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All You Need to Know about Eating in Bangkok

  • 1 / 10
    Make the Most of Bangkok’s Street Feasts
    Make the Most of Bangkok’s Street Feasts
    It is impossible to understate the diversity of Bangkok’s street food. From humble pad Thai (stir-fried noodles with egg, tofu, and shrimp flavored with tamarind) and som tam (green papaya salad) to more obscure creations from around the kingdom, the variety is breathtaking—and, for the casual visitor, sometimes overwhelming. Two good places to begin your whirlwind food tour are Yaowarat Road in Chinatown, where you'll find a plethora of street-food stalls, and Or Tor Kor Market. At T & K Seafood, you can order a whole fish steamed or deep-fried, barbecued shrimp, crab, and a variety of soups. Other prime places to chow down in the Old City include Raan Jay Fai, which recently received a coveted Michelin star. Meanwhile, in the Silom business district, Som Tam Jay So dishes up piquant papaya salads and delectable chicken wings to the lunchtime crowd.
    Photo by Maeve Nolan
  • 2 / 10
    The Cutting Edge of Bangkok’s Restaurant Scene
    The Cutting Edge of Bangkok’s Restaurant Scene
    The dining scene in Bangkok has stepped up a few notches in recent years to encompass non-Thai options that wouldn’t be out of place in London, Paris, or New York. A favorite is Appia, an upmarket Italian trattoria that specializes in fantastic Roman comfort food, such as a tender porchetta stuffed with liver and herbs, and homemade pastas. L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, opened in 2014, serves Michelin-quality fare from an open kitchen that lets diners be part of the action. Be sure to check out the buzzy Suhring, run by German identical twins who do a modern take on German fine dining. Other hot spots wowing the city's culinary cognoscenti include Canvas and Upstairs, both offering a mix-and-match approach to techniques and ingredients.
    Photo by Martin Kreuzer/age fotostock
  • 3 / 10
    Experience the Best in Thai Fine Dining
    Experience the Best in Thai Fine Dining
    The best high-end Thai restaurant in Bangkok is a subject of passionate debate, but certain names keep cropping up, among them Issaya Siamese Club. Run by Ian Kittichai, arguably Thailand’s most famous chef, and housed in an attractive period villa, this elegant spot is both authentic and appealing with its vibrant spin on traditional Thai dishes such as kradook moo aob (chili-glazed ribs) and yum hua plee (heart of palm and bamboo flower salad), all impeccably presented and flavored. Other great options are BoLan, Osha, Paste, Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin, Le Du, and Nahm, helmed by Michelin-starred chef and Thai cuisine wizard David Thompson.
    Photo courtesy of Backyard Travel
  • 4 / 10
    Bangkok’s Beloved Indian Restaurants
    Bangkok’s Beloved Indian Restaurants
    Bangkok has a significant Indian population, and the city even has its own Little India around Phahurat Road. Some of the most beloved Indian dining options can be found around the main Sukhumvit and Silom drags, though the cream of the crop—at least according to the judges for Restaurant magazine’s list of Asia’s 50 best restaurants—is Gaggan. Don’t expect traditional curries here: Chef Gaggan Anand specializes in contemporary Indian with a dash of molecular gastronomy thrown in. Taking cues from Gaggan is Gaa, where Garima Arora, former sous chef at Gaggan, weaves a spell that takes in India and other culinary influences. For a more old-school approach to fine dining from the subcontinent, try Rang Mahal at Rembrandt Hotel, the grande dame of Bangkok’s Indian restaurants. Indus is another high-quality option, offering particularly good value.
    Photo by Maeve Nolan
  • 5 / 10
    Bangkok’s Romantic Restaurants
    Bangkok’s Romantic Restaurants
    Whether you are wowing (or attempting to wow) a date or your partner, a number of idyllic restaurants in Bangkok tug at the heartstrings. Rooftop venues such as Sirocco, at Lebua hotel, and Vertigo, at Banyan Tree, are always good bets, but as far as romance is concerned, few settings compare with the banks of the Chao Phraya. And there, none is better than Sala Rattanakosin, where chef Tony Wrigley prepares flawless southern Thai cuisine like poo nim yum mamuang (soft shell crab in spicy salad) along with a few global options. The kicker: the riverside setting and the splendid view of Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), across the water.
