Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Editor’s note: Eddie, a Singaporean-born Malaysian, grew up, studied, worked and got married in Singapore before moving to Bangkok in 2009. His blog, Stranger in Bangkok, started off as a platform for him to update friends and family back home in Singapore and Malaysia, about life in Thailand from an outsider’s – but not tourists’s – perspective. Eddie considers himself a father first and foremost, and his blog offers a bit of everything – from travel, to parenting and food, all the while focusing on writing about life in Thailand.
We persuaded him to share with us some insider’s tips on visiting Bangkok. The foodie that he is, Eddie decided to share with us his thoughts on what to eat in Bangkok – and it’s not just Thai food he’s dishing up! We promise you, item 4 on his list will probably delight your little ones 😉
Having lived in Thailand for 6 years, dining in Bangkok, to me, is more than just Thai food. Even Thai food has escalated above well-known dishes like Tom Yum Soup or Pad Thai. If you come here frequently, you will realize that the culinary scene in Bangkok might be more colourful than any other place you might have been to. The variety here is amazing. Between throngs of Thai street food, you can find the heartiest pizzas that taste more authentic than those you can find in touristy Venice, or even otherwise inaccessible cuisines like Cuban, Ethiopian or Peruvian. Therefore, if you solely restrict yourself to Thai food, you might be missing something. So here comes my 5 restaurants to try in Bangkok, specially hand-picked for you, hopefully with a good mix of cuisines and food-types that will whet your appetite.
If fish maw/shark’s fins soup is what you constantly look for on your trips to Bangkok, then look no further than Ping’s.
With 3 branches located in downtown Bangkok (Asoke, Surawong and Pathumwan Princess Hotel connected to MBK), you have no excuse not to give Ping’s a go. It’s to me, hands-down, the tastiest fish maw soup in Bangkok, and I am not kidding you when I say that there is no MSG and hardly any starch in the broth too. They also have an array of standard Teochew-style seafood dishes that focus on premium-quality ingredients. If you are tired of the static one-way traffic down at Yaowarat, this is the restaurant for you.
If I tell you there are Portuguese Egg Tarts in Bangkok that taste more unforgettable than those I ate in Macau, would you believe me?
You have to try them for yourselves as they are available at all of Kanom’s branches across the city.
To savour their delicious dough fritters, which I personally think is a star here, I would recommend that you have a trip to their branch at Sukhumvit 49. Served in sets of 5, crispy on the outside, fluffy and slightly sweet on the inside and meant to eat with custard, please make sure you go with a hungry friend or two as you need to leave some space for their other dishes.
Because aside from their delicious sweet treats, Kanom serves up yummy savoury dishes too. I highly recommend their fried kway teow, which is easily one of the best in Bangkok at that price range.
Much has been said about Thai-style wanton noodles. Stalls are even starting to sprout in Singapore hawker centres, and I am sure frequent flyers to Bangkok would have tried them.
Gokfayuen, on the other hand, is open by a Hong Kong native, Donald, who is trying to bring authentic Hong Kong wanton noodles to Bangkok. To capture the spirit of the traditional wanton noodle which is getting increasingly hard to find even in Hong Kong, everything at Gokfayuen is made in-house, from the noodles, to the roast pork, down to dried halibut required for the soup base. Situated conveniently at Thong Lor, I feel it’s worth a visit, especially at 79THB per serving.
One of the most exciting dessert shop openings for me in recent years is Itim Lamoon, simply because they have successfully taken traditional Thai desserts to the next level.
The delicious creations here encapsulate familiar, signature Thai flavours. Carefully crafted into premium, home-made ice-cream, packaged and delivered in a fun, yet nostalgic way for customers, Itim Lamoon takes my vote for an authentic Thai experience. My favourite flavours include Thai Iced Tea, Young Coconut and Yakult Jelly. However, it might be choices like the Red Bull sorbet, or Rum and Raisin (made with the famous local Sangsom rum) ice cream that might take your imagination to the moon. Currently, their most accessible location for tourists will be their stall at Tha Maharaj, a new community mall by the Chao Phraya River. I had the opportunity to catch up with Moo, the owner of Itim Lamoon and you can read about his inspiration behind the creations here.
At the end of this post, please allow me to mention my favourite Thai restaurant of all: Saen Aroy Pochana.
Saen Aroy Pochana is not too accessible to tourists, but it is definitely well worth the effort. I have brought countless visitors there and few have left without saying they want to go again.
This simple eatery serves authentic Thai-Chinese cuisine. Must-orders here include their chicken marinated in chinese wine, fried shrimp rolls (which taste of nothing but fresh shrimp) and their steamed sea bass with lemon (they only use live sea bass). The easiest way to get there is to take the skytrain to Udomsuk Station and take a short taxi ride to Udomsuk Soi 49. If you are adventurous enough to make the trip, I can assure you that it will an effort most worthwhile. After your meal, you can just walk down the block to enjoy the nicest Thai The Tarik at the Naihua Chachuk Café. This, to me, is the killer combination of what to eat in Bangkok.
More on Saen Aroy Pochana and some of our favourite dishes to order in my review: http://strangerinbangkok.blogspot.com/2013/12/hidden-dining-jewels-in-suburban.html.
And there you go – some of my best finds and favourite eats in Bangkok. If you are headed to Bangkok, do give them a try, and discover a world of Bangkok dining beyond plates of Phad Thai and Green Curries!More on Thailand from our community here