Thai Food on Bangkok's busy Streets

Best Thai Food in Bangkok: Exploring the City’s Awesome Eats



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I’ve met a lot of people who hate Bangkok for some reason. Usually their explanations vary, but they often seem to cite the crowded conditions, pollution and a few other very pragmatic reasons. I find myself waiting politely, then asking them”but what about the the food?” In my book at least, all the sins of Bangkok are absolved by the excellent and fast food restaurant cheap Thai food that you can buy on any and every street corner. This photo journal is my attempt to answer the Bangkok naysayers (although the essay does include a trip to Burger King and KFC).

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    From the moment I stepped out of the cab from the airport, my nose reminded me that I was back in Bangkok. The unique aroma of bubbling woks and sizzling stir fry combined with freshly chopped vegetables and spices made me want to stop to eat every thirty feet or so.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    The Yonglee Restaurant had dishes of spices too.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    We each chose a dish at the Yonglee Restaurant, and then we all tried some of each one.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    I know I said the sautéed chicken dish from the photo above was my favorite dish in Bangkok, but I had the name of this one written down by the owner of the food stall on a scrap of paper I kept in my wallet. It was so spicy that it was barely edible, but also really tasty. I ended up pulling out that scrap of paper any time I couldn't figure out what to order while I was in Thailand.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    Steve and Alex ordered some Phad Thai for lunch one day.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    Another spicy concoction from the Bangkok street chefs.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    I think our love of the Bangkok street food took a turn south after visiting this dumpling stand...

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    When Alex opened the styrofoam container they came in, an overwhelming blast of garlic washed over us like a wave...

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    Unfortunately, they didn't taste any better than they smelled, so the dumplings ended up as an offering to the ravenous school of gurgling fish that lurked in the Chao Phraya River.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    It was almost as if the dark shapes lying in wait just beneath the murky surface could sense (in this case, smell) the dumpling plummeting from above...

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    The plop of impact rang the dinner bell and the fish quickly glided like small torpedoes towards the helpless dumpling.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    If you don't see anything that looks appetizing at one food stall, don't worry, there's always another one nearby that probably has what you're looking for.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    Within nanoseconds, the surface of the river resembled a Tickle Me Elmo toy aisle pileup at Wal-Mart, with the sound of cursing suburbanites replaced with the sounds of slimy mouths sucking air and soggy fins slapping the surface of the river.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    Some fish rode their fellows like a living wave as they were pushed out of the water while they vainly attempted to snatch a nibble of the disintegrating dumpling.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    Mmmmm, fish. After the rotten garlic dumplings and seeing the feeding frenzy down at the Chao Phraya, we were dreaming of hamburgers and french fries.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    For some reason, Bangkok is full of Burger King restaurants, including this one at the BKK airport. Steve and I had hamburgers for breakfast here before catching our flight to Luang Prabang, Laos.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    The 7 Eleven across the street from the Taewez Guesthouse sold these frozen slices of "Pizza Quik" in shrimp flavor. The dumplings didn't push us far enough away from Thai food to try any Pizza Quik though.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    Our return to the open arms of the Bangkok food stalls would come from a most unexpected place: a free meal voucher (pronounced wowcher) from Kentucky Fried Chicken at the Bangkok airport. Even though we had already eaten Burger King for breakfast, we figured a free meal is a free meal and proceeded to fill up on KFC's SE Asian styled vittles. Let's just say it was horrible, I don't remember what we ordered, but we both felt sick from the Colonel's cooking.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    Later in the trip we were able to confront the Colonel for his crimes when we discovered him hanging out on the street in Bangkok. Steve and I noticed him sporting his trademark white dinner jacket when we returned from Laos to meet Alex. Although his skin and had an unnatural sheen, that didn't stop Colonel Sanders from smiling genially while Steve accused him of pushing an overpriced and inferior product, even going so far as to challenge Colonel to a duel.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    But Sanders wouldn't budge, so we used the well-trodden American technique of speaking with our wallets. I'm really glad I hung on to that scrap of paper with the name of my favorite Thai chicken dish on it.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    Across the street from our room at the Taewez Guest house, the market sold fresh meat and produce and was jammed with delicious eats from the food carts.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    I think this was my favorite food stand from this visit to Bangkok. The ingredients were always fresh and right there in front of you to see, and the Thai woman who owned the stand made a huge variety of great authentic dishes. Since there really wasn't a menu, I would wait around until someone ordered something that looked good and then asked for one too. She spoke some English as well, so I was able to ask the name of my favorite dishes and get her to write down the name (phonetically and in Thai) so I could order it again.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    Beside each food stall, small tables were usually set up on the sidewalks for you to sit down for your meal. Watching what the local folks ordered was usually the best method of figuring out what to get for lunch or dinner since there usually wasn't a menu and I don't speak Thai.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    I think this may have been my favorite dish when I was in Bangkok, although I don't know what it was called! Thinly sliced chicken was sautéed in a wok with spices until golden brown. I guess this describes almost every chicken dish in the world, so let's just say that it was a damn good meal!

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    Maybe your already spicy Thai meal didn't have enough heat? No problem, every food stall provided a deadly dish of freshly chopped spices. Steve was more gutsy than me and usually added a few of these green and red peppers to his meals.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    Steve shown here sampling some of the sweet street eats near the Taewez Guesthouse.

  • Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Food, Thailand - October 2004
    We didn't eat every meal in Bangkok from the street vendors. Steve recommended the Yonglee Restaurant for its great food, so we went there for dinner the night that Alex arrived in Bangkok.