No trip to the world’s official street-food capital would be complete without indulging in a few culinary roadside delights. Work up an appetite and wander down the road where you'll discover some of the city's most sumptuous food stalls serving unique bites and local delights. From world-famous crab omelette to (arguably!) Bangkok's best Pad Thai, here are five of our favourites...
The hottest street-food ticket in town is known just as much for its eponymous owner as the now-legendary crab omelettes that made her a Michelin doyen back in 2017. The flamboyant septuagenarian, kitted out in her signature goggles, took over from her father in the 1980s and still cooks every dish to order at a roadside restaurant that would easily be overlooked if it wasn’t for the ever-present queue of hungry locals and tourists. So close to Villa de Pranakorn that you can almost taste the world-famous omelette, curry and congee, this unmissable Bangkok institution is a must for any self-respecting foodie. Get there early, grab a cold beer and soak up the atmosphere of mouthwatering anticipation as you wait for a place at the hallowed tin tables.
When to go: Open from 2.30pm Mon-Sat, but expect to wait at least a few hours, especially later in the day
What to eat: Khai jeaw poo (crab omelette) and poo phad phong karee (stir-fried crab curry)
How much: Crab omelette starts from THB1,000 and other dishes are about THB500-800
Pad Thai Thip Samai
Sure, you’ve tried Pad Thai but, chances are, you’ve never tried Pad Thai Thip Samai. Thailand’s unofficial national dish is reborn as next-level nosh at this street-side shrine to the classic dish. Don’t expect any frills here — much like its famous neighbour, Jay Fai, the flavours are doing all the talking. Well, that and the chattering throngs of patrons hailing from all walks of life. It’s one of those egalitarian places where Instagram influencers share tables with tuk-tuk drivers and everyone leaves satisfied. Other variations are available, but we’d recommend opting for ‘Superb Padthai’, a charcoal-scorched serving of sauce-soaked chan noodles topped with tofu, deep-sea shrimp and herbs delicately wrapped with egg. If you need another reason to make the few-footstep pilgrimage, it’s our very own Chef Bank’s favourite neighbourhood eatery.
When to go: Opens from 5pm daily but get there early to avoid the crowds
What to eat: Pad Thai, Pad Thai and… Pad Thai
How much: From THB60
Tee Yen Ta Fo
So you don’t have time to join the snaking lines outside of Jay Fai and Pad Thai Thipsamai, but still want to savour some of our neighbourhood’s greatest street food? Enter Tee Yen Ta Fo. Loved by locals, this lesser-known establishment is one of Sam Yot’s best-kept street-food secrets. A mere 150 metres from our hotel, the unassuming stall stands out for its porcelain bowls of brightly-coloured noodle soup. The ingredients, which, depending on what you order, include thick rice noodles, dumplings, fish balls, soft-boiled egg and roasted pork, are drenched in a striking pink broth that gets its signature hue from fermented soybean paste. Every bite brings new flavours from intense umami bombs to bursts of sweet and sour that successfully balance out. The chefs are known to be generous with the chillis, too, so make sure to specify your spice level when ordering otherwise you might be in a for a fiery surprise.
When to go: Opens daily from 6pm until late
What to eat: Tee’s original yen ta fo red noodle soup
How much: From THB80
it’s tempting to taste everything you see on a trip along the streets of Bangkok’s old town, but one snack we recommend saving some space for is the gui chai from Jae Toi. These paper-thin rice flour dumplings stuffed with Chinese chives are Thailand’s answer to dim sum. They’re a street-food staple, especially in this part of town, but our advice is to head straight to 122 Mahannop Road, only moments from the Giant Swing. The gui chai at Jae Toi are made from scratch with stuffings that include young bamboo shoots, Chinese mushroom, turnip and cauliflower. Order a few of each and eat on the go. Oh, and whatever you do, don’t forget the dipping sauce. It’s the rich, treacle-like vinegar that elevates this snack from delicious to downright addictive.
When to go: Opens daily from 7am to 3pm
What to eat: Try at least one of each — you won’t regret it
How much: Less than THB10 each
Cheng Sim Ei
Satisfying sweet tooths for longer than most can remember, Cheng Sim Ei is a haven for dessert lovers amid the rows of savoury snacks and dishes that have made nearby Dinso Road. Expect to find an array of quirky ingredients, such as lotus root, sweet potato, jackfruit, lily bulbs and dumplings, which can be mixed and matched with syrups, jelly and condenses milk. If this all sounds a little overwhelming, opt for the signature ‘Cheng Sim Ei’ or ‘Mixed Thai Desserts’. Although it’s probably a side to Thai cuisine you’ve never explored, don’t be surprised if you end up sneaking back for another bowl or three before your trip is over.
When to go: Opens daily from 11am to 11pm
What to eat: See what catches your eye or order the ‘Cheng Sim Ei’
How much: From THB40