Cheap food doesn’t always mean cheap taste. If you’re on the lookout for a place that will make your stomach full yet keep your pocket loaded, we can help. Bangkok is full of inexpensive and delicious food places—as long as you don’t judge a book by its cover. Bon appetit!
Tub Tim Krob Siam
Where: 188 Krasi Rd., Banglumpoo, 02-281-2298, 02-281-2393. Open daily 9am-6:30pm.
What: Tubtim krob, water chestnut coated with red jelly served with ice and in coconut milk.
Why: Tub Tim Krob Siam excels in—surprise—tubtim krob. Around for almost 30 years, this shophouse’s signature ingredient is macapuno, or mutant coconut, boasting softer-than-average meat.
Price: B20 for tubtim krob and B25 for macupuno in coconut milk.
Where: Tanee Rd., Banglumpoo, 02-282-6378. Open daily 8am-5pm.
What: Muslim food
Why: Don’t blink or you’ll miss this hole-in-the-wall eatery. From the outside, it looks like a small noodle stall, but inside, you’ll find tantalizing Muslim dishes. This one-stop shop offers everything from khao mok kai (biryani rice) to mataba. Don’t miss the beef satay and oxtail soup.
Price: B50 for oxtail soup, B35 for khao mok kai.
Kanom Jeen Banglumpoo
Where: A small soi beside Tang Hua Seng Department Store, opposite Chakrapong Mosque, Chakrapong Rd. Open daily 10am-7pm.
What: Kanom jeen with various curries from naamya to naamya pah to green curry.
Why: Although it’s in a small and grubby soi, the food, tables, chairs and vendor are very clean. The curries are spicy and yummy, made fresh every day.
Price: B15 for kanom jeen with curry. B5 for a boiled egg. Free fresh vegetables.
Pen Thai Food
Where: 229 Rambutri Rd., Banglumpoo, 02-282-2320. Open daily 7am-8pm.
What: Rice and side dishes like fried shrimp, curries and fried vegetables.
Why: Every side dish uses meaty ingredients just like in fine Thai restaurants, only cheaper. Their signature dishes are green curry and masaman kai.
Price: B20 for rice and one side dish. B25-70 for rice and two side dishes.
Where: 86 Chakrapong Rd., Banglumpoo, 02-282-9948. Open daily 10am-midnight.
What: Israeli and Thai food
Why: You can have good Israeli food without having to wander the dark sois of Nana. Also, prices are cheaper than in Nana and the taste is pretty much the same, except lighter.
Price: B30 for falafel (5 pieces), hummus and hasilim. A combination dish with your choices of hummus, hasilim, fried chicken, salad, mashed potato etc. is less than B100.
Pornchai (a.k.a. Kanompang Banglumpoo)
Where: Tanow Rd., Banglumpoo, across Soi Bavornrangsri. Open daily 8am-1pm.
What: Fresh baked bread and Thai desserts
Why: Roti Boy fever doesn’t compare to the lineup for Pornchai’s stuffed bread. Try raisin bread and mixed stuffing bread (sausage, mooyong, ham and raisin). If you hate lines, you can buy it at bakeries around Thewet and Victory Monument for an extra B5.
Price: B30 for all stuffed bread.
Where: 207/3/4 Phaya Thai Rd., near Net Design Siam Square, opposite MBK, 01-403-0505. Open daily 11am-8pm.
What: Japanese food like ramen, steak and curry rice.
Why: Air-conditioned but cheap. A good place to rest after spending all your money shopping. Their fish tempura ramen is superb.
Price: B35-B45, fish tempura ramen for B35.
Where: 432/1-2 Rama 1 Rd., 02-251-4689. Open daily 10am-10pm.
What: Thai food.
Why: Cheap food, good taste. But don’t expect any service-minded waiters. They can barely remember what you ordered.
Where: Food Court, G/F, Siam Paragon, 991/1 Rama 1 Rd., 02-610-9000. Open daily 10am-11pm.
What: Thai food.
Why: Amazing healthy khai jeaw with a vegetable stuffing. Its delicious kang tai pla is also recommended. Compared to the other shops at Paragon, the food is very cheap.
Price: B40 for one side dish and rice or B50 for two.
Political Sciences Noodle (a.k.a. Kuay Tiew Odd Ton)
Where: Canteen, Faculty of Political Sciences, Chulalongkorn University. Open Mon-Fri 7:30am-2pm.
What: Old-style noodles.
Why: Try one dish and you will want to come back again for sure. The nice girls walking around are another good reason to drop by. Be prepared to wait.
Where: 77 Samyan Market, Soi Chula 15, 02-219-2119, 09-922-5903. Open daily 9am-8pm.
What: Thai food and bakery.
Why: The food is so-so, but its tasty chocolate cake is reasonably priced. However, we really mean it when we say the portions are small.
Price: B65 for one small foil box of its signature chocolate or orange cake. B25 per piece.
Where: 2/F, Samyan Market, 02-611-7976. Open daily 11am-midnight.
What: Steak and Thai food.
