After a two year hiatus, I’ve returned here to share a few eats with y’all that I absolutely lost my shit over while in Thailand. Several of them I’ve turned into regular meals here stateside (pad kaprao, in particular). Having A) eaten at all of the following places on many occasions, and B) received great feedback from the friends I’ve sent, I can confidently say that these dishes are tried and true. My only ask of you is that if you eat at any of these places, send me a picture 🙂 It’ll make my day.
Since your Thai experience is likely to begin in Bangkok, let’s start there. Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong in this city unless you’re dining exclusively on Khao San Road. I stayed at a friend’s house in Asok during most of my time in the city (Thanks Ting!), and I frequented a food market that setup every Thursday morning at the Srinakharinwirot University. Booth #219 in the back right corner of that market serves Ko Mu Yang – grilled pork collar. Make sure to ask for some sticky rice (khao niao), and load up on the hot sauce that they provide. Keep an eye out for the sign with the green bowl on it (see picture top left). Apparently that’s some sort of highly sought after Thai restaurant/food cart award.
Here’s a Google maps link to where I remember the booth to be. You’ll know you’re there when you look immediately behind the food stall and see a ~30 story apartment complex.
Coordinates: 13.744625, 100.563137
This is most easily accessed by the MRT underground transit (get off at Phetchaburi station) or the Chao Phraya river boat (get off at Asok/Phetchaburi pier). The market is a short 10 minute walk from either.
Pier 21 Food Terminal
My next suggestion sits on the 5th floor of the Terminal 21 supermall. There are several food courts within the mall, but the one on the 5th floor is the real winner. This is unlike any food court meal you’ve ever eaten – I promise. It boasts inexpensive, authentic, and delicious Thai food, and it’s super air-conditioned. Load up a card at the front desk area with Thai baht, use the card to check out at each individual stand, and then cash out your remainder once you’re finished. There’s one dish in particular that I kept on going back for – Yum Gai Tod – which is fried chicken salad. Ask for the Isan booth, you’ll find it there.
Getting there: Asok BTS Station, Sukhumvit MRT.
Coordinates: 13.737292, 100.560641
BonChon Korean fried chicken is another spot in Bangkok that deserves your attention. There are several locations in the city – find the one closest to you here. I highly recommend the soy + garlic chicken.
Here are a few more dishes I stumbled upon that were pretty life-changing:
Khao Kha Mu (ข้าวขาหมู) – Stewed pork hocks on rice:
Pad Ka-Prao Mu Sap (ผัดกะเพรา) – Holy basil pork stir fry. When the cook asks you “khai dow?”, they’re asking if you want a fried egg on top….which, of course you do:
Yum Woon Sen (ยำวุ้นเส้น) – Spicy glass noodle salad. Emphasis on the spicy:
Mu Ping (หมูปิ้ง) – Grilled pork skewers. Don’t forget the khao niao (sticky rice). Ultimate breakfast combo:
Khao Man Gai (ข้าวมันไก่) – Thai version of Hainanese chicken and rice:
Khao Soi (ข้าวซอย) – Northern coconut noodle soup. Best eaten in the north, where it originates.
Khana Mu Krob (ผัดคะน้าหมูกรอบ) – Chinese broccoli + crispy pork belly stir-fry:
Just a short night train to the north is my favorite eating destination in all of Southeast Asia: Chiang Mai. Good eats here are as ubiquitous as they are spicy.
Khao Kaa Mu from the lady in the cowboy hat. This lady is a legend and makes some of the tastiest pork I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating:
Coordinates: 18.7957764, 98.9855876
Hear Tong Food Shop. I came here frequently with friends. The family that runs this place is sweet as ever, and the food is delicious.
Coordinates: 18.7919672, 98.9934028
The dish listed below on their menu stole my heart – give it a try.