49 Best Dishes to Eat in Bangkok

Above: A beautiful Thai meal at the Erawan Tea Room, Grand Hyatt Erawan, Bangkok.

What to eat in Bangkok? Or, more likely, what best to eat? Where to go for the best local food? And what would be the most real, authentic, traditional original recipes of the Thai, Bangkok, and local cuisines? These can be the questions of any visitors, foodie or not, heading their ways towards Bangkok.

As a proud native of Bangkok (born and bred, no less), and a self-proclaimed foodie, I am here to help. 😀

This is a list the quintessential Thai dishes and local favourites that I like and consider representing well the tastes of Bangkok. I accumulated them from my own Instagram Feed, so the explanations are readily captioned under each picture with the geotagging convenient for locations, too.


1. Rice and Curry or ‘Khao Gang’ (ข้าวแกง)

Consider it a mini ‘sam-rap’ or a complete Thai meal in one plate. Many Thai people begin their day with a hearty platter of Khao Gang. They can have it again for lunch, but usually hardly for dinner. A Khao Gang place always has a lot of dishes to offer; usually, we pick one or two (sometimes three as a clear soup on the side), to go with the rice. 

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อยากกินอีก เพิ่งกินไปเมื่อตอนเที่ยง หากร้านนี้ให้ข้าวเยอะกว่านี้จะรักกว่านี้ ให้ข้าวน้อยมากๆ เหมือนแมวดม มันไม่อิ่ม ต้องกินทีสองสามจาน 😂 At one of my fav places, a staple whenever we are at Or Tor Kor during weekends for this place is over on the other side in JJ weekend market. Simple Thai-style rice and curry place. But so well made, hence the price. This plate is Bt100. One annoying issue for us both is that they are super stingy with the amount of rice. All carbs in general, in fact. On this plate are white rice, southern style fish kidney curry and stir fried fish balls with long beans and yellow chilies. #yumm #deliciousbkk #delicious #eatoutbkk #bangkok #foodguide #jjmarket #weekendmarket #ohhappybear #thaifood #hotandspicy #thailand

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Below is my favourite – a fried river prawn with garlic (with its creamy butter head the highlight) and a salted duck egg sunny-side-up with its super-rich yolk. So delicious.

2. TOd mun (ทอดมัน)

Tod Mun is ‘fish cakes,’ usually made from featherback fish hand-pounded until naturally chewy before being mixed with red curry, finely julienned kaffir lime leaves, and long green beans. 

Generally considered as a side dish, a good Tod Mun should lean towards spiciness and saltiness. The provided dipping sauce is called ‘Ar-Jaad’ which is a light solution of vinegar, sugar and salt, with chopped toasted peanut, shallot, cucumber and chillies. For more information about this long-standing restaurant ‘Sa-Nguan Sri,’ read here.

3. thai northern staples – Khao Soi, Nam Ngiew, Namprik noom (อาหารเหนือ)

Northern Thai dishes are also popular in Bangkok. My favourites are these staples, though – a bowl of Khao Soi (the coconut-based curry egg noodle) and Nam Ngiew which is rice vermicelli with a tomato-based pork soup. To go with them will be a plate of northern style pork sausage (Sai-Ua), deep-fried chicken wings, Nam Prik Noom (green chilli dip) and sticky rice.

This place has been listed in my previous post ‘Ramindra Best Cheap Eats.’

4. rice vermicelli with nam ya  (ขนมจีนน้ำยา)

Rice vermicelli is considered a blank canvas for assorted curry. In this case is the shredded fish red curry called ‘nam ya’ which is a typical choice for Bangkok natives. Usually, a plate of kanom cheen nam ya is eaten with assorted veggies – from bean sprouts to pickled cabbages, but the mandatory must be the green leaves that are called ‘Maeng Luck’ or hairy basils.

5. yellow grilled chicken and sticky rice (ไก่ย่างเหลือง ข้าวเหนียว)

My favourite go-to meal since childhood, this yellow-grilled chicken used to be the ubiquitous signature street food of Bang Saen beach of Chonburi before it gradually disappeared for some unknown reasons. The yellow is actually from fresh turmeric, an ingredient of the aromatics used in the marinades.

6. Japanese-inspired degustation menu at elements, the Okura Prestige Bangkok 

Among the receivers of Michelin stars in Bangkok is Elements at the Okura Prestige Bangkok. Thanks to its original Japanese roots, this restaurant begs to differ with its Japanese ingredients that are finely cooked and prepared using the haute French culinary techniques.

