People never believed us when we insisted that the main agenda of our Bangkok trip was going to be food. Being a lover of Pan Asian cuisine, it was imperative that a holiday in Bangkok meant trying a lot of Thai food. Even with millions of tourists flocking every month and season, Thai and Chinese cuisine is more popular in the city than Global fast food chains for people who wouldn’t venture out of their comfort zone. Does that imply we didn’t try the amazing Samurai Pork Burger in McDonald’s or Beef Whopper in Burger King? Of course, we did! They were cheap and totally unavailable in India, which made themselves land into our list of items to try. But they aren’t eligible to be featured into these 5 must eats from Thai cuisine. These are nutritious, delicious and well within your budget if you’re a traveller like me and M. We love to explore the local cuisine of any place we visit, rather than sit in boutique hotels and sample gourmet food.
We recommend these must eat treats once you’re in Bangkok –
Spring Roll and Pad Thai – These two aren’t served together, but they’re often in close proximity. Thai Spring Rolls are probably one of the few vegetarian appetisers that we love. Crisp on the outside with a moist filling of veggies, always freshly fried and served with a sweet chilli sauce – Spring Rolls are a must on the streets of Bangkok. They provide a quick snack break, satiate your taste buds and come as cheap as 30 THB per plate. We’ve had the best ones at a stall on Khao San Road and it’s the best way to fill your stomach before you start partying.
Pad Thai is a plate of hot noodles with veggies and meat/seafood/eggs that are stirred together just before serving. The aromatic one pot meal will truly stir your senses if you’re a noodle lover like me. We’ve had Pad Thai quite a few times in Bangkok – both in urban food courts and street stalls on Khao San Road. I liked them both, and surprisingly they wasn’t a difference in price. You can try a plate of Prawn Pad Thai at 50 THB and it won’t disappoint you.
Noodle Soup – While you’re an explorer in Bangkok, noodle soups are one thing you can’t avoid. They would appear bland to our Indian palate, but have an acquired taste. We tried different kinds of noodles with different broth and meat to get the hang of the item. And by the end of the second day of our trip, we’ve had had two kinds already for breakfast and lunch! Noodle soups are very filling and a balanced meal with enough carbohydrates (noodles), vegetables, greens, a good broth and protein (meat/seafood). Our favourite was the Noodle Soup with Barbecued Red Pork – it had enough slices of well done roast pork, noodles, bok choy, spring onions and an assortment of sauces. You’ll notice red chilli flakes sprinkled atop as we found it bland the first time, but it got better with time and we left the chilli flakes behind. At 45 THB, you can’t get a better breakfast that will keep you filled for at least 4 hours.
There were others with Roast Pork and Pork meatballs, but each had a different flavour, some were pungent and not particularly appealing to our taste. At the beginning of the trip, M had even claimed that we were drinking just hot water for breakfast and it won’t last long! But he was proven wrong after 2-3 attempts and now we miss those nutritious and hot soups in India. Flat Noodle Soup with Minced Beef is also recommended that we had for lunch at a little restaurant near our hotel in Sukhumvit.
Roast Duck and Tom Yum Kung – While you can try all the other items in this list at any eatery in Bangkok and explore, this one’s an exclusive. You HAVE to eat at Hua Seng Hong to believe how good they are! We had Bangkok’s China Town (Yaowarat Road) in our itinerary as we’re crazy about Chinese food in India and have been regular at Calcutta’s China Town. Strolling around Yaoawarat Road after a hectic day of tour in the city, we were beyond hungry. The sights and sounds, tastes and whiffs of food laid on open tables at the sidewalk and happy faces sitting down to eat made our hearts melt.
Among the busy restaurants, Hua Seng Hong enticed us with Roast Duck on display and we set our foot in. It looked like an old restaurant but we were yet to find out that it was the oldest Chinese restaurant in Bangkok. We had ordered dry Roast Duck on Egg Noodles and loved it! It had a crispy skin with moist layer of meat on the inside. Later we went to another branch of Hua Seng Hong at the Central World Mall and ordered Roast Duck in Gravy with a side of steamed rice. The meat was perfectly roasted and dunked in a slightly sweet sauce.
Though Hua Seng Hong is a Chinese restaurant, they serve a few Thai items as well and Tom Yum Kung (Thai Soup with Shrimp) is one of them. We hadn’t tried Tom Yum Kung ever before, so it came as a surprise simmering hot in an aluminium vessel with a flame at the centre. The sizzling soup consisted of a light broth flavoured with lemongrass, kafir lime leaves and galangal. We spotted a hint of coconut milk as well. It was light yet packed with flavours, with large pieces of shrimps well cooked in the broth. I think M would agree on the fact that it was the best soup we’ve ever had.
Don’t miss Hua Seng Hong and all the heritage & tradition it still brings forth in its food.
Thai Red Curry (With Pork Ribs) – Thai Red and Green curries have begun ruling the world of curries since long. They are extremely popular with Asians and others all around. Cooked with a red curry paste and coconut milk, Thai Red Curry is a little spicy, well suited to the Indian palate and served with steamed rice. We had tried a fine dining restaurant E.A.T (Eat All Thai) at the Central World Mall and ordered Thai Red Curry with Pork Ribs. It isn’t unusual, though I’ve only had Chicken and Prawns in Red Curries at previous instances. The ribs were well cooked and the curry was flavourful, though it was nothing out of the world. You might try it at someplace else, but Red Curry is a must if you’re visiting Bangkok.
Fried Pork on Toast – This was another first for us in Bangkok. Khao San Road is the main party venue and throbs with life at night. We were looking for food since we reached there before the party began. At one of the pubs, the menu consisted of Fried Pork on Toast and it was difficult for us to resist ordering it. A heap of fried toast pieces with pork mince and sesame as topping were served and won our hearts at once. The toast was crisp, the topping tasted superb and moist and we felt they are a killer combo!
Do try our recommendations of these 5 must eats in Bangkok and let us know if you liked them.
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Thai cuisine is a celebration of the fresh and fragrant. Whatever your reason for visiting, the abundance of delicious flavours will make you want to extend your stay.
True that! what’s your favourite Thai dish?
I liked the disclaimer in the beginning and thats the reason I adore your blog so much. The mention of Kolkata’s china town was exemplary and this is a nice guide/ write up for foodies like me to check out the food in Bangkok. Keep writing
I liked the way you had set the context of the writing and also the mention of Calcutta’s china town did touch the heart for the kolkatan in me. Very nicely written one and this will serve as a guide for lot of first time travellers to Bangkok. Keep going
Thanks for sharing it, will keep it in mind. When I went there 3 years back, rarely found street food for vegetarians..