Food and Drinks in Bangkok
Bangkok is indeed a shopper’s paradise and also a widely recognized food city to satisfy the appetites of foodies from around the world. Everywhere you look while walking around the city, you’ll be tempted by something delicious – whether it be fresh green papaya salad, a spice-filled coconut milk curry, or smoke rising from a street food grill.
Along with street food, Bangkok is also a city full of restaurants of all levels, serving both Thai and an extensive range of international cuisine.Try our handpicked restaurants to experience the real taste of Bangkok.
- Bangkok is not only famous for markets and malls but it is also the place for food lovers.
- You can find many types of curry in Bangkok, the most popular is Red Curry.
- The dishes from the central part of Thailand are the most common dishes you can find in Thai restaurants.
- Try the local food and drinks in Bangkok and taste the differences!
- Visit Asia Highlights’ handpicked restaurants and experience the real taste of Bangkok.
Flavors of Bangkok
Thai food varies from region to region due to geography and history.The dishes of the central plains are the ones most commonly served in Thai restaurants, thereby forming the basis of what many foreigners think of as Thai cuisine.
As the central plains have a wealth of rivers and lakes, the common vegetables are ones that grow in the water, including watercress and morning glory. Many other vegetables, including wing beans, eggplant and bamboo shoots, are also popular. Vegetables are added to curries and stir-fries or integrated into simple salads with meats, fresh shallots, fresh herbs, and dressed with chilies, lime juice, sugar and fish sauce.
Bangkok is also the destination to try Royal Thai cuisine. These are the dishes – made of expensive ingredients, carefully spiced, and ornately presented – traditionally made inside the palace kitchens.
Food in Bangkok
In Bangkok you'll find restaurants and street stalls, serving Isan-style cuisine, like grilled chicken (gai yang) and spicy laab salads,orsouthern curry-stuffed roti (roti mataba).The widest variety of curries are eaten in the central plains, and the visitors’ favorites,Red Curry (GaengPhet) and Sweet Green Curry (GaengKeawWaan), originate from that region.
Gai Yang is a dish originating from the Lao people of Laos and Isan. Gai Yang literally means “grilled chicken” andit is often paired with green papaya salad and sticky rice.It is also eaten with raw vegetables, and often dipped in spicy sauces such as Laotian jaew bong.
A whole chicken is halved and pounded flat. It is marinated and then grilled over a low heat on a charcoal flame for a long time but doesn’t turn out burnt or dry. The marinade typically includes fish sauce, garlic, turmeric, coriander root, and white pepper.
Many variations exist, and it is also quite common to find black soy sauce, hoisin sauce, shallots, leaves and seeds of coriander, lemongrass, chilies, ginger, vinegar, palm sugar, and MSG used to marinate the chicken.
Spicy Laab (Meat Salad)
Laab, also known as LarborLaap, is usually eaten as a part of a set (Laab, papaya salad and sticky rice.) The set is accompanied by string beans, slivers of cabbage, water spinach and Thai basil. It can be served as an appetizer or as a main course.
There are variations of Laab, like duck Laab or chicken Laab. Some people also love to include a few pieces of liver in Laab. It is usually flavored with fish sauce, lime juice, padaek, roasted ground rice and fresh herbs. The meat can be either raw or cooked.
Street carts selling fried Roti (an unleavened bread that originated in India and is popular across South and Southeast Asia) are not hard to find in Thailand. The sweet version, often stuffed with bananas and drizzled with sweet condensed milk, is popular all over Thailand.
You can also opt for RotiMataba, with fillings like fish and herbs, or beef massaman stuffed into flaky yet filling Roti and pan fried. It makes a decadent snack any time of day, but the Mataba particularly shines as a breakfast.
GaengPhet is a popular Thai dish consisting of red curry paste, coconut milk and meat such as chicken, beef, pork, duck or shrimp, or the vegetarian protein source,tofu.The base of the red curry paste is traditionally made with mortar and pestle and remains moist throughout the preparation process.
The main ingredients of GaengPhet include (dried) red chili peppers, garlic, shallots, galangal, shrimp paste, salt, kaffir lime leaves, coriander root, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns and lemongrass.
GaengKeawWaan,literally ‘SweetGreen Curry’, is a central Thai variety of curry.Apart from the main protein, traditionally fish, fish balls or meat, the dish contains coconut milk, green curry paste, palm sugar, and fish sauce. Thai eggplant (aubergine), pea aubergine, or other green or white vegetables and even fruit are often added.