For the full review of this restaurant, read here.

7. khao kha moo (ข้าวขาหมู)

Clearly, this is a delicious influence from the Chinese immigrants that stick permanently into the hearts of the locals, steamed rice with pork leg stew is a favourite for the hearty types. The meat is simmered with all the ingredients until falling-apart tender, and an addition of a hard-cooked egg (usually cooked overnight along with the pork leg in the same giant pot) is usually a default order. A plate of Khao Kha Moo is served with a tangy side of pickled cabbages, fresh garlic and chillies and a small dish of vinegar with pounded fresh chillies.

8. sago sai moo or in this case sai gai (สาคูไส้ไก่ หรือหมู)

Sago – the uniquely natural substance that used to be harvested from the trunk of the palm trees – is now being produced using the more abundant tapioca. Nonetheless, this is still one of my all-time favourite Thai snacks. The raw sago beads are hand-kneaded with hot water until forming, stuffed with a sticky filling of minced pork or chicken and then steamed to cook.

This might sound odd for non-Thai, but the perfect combination of a bite is one sago, a sprig of fresh cilantro and fresh chillies. So so delicious. For more information about this long-standing restaurant ‘Sa-Nguan Sri,’ read here.

9. thai appetisers: chor muang + khanom jeep nok (ช่อม่วง ขนมจีบนก)

The recent renaissance of Thai food brought back so many good things from the past. Our ancestors used to do this on a daily basis. Being meticulous and pay detailed attention to the looks of the food used to be the prime of a Thai meal, until… yes, we have no time left to do so as much.

Not unlike the above ‘Sago Sai Moo,’ these steamed dumplings are filled with quite similar stuffing and served the same with fresh cilantro, lettuce, chillies and toasted garlic. The difference is the skin. Instead of using the sticky sago, these dumplings use rice flour combination which is more tender to bite. Still very delish. And so pretty.

10. miang kham (เมี่ยงคำ)

A favourite Thai snack made from ‘Bai Cha Plu’ or Piper sarmentosum with the trimming including toasted coconut, lime, toasted peanuts, shallot, dried shrimps – all to be ladled with palm-sugar-based sauce – before being wrapped and eaten. 😀

12. mee krob (หมี่กรอบ)

We have so many versions of Mee Krob now, but I still like the old-style, old-school the best. The rice vermicelli is deep-fried and then mixed with the sweet and salty sauce before being served with fresh bean sprouts, chives and a healthy zest of Som Sa or a type of citrus.

13. pad thai (ผัดไทย)

Yes, you cannot skip the most famous one-plate Thai dish when you are in town. Like many other Thai dishes, a good plate of Pad Thai should be well-flavoured, with the rice noodle tender and well-distributed with the well-seasoned and well-rounded sauce, but not soggy. The noodle, when eaten with the fresh bean sprouts, tart-flavoured green banana blossoms, are usually very delicious, especially after a good squeeze of fresh lime and a spoonful of dried toasted chillies.

14. Sadao nam pla wan (สะเดา น้ำปลาหวาน)

The bitter-sweet flavours of blanched (or fresh) neem sprouts are the highlight of the season. Neems are usually available in the fresh market come the cold months at the end of the year. Usually, it is sold in bunches, along with the usual compliments of sweet fish sauce (made from palm sugar), toasted shallots, dried chillies and grilled catfish or river prawns.

15. phad sam men (ผัดสามเหม็น)

The name of ‘Phad Sam Men’ or stir-fry of three stinking ingredients comes from the three stinking ingredients in this dish – Sator or the stinky beans (the green ones), Cha-om or climbing wattle (the stringy greens) and the pickled garlic – all stir-fried together into a unique deliciousness with glass noodle, eggs and shrimps. So good. So worth the powerful breath after. 😀

16. guay tiew reur (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ)

Boat noodle was once actually sold from the boats. And the area abundant with this original floating fare is Rangsit whose intertwined canals exist for trades and daily commute. Now, however, the boat noodles are cooked and served everywhere, including the urban malls. Small bowl, thick dark broth, with choices of pork or beef. Usually spicy and vinegary tangy. The greens, in this case, is morning glory and a spoonful addition of toasted chillies is always approved.

17. guay tiew look chin pla (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวลูกชิ้นปลา)

As you might have known, noodles are Chinese. But because it is so good, noodles have found their way into the hearts of Thai people. But some places still cook their noodle Chinese style, like, say, this place in the Chinatown. When I say Chinese style, I mean, no toasted garlic, no cilantro, always – always – clear and naturally sweet broth.

