorned tom yum here is one of our favourite versions in the city, its broth rust dappled from chilli jam and clinging to the sides of the bowl as it tends to in the best renditions. The squid stir-fried in chilli jam and Thai basil are wonderfully fragrant, too. You’ll also see an almost comical number of crisp pork bellies hanging to the right hand side of the dining room, a near constant procession of plates moving across the floor. Flag a waiter down and have yourself a plate of that crispy pork before it’s gone.

Though Jay Oh gets properly rowdy later in the evening (it closes around midnight), the only way to avoid the huge queues that accumulate out front here each and every night is to arrive bang on the restaurant opens, at 5:30pm. We’ve managed to swan in at this time without a wait. By the time we’d finished eating around an hour later, queues were already snaking around the block.

  • When is Jay Oh open? Jay Oh is open every day, from 5:30pm to midnight.
  • How long should I expect to queue? Expect to queue for ages. 
  • How much should I expect to pay? The full tom yum mama with all the fixings is currently 300 THB (£6.50). It’s built for sharing.

Closest BTS/MRT: Hua Lamphong MRT or National Stadium BTS (a hot and sweaty 15 minute walk from either.)

Address: 113 Soi Charat Mueang, Rong Mueang, Pathum Wan

Hiso Curry Rice Pa Aew, Phra Nakhon

Ideal for a seriously luxurious curry over rice experience…

Hiso Curry Rice isn’t your standard raan khao gaeng stall. Here, there’s an emphasis on serious luxury in their curry dishes, whether it’s in the fist-sized lumps of white crab meat used in their curry powder spiked stir fry, or the huge river prawns deployed in a sweet and sticky glaze. In fact, the whole restaurant, run by chef/owner Auntie Aew, prides itself on that sense of luxury – the phrase ‘hiso’ is Thai slang for ‘high society’. 

Though there’s not really any streetside seating to speak of at Hiso Curry Rice, you’re only a minute’s walk from Rommaninat Park, making this the most luxurious takeaway/picnic you’ll ever have. Do be aware that not much English is spoken here, but the enticing curries are all laid out in a row on the street, making pointing, nodding and smiling just about acceptable. Or, you know, you could just learn how to order in Thai.

  • When is Hiso Curry Rice open? Hiso Curry Rice is closed on Sundays and Mondays, and open from 11:30am to 5:30pm for the remaining days of the week.
  • How long should I expect to queue? As Hiso Curry Rice is a takeaway joint, you won’t have to wait long to make your order.
  • How much should I expect to pay? For a substantial feast of curry and rice for two, expect to pay no more than 200 THB (£4.35).

Closest BTS/MRT: Sam Yot MRT (a 5 minute walk from there)

Address: PFXX+6WR, Trok Wisut, Wat Ratchabophit, Phra Nakhon

Rung Rueang Pork Noodle, Central Sukhumvit

Ideal for straightforwardly satisfying noodles…

At Rung Rueang Pork Noodle, just seconds from Phrom Phong BTS, you’ll find a straightforwardly satisfying bowl of clear, tom yum flavoured soup with minced pork and your choice of noodle (go for the egg) for less than a couple of quid. Also in the bowl, thick slices of liver, fish balls and thinly sliced fish cake make this a generous affair. Order, too, a side of crispy fish skin.

It’s a relentless lunchtime operation here, with a fast-moving queue on the street expected during peak hours. Arrive a little after that rush, at around 3pm, and you’ll be seated quickly.

  • When is Rung Rueang Pork Noodle open? Rung Rueang Pork Noodle is open every day, from 8am to 5pm.
  • How long should I expect to queue? Expect to queue for at least 15 minutes during the lunch rush.
  • How much should I expect to pay? A small bowl is 60 THB (£1.30), a medium 70 THB (£1.50) and a large 80 THB (£1.75).

Closest BTS/MRT: Phrom Phong BTS (a 5 minute walk from there).

Address:  10/3 Soi Sukhumvit 26, Khlong Tan, Khlong Toei

Mae Varee Mango Sticky Rice, Thonglor

Ideal for satisfying your sweet tooth one last time…

We end once again satisfying our sweet tooth, at a temple to all things mango; Mae Varee Mango Sticky Rice. You’ll see the sunflower-yellow piles of perfectly ripe mangos lined up outside the shop, and you’ll notice the throngs of hungry dessert lovers curled around the corner and onto Sukhumvit Road proper, and you’ll know you’ve reached sweet-tooth nirvana. 

Portions are only takeaway, and are enormous. There are other sweet treats and classic Thai confection sold here, too. Result!

  • When is Mae Varee Mango Sticky Rice open? 6am to 10pm.
  • How long should I expect to queue? A takeaway only operation, the wait for your dose will only be brief during mid-morning and mid-afternoon. During the lunch and post-work rushes, expect to wait significantly longer.
  • How much should I expect to pay? A premium price for a premium product, this one is 150 THB (£3.25), but portions are massive.

Closest BTS/MRT: Thonglor BTS (a 2 minute walk from there)

Address: 1 Thong Lo, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana

Instagram: @maevaree

*A word of warning! Be aware that many of the restaurants on this list close intermittently for holidays, both personal and national. The majority also don’t start serving immediately after opening. Many also sell out well in advance of their listed closing time. Always have a back up (or two).*

We’re heading north next, to Chiang Mai, in search of the city’s best khao soi. Care to join us?

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