Mahboonkrong (MBK) is one of Bangkok’s largest shopping malls. It is also the destination for most of Thailand’s tourists, who hear about the dirt cheap shopping and huge variety of products.
Of course, tourists also have to eat, and many of them stop off at MBK’s ‘The Fifth Food Avenue’, an enormous international food court serving cuisine from all over the world. But, is The Fifth Food Avenue a good place to eat, or does MBK have better choices?
What is The Fifth Food Avenue? – Ignore the weird sounding name, (Thais seem to have a problem naming something in English that actually makes sense).
The Fifth Food Avenue is a massive food court located on the fifth floor of MBK, hence the name. Consisting of around 20 food stalls selling international food, the quality is supposedly higher than the Thai food court on the sixth floor at MBK but, of course, the price is too.
The Fifth Food Avenue Concept – Similar to other food courts in Thailand, The Fifth Food Avenue has one small difference. Instead of handing over your money first and getting a pre-paid card, when you arrive The Fifth Food Avenue gives you a plastic card like a credit card and you use it to ‘charge’ any food you eat.
When you have finished eating your meal, you pay your bill at the checkout.
The reason they do this is, of course, unlike the pre-paid cards at other Thai food courts, you’re not really keeping a check on what you’re spending. Charge, charge and charge, then pay at the end. That way, you spend more.
The Food at The Fifth Food Avenue – The choice of international cuisine at The Fifth Food Avenue is good. There’s Italian, Chinese, Greek, Mexican, Indian, Japanese and Thai – just to name a few. There are also a couple of stalls serving drinks (beer is available) and one or two stalls also serve desserts.
Tamarind Cafe’ is quite decent, with a large choice of sandwiches from lots of different countries. You might also enjoy ‘Ali’s Arabic Cuisine’ – they make an excellent Chicken Shawarma. There’s also Mexican food at ‘Burrito Loco’, ‘Panda House’ has the typical Chinese fare, and the Indian food at ‘Chutney’ is delicious.
The nice thing about eating at The Fifth Food Avenue is, if you want to try several different cuisines, you can. Just order something from a few different stalls. The last time I ate there with a Thai friend, we ended up eating a meal that was a mix of Greek, Italian and Thai food. Quite tasty too.
Prices at The Fifth Food Avenue – The major drawback at The Fifth Food Avenue is the price.
I have never left there with a bill less than 350 baht ($11.30), which for lunch in Thailand is very expensive. At the Thai food court just one floor higher at MBK, you can get a meal and a drink for 60 baht ($2), and personally I think the food is a little better.
Some stalls are cheaper (you can get away with 200 baht ($6) at ‘Ali’s Arabic Cuisines’ and the portions are large) but, overall, you will end up spending at least four times more than you would spend at an average MBK restaurant for what’s nothing more, at most stalls, than average food.
Make sure you check any weekly promotions The Fifth Food Avenue might be running, before you order. Sometimes you can get a great deal on a set meal, much cheaper than ordering each dish would cost.
Entertainment at The Fifth Food Avenue – The food court is, of course, more upscale than the Thai food court one floor higher. However, as it’s populated mostly by tourists and expats, to me it doesn’t seem an ‘authentic Thai’ experience like the Thai food court upstairs is.
But, if you’re hankering for international or western food and can’t make up your mind where to go, The Fifth Food Avenue is a good choice. Just be prepared to shell out more cash.