Thailand is a charming country with the most flavorful and exotic cuisine. Their dishes are diverse and with a wide array of aromas to excite your senses. With Thailand being such a small country, their diverse foods change from province to province, making it feel like you are in another diverse city in every new area you visit.
Bangkok is the largest city in Thailand and consists of different kinds of people with their distinct cuisines. From freshwater fish, palm sugar, and their use of delicious coconut milk to pork dishes, Bangkok can fulfill your Tai food dreams.
For centuries, immigrants from the south of China have influenced Thai food. It’s possible that Chinese laborers and vendors showed the people of Bangkok the wok and various noodle dishes. As with Chinese immigrants influencing Thai food, so have Muslims done in the late 14-century by introducing spices and meat cuisines.
The royal court has had considerable influence on Bangkok’s kitchens by bringing advanced and modern influences to Thai food for almost 300 years.
Let’s explore the Top 12 best Bangkok dishes and the best places to find them.
1. Pat Tai (Pàt tai)
Pat Tai is one of Bangkok’s most popular street food. This delicious dish consists of stir-fried noodles, plenty of chives, tofu, eggs, dried or fresh shrimp, and lots of seasoning. The garnish is a sliced banana flower and lime halves. Thip Samai is by far the best place to get Pat Tai. Traditional and full of flavor!
2. Tom yam (đôm yam)
Don’t you love a tangy flavor in your food? The lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf give this dish a burst of tanginess, and the fresh chili’s give it the kick.
You can find Tom yam at almost every corner in Bangkok it is so famous. But if you want something extraordinary, try the Krua Apsorn, located in the city’s old district.
3. Gooay teeo reua (Gŏo·ay đĕe·o reu·a)
Gooay teeo reua means ‘boat noodles’ because of the little bowls they used to get served in from boats lined up along Bangkok and Thailand’s canals and rivers. This dish consists of slow-cooked broth combined with herbs, meats, spices, and the blood of your protein of choice. You can get this exciting and daring dish at Bharani.
4. Som tum (Sôm·đam)
The Som Tum is every foodie’s dream. You can be sure to experience a burst of flavor from the crunchy strips of papaya, tomatoes, chilies, and fish sauce. This dish originates from Thailand’s rural northwest. Again, migrant workers brought a fantastic dish to Bangkok, and it became popular because of the spiciness. Take a walk around Bangkok’s streets and visit the restaurant Jay So for a taste of Som Tum.
5. Kanom beuang (Kà·nŏm bêu·ang)
This delicious Tai snack is referred to as crispy pancakes in English. You can expect a sweet filling with duck egg, preserved fruit, a mixture of spices, dried shrimp, and white pepper for a taco-like experience. The most common place to find this treat is by street vendors such as Nang Loeng Market.
6. Mee grorp (Mèe gròrp)
Now here is a dish with wonderful aromas. The crispy noodles gets cooked in a traditional Thai way with a sweet and sour flavor. To get the whole experience and with the most traditional way to cook Mee grorp, you can find it at Chote Chitr. They are one of the last places that still sell the old-school version.
7. Bamee (Bà·mèe)
The Bamee gets made from Chinese-style wheat and egg noodles and roasted pork, wontons, and greens. It is rare in Bangkok, and only a few places sell it, and every plate will differ from place to place. Try your luck at Mangkorn Khăo in Bangkok’s Chinatown for the whole experience of tradition and cuisine.
8. Gooay teeo kooa gai (Gŏo·ay đĕe·o kôo·a gài)
Try this dish of egg, chicken, garlic oil, and preserved squid for something unique. It is not often you will find it outside of Bangkok’s Chinatown so that you will get the exclusive taste of this delicious food. Find this flavorful dish at Nay Hong.
9. Or sooan (Or sòo·an)
This delicious dish consists of a sticky and egg-based batter with barely-cooked oysters. Considered one of Bangkok’s Chinatown favorites, the best Or Sooan can get found at a shophouse restaurant Nai Mong Hoi Thod.
10. Kow Mok (Kôw mòk)
Also inspired by the Muslim world, this spiced rice (biryani) gets made with chicken and some sweet-and-sour sauce and chicken broth on the side. Taste this fantastic dish at this 70-year-old Bangkok restaurant, the Muslim Restaurant.
11. Sate (Sà·đé)
Another staple dish from Muslim countries, Malaysia and Indonesia, in Southeast Asia, this delicious dish consists of grilled skewers of meat with sweet peanut-based sauce on the side to dip your meat. So popular, you can find this dish at most vendors in Bangkok’s Chinatown.
12. Mataba (Má·tà·bà)
Mataba is thin sheets of dough with filling. Try it sweet or savory. For savory, you get minced chicken and beef that gets seasoned with curry powder and egg. You can have a banana and egg filling for a dessert treat, which then gets fried until crispy. Whatever your taste is, Mataba has a flavor for everyone. Get your next meal of Mataba from Karim Roti-Mataba.
Bangkok draws inspiration from all over the world. Whether you are looking for something old-school and traditional or inspired, there is something for everyone. There are flavors and aromas to suit every traveller and native, from fried noodles to tasty sweet treats – Bangkok has it all.
Experience new and exciting new things from what Bangkok has to offer. Walk through the streets of the city and immerse yourself, allowing your tastebuds to reach new heights. You won’t regret it!