Known as the unofficial outdoor dining capital of Asia, Bangkok’s street food is unlike anything else in the region. Diners that are willing to swap white tablecloths for plastic tables that run alongside traffic-jammed roads are rewarded with foods that delight all of the senses. Quite literally, nearly any Thai food can be order from food stalls, including entire grouper, pad Thai, spring rolls, papaya salad, and fresh veggies cooked in oyster sauce. The standard level of spice at these stands is “Thai style,” so unless you’re ready to breathe fire, most Westerners should emphasize (several times) that they want just a little spice. Remember that not all street food is created equal, but the five locations below have good reputations for being clean and authentic. It’s worth noting that Monday in Bangkok is the city’s day to sweep the streets, so most vendors won’t be open. Any other day? Enjoy.
Or Tor Kor
One of the oldest street markets in Bangkok sits near the Chatuchak weekend bazaar and serves as one of the go-to produce stalls for local restaurants. But wander back past the fruit, and you’ll find a small shop selling som tam, a delicious spicy green-papaya salad. But be warned; even the bravest of patrons should ask for minimal spice.
Night Food Stall Street
Just steps from the BTS stop at Thong Lor on Soi 38 are some of Bangkok’s best vendors who serve pad Thai, mango and sticky rice, and egg noodles with pork starting around 6 p.m. each day. Before ordering from a selection of carts, walk the streets and scope out the options. Most vendors will bring your dish to your table.
Disputes in Bangkok run deep over who really makes the best pad Thai. But one of the top contenders for the title is the long-standing Thip Samai. Under the red sign and neon lights, you’ll have to jockey for a table, but the memory of their paper-thin egg coating around the noodles will stay with you long after you’ve left the country.
Lumpini Park Food Stalls
Just outside Lumpini Park, on the northwest corner, is a large outcropping of vendors who hawk produce, noodles, and a good selection of seafood to passing patrons. Almost all the vendors have English menus that include photos for easy ordering, but certain items, like grilled fish, are strictly off-the-menu dishes.
In Bangkok’s Chinatown, the street food is taken so seriously that only the top-notch vendors are able to keep business alive. Which means that finding dinner in this area should be done almost exclusively with your nose. Be sure to wander down the small sois of this neighborhood for endless eating options.