Skip to Content

Insider Guide What to Eat in Bangkok – 16 Must-Try Dishes

Insider Guide What to Eat in Bangkok – 16 Must-Try Dishes

Bangkok is a foodie paradise packed full of flavor. Do you love trying new foods or have no clue what to eat in Bangkok?

When it comes to exploring a new city, there’s no better way to immerse yourself in the culture than through its food. And if you’re planning a trip to Bangkok, get your taste buds ready for a vibrant and diverse culinary scene.

From street food vendors serving up mouthwatering dishes to bustling markets offering a variety of traditional Thai food and modern delicacies, Bangkok has something to satisfy every craving. But with so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know where to start and what to eat in Bangkok.

In this Bangkok food guide, we’ll dive into the must-try dishes and hidden gems of Bangkok’s food scene so you can plan your next food adventure with ease and confidence. So grab your chopsticks, and let’s dig in!

These top Bangkok food tours cover a lot of ground in a short time and really help you get a taste of Thailand.

Blue and Red Tuk Tuk motor taxi in Bangkok during a night tour of Bangkok - must do activities in Thailand

#1 – Bangkok Midnight Food Tour by Tuk Tuk
Essential Experience
This great street food tour of Bangkok in a Tuk Tuk packs several “must-dos” into one fun night of food, culture, and sights aboard a quintessential & colorful Tuk Tuk!

view of Bangkok Skyline at sunset during a private tour guide tour of Bangkok

#2 – Private Guide to Bangkok
Short on time? This is the BEST way to see Bangkok. A private guide will take you to a list of attractions you pick or ask to go to some Bangkok hidden gems or best restaurants in Bangkok. The guide can explain the Thai food, history, Thai culture and more.

Pan of Thai street Food at night on a Food tour in Thailand

#3 – Tasting Bangkok Backstreets Food Tour 15+ Tastings
You can’t visit Thailand and not try the delicious street food. A local guide will bring you to the best spots & help you dive into Thai food culture! Book this one early in your trip!

Must Try Thai Food in Bangkok

Traditional Thai Som Tam Papaya Salad on a plate in Thailand

1. Som Tam – Papaya Salad

There’s nothing quite like a plate of Som Tam on a hot, sunny day. Also known as Papaya Salad, Som Tam is the Thai version of one of Southeast Asia’s most refreshing salads. It’s a little bit crunchy, a little bit spicy, and bursting with flavor in every bite.

The main ingredient in Papaya Salad is, of course, papaya. This juicy fruit is shredded and tossed with tomatoes, garlic, cabbage, and bean sprouts. For a kick, chopped-up Thai chilis are added. Unlike other versions of Papaya Salad, the Thai version is loaded with peanuts and fresh lime and drizzled with fish sauce and palm sugar to finish.

Often known as spicy papaya salad, make sure to tell the chef how many chilis you would like or tell them “no spicy” if you can not handle spice. Adam loves spice and can handle it, and he always orders it with two chilis.

Available in almost every Thai restaurant (and in street food stalls around the city), Som Tam is a dish you have to try when visiting Thailand.

Thai Woman making Phad Thai on the strrets of Bangkok - Must Try Street food

2. Pad Thai

Pad Thai is the quintessential noodle dish that’s known all over Thailand and is probably the most well-known traditional Thai dish around the world.

From five-star restaurants to family-run, hole-in-the-wall food stalls, Pad Thai is served practically everywhere in Bangkok. Some of the best Pad Thai in Bangkok can be found on the street, as in the above photo.

classic Thai Pad Thai at a restaurant in Bangkok

A generous portion of rice noodles is cooked and then stir-fried in a wok. Shrimp, pork, or chicken is then added for protein before being mixed with peanuts, scrambled eggs, and bean sprouts. It can be topped with a variety of condiments, like lime, green onions, soy sauce, and chili peppers.

You can order Pad Thai with or without meat. Most restaurants and street vendors have the price for Pad Thai, and then there is a small charge to add eggs and another small charge to add protein. Sometimes called Phat Thai, it is one of the cheapest foods in Bangkok, and it will fill you up.

If you are a picky eater and wondering what to eat in Bangkok, Pad Thai should be one of the first foods to try in Thailand. It is one of the most popular dishes in Thailand for a reason.

