Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Well, actually more me than you. I’m notorious for my procrastination. I am, however, working on it. It’s been more than a month since I’ve left Bangkok, but my heart is still there. Missing Bangkok’s sabai-sabai lifestyle, the people over there, and quite frankly the modeling market as well. But I’m not here to talk about the differences between Bangkok life and Hong Kong life. I’m here to say what I want to say when it comes to FOOOOOOOOOD. 😀
Petchaburi Soi 5
*Note: A “soi” pronounced Soy is basically an alley or a street off of a main road, in which this case Petchaburi is the main road. *
Petchaburi Soi 5 holds such a special place in my heart because 1. That was my ultimate go to spot when I first came to Bangkok; it was also really close to the model apartment and number 2. Very delicious foods at one of the best prices I’ve seen during my second trip here. They have so many restaurants, food stands, and fruit stands along this soi. I could be a little biased, but that’s my all-time favorite place to go for food.
How to get there:
Sukhumvit BTS Line: Petchaburi Station, Exit 3
Take the exit closest to the elevators, the staircase closer to the main intersection. Either cross the busy street safely or turn left immediately on Petchaburi and take the stair bridge to cross the road. If you use the cross bridge, Soi 5 will be on your right. If you crossed the street at the light, Soi 5 will be just before the bridge. You will see a bunch of motorbikes at the corner.
Here’s my Top Go-To Spots:
- Same Same Restaurant: Just about the friendliest place I’ve ever been to. Family owned. I’m pretty sure they live there as well. It’s open most days and from what I’ve noticed later in the day. They are rarely ever open for lunch. My friend, Amie, introduced this place to me during my first trip to Bangkok for model placement in 2016. It’s definitely a hole in the wall type mom and pop shop, which Kevin adores! They welcome you with open arms and serve you with smiles on their faces and a twinkle in their eyes. They are such genuine people. This is why I love this spot and continue to go back. The people and the food. The food is consistently delicious and their menu is extensive. Bonus: everything on the menu is pictured so you can easily find anything you want there. This used to be my favorite Som Tom (Papaya Salad) spot, which has changed and you’ll read a little later. But the menu is so large, you won’t be disappointed.
How to get there: It’s located right around the entrance to Soi 5. If you pass the first Thai massage place, you’ve gone too far. You’ll see a Coca-Cola sign and a blue EST drink sign above Coca-Cola and a plant. See picture below. When they are closed you’ll see the gray metal gate down, but when it’s open, you’ll see a green wall, or was it an orange wall? I can’t exactly remember what the color was, I just remember it was bright. I wasn’t able to go there one last time before I left Thailand to take pictures of it. Either way, you’ll see a green or orange wall with a long floor tiled hallway. The seating area is in the container box straight ahead. Usually the lady is sitting at the table across the kitchen, which is on the left when you walk in. And sometimes you’ll see their son watching TV and doing homework in the dining area.
- Best Tom Yum
Probably one of the rudest restaurants you’ll ever go to. Service is horrendous. But many people go here to eat, so it’s almost always extremely busy. Food is so good though. They specialize in Tom Yum, so the entire menu has different types of Tom Yum. Worth the rude service if you can handle the spice and feeling the kick in your stomach the next morning.
How to get here:
Walk through Soi 5, you’ll see a 711 on your left, and a container shop on the right. Turn right. Walk a bit down and you’ll see it on your left. A hanging sign that says “Best Tom Yum” with an arrow pointing to the restaurant. You can see them cooking the Tom Yum outside as you pass by to enter the dining area. And on the window is a picture of a “sexy lady” in an apron. My agent in Bangkok always joked about it and was like, “why would they put a sexy lady in front of the tom yum place, but whatever it’s the owner.”
- Best Som Tom & Coconut Pudding
I’m not sure of the name of the place because it’s in Thai, but Kevin and I were walking through looking for a place to eat, it must be a new place seeing how I’ve never seen it before. Life in Bangkok is always changing, as most cities naturally would be. The menu is really small and mostly in Thai, not many pictures either and unfortunately not many options, especially as far as veggies go. Gotta get those veggies in and this definitely is not the place to go if you’re vegan. They have Som Tom though and that’s what the main topic is.
The service is definitely a step up from the Tom Yum place. But not many speak English, so it was difficult to communicate with them. I’ve only came across one English speaker, but the second time we ate here was with my Korean friend, Jina, and it was a tad more difficult to get our point across. Hilarious actually, there were three of us and we merely were there to order the Som Tom and Coconut Pudding. The server was looking at us like, that’s it? So anyways, we pointed to a spoon and asked for one more spoon and they came out with one more coconut pudding. It was a really interesting and funny moment. But can’t blame the language barrier, just be patient and use more hand gestures.
The coconut pudding was to die for. It was both refreshing, sweet, and tasty. I love me some coconut ice cream for dessert, but if you’re looking for something a little thicker, creamier, and maybe just slightly heavier without ordering a heavier alternative to sugar ahem dessert, I highly recommend you at least try this once! So good and at the bottom you’ll find bits of coconut meat! My fav!
