Street food is life and in Bangkok, life is street food. No trip to Bangkok is complete without visiting its many colorful street markets and eating its delicious food. I spent a week in Bangkok and I did not eat a single meal that was not part of a night market or a casual street side restaurant.
I could spend a year in Bangkok and never visit all the restaurants I’d want. However, a week is plenty of time to eat your heart out in Bangkok. I know most people probably spend much fewer days than a week while in Bangkok so this guide will point you to the best of the best. Some restaurants are institutions that warrant a visit while others are for the more advanced traveler.
In this list are restaurants that are part of night or morning markets (think open air streets with dozens of different vendors lined up), as well as casual restaurants that wouldn’t be deemed street markets but are extremely casual nonetheless.
Is Bangkok street food safe?
If you’re a fan of street food, then you’re definitely coming to the right place in Bangkok. If you’re not the most adventurous and are a questioning the idea of visiting street markets in Bangkok, I’m here to tell you it is totally safe to eat.
Bangkok as a city is much more modern and developed than you’d think. Sure it is not at the same levels of hygiene as the Singapore hawker markets, but it is still quite good. Most of the food in Thailand is cooked with extremely high heat being seared on a wok which ensures that germs are fried away.
Street foods might look a bit intimidating and scary especially if you’re coming from Western countries but I can assure you that this is the best way to try as many Thai dishes for a very cheap price. All the Thai people eat street food as part of life and they are still standing. Of course, your stomach might be much weaker than theirs but we are all human so it means you can do it too.
In fact, I spent my entire trip eating street while in Bangkok. The food is just too good and too cheap to really warrant anything else. I typically would have a drink at one of the many many rooftop bars in Bangkok where I’d pay $10-15 per drink, and then proceed to wolf down pad see ew and chicken satays for $5 afterwards. I’m still standing here today to write this post and I’ve never felt better!
Thip Samai for Pad Thai
No visit to Thailand is complete without visiting the famous Thipsamai. This is the holy grail of Pad Thai restaurants and is featured on every food network and blog out there.
Come here for dinner on any given night and you’ll see a line snaking down the street. During normal times before COVID, you could see the chefs crafting their magic on the street but nowadays, it’s all done inside. The main item here is Pad Thai with shrimp. In fact, it’s pretty much the only thing you can order here so you know they mean business.
The Pad Thai here is incredibly unique and succulent. It’s much creamier than other Pad Thais I’ve had, featuring a very rich shrimp flavor. The cook then blasts an egg over flaming heat before finally wrapping the noodles inside. Top it off with fresh chilies, peanuts and a splash of lime for the ultimate Pad Thai experience.
It’s definitely an experience everyone needs to have while in Bangkok. You don’t need to come here every day because you can find other Pad Thais for half the price and a fraction of the wait time.
Price for the original Pad Thai is 120 THB.
Pad Thai Kratong Thong
For another famous and delicious Pad Thai, visit Pad Thai Kratong Thong. It’s located right next to Wat Pho and is on the way from Wat Pho to the ferry that takes you to the Temple of the Dawn. This is a perfect stop in between temples to chow some delicious Pad Thai and Green Curry Fried Rice.
The Pad Thai with Shrimp is served on a delicious crispy edible shell. The noodles are a more standard approach to pad thai unlike Thip Samai’s heavy use of shrimp paste. I really liked both versions and for 90 THB, you can’t go wrong with this dish.
Jay Fai Michelin Star Restaurant
Jay Fai is probably the most famous street food vendor in all of Bangkok. Her restaurant is located right next to Thip Samai and you’ll see equally crazy long lines waiting for her food. In fact, often times she does not even do walk ins anymore because her food is so in demand. Reservations can be booked a month out!
She started as a humble street vendor elevating traditional Thai dishes in her own way. She earned a Michelin star and then became incredibly popular being featured on Netflix’s Chef’s Table.
I came here for lunch as you can walk in without reservation. I waited about 45 minutes for a table which was fine as I just grabbed a beer from the 7/11 down the street and watched the master cook. During my visit, Richard Quest from CNN was filming a show here.
Her dishes start at 600 THB for a typical dish like Pad See Ew and up to 1,000 THB for her ultra famous crab omelet which is packed full of juicy crab meat. I got the Pad Kee Mao with shrimp as well as the crab omelet. Her dishes are incredibly tasty and I’m not surprised she has the Michelin Star and the world wide acclaim that she does.
A lot of people like to complain about how expensive her dishes are. They are of course much more than you’d pay in other street vendors but she also uses incredible ingredients. The prawns here are giant tiger prawns were are pricey no matter where you go in Bangkok. In addition, she has such a cult like following now that she could probably double her prices and still attract the same crowds.
Thai Food at Samranrat (ร้านอาหารตามสั่ง สีแยกสำราญราษฎร์ )
Don’t feel like waiting for Jay Fai or Thipsamai? Simply walk down the same street and you’ll find a big street stall with amazing local Thai dishes. After eating Thipsamai, I was still a bit hungry so I came here for round two. I tried their Pad Thai as well and absolutely loved it. It’s definitely cooked in a vastly different style vs Thip Samai but full of flavor.
I even tried their fried rice with seafood which I admit was probably a bit too much in the end. The things one must do when eating their way through Bangkok…
Yaowarat Night Market
Yaowarat Night Market is located in the heart of Chinatown featuring hundreds of food stalls making Thai/Chinese cuisine. Walk down Yaowarat street at nights and you’ll find it packed with thousands of hungry locals and tourists alike.
You’ll find all the foods you can want here like delicious pork skewers, grilled calamari salad with chilies, seafood, crispy pork, and even insects! Yes you can try fried insects like grasshoppers, centipedes and even scorpions.