The curry is not necessarily sweeter than other Thai curries but, although the spiciness varies, it tends to be more pungent than the milder red curries.Green curry was invented during the reign of King Rama 6 or Rama 7, in the years between 1908 and 1926.
Drinks in Bangkok
As Bangkok has been a major attraction for people from all over the world, the drinks available are changing rapidly to satisfy the tourists. As a result, street-stalls, cafés and restaurants are continuously experimenting to translate the bold, complicated tastes of Thai cuisine into great drinks for their customers. So, here are some drinks you have to try if you are in Bangkok.
Cha Yen (Thai Iced Tea)
Believed to be the most delicious and popular Thai drink of all, Cha Yen or Thai iced tea is a tasty, orange, milky traditional tea that proves to win many tourists’ hearts. Its friendly flavor of milk and sweetness, complemented by the tea aroma, creates a perfect drink for everyone.
Cha Yen is brewed with tea leaves and then mixed with condensed milk to add its milky, sweet flavor. You can choose to enjoy it cold or hot; either way it is delicious.
Oliang (Thai Iced Coffee)
Oliang, or Thai iced coffee, is another traditional drink of Thailand. It is similar to Americano but not exactly the same. Oliang is a mixture of coffee and other ingredients, often roasted rice and caramel, which results in a unique flavor.
People normally enjoy Oliang cold. After brewing the coffee with the help of coffee sock (tea/coffee filter), the brewer will then add sugar and ice.
Nom Yen (Iced Milk with Syrup)
Thai people can be very creative when it comes to food and drinks. While other people will just drink a cup of hot milk, Nom Yen is prepared with fresh hot milk, and mixed with green or red syrup and ice.
This makes a fancy delicious milky drink, which is popular among kids and Thai teenagers and those who do not consume caffeinated drinks.
Thai beer brands like Singha, Leo and Chang, which gained recognition worldwide, are the must-try alcoholic beverage, due to their good taste and price. Alcoholic drinks in Thailand are famous for their affordable price and easy accessibility.
Although you can find imported beers at most bars and restaurants, local beers do a great job to cause relief from the hot and humid weather of Bangkok.
Asia Highlights’ Handpicked Restaurants
Our handpicked restaurants are judged by four different factors: quality of food, ambience, location and uniqueselling-point. So make sure to visit these restaurants and experience the real taste of Bangkok.
The food served here is prepared to be the best, andthe atmosphere is what makes the Deck so good. While there are plenty of waterfront dining options to pick from in Bangkok, this is the only one with the view of a brightly-lit golden temple. ‘The Deck by the River’, as it is fully named, boasts the city's best view of its most iconic landmark, Wat Arun, or The Temple of Dawn.
Address: Arun Residence, 36-38 SoiPratooNokYoong, Maharat Road, Bangkok, 1020
Opening Hours: Daily 11am – 10pm
Err Urban Rustic Thai
Err charms with its urban-rustic décor and flavors. The ambience is comfortable and interesting, featuring wooden decor and fun graffiti.You can be assured that the food there is some of the best in town. The cocktails are also notable. Try their signature cocktail, the Err, which contains Chalong Bay Rum and passion fruit, or the refreshing Mocktail.
Address: 394/35 Maha Rat Rd, KhwaengPhraBoromMahaRatchawang, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung ThepMaha Nakhon 10200, Thailand
Opening Hours: Daily 11am – 10pm
Phone: +66 2 622 2291
Na Aroon (Vegetarian)
Food-wise Na Aroon focuses on Thai vegetarian food that is responsibly sourced, although there is some seafood on the menu along with a couple of western dishes for a bit of variety. There is plenty to choose from, even if you are normally a meat-eater.
Try the Ariyasom yellow curry with bamboo and imitation chicken meat. For a healthy seafood option,try the Nam Prik salmon paste, pungent and fresh, served with blanched and raw vegetables and edible flowers. This is a very authentic dish which is rare to find on the menu anywhere else.
Address: Sukhumvit 1 Alley, Khwaeng Khlong Toei Nuea, Khet Watthana, 10110, Thailand
Opening Hours: Daily 6.30am – 10.30pm
Phone: +66 2 254 8880
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