Related Article: Top 35 Things to Do In Thailand

Food market stalls in Bangkok Thailand for authentic Thai food

Is Bangkok Street Food Safe?

YES! We have eaten street food all over the world, and some of the best street food in the world in Bangkok. Whenever friends ask us what to eat in Bangkok, we tell them to just head out on the street there is delicious food all around!

Consider going on a food tour in Bangkok. This way, you know the vendors visited have been vetted by the tour company and offer some of the best Bangkok food items. We love this Bangkok food tour. It combines food, temples, markets, and ride in a famous Thailand Tuk Tuk.

Read our street food safety guide for more tips and things to look for when eating street food. Food markets are a great place to try several Bangkok must eat dishes in one place at a cheap price.

Sai Krok Isan or Isaan Sausage on a stick with peppers Bangkok street food

3. Isaan Sausage

Sai Krok Isan, or Isaan Sausage, is a fermented sausage that can be found in food markets all around Bangkok. You might see them hanging up in links or skewered on wooden sticks.

These stubby, plump sausages are made with pork, garlic, and sticky rice. In the markets, they are usually smoked and grilled right there and served in a plastic bag with fresh green chilis, slices of ginger, and white cabbage.

Their succulent yet sour flavor is unlike other sausages you can get in the US or other Western countries. Mixed with ginger and fresh chilis, Issan Sausage has more of a tropical herb flavor.

Crispy Pork Belly Thai Khao Moo Krob what to eat in Bangkok

4. Crispy Pork Belly (Khao Moo Krob)

There are hundreds of Thai street food stalls in Bangkok that serve Khao Moo Krob. However, it’s much more difficult to find an authentic barbecue shop that makes it the way the dish is supposed to be served.

First and foremost, the pork belly should be lean. If there is too much fat, the dish will be very greasy and oily when fried.

When cooked correctly, Khao Moo Krob is a delectably mouthwatering dish that is guaranteed to delight any meat lover. The crackling of the skin is crispy and light, and the meat underneath is juicy and succulent.

The pork belly might be served on a plate with several vegetables and topped with a rich broth or sauce. On the other hand, you can always order it by itself with a hoisin or mustard dipping sauce on the side.

mango sticky rice Thai cuisine dessert

5. Mango Sticky Rice

If you have a sweet tooth, you absolutely have to try Mango Sticky Rice. This is a traditional Thai dessert, although you’ll find it in most countries throughout Asia. We first had it when we were on our honeymoon in Thailand. Let’s just say it was love at first sight, lol.

In Bangkok, you can order Mango Sticky Rice year-round. However, it’s most flavorful during the mango season, which lasts from April to June.

It’s made with glutinous rice, fresh mango, and coconut milk. The sweetened coconut milk is cooked and absorbed into the rice, which gives it a very thick and creamy texture. The dessert is then topped with peeled mango for added flavor and sweetness. In some places, you might also find the dish served with crispy yellow mung beans.

Moo Ping Grilled Skewers of Pork on the grill Bangkok food guide

6. Moo Ping Grilled Skewers of Pork

No matter where you go in Bangkok, you’ll smell the mouthwatering aroma of barbecued meat. Although there are hundreds of booths selling different grilled and skewered meats, the most famous of them all is Moo Ping.

Moo Ping is made from seasoned pork butt or shoulder. The pork is marinated in a savory sauce of garlic, cilantro, sugar, fish sauce, and soy sauce. It’s then sliced, skewered, and grilled over an open charcoal grill for added flavor and crispiness.

While the pork is cooking, it’s brushed with coconut milk to keep the pork moist. This glaze also adds a sweet coating to the meat. The result is a juicy, charred pork skewer that is slightly sweet.

You can eat the roast pork meat on its own or dip it in a herby vinegar sauce.

Thai iced coffee street vendor in Bangkok

7. Thai Iced Coffee

Known to the locals as “Oliang,” Thai Iced Coffee is a delicious beverage that tastes more like a dessert than it does a drink. Although it is often confused with Vietnamese iced coffee, Thai Iced Coffee is actually very different.

