Bangkok is a BIG city and it is easy to forget that when you're staying downtown. Like most people I stayed where the crowds, food and shopping were centrally located but if you leave the areas of Siam and Silom you will find residential neighborhoods, schools, parks and all the makings of a "city-suburbia". But if you are like me and you only have a few days to see Bangkok then you'll most likely spend your time in the center city. Therefore my food guide is focused on downtown Bangkok as well.
Somtum Der- Somtum Der is famous for their spicy papaya salads but don't overlook the soups and noodles. Most dishes come spicy (really spicy) but you can ask your waitress to make it mild. Although I think a little huffing and puffing is good when you're eating to really enjoy the taste. Remember that red peppers are famous for their taste and of course spiciness in Thailand.
Too Fast To Sleep- The name is hilarious and I don't know what they mean by it. This place is huge with its own street restaurants, working spaces, cafes and a "secret restaurant" which, is where I ate. The Thai food here will remind you of NY Thai food which avoids the excess use of fish sauce. You will notice that fish sauce is used generously in most dishes in Thailand. A little reminder of home with the authenticity of Thai, Too Fast To Sleep is a good option for lunch.
Although restaurants in Bangkok serve delicious foods you should definitely be indulging in street foods as well. Especially fruits! Thailand being the tropical destination it is grows fruits year round which means you'll always be eating the freshest mango, guava, banana, papaya and more. Amongst the fruit vendors are vendors that sell mango with sticky rice (a Thai traditional dish) which is sweet and savory at the same time. It is absolutely delicious!
Thai Rung Ruang Noodle- Another street vendor with incredible thai noodle with fish ball soup. The broth is relatively mild but they will give you extra spices and peppers on the side to make it as spicy as you please. I think the more spice the better but you be the judge!
Canton House- Dim Sum is not just beloved by the Chinese. The Thai people have fully embraced dim sum and put their own spin on it which you'll taste when you eat their duck! You can't beat the price so splurge a little here. It's worth it.
L&R Seafood- Ready for a brand new eating experience? This street vendor is so popular that in order to accommodate the inflow of customers they've resorted to putting tables and chairs on the street. While that can make one wary rest assured that you won't get run over because drivers know what they're getting themselves into when they drive through Chinatown! L&R Seafood true to its name is famous for their seafood. You can get it fried, grilled, boiled or in curry. We tried a variety of styles to get the full flavor profile.
Bangkok is a place that can challenge anyone's taste palate...and surprisingly even a New Yorker's. But it's a delicious challenge that you'll be excited to conquer. Welcome to the city of spice!