Bangkok’s huge and vibrant Chinatown is one of the best places for foodies in the Thai capital. With street food and restaurants galore, there’s a new, tantalising treat around every corner.
Also known as Yaowarat after the main road winding through the neighbourhood, Bangkok’s Chinatown is one of the biggest on Earth. The area is still home to a large community of ethnic Chinese people who have maintained it meticulously over hundreds of years – as a result, it has remained largely unchanged since its inception. Brimming with delightful smells and the sounds of sizzling woks, Bangkok’s Chinatown is a fabulous place for foodies to get their fill. From gourmet restaurants to local hole-in-the-walls, here’s where to get the best food in Chinatown.
Yim Yim has built up a solid reputation over its 80-odd years in business, and is a great choice for anyone looking for home-cooked deliciousness and a warm welcome. The setting may be basic, but don’t let that fool you – Yim Yim serves up some of the tastiest Chinese sashimi, roasted piglet and duck with ham and chestnuts you’ll ever have. The large round tables are ideal for groups that want to share a variety of dishes and keep the conversation flowing.
Part of the elegant Shanghai Mansion Hotel, Red Rose is a gorgeous restaurant that exudes plenty of glamour mixed with a wistful sense of nostalgia. Travel back through the ages with your taste buds and feast on traditional and flavourful dishes fit for emperors of times gone by. The Peking Duck is divine and other mouth-watering dishes include the hot and sour seafood soup, dim sum and seabass. The lilting sounds of jazz may entice you to linger for longer and enjoy a post-dinner cocktail, too.
Tucked down a small street behind the beautiful Wat Traimit, Odean is popular with locals looking for a filling meal. The restaurant specialises in crab noodle soup, which boasts a succulent crab claw sitting atop a pile of fresh egg noodles in a clear broth. Diners can choose what size claw to order, with the price increasing accordingly. Alternatively, you can keep it simple and cheap with a basic bowl of soup with crab meat. Take a seat at the canteen-style metal tables and chairs inside and watch as the cooks work their magic in the open kitchen right next to the pavement.
Enter Yoo Fishball, a modern and trendy restaurant in the pulsating heart of Chinatown, and enjoy traditional recipes passed down through generations. As the name suggests, the restaurant specialises in fish balls, or look chin pla. That doesn’t mean there’s no scope to personalise your meal though – the menu has around 25 different options, with soups and dry dishes, various types of noodles and spicy sauces. The soft balls contain mackerel, garlic and spices and they are made fresh on-site each day.
Hua Seng Hong is a casual and family-friendly restaurant with a huge menu. Everyone can find something to tickle their fancy here! The diverse dim sum are ideal for sharing, while individual plates include chicken and cashew nut curry, crab fried rice and clay pot goose feet. Take a seat and watch the hustle and bustle as people come and go, and the chefs frantically work to keep up with orders as the streets teem outside.
Fans of authentic Indian cuisine won’t be disappointed at the roadside Toney Restaurant. It makes for a refreshing change to the abundant Chinese and Thai fare available throughout the area. The atmosphere is distinctly Indian, as Bollywood dramas air on the large TV, while people walk past going about their business. Watch as a chef rolls roti by hand, made fresh to order in their open kitchen. There’s a good selection of meat and vegetarian dishes from North India; indulge in chicken masala, mutton curry and daal (lentils), all washed down with a fresh lassi or steaming cup of masala tea.
Nai-Ek Rolled Noodles attracts many tourists, thanks largely to its prominent location amid major landmarks like the ornate and colourful Chinatown Gate and a variety of temples. The simple eatery has a small indoor seating area and an open-fronted kitchen next to the street. There are often long queues, bearing witness to the restaurant’s great reputation and delicious tastes. Use the condiments to adjust the pork noodle soup to your individual taste, or savour items like duck with rice and pork ribs.
Siang Ki Khao Tom Pla is an especially great spot for breakfast before exploring Bangkok’s colourful Chinatown. It’s a simple and homey place that serves typical Teochew-style rice soup, rather like congee. There may be few choices on the menu, but the 100-year history shows that the restaurant knows how to satisfy the hungry. Tuck into fresh fish with a clear soup, or add oysters and streaky pork for extra flavour and texture.
Located within the Grand China Hotel, Sky View 360 is one of the most romantic restaurants in Bangkok’s Chinatown. The rooftop dining area offers gorgeous views over the city streets and the glistening Chao Phraya River, both made even more stunning at nighttime. Plus, it’s one of very few revolving restaurants in the whole of the Thai capital. Ambient and atmospheric with live music and beautiful decor, it also has delicious cuisine to tick all the boxes for a fabulous dining experience. Sink your teeth into Thai and international delights like duck red curry, chicken teriyaki and biriyani.
Nam Sing is renowned for its sumptuous bird’s nest soup, a Chinese delicacy made from saliva-bonded swiftlet nests. It may not sound very appetising, but the gelatinous nests really add something special to the sweet and savoury soups. You can also enjoy fried rice, spareribs and mountain goat in red wine. The indoor air-conditioned dining room is comfortable with understated classiness.
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