But in some places, fish ball noodles take on Thai palates with additions of cilantro, toasted garlic and oil, plus toasted peanuts, chillies and vinegar. We call this ‘Guay Tiew Tom Yum.’ (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวต้มยำ)

18. yum cha kram (ยำชะคราม)

Sea blites – or Cha Kram – are abundant in the mangrove areas of Samut Songkarm. But now that the local forage has become so popular, they are now available in the capital also. Naturally salty from its soils, sea blites make aa beautiful ingredient for a tangy salad as seen below.

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ยำชะครามเนื้อปู ณ สวนบัว ร้านไทยที่คนพูดถึงน้อยแต่อาหารสวยและอร่อยดีค่ะ | Yam Cha Karm or salad of sea-blites, crab meat, toasted shallots and dried chillies at Suan Bua @centara_ladprao, a very underrated Thai restaurant that is worth mentioning. We were there not too long ago and found their food beautiful and delish. They even offer good deals when booked through @eatigo_th. The story is now on my blog ohhappybear.com. #Ohhappybear #foodblog #bangkok #thailand #foodguide #delicious #thaifood #foodie #foodporn #ยำชะคราม #อาหารไทย #salad #thaisummer

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19. edo-style japanese meal (อาหารญี่ปุ่นสไตล์เอโดะ)

Amidst the abundance of Japanese food outlets in Bangkok, there is one real traditional Edo-style restaurant. Listed in the Michelin Guide Bangkok’s Plate section, Yamazato at the Okura Prestige Bangkok offers a no-nonsense Japanese fare with precise preparation and premium ingredients.

20. som tam and the whole ‘esan’ meal (ส้มตำและอาหารอีสาน)

A plate of spicy, tangy and crunchy and refreshing Som Tam always has the power to lift my moods. There are more Som Tam in Thailand than you can try, but when in town, try whatever you can, as much as you can. Seen here are the simple versions of Som Tam with dried shrimps (Som Tam Thai) and with salted black crabs (Som Tam Pu). And why not go for a full she-bang meal with larb moo and gai yang, too?

21. larb – squid or something else (ลาบ)

I have a soft spot for squid. Love to eat them. Here is a favourite of mine when we go to a Som Tam place – roe squid larb.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BoBjfoAH1Jf/

22. tom yum goong (ต้มยำกุ้ง)

Let’s face it, Tom Yum Goong can easily be the most famous Thai dish, ever. It is my favourite, and a go-to bowl when I feel like under the weather. The clear herbal broth infused with lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, lime and fresh chillies always does wonder to a cold.

23. kha nom cheen sao nam (ขนมจีนซาวน้ำ)

Another version of fermented rice vermicelli (kanom cheen) that is also my favourite. Everything on this plate is room temperature, and that’s perfect for summertime, or every time considering Bangkok’s perennial weathers. Please read details under the picture.

24. Khao Chae (ข้าวแข่)

Khao Chae is an old-school summertime Thai meal. It can be an acquired taste because the cooked rice is served chilled, in chilled aromatic water and sometimes with ice cubes, too. Some pople might find it strange eating cold rice, but for me, this is a perfect meal come summer months.

From March each year until the first day of the rain, many Thai restaurants in Bangkok make it their top agenda to cook the best Khao Chae they can. Below is the savouries served in a set of Khao Chae – stuffed, steamed and draped with egg net is green chilies, candied radish, candied shrimp paste, stuffed shallot (with dried fish) and sweet fish. Also, the fresh green mango and finger roots add to the freshness and herbal aromas.

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Cloudy day in summer, and this was lunch. ข้าวแช่บายเสน่ห์จันทน์ ข้าวนุ่มหนึบอร่อยชื่นใจมากๆ คู่กันกับกับหวานๆ เค็มๆ เจ้มข้น พริกหยวกยัดไส้กุ้งหมูคลุมด้วยไข่ฝอย ลูกกะปิที่หอมกระชาย ปลายี่สนหวาน หอมแดงสอดไส้ปลาช่อนและไชโป้วราชรีผัดหวาน | Thai summer rice #cloudy #day #summer #rice #delicious #thaifood #rice #yummy #foodporn #foodblog #instafood #foodie #ohhappybear #bangkok #finedining #thairestaurants #thailand #ข้าวแช่

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25. A Thai-inspired Nordic cuisine at front room, Waldorf Astoria Bangkok

This degustation menu prepared by a Thai female chef who spent years and years in Nordic areas will blow your mind. A real tasty, one-of-a-kind culinary experience unlike others. For a full review and details, read here.