Why: A hearty plate of steak at a reasonable price is what Mokethip is known for, but the best-selling item is Chicken Alaska, a combination of fried chicken and spaghetti. If you want to try a bit of everything, there’s Hot Mix Grilled, which includes bacon, ham, sausages, pork chop and beef steak.
Price: Starts from B35 for Thai dishes and B70 for steak.
Kuay Tiew Krae
Where: Next to Assumption College, opposite Soi Chareon Krung 45.
What: Kuay tiew krae.
Why: The soup might be a little sweet for some—if you want to go for the spicier option, ask for yum. Many well-known people are regular customers here and rumor has it even some blue blood families have visited. To soothe your tummy while you’re waiting, have some spring rolls, sold at the beginning of the soi.
Price: B25 for noodles and B20-40 for spring roll.
Kuay Chop Nay Chai Wat Kaek
Where: 85 Silom Soi 20, Opposite Wat Kaek market, 01-490-0726. Open daily 6am-6pm.
What: Kuay chop (meaty stew).
Why: This kuay chop shop is known in the area because of its delicious taste and sumptuous aroma. It offers a great variety of meat options, so carnivores really get a selection. The most popular choices are egg, tofu, liver, pig’s tongue and pig’s stomach.
Price: B25 for a bowl, B30 for a big bowl
Sukhumvit, Thonglor, Ekkamai
Sukhumvit Soi 38
Where: Sukhumvit Soi 38, under BTS Thonglor Station, opposite Soi Thonglor. Open Tue-Sun 7pm-very late.
What: Plenty of choices from bamee (egg noodles) to khao neaw mamuang (sticky rice with mango).
Why: Must-haves include bamee phuu (egg noodles with crab) and khao neaw mamuang. The bamee features real crab meat, sweet and tender roasted pork and al dente noodles. The soup here is sweetened by long-time stewing—not palm sugar like at other bamee trolleys.
Price: Bamee for B30-50. Khao neaw mamuang for B60-80.
Where: 94/13 Sukhumvit Soi 23, 02-260-1626. Open daily 10am-10pm.
What: Spicy Thai-style noodles.
Why: This air-conditioned noodle place features soup so deliciously rich that people always drain the bowl. One order is quite small so you may need to ask for two. Also offers homemade ice cream and is always busy during lunchtime.
Price: B25-30 for normal dishes and B65-75 for noodles with Thai-French beef.
Where: Sukhumvit Rd., about 60 feet after Thonglor, 02-391-2021.
What: Classic Thai dishes from tom yum goong (spicy prawn soup) to kai tod met mamuang (chicken with cashew nuts).
Why: It can be very noisy sitting on the street, so take a seat inside the no-frills restaurant and enjoy. These guys do it right.
Price: Main dishes range from B50-120.
Yen Ta Fo Krueng Song
Where: 3079/25, Piyarom Sport Club, Sukhumvit Rd., before Sukhumvit Soi 101/1. 02-741-8612. Open daily 10am-9pm.
What: Famous for yen ta fo and one-dish meals created by nationally well-known cook Archan Mallika.
Why: Yen ta fo features three different levels of spice: ros jeb (spiciest), jai soa (medium spicy) and dek dek (mild). Or go for kuay tiew tom yum jing jing, untouched by prik pon but redolent with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf and shallot. The deep-fried Bhutan mushrooms are a crispy and tasty appetizer. The cha rang chut (Babbler’s bill tea) may keep you from getting drunk easily and cures hangovers.
Price: B55-80, B20 for tea.
Roong Roj Noodles
Where: 10/3 Sukhumvit Soi 26, 02-258-6746. Open daily 9am-4:30pm.
What: Kuay tiew tom yum, kuay tiew krae.
Why: The tom yum noodles with real lime juice are this place’s specialty. Noodles come already seasoned, with your choice of a variety of toppings such as minced pork. A must-have with your tom yum noodles is deep-fried fish skin—they use real salmon.
Price: B30-40, deep-fried salmon skin B15-30.
Elsewhere in Town
Krapohpla Nam Daeng
Where: Suan Luang, Pathumwan Soi 5, across from the car park, 01-886-8739. Open Thu-Tue 4:30-10pm.
What: Fish maw soup.
Why: This small stall run by two aunties has only one staple, fish maw soup, but has been in business for over 20 years. One of their recipes for success is real fish maw instead of low-quality pig skin, and they pay B1,500 per kilo for the real thing.
Sun Moon Chinese Restaurant
Where: Soi Ngam Duplee between Pinnacle hotel and alleyway. Open 10:30am-10:30pm.
What: Chinese dumplings.
Why: This tiny place has a variety of excellent dumplings, some great Chinese/Thai dishes, and very friendly service. Also try their fried eggplant(B70)—which comes out looking (and tasting) like French fries.
Price: B50 per plate of dumplings.
Where: 356/59 Samsen Rd., Thewet, 02-281-1315. Open daily 9:30am-7:30pm.
What: Chiffon cake.
Why: Living up to its name, Chiffon Bakery offers airy chiffon cake. Though there are many stalls selling this delicacy, this is the only place you’ll find it fresh from the oven. Great with a cup of coffee.