hungry for bangkok
thailand is the gateway drug to southeast asia. and what's getting you hooked is the food. yes, thailand has gorgeous architecture, rich history, and beaches that make the caribbean look like a joke, but if you're going to thailand, and bangkok in particular, you sure as hell better leave the diet at home.
bangkok’s byways and waterways are always humming. the air is thick with the sound of tuk tuks sputtering and street food sizzling. dining in thailand is more a feast for the senses, combining bold flavors with brightly colored ingredients, tantalizing aromas and exotic textures. from basic back alleys to dining rooms decked in white linen, bangkok is serving up tastes for all palates.
9am. breakfast at plearnwan panich. this is a breakfast spot for the urban bangkok hipster (yep, reclaimed wood and mason jars have made their ways to thailand). distinctly thai, but with a modern twist, this is a go-to spot for all things breakfast. be sure to order the khai luak (half boiled egg) or the roast duck in a bun. Thonglor Soi 13 Bangkok
12pm. lunch in boat noodle alley. victory monument in bangkok is a frenetic urban tourist scene with a secret. beyond the roundabout circling victory monument is a smorgasbord of street snacks, the best of which are the iconic thai boat noodles. Originally served off boats in the canals, which is how they got their name, the noodles can be found at most any street-side restaurant in thailand, but the most famous bowls can be found at the restaurants in boat noodle alley. after a morning of touring the city sites, travelers will find respite in the piping hot broth, rice noodles and choice of meat. near victory monument at the intersection of phahonyothin road, phaya thai road and ratchawithi road.
5pm. everyone is going to tell you to go to sky bar, perched high above the streets of bangkok in the lebua at state tower. (If you've seen the Hangover II, you know this bar.) in my honest opinion, if you're looking for a great drink, sip a couple of singha tall boys by the chao phraya river and call it a cheaper (much more relaxing) day. this spot is ridiculously overpriced and a tad over-douched. that said, suck it up for one drink and grab a shot of the spectacular view.
8pm. dinner at nahm. inside the metropolitan by COMO, bangkok, traveling gourmands will find nahm, heralded as one of the best restaurants in asia. a trip to bangkok is incomplete without a chef’s tasting menu at this truly VIP hotspot. chef david thompson cooks up traditional thai dishes with ultimate flare, marrying the flavors and textures that people have come to know and love about thai cooking.
1am. late-night snack at 55 pochana. the nightlife in bangkok is electric…and legendary. parties often continue into the wee hours of the morning. if you find yourself indulging in all that the city has to offer after hours, you will probably need sustenance sometime after midnight. for this there is a clear choice: 55 Pochana has been doling out chinese food to late-night revelers for years. one of the signature dishes at 55 Pochana is the dok kajon pad kai, which are edible flowers fried with egg and served with vermicelli noodles. the restaurant is open until 4 a.m. you can find the restaurant near the Thong Lo BTS Skytrain station. 1087–1093 Sukhumvit Rd
after exploring Bangkok's finer fare on day 1, make day 2 all about where thailand shines: street food. street food isn’t just convenient for thais – it is a necessity. This is the best way to immerse oneself in the local culture and eat how thais eat. from rice with curries to noodles and green papaya salad, food stalls have something to satisfy every palate.
close out your trip with an epic culinary stroll among bangkok’s street stalls in chinatown, khao san road and silom road. here it seems every new corner gives way to a new thai specialty, from pork, to noodles, to seafood, to fried chicken, to dessert. this area is also the big backpacker destination, so you’re sure to stumble into some other bleary-eyed, greasy-fingered food foragers doing exactly the same as you. make a friend, grab a singha, and cheers to bangkok.
** A version of this story appeared in BOLD magazine