The best food in Bangkok

Bangkok street food

The best food in Bangkok is not found in your hotel or 5 star restaurant but in small restaurants and street side stalls.

A decade ago, when I first moved to Bangkok, a friend who had emigrated there long before me let me in on a secret: the best food in Thailand is served by street vendors and at basic mom-and-pop restaurants. To prove his point, he dragged me to Chote Chitr, tucked into a side alley and decorated with nothing but a wall calendar. I saw no foreigners, and we pored through a menu all in Thai. We sampled the specialties, and I was quickly convinced, eating the same dishes then that I would enjoy 10 years later, and dozens of times in between.

That Chote Chitr would prove a culinary revelation shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise: small places often prove to be the best eating spots in many cities. But for historical reasons Bangkok may boast the finest street food on earth. The city has long attracted migrants from across Asia, so its street cuisine, both at vendor carts and in tiny restaurants, blends many styles of cooking. Even a simple snack like murtabak mixes Malaysian-style roti pancake with curry fillings that betray Indian and Burmese spices.

THAI habits also lend themselves to street meals. Since Thais normally eat many small meals rather than three squares and traditionally prefer to meet outside the house, street food suits them. Many Thai dishes can be cooked relatively quickly, and Thais are fastidious about cleanliness, important to customers worried about eating alongside a road.

Street Food in Bangkok