    Photo by Dave Stamboulis/age fotostock
  • 6 / 10
    Come Home with Thai Cooking Skills
    Come Home with Thai Cooking Skills
    With its balance of five fundamental tastes, Thai cuisine is complex, but that doesn’t mean you can't master the basics of this delectable approach to food preparation. Several of the culinary schools in Bangkok are attached to renowned restaurants, including Blue Elephant, one of the most respected venues in the city, with exalted fees to match. The school's morning session features a visit to a local market, and the afternoon session includes a detailed introduction to Thai ingredients. The restaurant BoLan also offers excellent classes. For those looking for a homier option, Amita Thai Cooking Class is held in an atmospheric canalside house with an on-site herb garden.
    Photo by Maeve Nolan
  • 7 / 10
    Take a Guided Tour of Bangkok’s Street-Food Spots
    Take a Guided Tour of Bangkok’s Street-Food Spots
    With all the tasty fare on offer, it's hard to know where to begin your Bangkok street-food odyssey. Luckily, expert assistance is available in the form of specialized tours. Several companies lead tasty treks through foodie enclaves such as Chinatown and Bangrak, a historic riverside area regarded by many Bangkokians as the zenith of their street-food culture. Other options include a midnight food tour by tuk-tuk, a "bites and bike" outing that combines cycling with food sampling, and a full-day trip to the floating markets just outside Bangkok. Bangkok Food Tours, Bangkok City Discovery, and Backyard Travel all offer reliably good food tours.
    Photo by Andrea Pistolesi/age fotostock
  • 8 / 10
    Regional Cuisine in the Capital
    Regional Cuisine in the Capital
    Thai cuisine varies by region, from the hot, spicy salads of the northeastern Isaan region to the curries and Muslim-influenced dishes of the south. Migrants flock to Bangkok from all over Thailand, bringing with them their regional flavors. In the Thonglor district, you can sample a range of local specialties in a stylish setting at Supanniga Eating Room, with a menu of hard-to-find dishes from the eastern Trat province like kung phad sator (prawns fried with stink beans), along with Isaan dishes. Gedhawa serves a great khao soi, northern coconut curry noodles. Southern Thai food is also well represented in Thonglor at Khua Kling Pak Sod, which does a particularly delicious yellow curry with fish.
    Photo by Maeve Nolan
  • 9 / 10
    Bangkok's Sprawling Chinatown
    Bangkok's Sprawling Chinatown
    Thailand is home to the largest overseas Chinese community in the world, and the vast majority live in Bangkok. Thus, it's little surprise that excellent Chinese cuisine is easily available all over the city. For a truly authentic experience—complete with grumpy chefs and indecipherable menus—head to Yaowarat Road, the center of Bangkok’s Chinatown, where locals gather at venues like Lek & Rut Seafood and T & K Seafood. You won't be wowed by the appearance of either, but you also won’t be complaining once you’ve sampled their steamed whole fish or the barbecued prawns as big as your fist.
    Photo by Erich Häfele/age fotostock
  • 10 / 10
    Go Meat-Free at Bangkok’s Vegetarian Restaurants
    Go Meat-Free at Bangkok’s Vegetarian Restaurants
    It can be a challenging business being a vegetarian in Bangkok. Most Thais are avowed carnivores, and it's all but impossible to avoid meat at most of the city’s street-food outlets. A growing number of spots, however, are making it easier—and a lot more pleasurable—to swear off meat in the Thai capital. Raw Food Café at Rasayana Retreat is one such venue. Espousing a raw-food philosophy that cooking destroys essential enzymes and nutrients, the vegan offerings here include pasta carbonara with coconut bacon and eggplant lasagna. For vegetarian Thai food, May Kaidee's has three locations in Bangkok serving excellent meat-free versions of classic Thai dishes like pad Thai and som tam. Khun Churn is another highly rated vegetarian choice.
    Photo by Sylvain Grandadam/age fotostock
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