The brewing process starts with black iced coffee, which is strained using Tungdtom, a Thai coffee filter. The coffee is then steeped for ten minutes before being served. There are many different versions of Thai Iced Coffee, but the most common one is coffee with evaporated milk or sweetened sugar.

In Bangkok, you can find Thai Iced Coffee at almost every coffee shop, cafe, and even mobile coffee street carts. I love it but just be warned that it is really sweet. They add a good amount of condensed milk. If you like tea, try the Iced Thai Tea.

Bug cart in Bangkok Thailand - common fried insects for a unique what to eat in Bangkok try bugs

8. Fried Insects

I am sure that when you were researching what to eat in Thailand, you weren’t expecting to see or even consider eating insects in Thailand or maybe even eating scorpions.

Although they might not sound like the most appealing thing to eat in Bangkok, insects are practically sold at every food market in the city. Not for the faint of heart, these protein-filled snacks can be ordered with your meal or eaten alone.

Most street food stalls will sell anywhere from five to ten different types of bugs. You’ll find crickets, worms, water bugs, grasshoppers, scorpions, cockroaches, and even spiders! These bugs are often sold deep-fried, which gives them a crunchy, crispy texture.

Once you order a bag of your favorite friend insects, the vendor will spritz them with soy sauce and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

My insider tip is to start with the fried crickets. These are really easy to eat and actually taste good. From here, work your way up the bug cart. But whatever you do, DO NOT eat the water beetle…that was the most disgusting thing ever.

man holding a locust- eating bugs in Thailand

The flavor of each bug varies, depending on the size as well as the type. Grasshoppers usually take on the flavor of the spices they are cooked in, so it’s a great option if you haven’t tried insects before.

On the other hand, silkworms, bamboo worms, and cockroaches are usually meatier and have more of a bug-like flavor. I only ate a fried grasshopper, while Adam ate the entire bug cart. Yes, he ate one of each insect on the cart.

If you are on the hunt to eat bugs in Bangkok, head to Khao San Road. Here you can easily find them. If you are traveling to Thailand on a budget, fried insects are not the cheapest thing to eat in Bangkok.

tourists standing with a durian vendor in Thailand - Foods to try in Bangkok

9. Durian

Durian has a reputation around the world as one of the most disgusting fruits known to humans. That’s because this giant, spiky fruit has a very foul odor.

Many people describe the smell of durian like rotten eggs, raw sewage, or even expired cheese. One whiff of durian, and you won’t believe that it’s actually edible! Although you might need refined tastebuds to enjoy the flavor, it’s worth a sample if you’re an adventurous eater.

Some people will tell you not to let its stench deter you from trying it because it doesn’t taste anything like it smells and claim it has a custard-like texture with hints of hazelnut and apricot. However, we thought it tasted like a rotting onion in a dirty old sock.

Durian is one of those things you have to eat for yourself and let your tastebuds decide how it tastes. Some people love it and others don’t.

Just be careful where you eat them! Due to their strong smell, durian is often prohibited in public spaces. When taking a taxi in Thailand and other public transportation, you will see no durian stickers.

Nutella Thai Pancake similar to Thai crepes cheap food in Bangkok

10. Thai Pancake

For a sweet treat, order a Thai Pancake or Roti while visiting Bangkok. Although it looks like a crepe and is sometimes called Thai crepes, Thai Pancakes are much more elaborate and decadent.

The Thai Pancake dough is flattened and cooked on a hot griddle. Ingredients may vary, but they are usually filled with banana, Nutella, coconut, eggs, or raisins. Once the pancake has been thoroughly cooked, it’s topped with sugar or condensed milk before being chopped into bite-size bits.

The dough is quite flaky, but the fruity ingredients give it a soft, sweet flavor. It’s a Bangkok street food that you can find in almost every neighborhood.

Thai Green Curry chicken in bowl best Thai food

11. Thai Green Curry

No trip to Bangkok would be complete without a hearty dish of Thai Green Curry. Made from a base of coconut milk and fresh green chilis. Green Curry tends to be sweeter in flavor compared to other curries found in Thailand. It also has a distinctive green color from the skins and seeds of the green chilis.

The ingredients in each curry will vary, but chicken, shrimp, fish balls, or beef are usually added. The dish may also have eggplant, peas, basil, or other aromatic vegetables. As with most curries, you can also customize the level of spiciness, depending on your preference.

