No visit to Bangkok is complete without indulging in some of the many culinary delights the city has to offer.
With only a couple of days to explore the city that never sleeps, we decided to binge-eat our way through the capital by booking a midnight food tour with local company Bangkok Food Tours. This gave us the perfect opportunity to try the best street food on offer, while also taking in some culture at the beautiful Wat Pho after hours, and famous flower market located at Chak Phet Road.
Transport throughout the night comes in the form of your very own colourful tuk tuk, which is ready to chauffeur you to each of the six stops – three food, two cultural, and one ‘secret’ spot which I won’t spoil the surprise of…
Whether it’s with a tour group or not, make sure you try these six unmissable dishes when visiting Bangkok.
1. Guay tiew kua gai
Probably the tastiest thing I had in Bangkok (and maybe all of Thailand), this dish is essentially a noodle-omelette hybrid consisting of thick rice noodles, chicken, vegetables and egg.
Fried together in a hot wok, the oil, heat and charcoal pit its cooked over adds an almost barbecue-like flavour to the dish, resulting in moreish mouthfuls of noodles that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Combined together by the scrambled egg with tender pieces of chicken, it’s served on a bed of fresh lettuce with hot sauce to taste.
You have two options here when ordering – fried together with scrambled egg, or served with a runny egg on top. We had one of each, and although it was the less adventurous option I think my scrambled version was better!
2. BBQ pork on a stick
These little pigs on a stick are the definition of how sometimes simple is best.
Marinated with a sweet soy sauce, the tender meat is grilled directly on vendor’s carts and served with sticky rice. Most commonly found in the morning, it’s a popular grab-and-go breakfast for locals on their way into work.
We became obsessed with this treat after buying one earlier in our time in Bangkok, and were pretty thrilled to have it again as part of the food tour!
3. Khanom bueang
This popular street food item might look like a taco, but it’s actually more similar to a crepe. The shell is made from rice flour, and is usually filled with coconut cream and shredded coconut. For those who don’t like their snacks sweet, you can also find it with savoury fillings such as shrimp.
4. Pad Thai
Our last stop on the food tour was Thip Samai, an extremely popular restaurant with locals and tourists that’s known for serving nothing except the “best pad thai in Bangkok”.
While I can’t attest to the bold claim the pad thai we had here was delicious, although quite different to ones I’ve tried before – most noticeably it was more sweet than savoury.
My favourite dish was the ‘superb pad thai’, as it comes in a thin layer of egg omelette which once broken, reveals the orange coloured noodles and vegetables inside.
I didn’t have pad thai again in Thailand partly in fear it wouldn’t live up to this one, but some people have called Thip Samai overrated. I say, try it for yourself and you can be the judge.
The following aren’t part of the food tour, but make sure you also try…
5. After you desserts
Located in the ground-floor food court of the huge shopping centre Siam Paragon, this dessert cafe is a well-known name in Bangkok with over a dozen branches across the city. Getting in to the cafe means waiting in line no matter what time you visit, so make sure you factor this in.
I found this place after doing a bit of research before we left, and came across some photos of their desserts which I guess can only be described as ‘foodporn’. And even though I totally detest that term, have you ever seen a dessert better looking than this?
Their specialty is shibuya honey toast – a thick slice of sweet, brioche-like bread that’s toasted and served hot with melted butter in the middle. On top are lashings of chocolate sauce, fresh strawberries and thick vanilla ice cream, with more ice cream and whipped cream on the side. This was one seriously indulgent dessert that was big enough to share, but too good not to have to yourself.
From their signature menu we also ordered a two-tone kakigori, a treat that looks a lot like a giant meringue but is in fact a big mound of powdered snow. Dig your spoon in and you’ll feel like you’re lifting off scoops of freshly fallen snow, yet somehow it tastes like dairy ice cream, but without a hint of frost or ice like you might expect. Topped with sweet flavoured dusting and served with a pot of chocolate sauce on the side, you’ll find pieces of chocolate honeycomb, biscuits and happiness at the bottom.
The only small downside to this place is the hefty price tag, as our order came to nearly 600 baht (about £12) with one drink shared between us. That might not sound like a lot compared to what you’d pay in the UK, but a three course meal with beers cost us not much more elsewhere. I’ll certainly be paying them another visit when we’re next in Bangkok, and you should too if you’re not on a budget.
6.Thai ice tea
This refreshing beverage is similar to the ice tea we know, but has a bolder flavour, is sweeter and creamier – in other words, better. Easily recognised by its distinct orange colour, you’ll find it across the city in many cafes, restaurants and street vendors, some of whom sell it in a plastic bag with a straw!
I developed a mild addiction to this drink after trying it for the first time at Maeklong Railway Market, and even bought a premix from the airport so I could have it again back home.
What’s your favourite food in Bangkok? Tell me what I missed!
Need to know
- Midnight food tour by tuk tuk – ฿1800 per adult (approx. £36)
- 7:30pm – 11:30pm and 8pm – 12am daily
- No vegetarian options
- Thip Samai is closed on Mondays!
- Transfers back to your hotel is included