26. a thai sam-rap meal (สำรับไทย)

A Thai meal is usually set up in a selection of savouries to be eaten, with its tastes complimenting each other, with a plate of steamed rice. This kind of setting is largely called a ‘Sam Rap’ or a meal set. We had a delicious Thai meal at the Erawan Tea Room, loved their considerate menu and kitchen operation. For more information about this lovely beautiful Thai meal there, read here.

27. dim sum buffet (บุฟเฟ่ต์ติ่มซำ)

Something that will blow your mind while in Bangkok, apart from all other things, is the local love for Cantonese food, especially dim sum. A lot of five-star hotels are now offering their best bites of the hearts in buffet style, meaning you can stuff your heart out with the endless supplies of these lovely morsels. This beauty below is from Dynasty – Centara Grand at Central World. For the full story, read here.

28. som tam luang pra bang (ส้มตำหลวงพระบาง)

Instead of using the typical hand-grated match-stick shaped papaya, Luang Prabang people shave the papaya into thin, almost translucent ribbons and mix it with fermented fish-based sauce, green eggplant, green tomatoes and crispy pork skin. So delish.

29. grilled naem (fermented pork sausages) (แหนมย่าง)

Naem is minced pork sausage, left out to fermented in a natural sourness with the help of cooked rice. Seen here is the whole sausage served grilled with fresh ginger and all the trimmings. Yumm.

30. omelette cake with mackerel (ไข่เจียว)

Thai omelette is fluffy and well-done. No oozing middle. This one is stuffed with ‘Platu’ or mackerel, tomatos, fresh chillies and herbs. A good side dish to go with a meal of too-spicy-it-can-make-you-die plate of Som Tam.

31. sunday brunch by the river

If you are in Bangkok long enough or do a research much enough on the capital, chances are that you will notice how big Sunday brunch is in town. We have been to quite a few and our verdict is always on the freshness of the seafood. Usually, as you know, hotel cooking is pretty much standard, so some places outdo one another by offering something more extravagant and extra. The case in point is Shangri-La Bangkok’s Sunday Brunch with unlimited Canadian Lobsters. For the full story of this lovely brunch by the river, read here. 

32. kha nom krok (ขนมครก)

My all-time favourite Thai dessert. But now, it is harder and harder to come by a good Kanom Krok. The secret is in the freshness and the richness of the coconut cream, and the right balance between the rice flour and the coconut cream. Kanom Krok can be plain or prepped with green onion, corn, pumpkin or taro.

33. pa tong go (fried chinese dough) and sock coffee and condensed milk (ปาท่องโก๋)

The old town of Rattanakosin Island is still thankfully packed with old-school eateries. Among my favourites is this place that is open on and off that makes their dough fresh from the leftover mother. How super cool and delicious! I am craving this as I write. Read the whole story here.

34. pacific northwest meal at ocken 

In Thailand, the term ‘American cuisine’ still means ‘hamburger,’ but at this place, the chefs and the owners brought their fond memories eating in the US into a new super neat deliciousness. For the full story, read here.

35. khanom tom (ขนมต้ม)

A Thai dessert made from glutinous rice with candied coconut filling. The dumpling is green from pandanus leaves and it is boiled to cook. The deliciousness is the balance of the sweetness, the chewiness and the quality of the young coconut hand-grated to coat. So perfect.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BjzRY4bBPPx/

36. assorted thai desserts, jasmine ice cream and ancient Portuguese dessert of khanom mor gang and foi thong  (ขนมไทย) 

Blue Elephant Bangkok has its special way to serve Thai food. The case in point is this wonderful lovely and beautiful dessert. And a history buff will love to learn more about the Portuguese-inspired Thai desserts on this dish, too, given the fact that the traditional Thai desserts didn’t contain eggs. But here are the golden Thai desserts that started to get proliferated in the era of King Narai almost four centuries ago. For the full story of this meal, read here. 

37.  thai-style granita (ไอติมไทย)

Prang Phuthon is an old charming community in Bangkok Old Town, and you must visit this old place that has been serving Thai style granitas since forever. I love their toppings of corns, job’s tears, and red beans.

