In the past week since our trip to Bangkok, we’ve had an epiphany on the sad reality that perhaps the quality of Philippine street food is a level below our Southeast Asian neighbors. Thai Street Food changed my expectation on how Street Food is typically defined in our country. Bangkok has been known to the world as no.1 when it comes to Street food scene.
When we learned that Bangkok was known as no.1 when it comes to the Asian Street food scene, at first, we didn’t understand why. Street food is available in all corners of the globe, but what really set Bangkok apart from all other places?
What is Street Food?
Definition: Street food is ready-to-eat food or drinks sold by a hawker, or vendor, in a street or other public place, such as at a market or fair. It is often sold from a portable food booth, food cart, or food truck and meant for immediate consumption.
Street food is a portal to learn the deepest darkest secrets to everyday local life. It’s the best way to know why some things are the way they are. To eat how they do, perhaps we can comprehend even a small part of their lives.
When we were in Thailand, we were blown away on how they create, present and market their food. We listed 7 reasons why you SHOULD eat in Thailand.
The first thing we noticed in they have in Bangkok, was that they would only cook the food right when you order it. When you look at their cooking area you would notice they have their fresh ingredients on a separate table top with numerous fresh crabs and shrimps and vibrant vegetables.
You can then eat your food in makeshift tables and chairs on the side of the street, that comes complete with utensils, and various dipping sauces.
Other neighboring countries influence are prevalent as well. You can see Malaysian and Indonesian Halal foods available from many corners of the street.
We’re big fans of hot meals, and having them make the food right on the spot, whether its Pad Thai or Tom Yum Goong, hits home. Another point, we noticed was that even these food carts would have menus with English translations.
Thailand is a hot country, and when you don’t feel like bustling the city streets in search of your next meal. I suggest trying the food courts. They have an extensive selection of local dishes such as: Pad Thai, Tom yum goong, Chicken Satay, Thai Green Curry, Pad Plao, and Som Tam. All of the dishes we had here were of very good quality and the taste was almost the same as those you will find in the streets with the comfort of airconditioning, you will pay an additional 20-30 Baht.
Aside from that, they also have an efficient system in place instead of paying for cash. When you arrive at these food courts, you need to find their kiosk for prepaid cards, you load a certain amount and the establishments will just swipe the card and the money will automatically be deducted. In case, you didn’t finish the amount you loaded, you can refund it afterwards. We found that this was very efficient, as you didn’t need to get change or even have the hassle of taking out your wallet every time you have a transaction.
Try the food court in these malls:
- MBK Mall, Phayathai Rd, Pathum Wan, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
- Platinum Mall, 10400, 644/3 Phetchaburi Rd, Thanon Phetchaburi, Ratchathew
- Terminal 21, 88 Soi Sukhumvit 19, Khwaeng Khlong Toei Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
Tip: When you’re too tired with all the walking you can take a Tuktuk to transfer from one area to another for 30BHT/45php/Less than 1USD. Remember it is only 30BHT. There are a few drivers who might charge you double or triple.
What we found in the food court:
One of the best things about having Thai Street food is that it’s very affordable and comes in big servings. You can easily find a really good satisfying meal for around 60 BHT/90PHP/Less than 2USD.
Bangkok is also known as the Venice of the East and this is one of the reasons that these floating markets are really a must-see spectacle. It must be one of the most underrated attractions of Bangkok but by far my favorite.
There are a lot of floating markets around Bangkok, but the problem is there are so many tourists in it. Make sure to visit one when you come to Bangkok. There are quite a few outside the city We went to Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market, it’s smaller than the other markets with mostly locals are customers.
We chose this one because it is more relaxed, one of the quietest and it is just 20-30 minutes outside Bangkok. We’re always in the search of the less tourist-infested places because mainly we’d rather experience the local scene as a local. The less tourist there are and more locals it is highly likely that you will get the best price and best local goods.
We were overwhelmed with choices that we actually don’t know where to start, but here are a few must-try on our list
Note: Prices may vary between the different stalls.
Bangkok has numerous canals that are spread out in the city and when the water passes thru their rich soil, it produces the best products available. This unique attribute of Bangkok causes their fruits and vegetables to be sweeter, and more aesthetically more beautiful. Their produce is fresh, their fish is fresh, their shrimps are fresh, everything here is served fresh. The colors of the fruits are so vibrant and fragrant that you can’t help but take a second look.
One of the fruits you need try here in Bangkok is their mango, dragonfruit, coconuts, and lanzones. The sizes of the fruits are large and are of export quality even when you buy from a street vendor. In one of the floating markets, we were able to see the most beautiful bouquet of grapes that was for only 80 Baht.
Don’t forget to try their freshly squeezed orange juice, and coconut water. It’s sweeter than any we’ve had anywhere else. Trust us.
Thai cuisine is about contrasting strong flavors with a symbiotic harmony. With each Thai dish we were able to try we can really taste the centuries-old eastern tradition that meets western influences.
There must be a harmony of tastes and textures within individual dishes and the entire meal. We noticed the prominent use of the galangal herb, tamarind paste, Thai chilies, coconut milk and fish sauce.
They bring take out to another level, whether you are eating in the food court, at the restaurant or from a food stall on the street. They serve all their take out in clear plastic containers that are clean and aesthetically pleasing.
We were not yet able to try all the dishes, as one trip is not enough to try all their different varieties. Everything we had, from the different fruit juices, barbequed meats, different noodle dishes, soups, and rice, were all of the very good quality and quite unforgettable to our palates.
After going to four different Southeast Asian countries in the past year, you can really see how the weather, ingredients available, and the cultural influences take part of each of the different dishes that are available within the different Asian regions.
Bangkok was able has stunned us with their unique cuisine and enraptured us with the quality of ingredients they have available. This special focus on the quality of their fresh ingredients, and how their dishes are prepared has set them up as Asia’s haven for Street food.
Thailand and its city Bankok has a lot of things to offer. So what are you waiting for book your next flight to Thailand!
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