Green curry is typically eaten with white rice, although it can be served alone or with noodles. We love curry so much that we often put it on our eggs at breakfast. My go-to is Thai green curry chicken medium spice.

Pad Ka Prao stir-fried holy basil popular street food in Thailand

12. Pad Ka Prao (Pad Krapow)

Translated to “stir-fried holy basil,” Pad Ka Prao is one of the most popular street foods in Thailand. There are dozens of varieties and ingredients, but the method of stir-frying is the same throughout every dish.

The ingredients are fairly simple and consist of stir-fried pork, chicken, beef, or seafood mixed with basil and garlic. Before being served with a bowl of rice, it’s smothered in soy sauce, fish sauce, cane sugar, and chili oil.

Meat is the main ingredient; however, vegetables can be added for extra flavor. Anything from asparagus and baby corn to onions and bamboo shoots can be added to the dish.

Hoy Tod Oyster Omelet a must try food to eat in Bangkok

13. Hoy Tod (Oyster Omelet)

This mouthwatering oyster omelet is one of the most unique things to try in Bangkok. One of our favorite places to sample this savory snack is Nai Mong Hoi Thod, for the best Hoy Tod in Bangkok.

This dish is also known as Hoy Tod (Hoi Tod)and can be made with either oysters or mussels. You can’t go wrong either way, although the oyster Hoy Tod is something uniquely special to this region.

The fresh oysters are lightly battered and fried, although they remain gooey and soft on the inside. It’s then mixed with egg and herbs before being served piping hot on a plate.

Bangkok street food quail eggs

14. Quail Eggs

Whether you’re in the mood for a delicious breakfast or a midday snack, fried quail eggs are a go-to street food in Bangkok. Unlike chicken eggs, quail eggs have a larger yolk, which makes them richer and more flavorful.

The tiny eggs are cracked and fried in a Khanom Krok pan like this, which looks like a cast iron muffin pan. The bottom of each egg becomes light and crispy, which is juxtaposed against the creamy inside of the middle. After they are cooked, the eggs are dusted with chili oil and other seasonings.

This street food snack is served with a toothpick and can be eaten on the go.

Tom Yum Soup famous Thai Soup

15. Tom Yum Soup

The herby tropical flavors of Tom Yum Soup make it one of the most flavorful dishes in Bangkok. Commonly eaten for lunch, you can find different variations of Tom Yum Soup all over the country.

The key to a good Tom Yum Soup is the broth. It’s a unique blend of hot and sour flavors made from garlic, roasted chilis, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and galangal. The soup is then topped with shrimp or pork and garnished with even more fresh herbs and vegetables.

Other variations include Tom Yum Nam Khon, which is made with coconut milk or evaporated milk, or Tom Yum Kung, which is made with fresh prawns. Even on a hot day, Tom Yum Soup is a great choice for a light and flavorful lunch!

16. Yellow Egg Curry

If you need a break from the meat-heavy dishes in Bangkok, you can stop for a helping of Yellow Egg Curry. Originally from northern Thailand, Kaeng Lueang is layered with strong aromatic flavors and fragrant vegetables and herbs.

The base of the dish starts out like any other Thai curry. Sweet and milk yellow curry paste is mixed with coconut milk and vegetables and seasoned with red pepper and garlic. Then, eggs are cracked on top of the boiling liquid, which curdles and thickens the curry. Chicken can also be added, although it’s common to find Yellow Egg Curry without any meat.

Thai food tour guide leading a group through a Bangkok Market - Top Tours

Ordering Thai Food Insider Tips

Over our countless trips to Thailand and even living in Thailand for over a year, there are a few things we learned how to say in Thai that made going to restaurants in Thailand easier.