38. cheng tung mee wan (เชงทึงหมี่หวาน)

You might already be familiar with egg noodles. But what about egg noodles served chilled with crushed ice, syrup and all the assorted beans and dumplings? This is so perfect for a hot day. One of my favourite things to eat while exploring the Chinatown area. Click the location on my IG picture for more details.

And this is the making of the above ‘chilled egg noodle’ or Cheng Tung Mee Wan.

39. pla grim kai tao (ปลากริม ไข่เต่า)

This is my all-time warm Thai dessert. The two-toned, one sweet (brown from palm sugar) and one white (salty) combination of rice flour dumplings in a thick luscious coconut cream. So delicious. Now quite hard to find a place that gets it right.

40. khanom beung (ขนมเบื้อง)

With this below picture, I will get a rolled eye from those self-proclaimed real and authentic foodies. I happen to like this version of Kanom Beung – the thin crepes filled with soft meringue, egg floss for sweet and shrimps + coconut for salty.

41. thai desserts with coconut cream top (ขนมไทยหน้ากะทิ)

Coconut cream is a big staple when it comes to Thai dessert. Usually, the coconut cream on top of these bowls is made a little salty to make a delicious contrast to the sweetness of the sweet.

42. durian (ทุเรียน)

The season is summer, say the months of April until June. Mon Thong is the meatiest. And still my favourite despite the now-coming back trends of rare native varieties. You can also read more about durian and Chantaburi here.

The interior of a pod of Mon Thong (Golden Pillow) durian. Thick, sweet and lightly aromatic flesh, small seed. Just awesome.

43. green mango with sweet fish sauce (มะม่วงน้ำปลาหวาน)

Mango is also another summertime fruit. Some mangoes are better eaten green, especially the sour ones because they go so well with the sweet nam pla made from palm sugar and fish sauce (seen in the bowl). A perfect snack. Love it.

44. mango and sticky rice (ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง)

And some mangoes are better eaten ripe. You can have ripe sweet mango all by itself it paired with the luscious scoop of coconut-milk-cooked sticky rice that is called ‘Khao Niew Moon.’ I love mine with way more coconut milk top than the orthodox. And I just simply choose to denounce self-control in this case. 😀

Mango and sticky rice served family-style. Sticky rice colourfully dyed with pandanus leaves (for the green) and the butterfly pea (for the blue).

45. jackfruit (ขนุน)

Another summertime local fruit that can be an acquired taste for many. But it happens to be my favourite. A good jackfruit should not be spongy. Thick, sweet flesh is preferred. Look out for street cart and order a couple to try. Available in fresh markets or tourist communities.

This is the peeling of Jackfruit near my home. 😀 The seeds in the background can be boiled in salted water and served as a home (non-glamourous) snack.

46. pamelo (ส้มโอ)

This huge type of citrus has the best flesh of all. The best pamelo will make the best yum som o – or salad with toasty flavours. But I prefer having my pamelo served plain, with only a dish of spicy salty sugar.

47. deep-fried banana (กล้วยแขก)

We call this snack ‘Guay Kaek’ or ‘Indian Banana’ perhaps the people who started calling it so reckoned to the fact that we might borrow this wonderful recipe from India?

Banana – just about right – is coated with rice flour + coconut milk + grated coconut meat solution and deep fried. Love also the crispy bits on top. Look for a nice stall with clear frying oil, if you can.

And this is the making of ‘Guay Kaek’ but from the stall in Kantang, Trang, though.

48. som chun (ส้มฉุน)

This iced dessert is so particular that not many people will invest the time and efforts to make it. Som Chun is a combination of aromatic ingredients – canned lychee, candied kaffir lime skin (seen here as the lightest green almost translucent bit), finely julienned ginger, orange, and toasted shallot. So good, and my deepest, most sincere gratitude to the first person who created this into this world. THANK YOU! And how did you think of it in the first place. So very awesome!

49. assorted thai desserts (ขนมไทยรวม)

These beautiful Thai ‘golden’ desserts are something auspicious and edible. They are so pretty they make a perfect gift to respected guests. From top, clockwise: Thong Yip, Thong Ek, Foi Thong, Look Choop and Saneh Jaan.

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1 Comment

  • I love the variety of the more common and the less common dishes you recommend! I believe these 49 dishes give a good image on how Thai like to eat and snack. Perhaps it is useful for you to check out the TopTravelFoods app. You can find over a thousand recommended dishes all over Bangkok. Enjoy eating 😉

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