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Are you wondering what to eat in Bangkok? Follow along as we eat awesome Thai food during an action-filled Bangkok street food tour with A Chef’s Tour.
Bangkok is the best street food city in the world.
But Bangkok is in its own league when it comes to the sheer quantity and quality of tasty food sold by street food vendors throughout the city at all hours of the day and night. A veritable army sells edible wares like fried chicken, slow cooked pork and grilled salt crusted fish on sidewalks, in markets, in hawker centers and in shacks.
Not limited to Chinatown and backpacker haven Khao San Road, Bangkok food vendors are literally everywhere in the Asian mega-city. Visitors will have no problem finding Thai street food wherever and whenever they feel like eating from gritty night markets to luxury malls like Central World.
During our recent two-week visit to Bangkok, we ate street food on busy streets, on secluded alleys, under overpasses and at floating markets. Our challenge wasn’t finding good street food; rather, it was knowing where to find the best Bangkok street food.
We could have happily filled our bellies with ridiculously cheap Pad Thai and skewered Juicy Sour Isaan Sausage sold by friendly vendors near our Airbnb apartment, and we did do that on many nights. But, as obsessive food travelers, we wanted to dig deeper and eat with locals.
That’s how we ended up taking a Bangkok street food tour with A Chef’s Tour.
Bangkok Street Food Tour Video
Watch our video to see the best food we ate during our tasty Bangkok tour.
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Bangkok Street Food Tour
Sometimes it’s best to leave things to the experts and that’s exactly what we did during our Bangkok street food tour. In this case, the capable hands belonged to Chef Nutthasetth Samerwomg from A Chef’s Tour.
Samerwomg is more than a typical tour guide. He’s also an experienced chef and restauranteur in addition to having his official Bangkok street food tour guide license. Plus he’s a cool cat who digs food.
Within moments of meeting Samerwomg at the Palladium shopping mall, we were speeding down Khlong Saen Saeb in a klong (river bus). We had skipped breakfast and were ready to eat!
Thai Food Highlights
Popular around the world, Thai food is a global phenomenon best experienced at the source. Though most first-timers to Bangkok dip their toes into the city’s street food pool by eating standard dishes like Pad Thai and Banana Roti, these popular street foods represent a tiny fraction of the variety readily available on the streets of Bangkok.
A Chef’s Tour took us off the beaten path to the city’s longest-running food market located in a hidden old town neighborhood. During the tour, Samerwomg regaled us with stories about the history and culture of Thai cuisine while keeping us well fed and hydrated.
Talking a tour with a local Thai food expert enabled us to dig deep into the heart of the city’s street food scene while eating our way through one of the best markets in Bangkok. We sampled a seemingly endless parade of local dishes until we couldn’t take another bite.
These were our favorite dishes:
Thai Beef Noodle Soup (Kuay Teaw Nua)
Starting the food portion of our Bangkok walking tour with a bang, Samerwomg introduced us to the wonderful world of Thai beef noodle soup. He did this at a fourth generation Hokkien soup stand situated near the oldest operating Bangkok market with nary a tourist in sight.
Daryl was in his happy place as he slurped a bowl loaded with aromatic broth, brisket, organ meat and silky noodles. Not for the faint of heart, his bowl included any and any and every edible body part including liver, tripe and tongue. While this may sound gross, the offals were artfully cooked until tender without a hint of rubberiness.
Mindi was equally happy slurping her organ-free bowl of soup filled with slow-cooked brisket and wide rice noodles. Smells from galangal and star anise wafted from the bowl as she attacked the soup with gusto.
We both combined condiments like fish sauce, chili pickle and sugar in little dipping bowls before adding them to our bowls. If the tour had ended here, we would have been satisfied. However, soup was just the beginning of our moveable Thai feast.
Crispy Thai Omelet (Khanom Buuang Yuon)
Part of our fun of eating crispy Thai pancakes was watching the street vendor prepare the local dish beneath a Bangkok overpass. Far from fancy, this kitchen had all necessary equipment including a charcoal stove.
The vendor molded the crepe/omelet in a wok until just set. She then formed it into a clam-like shell before filling it with fresh accouterments. Samerwomg shared that this particular vendor learned to cook the Thai dish from her grandmother.
The flavorful dish reminded us of the crispy Banh Xeo pancakes that we ate in Da Nang, Vietnam, though this one was loaded with peanuts, bean sprouts, shrimp, cucumber salad, onions, chilies and ginger. Surprisingly Thai people eat Khanom Buuang Yuon with a spoon despite the sandwich-like similarity.
Stir Fried Radish Cakes (Kanom Pakaadd)
We had never eaten radish cakes stirred fried with vegetables before but were game to give the local favorite a try. In many ways, the dish had similar characteristics to Pad Tai. However, the dish’s stir-fried radish cakes added a chewy, satisfying yet crunchy texture
After giving our chopsticks a workout, we headed to the Nang Loeng Market. This non-touristic Thai market dates back to 1900 and hosts a variety of vendors selling both savory and sweet Thai food options.
Shrimp Paste Fried Rice Salad (Khao Kluk Kapi)
Samerwomg warned us that not all foreigners like shrimp paste. Little did he know that we adore the funky Asian food staple.
We enjoyed the mix of sweet, spicy and sour flavors in the market’s shrimp paste fried rice salad. Beyond shrimp paste and rice, this salad’s ingredients, meant to be mixed together, included vegetables, mango, fried shrimp and chilies.
Coconut Custard (Kanom Tuy)
Samerwomg next introduced us to his favorite Thai desserts starting with fragrant coconut custard treats known as Kanom Tuy. Though we’re not big coconut fans, we were enamored with the soothing custard spooned from tiny ceramic bowls into our mouths.
However, Kanom Tuy wasn’t our favorite dessert of the tasty Bangkok tour. That honor goes to Thong Yip.
Egg Yolk Dessert (Thong Yip)
We first tried Thong Yip in the market but Samerwomg had a sly trick up his sleeve. After leaving the market, he led us through Bangkok’s winding back streets to meet Khun Pa (Aunt) Joy in the manufactory where she creates yellow treats all day long.
Joy starts baking at 3 am every morning to feed hungry locals looking for dessert after lunch at the nearby market. Though her physical work takes many steps, she was kind enough to show us the ancient process of bathing ultra orange egg yolks in a sugary solution and molding them into tasty, sweet, creamy spheres.
Dragon Fruit (Pitaya)
Several hours and many calories later, Samerwomg escorted us on the boat back to central Bangkok before making a gracious departure. Not only did we feel too full to eat dinner, but we also felt ready to attack Bangkok as experienced street food eaters. And attack, we did.
The four-hour Bangkok Old Market Hidden Street Eats tour starts with a scenic boat ride and ends when everybody is too full to eat another bite. Limited to eight people, the Bangkok tour includes a variety of Thai food that can be modified for vegetarians.
Guests receive detailed instructions after finalizing bookings on the company’s user-friendly website. In our case, Chef Nutth was easy to spot at the assigned meeting point since he was wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the company logo.
The tour cost was $59 per person at the time of our Bangkok street food tour. Be sure to check the website for updated costs and details since they can change in the future.
Plan to walk a good bit and eat a lot during this Bangkok food tour. Depending on the season, plan to sweat too. It gets hot in Thailand after all.
Hungry for more Thai food? See what it’s like to take a Chiang Mai cooking class.
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