Here are a few helpful Thai phases & words:

  • Hello – Sawadee ka/krap
  • Thank you – Khob kun ka/krap
  • The bill, please – Check bin ka
  • Restroom – Hong Naam
  • Delicious – Aroy
  • Very Delicious – Aroy mak
  • Spicy – Pet
  • No/without – Mai
  • No Spicy – Mai Ped
  • Hot – Rohn
  • Cold – Yen
  • Allergic – Pae
  • Rice – Khao
  • Chicken – Gai
  • Pork – Moo
  • Beef – Neua
  • Shrimp- Goong
  • Egg- Kai
  • Vegetables – Pak
  • Vegetarian – Mang sa wirat
  • Vegan – Jey

Thai cuisine is known for being spicy. If you cannot handle any spice, make sure to always order everything with no spice. Even if it usually isn’t spicy, be on the safe side and say no spice.

Also, don’t forget to tip! Read our tipping in Thailand guide, which explains when it is appropriate to tip and a suggested tip amount.

View of a busy street in Chinatown in Bangkok with neon sighs and Chinese Charters

Bangkok Street Food Guide

If you are like us and love street food, make sure to visit these areas of Bangkok that are known for having the best street food in Bangkok.

  • Yaowarat Street in Chinatown – 24/7 but best at night. Try the Khao Pad Pu (Fried rice with crab)
  • Khao San Road – Popular with backpackers & tourists but can be loud and rowdy
  • Victory Monument – Best known for Thai Boat Noodles
  • Ratchawat Market – Try roast duck and Kobe beef noodles
  • Sukhumvit 38 – Really convenient location for tourists by BTS Skytrain Thong Lo Station
  • Silom Soi 20 – Soi Prachum Market here, multicultural cuisines
Tuk Tuk parked in Chinatown one of the best places to stay in Bangkok

We also love taking street food tours when traveling. Food tours help you explore a new cuisine with a local who can explain what you are eating, and the local guide can also help give you a lay of the land. It is like having a personal Bangkok restaurant guide.

We went on this Bangkok tour last time and loved it. It visits not only Chinatown but also another street food market area, the flower market, temples, and several other Bangkok attractions. To date it is one of our favorite tours. There is a reason it has over 2,000 five-star reviews on Viator.

family on Bangkok food tour in Thailand

Picky Eaters: What to Eat in Bangkok

Yes, it is true; some people don’t like Thai food and are really picky eaters. My mother is one of them. When my parents came to Thailand for two weeks, we started with 3 days in Bangkok. The photo above is our family trip to Thailand.

This is where my mother claimed Thai cuisine tasted like flowers. I think that means flavor, lol, but coming from cilantro, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, ginger, curry, etc. She didn’t want to eat anything with fish sauce or shrimp paste.

It wasn’t a big deal. I was just sad she didn’t try many foods in Bangkok and expand her palate. However, she survived and found things she liked. She often ate chicken & rice or fried rice with chicken breast. We didn’t have to go to McDonald’s that often.

My dad, on the other hand, ate EVERYTHING. I mean everything. He wanted to try anything and everything. He would go missing, and we would find him down an alley at a street cart eating squid on a stick. He also picked up a pair of chopsticks like he had been using since birth.

Beyond Bangkok: Best Places to Visit in Thailand

Roast pork on bed of noodles in Thailand

Best Thai Foods For Kids

If you are traveling to Thailand with kids and want to know food options in Thailand for kids they will actually eat, here are some simple Thai foods for kids or picky eaters:

  • Thai Chicken & Rice – Khao Man Gai
  • Thai Fried Rice – Khao Pad
  • Thai Stir Fried Noodles – Pad Thai
  • Chicken Satay – Sate Gai
  • Mango Sticky Rice – Khao Neaow Mamuang
  • 7 Eleven Ham & Cheese sandwiches
  • Roast pork & rice
  • Noodles with sweet sauce – Pad See Ew
  • Thai Pancakes with Nutella
  • Fresh Fruit Smoothies
  • Spring Rolls
  • Thai Steamed Dumplings

Golden sunset over the city of Bangkok viewed from a rooftop Sky Bar

Bangkok is a food lover’s paradise with a diverse and vibrant food scene that caters to every palate. From the bustling street food stalls to high-end restaurants, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

The key to navigating the endless options in Bangkok is to follow the locals, be adventurous, and savor each bite.

So, if you find yourself in Bangkok, make sure to fully immerse yourself in the flavors and culture of this incredible city. And remember, the journey of culinary exploration never truly ends, so keep your taste buds curious and your fork at the ready.

Enjoy the delicious chaos that is Bangkok.