Thai gastronomy is undisputedly one of the most varied and delicious cuisines in the world, and there's no better place to try it than in the capital itself. Bangkok has any number of eateries for any budget - we've compiled a guide so you won't be too overwhelmed!
A bit of background knowledge
- Typical Thai restaurants are usually open from 10 am to 8 pm or 9 pm.
- Restaurants serving international cuisine tend to be open between 11 am and 2 pm, and 6 pm and 10 pm.
- There's a ban prohibiting street food stalls from opening on Mondays.
- If you want really authentic local treats, head for the places with no English-language menu and just point to what you want!
Understand what you're ordering!
- I would like to order – Sang aa-haan
- I am vegan – chan gin jey (*be aware, "jey" refers to religious beliefs that mean your food won't have any onions, garlic or alcohol either!) / I am vegetarian – chan gin mangsawerat / I don’t eat animal meat – mai gin nua sat / with just vegetables – sai pak yaang deaw
- Not Spicy – Mai phet / A little Spicy – Phet nit nawy / Really Spicy – Phet mak
- Delicious – Aroy
Read our general guide to travelling in Bangkok for more language tips.
What to eat
The foods of central Thailand are often centred around sweet, savoury and herbal flavours: you'll find a lot of fish, seafood, pork, coconut milk and palm sugar both in Bangkok and the surrounding areas. There's a diverse range of dishes available influenced by centuries of immigration too, with Chinese and Muslim cuisine providing interesting options.
- Noodles: try legendary pad thai (stir-fried rice noodles with egg, tofu and all manner of additional spices, vegetables and meats); the famous "boat noodles" or kuaitiao ruea, a soup noodle dish traditionally sold on the canals, hence the name; and tom yum for spicy-coconut-shrimp soup.
- Barbecue: the grilled seafood and meat is delicious, especially with satay sauce!
- Sweets: there are all kinds of fruity desserts, but one of the most popular is sticky mango rice with ice cream!
Street food, markets & cooking classes
While authorities have been cutting down on the number of street food stalls around Bangkok in recent years, they remain one of the most popular ways to eat for Thais and tourists alike. You'll find vendors all over the city selling feasts for less than 150 THB (US$ 4.20). Some of the best spots can be found on Yaowarat Street in Chinatown and in the Bangrak district near Saphan Taksin - go to Prachak Pet Jang for the city's best fried duck!
Forget all your mall food prejudices - Bangkok's food courts are home to some of the best eateries in the city. Many of the most popular street food stalls have permanent outlets in the shopping centres, they're cheap and - best of all - air conditioned!
Exploring the markets of the Thai capital is another great way to experience the authentic culinary culture of the city, but if you find places like Chatuchak huge and overwhelming, we recommend going with a guide. For an immersive experience in Thai food, check out our Thai Cooking Class. You'll pick out fresh ingredients at a local market then learn to make typical recipes that you can whip up when you get home - is there any better souvenir?
Don't like cooking? Our Tuk-Tuk Food Tour of Bangkok will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the best markets and food stalls in the city in a traditional tuk-tuk!
As the most-visited city in the world, Bangkok is also home to a number of high-end restaurants. If you're feeling flush, many of these fine dining venues serve mouth-wateringly delicious fusions of Thai and international cuisine. Do expect to pay European/US prices though, and remember to reserve your table in advance!
If you're not a fan of heights, don't worry: indulge in a delicious meal on board a boat while you sail down the Chao Phraya River and enjoy the city's nightly illuminations on this Bangkok Dinner Cruise.