Going to Bangkok in 2 weeks. Where to even start?
I have had Thai food probably 500+ times outside of Thailand. Been to Thailand probably about 2-3 times when I was younger but don't remember much of it. Planning to go to Bangkok for a 5 day trip in 2 weeks time and I really don't know where to start. It's not like most Asian cities where there's like a few things that you MUST try. There are a gazillion things people seem to love. I've read maybe 5-10 threads on CH in regards to food in BKK but I definitely need some help. A little about this trip & me:
1) Will be staying in Bangkok at the Courtyard by Marriott for 5 days 4 nights.
2) Would prefer if travel time to eat was 20 minutes or less (family in tow can't go super far since they aren't foodies)
3) I'm specifically NOT looking for fine dining food. Most interested in street food/hole in the wall type places that serve up yummy food. Preferably if the place is reasonably clean (parent's request).
4) My dad seems to be all about the shark's fin in Thailand but I personally am big on noodles, pork and big flavors. I can totally eat super spicy.
I think my major dilemma is where to even start? Can anyone help out?
Hey big apple Ken. If you are in town for 5 days, why not group a river trip on to a lunch outing? Suan Thip is 45 mins up river from cenral BKK and is a great restaurant. Go for a klong tour, then a cruise up the river then lunch in this restaurant which is set in beautiful gardens. Really worth it and good fun for all the family. Check out my review on causticcandy.com, and have a great time in BKK, difficult to go wrong in that city. (http://causticcandy.com/2009/07/10/su...)
easy suggestions withing walking distance:
wireless road lunch market near All Seasons Place. lots of typical, solid street food in one convenient place, but it's just open for lunch.
lang suan lunch market (1 block west) has a very large selection of typical and not so typical dishes. you will definitely find noodles, etc. but also roti mataba and great desserts. wander around for an hour trying whatever interests you. can be quite crowded at lunch, which is the only time it is open.
on Ruam Rudee (2 blocks west) try Admakers Bistro in Ruam Rudee Village. looks a bit posh but food is very reliable, yummy Thai! will definitely satisfy the parents' desire for cleanliness. used to be in a grubbier, more interesting location but lost their lease and opened this new place.
on Lang Suan try Home Kitchen way at the end of the street on the right side. Thai and Thai Chinese food, seafood (curry crab is good!) and a very casual outside dining area.
across the street at the corner is Nguan Lee, another Chinese Thai seafood place that looks like a hole in the wall (tho big) and also has reliable food. not the biggest fan because it's a bit too big but food is good.
i second the suggestion to try Nara in the Erawan Mall. sukhothai noodles rock, especially if you like big, complex flavors! rest of the menu is pretty good. also a little on the posh side so don't show up in shorts and flip flops (even for lunch) or you'll feel awkward. not expensive.
lots of shark's fin all over bangkok, but... feel bad about that one, seems inhumane to me.
If you like seafood, you MUST eat at Rut and Lek's in Chinatown. It's a sidewalk-type place that's only open late evening/night. Don't go for lunch - you won't find it.
If you like middle-eastern, Beiruit Lebanese restaurant is in the basement of Nana plaza - the food is excellent. They also have a location near PatPong.
From the Phaya Thai BTS station, you can walk west about 100 yards or so and on the north side of the road, there's a hole-in-the-wall place on the side of the street - last time I was there, they had pea-green walls, no A/C, and the best cashew chicken in the world, cheap. Also, walk south from that same station, and the west side of the road, rougghly 1/4 miles away from the station, is an excellent dim sum place - good dim sum, and cheap.
The Marriott on the river (chao phrya) can be reached by (free!) ferry boat from the end of the BTS system, and there's a trader vic's there. The roast duck is excellent.
The downside to your trip - you'll only be there 5 days; that's hardly long enough for your stomach to adjust to the local food. I'm sure you know the potential danger therein!
Courtyard by Marriott is very conveniently located. Some eating spots which are only about 10 minutes or so walk away:
1. Erawan Plaza (next to Grand Hyatt Erawan). The food section in the basement has some great Thai eating places popular amongst locals: Lee Cafe (Thai-Chinese noodles, dishes, etc), Nara (Thai dishes), Pad Thai Aree (noodles);
2. Central World Plaza, adjacent to Erawan. It's a massive mall, very popular amongst Bangkok families on weekends. Must have 100 eating outlets in there, ranging from posh-nosh to family restaurants. Some standouts are S&P restaurant (near Isetan dept store) wich serves great pad Thai, curries, etc. Great cakes, too. Another old Bangkok favorite there is See Fah, which offers one-dish meals, noodles, etc. If you fancy hotpots, then opt for either Coca or MK restaurants there.
3. If your Dad likes Thai-style sharksfin, you can go to Scala Sharksfin in Siam Square, a 15-20 minute walk from your hotel, or else a quick 5-minute taxi ride. Scala Sharksfin, Bangkok Sharksfin & Penang Sharksfin are all located in a row on the same street in Siam Square - all offer very good braised sharksfin in claypot; crab & glass noodles; and stir-fried fish maw, prawns & mustard leaves.
4. Or you can go to Siam Paragon (just across the road from Siam Square), Bangkok's plushest, upscale mall. Paragon has got a divine basement floor filled with numerous great restaurants & an eye-popping array of food stalls in a gigantic foodcourt. There's also a very nice Scala sharksfin outlet there.
P.S. - my favorite street stalls in Bangkok are located at King Rama III Rd, only open at nights. The fried fritters, oyster omelets & duck noodles are to-die for!
You're located pretty close to the BTS skytrain, so many locations are accessible.
Head up Ratchadamri, and head right at the Erawan shrine. A short walk, just past McDonalds, you'll see Amarin Foodhouse, adjacent to the Chitlom BTS, Here you will find good Thai/Asian in a very clean atmosphere. It's very popular with local office staffs.
For good Thai seafood, you can hop on the BTS and take it to Chong Nonsi station. Beneath the platform is Lek Seafood, a very local place to enjoy dinner.
The Erawan hotel, itself, does a pretty good buffet lunch. Weekdays, 12:00 to 14:30, they offer everything from prime rib and lamb, to curry and fried rice. It runs about 900 baht PP with service charge and VAT.
If you aren't familiar with Thai suki, Coca or MK might not thrill you. It really helps to try these places with someone who knows the ropes.
Centralworld is amazing, with its huge selection of eateries. One could dine there for a month, and never eat at the same place twice. Although not heavy on Thai eateries, there are still many great international offerings. Head on up to the 6th and 7th floors.