How to get here:
Enter through Soi 5 and keep walking straight, past the 711, past the second 711, place will be on your right. It’s almost to the end of the Soi.
- Best Ready to Eat Chinese Influence Thai Restaurant
We discovered this place when Same Same was closed. Another hole in the wall type place and a place where you see more locals than foreigners and in my definition of eating like a local, this is your best bet – finding restaurants where they are filled with locals! The kitchen is along the wall of the entrance with ready to eat foods on display outside of the entrance, enticing you in with a mixture of delicious smelling aromas filling the soi as you walk by. When in doubt, follow your nose! They usually have 6 large containers filled with soup or curry. And several other mains/side trays across the tables.
Each time we were there, we always got a side of masaman curry, and unfortunately, that’s the only dish we learned the name of and no it didn’t have the taste of Indian flavors. The chicken pulled apart with ease as you cut into that first bite with the release of steam escaping from the innermost parts of the breast. Take whatever appeals to you because all is super yummy and you can’t go wrong with it.
How to get here: Just like you’re going to the Tom Yum place.
JJ Market aka Chatachuk Market
Probably the most recommended place to go when visiting Bangkok. It’s a huge market only open on the weekends. There’s food, clothing, gift shops, etc. It depends how long you plan to stay there and if you enjoy shopping. Day and Night are completely different feels. Every time I’ve gone there, I’ve made it a habit to buy the two foods on my list:
The Paella guy is well-known. He’s quite the entertainer, so you’ll be lucky to catch him making a fresh batch of it, usually in the day time. I hear he gets hired for pool parties because of his personality and his paella. There’s a DJ too. A very eclectic crowd to be around. You’ll see it when you walk through, this is one of those places where it’s definitely hard to miss. It’s worth the treat in the day time while it’s hot and fresh and when the guy is there, but as it gets later in the afternoon, the freshness wears off and the flavors are just not the same.
- Coconut Ice Cream
In one of those coconut shells with a teeny weeny flag on top with some favorite toppings: peanuts, corn, kidney beans, or palm seed. My go to toppings are peanuts and palm seed, a combination of salty, sweet, and refreshing, with a crunch.
How to get here: Take Sukhumvit BTS Line to Mo Chit, follow the signs and when in doubt follow the crowd.
Try These Too: (Now, I don’t have a favorite stand I go to, but these are so delicious . . . . Notice they are all sweets… >*Sweet Tooth Over Here!*<)
Must Try: Fruits of Thailand
- Guava – Thai people like to eat fruit that aren’t ripe yet, so they often pick fruit early. And Guava is one of those fruits. I love the crunch to it. It also has such a refreshingly satisfying taste. There are large ones and small ones. From our experience, we enjoy the large ones. Even better if you score ones that are slightly beginning to ripen, you can tell by the middle where the seeds are . . . the fruit begins to soften. By the way, the seeds are okay to eat on this one. This might be one of the most waste less fruit out there.
- Pineapple – the smaller ones tend to be sweeter
- Papaya – Think small and dark orange, those are the sweetest. For some reason, every time we bought the larger, slightly orange ones, they never ripened and it wasn’t sweet at all. Our conclusion was those papayas might be ones for the Papaya Salad (Som Tom) and the verdict was to really enjoy papaya was buy it off of the streets at the fruit vendors or buy a whole one at any of the outdoor markets.
- Rose Apple – crunchy and sweet and you can eat the whole thing!
- Mango – Obviously. But only when they are in season, otherwise it’s just not that great. Oh and Of course, you gotta try the mango sticky rice that comes with it. There’s a specific store that sells just that at Thong Lor, right off of the BTS. There’s a stand in Ratchatewi too, near the pedestrian walk bridge and Petchaburi Soi 5, but they are only open at night time and sometimes they are not even there, so I guess it’s all about timing. They usually pick the sweetest mangos, you can tell by how dark and juicy the cuts are. UGH – BEST!
- Green Mango – the mango that’s not ripe yet. You often see these in the fruit stands, also tasty, but if you’re looking for juicy, you’ll be disappointed. This is more crunchy, and more sour than sweet. Also, a fruit I occasionally enjoy.
- Durian – The smelly fruit with a surprisingly creamy inside. It’s a delicacy. Some people hate it, some people love it, and some even keep trying it and turn to love it! I’m one of those people who slightly hates it, yet is okay with it and would probably enjoy it better if it weren’t for the smell. The husband loves it.
- Mangosteen – Red on the outside, hard to open, but once you crack it open, you reveal a pretty flower. I’m not a huge fan, my husband liked it more than me, but it’s a good thing to try at least once or twice.
- Custard Apple – Creamy texture on the inside. We got a hard one, it was either too ripe or not ripe at all, but we never tried it again, I wished we had though.