Bangkok Restaurants: the Top Spots for Thai

  • A sidewalk curry stop in Bangkok’s Chinatown.

    A sidewalk curry stop in Bangkok’s Chinatown.

  • An oyster omelet at Nai Mong in Chinatown.

    An oyster omelet at Nai Mong in Chinatown.

  • Roast duck in scallion broth is a specialty at Jibgi Ped Yang, one of the city’s oldest and most popular vendors of the dish.

    Roast duck in scallion broth is a specialty at Jibgi Ped Yang, one of the city’s oldest and most popular vendors of the dish.

  • Soul Food Mahanakorn presents home-cooked Thai dishes in a cozy shophouse setting.

    Soul Food Mahanakorn presents home-cooked Thai dishes in a cozy shophouse setting.

  • A table at Jibgi Ped Yang.

    A table at Jibgi Ped Yang.

  • Lookchin Anamai’s famous grilled meatballs, served with a dollop of sweet chili sauce.

    Lookchin Anamai’s famous grilled meatballs, served with a dollop of sweet chili sauce.

  • David Thompson at a local market.

    David Thompson at a local market.

  • Cluttered interiors bear no reflection on the quality of the food at Thai-Chinese seafood eatery Nakorn Pochana.

    Cluttered interiors bear no reflection on the quality of the food at Thai-Chinese seafood eatery Nakorn Pochana.

  • Longtime family favorite Chandrphen specializes in multicourse Thai-Chinese meals

    Longtime family favorite Chandrphen specializes in multicourse Thai-Chinese meals

  • Service with a smile at Polo Fried Chicken, the city’s beloved purveyor of Isan-style fried chicken.

    Service with a smile at Polo Fried Chicken, the city’s beloved purveyor of Isan-style fried chicken.

  • Spicy squid salad (nam tok pla muk) is another Polo specialty.

    Spicy squid salad (nam tok pla muk) is another Polo specialty.

  • Grilled river prawn at the Metropolitan hotel’s Nahm.

    Grilled river prawn at the Metropolitan hotel’s Nahm.

  • Krueng jim, or “relishes,” bring a taste of authentic Thai home cooking to the fine-dining surrounds of chef David Thompson’s Nahm restaurant, at the Metropolitan Bangkok.

    Krueng jim, or “relishes,” bring a taste of authentic Thai home cooking to the fine-dining surrounds of chef David Thompson’s Nahm restaurant, at the Metropolitan Bangkok.

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From jungle curry to oyster omelets and everything in between, where to find the best of  Thai food in the City of Angels

By Chawadee Nualkhair
Photographs by Jason Michael Lang

There is such a thing as being spoiled for choice. Bangkok, a city of almost 12 million people, appears to boast nearly as many places to eat, from the lowliest curbside cart vendor to the toniest of five-star hotel restaurants, offering everything from batons of deep-fried dough to truffled risotto. Yet as dazzling as the Thai capital’s food scene may be, the sheer breadth of options can bewilder the visitor—especially when it comes to homegrown cuisine.

Like big-game safari hunters, those in search of Thai food tend to focus on the Big Five: eggy pad thai, basil-strewn green curries, spicy lemongrass soups, fiery globs of green papaya salad, maybe a satay stick or two. Yet untold rewards await the more intrepid diner. If you know where to look in Bangkok, all the facets of Thai food are there for the taking: the slow dried-chili burn of southern food, the subtle complexity of a “royal Thai” meal, the heady satisfaction of a no-frills seafood platter, and these days, even the perplexing concoctions of Thai-style molecular gastronomy.

So, what’s for dinner? Whether it’s on a crowded Chinatown footpath or in a hotel dining room surrounded by a legion of servers; whether it’s served in a chipped noodle bowl or garnished with a flourish of coconut foam, the tastiest Thai food in Bangkok awaits at the following locations.

Taking It to the Streets

Most Thais consider the sidewalk to be the ultimate preserve of the die-hard gourmet, and will stop at nothing (rain, car exhaust, roaches) to get their fill of some of the best food that the kingdom has to offer.

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