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Scott Thomsen with some insider information.

TO EVEN VAGUELY UNDERSTAND Bangkok is to understand that life transpires out on the streets. Not the main roads mind you, but the tiny neighborhood sois that unite the community. People flood the sidewalks each night as soon as it starts to cool off — men match wits over chess, teens gather to watch soccer, lovers stroll as lovers always do.

And at the heart of it all is the street food. Tuk-tuk drivers recharge with a quick bowl of soup, students chat over shaved ice, and old men scarf down chicken rice while nursing a Singha.

In Bangkok’s Ratchathewi district, just a 15-minute walk from the megamalls of Siam, you can find vendors hawking everything from spicy stir-fried pork to toxic durians.

Unless otherwise noted, directions start at the soi that intersects the Ratchathewi BTS station and the Asia Hotel.

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About The Author

Scott Thomsen

Scott is a student at the University of Southern California, currently studying abroad in Bangkok. While he likes a lot of things, he particularly enjoys road trips, Needtobreathe, and the Norwich City Canaries. He can often be found meandering through local neighborhoods butchering what little Thai he knows.

  • Monsicha Hoonsuwan

    This post really got me salivating. I’ve been in the U.S. too long I forgot how amazing Thai food culture is. Making a guide to Bangkok street food isn’t easy. The roads and sois zig-zag everywhere and there’s no real city plan. Kudos to you for making this work! 

    What’s your favorite Thai street food? Mine is fried taro, corn and tofu. 

    • Scott Thomsen

      Thanks Monsicha! Hmm, that is an extremely difficult question…I appreciate the simplicity of a grilled chicken skewer. The Thais make something so basic consistently incredible. But, if I had to pick, I would have to say the soups. Again so simple, but so much better than anything I’ve had in the States! 

  • Griffen Maustiffhosch

    So awesome. I’m currently living in Bangkok and reading this article feels as if I’m out there on the streets right now. Can’t wait to get back out there to visit these stands. Great work Scott Thomsen.

  • ernie

    mmm… aroy mak!

  • Hal Amen

    i would like to see a ‘treasure map’ version of this piece.

    makes me want to plan a trip to bangkok just to follow these directions.

    • Debra Hayman

       Me too!!

  • Norma Jean

    I love this article!!  I want to experience all of that!!!

  • sittani

    why is a jackfruit picture accompanying the durian image?

  • ciaohnoi


    The fruit you dubbed Durian is actually Ka-noon or Jackfruit, just FYI. 
    Thank you. The rest of stuff you tried are pretty impressive. 

    • Scott Thomsen

      Ahh, of course you are quite right! Thanks for the heads up…Not sure how that slipped by me!

  • john howe

    Well Scott as a permanent resident of BKK I think you are very brave if you have eaten at all of these places.  I would not touch them with a barge pole, they are often unhygienic, the handlers do not wash their hands, they wash the utensils in cold stagnant water, and clean the stands and trolleys with dirty cloths.  I am sad though that you have not included a piece on sweet, glutinous and gloopy Thai kanoms.

    • Scott Thomsen

      John, I completely agree with you that there is certainly risk involved. I make a point to not eat at places that just leave their meat sitting out, and if a stand seems unsanitary, I generally avoid it. Luckily, I have had no real problems in my four months in this neighborhood. Ironically enough, the only time I’ve been sick is after a 400 baht burger at Hyde & Seek.

      • john howe

        Disregarding my previous comments about the hygiene of some street stalls, I too have had only one episode of Bangkok Belly and that was from eating a burger bought from a global burger powerhouse on Silom.
        Point taken.

  • Danielle

    I love this article!! :) Kob khun!

  • Grandad

    I stand and applaud your article. Well done Scott.

  • Björn

    Bangkok here we come!

    Wonderful place, have a drink at “Longtable” on Soy 18 or go the “Sirocco”.
    There is so much going on hard to know where to start.

    Food – as much as you can eat!

    As very few Thai’s speak a good English from time to time you might need a bit of help.

  • Jcbdelange

    Dear Scott, excellent article… We just arrived to the ratchatewi district (second time in Bkk) and your article is great for getting to know the area.
    We ll try to find one of your places now every week. The first one was great!!! Thanks

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