As Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong and Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle here in Singapore prove, swanky restaurants aren’t the only ones deserving of a Michelin star. In the Michelin Guide’s inaugural edition in Bangkok, it awarded Raan Jay Fai with the same honour. But we think there are plenty of other cheap street eats in the Thai city that deserve a shout – here’s what the inspectors (and you) should check out.
The bustling Ekkamai party stretch is home to this pad thai joint that’s popular among supper seekers. The river prawn pad thai ($6) is neither too dry nor wet and is served with two jumbo size prawns while the smoky and sweet noodles are wrapped in an omelette.
303/4 Soi Sukhumvit 63, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana.
Pad Thai Goong Sod Nai Sa Nga
Two years ago, the owners of Pad Thai Goong Sod Nai Sa Nga switched from selling kuay jub (rice noodle soup) and por pia sod (spring rolls) to making pad thai. It’s been a hit ever since. Each plate comes generously padded with chunky tofu, dried shrimp and succulent prawns.
Next to Ruamkatanyu Foundation, Trok Lung Wat Hua Lamphong.
The old-school pushcart parked in front of Kikuya clothing boutique in Sam Peng has been churning out fried noodle since your parents were kids. Forget the original recipe that incorporates tamarind paste and roasted peanuts – here, the pad thai is cooked on a charcoal stove and served with Thai chive and banana flower for crunch and acidity.
In front of Kikuya clothing boutique, Soi Wanit 1, Sam Peng.
Nai Meng Ba Mee Poo Kyo Goonge Yak
This shophouse-restaurant is located next to Silom Complex shopping mall. Homemade noodles are prepared in various incarnations: from egg noodle soup with roast pork to dry egg noodles served with shrimp wontons, sweet pork, crispy pork belly, crabmeat, mushrooms and a slice of soft-boiled egg. Also commendable are its pork rice dishes.
183 Silom Road, Silom.
Tim’s Noodle House
Nestled within a labyrinth of townhouses on Soi Soonwijai (near Bangkok Hospital) is a house that’s been transformed into a noodle place. Tim’s is worth visiting for its springy Cantonese-style egg noodles served with homemade barbecue pork and shrimp wontons.
53 Soi Soonvijai Lane 3-2, Petchaburi.
World Champion Egg Noodle (Ba Mee Kiew Champ Lok)
This pushcart, usually found on Sukhumvit 65, deserves recognition for its freshly made egg noodles and generous portions of sides, including barbecue pork, shrimp wontons and pork crackling bits.
Sukhumvit 65, Sukhumvit.
Heng Heng Chicken Rice
If you’re tired of overpriced mall food, this food cart parked near the entrance of luxury mall Emporium offers the perfect solution. There is only one thing on the menu: Hainanese-style chicken rice. The fragrant rice is packed with garlicky potency, while the boiled chicken is still juicy and tender.
In front of Great Shanghai Restaurant, next to Emporium Shopping Mall, Sukhumvit Rd.
Sri Leung Phochana Chicken Rice
This pop-up stall is best known for its gigantic plate of chicken rice that can feed roughly around10 people. You walk away with a free meal if you can finish it all by yourself.
1511/71-74 Soi Phaholyothin Cinema, Saphan Kwai.
Jae Ouan Chicken Rice
The area’s favorite chicken rice shop has been serving steamed chicken and aromatic garlic rice for decades. What started as a small stall has taken over four shophouses sitting in a row – and it’s open around the clock!
32/1 Soi Phahonyothin, Khet Phaya Thai.
Crispy or stewed pork with rice
Tucked in Chokchai Ruam Mid Alley – also known as Viphawadee’s food hub – this old-school establishment has been selling Cantonese-style roast pork and crispy pork belly for decades. Each dish comes with fried Chinese sausage (goon-chiang), a soft-boiled egg and rice drenched with a secret red sauce. Come as early as you can. These dishes sell out quickly.
34/19 Chokchai Ruam Mid Alley, Viphawadee Rangsit.
This famous BBQ pork rice parlour is packed with locals in-the-know during lunch break.
Luang Rd, Vorajak Intersection, Vorajak.
Even the curt, unfriendly staff won’t deter the lunch crowd from queuing up at this local favorite. The nondescript spot offers delectable roast pork and chicken served with fried garlic and rice. If you fancy something more piquant, opt for the homemade jaew (Isaan-style sour and spicy dipping sauce).
1/2 Soi Pipat 2, Convent Rd.
Yen ta fo
Yen Ta Fo JC
Try to get here before 11.30am to secure a seat and get your order sorted. Any later and you’ll find yourself dealing with a grumpy old man asking customers to queue up on the sidewalk. Each bowl comes with a variety of fish and shrimp balls served with chewy noodles in a red broth. Portions are small, so it may be a good idea to order two bowls if you’re looking to fill up.
Sala Daeng Soi 2, Convent Rd, Silom.
Yen Ta Fo Convent
When it was founded in 1977, Yen Ta Fo Convent shared the same recipe with Yentafo Wat Khaek, the first Yen Ta Fo stall in the city. It later developed its own signature red sauce made from tomatoes and sweet potatoes.
36/3 Convent Rd, Khwaeng Silom.
Your Bangkok travel guide
HOW TO GET THERE
Scoot runs return flights to Don Mueang Airport from $100.
WHERE TO STAY
Value for money
Located right next to backpacker paradise, Khao San Road, Tara Place is a basic hotel that makes up for what it lacks in amenities with hospitable service.
From $50 a night; taraplacebangkok.com.
Middle of the road
Pullman Bangkok Grande Sukhumvit in Asoke is just a short walk or free tuk tuk away from Terminal 21 shopping mall.
From $150 a night; pullmanbangkokgrandesukhumvit.com.
The big splurge
With unbeatable Japanese hospitality and thoughtfulness, a stay at the luxurious Okura Prestige Bangkok can't be beat.
From $315 a night; okurabangkok.com.