Yaowarat is probably one of the most touristy street markets in Bangkok. It has a healthy mix of locals and tourists yet it has a very inviting atmosphere. Nothing is too intimidating and there’s nothing too out of the ordinary. Throw in beautiful neon lights and chaotic traffic, and you have all you need for a quintessential experience. If you’re white and not sure if you’re about the street market life but want to give it a try, start at Yaowarat!
There are a few things I can really recommend at the Yaowarat Night market.
Nai Ek Roll Noodle
Located in Chinatown, this Nai Ek is probably the most famous restaurant on Yaorawat street. At least, that’s what the long lines would tell you. This place serves delicious crispy roast pork as well as other pork delicacies. The pork belly here is absolutely diving with soft juicy meat accompanied by the most perfect crispy skin.
Even during nights when the night market wasn’t running, there would still be long lines of eager diners waiting to feast on their famous pork. This is definitely a must visit when in the Chinatown area.
Price for the roast pork is 100 THB.
Grilled Squid Stall
A few meters down from Nai Ek Roll Noodle is the famous grilled squid stall. There are numerous other vendors that sell the same thing but this one always has a huge line which has to mean it’s good.
They have a huge stall with a giant charcoal grill heating up dozens of squid satays. After the squid has been cooked to perfection, they serve it in a cilantro salad topped with their home made chili sauce (extremely spicy but flavorful). The combination is incredible and you’re sure to want more.
Prices for squid is 60-100 THB depending on the part of the squid.
Seafood at Fikeaw
Fikeaw is one of the most popular vendors at the Yaowarat night market by far. There is always a queue waiting to eat his delicious seafood dishes. He is famous for creating massive flames from the ultra hot woks while he cooks. It’s quite a spectacle and perfect for photos and Instagram stories.
I had his prawns with garlic and chilis and it was absolutely delicious. I also tried his morning glory sauteed vegetables which was again fantastic. The prices here are higher than you’ll find elsewhere in the market but it’s to be expected given how popular he’s become.
Sam Yan Breakfast Market
There are just no shortage of street markets in Bangkok. The next one up is the famous Sam Yan breakfast market. It’s open from 6am until lunch time. The busiest times are between 7am and 9am so I would visit during these hours to see the crowds and get the freshest food.
There is a wide array of Thai and Chinese style dishes here, as well as fresh juice stands, dessert stands (with mango sticky rice), and numerous stalls selling raw seafood.
Jek Pui Curry Rice
Jek Pui is one of the most famous places to eat delicious Thai curries. Located in Chinatown in a back alley, this place is down and dirty street food at its finest.
They have a few different curries including green curry with chicken, red curry with beef, yellow curry with pork, and penang curry with pork. I opted for the Green curry as this is the spiciest and it was so delicious. You’re served with rich flavorful curries over rice topped with Chinese sausage and chilies.
Everyone eats the curries on red stools sans table. It’s pretty funny to watch but it’s just casual street dining at its best. The curries are unbelievably affordable at 40 THB per plate and delicious.
The stall is open from 3pm to 8pm. Get there early!
Kor Panich Sticky Rice
One of my favorite Thai desserts and probably one of my all time favorite desserts (after the Austrian Kaiserschmarnn of course) is mango sticky rice. Think fresh, juicy mangoes served with succulent sticky rice topped with a sweet coconut cream sauce. This is literally one of the most delicious things you can eat and anyone who has had this can attest.
Mango Stick rice comes from the North of Thailand (think Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai) so it’s harder to find in Bangkok than you think. You really need the freshest and most delicious mangoes to make this dish possible which is why it’s hard to find even at the most high end of Thai restaurants in say New York. If you have crappy mangoes, this dish will fail.
Kor Panich is probably the most famous place in Bangkok to try mango sticky rice. They are located on an unassuming street with no dine in options available. It’s entirely done on a take out basis but the end result is incredible.
Price for this sticky rice is 120 THB. This is on the high end of mango sticky rice but you’re getting the best of the best!
Bang Lamphu Tom Yum Goong
This place is the ultimate restaurant to try the famous Tom Yum Soup. If you’ve never had Tom Yum soup outside of Thailand before (it is quite a popular dish available in all Thai restaurants outside of Thailand), then you absolutely cannot leave Bangkok before trying some.
Tom yum is one of the most traditional and popular dishes in all of Thailand. It’s a soup based dish made with prawns, mushrooms, lemongrass, kaffir limes, galanga, chilies, and other delicious ingredients I probably don’t know of. It’s a combination of hot and sour with a delicious seafood flavor. It’s one of my favorite Thai dishes and Bang Lamphu is the place to eat it.
It’s located on a street with many other hawker stands in an unassuming street front setting. The soup is huge with big chunks of shrimp, crab, calamari and who knows what else. Pair it with rice and you have yourself a perfect lunch for 160 THB.
Nang Loeng Market
Nang Loeng Market is a locals market located near to the Governmental buildings. This market is a bit down and dirty but there are some delicious things to eat in this market.
Neua Tun Nang Loeng
For the most famous beef noodle soup, come to Neua Tun Nang Loeng. It is located just outside of the market in a corner area. It’s packed with locals enjoying delicious marinated beef brisket cooked in a flavorful broth. This place is quite famous and attracts a big crowd during the lunch hour.
The owner is also quite friendly and will make sure you’re always take care of. Price for the beef noodle soup is 60 THB. I asked for extra beef and paid a few extra Baht which was definitely worth it.
Jib Kee Roast pork and duck
Located just outside of the market is the famous Jib Kee restaurant which specializes in crispy pork and roast duck. Both dishes are delicious and very cheap at 60 THB per dish.
The roast pork is ultra crispy and the meat is tender and juicy. What a great combination!
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