Any repeat visitor to Bangkok, Thailand generally knows eating the street food is the best way to not only find the cheapest deals, but also to experience the most authentic Thai food in the country.
Anyone who has lived in Thailand for a long time like myself, knows exactly which street food stalls to eat at and which to avoid. Those new to the country or just on short trips, however, know it isn’t always easy to get the best street food in Bangkok – particularly in 2014 – as the already vast choices grow in number every week.
That’s why following these quick tips can help.
Watch where the Thais eat – You will never find a Thai eating food from a stall with high prices, poor quality or food that isn’t clean. Thais love their cuisine and luxuriate in eating it, so any food stall that doesn’t serve excellent food won’t survive for long.
Watch where the Thais eat, and avoid those stalls that are consistently devoid of customers. That way you’re guaranteed an amazing meal.
Don’t eat at street stalls in tourist areas – Some of the most expensive street food in Bangkok is in tourist areas and some of it really doesn’t taste very good. Areas like Silom, around the Siam Paragon shopping mall, and in areas close to major tourist attractions. That’s because many of these vendors are targeting tourists, as they know most have no idea what the ‘going price’ for a typical street meal is or how the food should really taste.
In tourist areas in Bangkok, you can expect to pay 50-100 percent more than the cost of a street food meal or item in a less touristy area of the city. That’s why it pays to avoid eating at stalls in these areas, and instead head out to parts of Bangkok frequented by locals. The food is usually better as well.
Eat at Chatuchak Weekend Market – One of my favorite places to try street food in Bangkok is at the weekly Chatuchak Weekend Market, held on a Friday evening, and all day Saturday and Sunday. That’s because, even though an enormous number of tourists make it to the market, the vast majority of shoppers are still Thai. So the street food served here is low priced and excellent quality.
Plus, there’s so much of it you really can sample a lot of dishes for very little money.
Don’t be afraid to try something new – Most new visitors to Bangkok will discover the vast majority of Thai street food stalls serve food they have never heard of, and some of it looks decidedly odd. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to be one of the best things you’ve ever eaten.
So take your courage in hand and try something new at least once every day while you’re in Bangkok. You’ll soon find yourself eating amazing food, for as low as 30 cents (10 baht) in price, and realize what you’ve been missing out on.
Try the late-night food stalls – Some areas of Bangkok have street food vendors that don’t start serving until 6pm and then continue making food until 4-6am. That’s because a lot of Thais work late hours, and others frequent the hopping bar and nightclub scene.
These late-night food stalls are also where you’ll find some of the best street food in Bangkok and, as it’s cooler after dark, it’s a much more comfortable experience eating outside for someone who is not Thai or not a long-time resident of Bangkok.
One of the best sois to eat at late-night food stalls is at Sukhumvit Soi 38 in the Thong Lor area of the city. Many other areas of Bangkok also have amazing late-night food stalls, and Thais at your hotel, guest house or apartment building can tell you exactly which ones to try.