Traveling to one of the city’s great street food spots just got easier, thanks to the newly opened MRT Blue Line extension that includes MRT Wat Mangkon, Sam Yot, Sanam Chai, Itsaraphap and Tha Phra stations. The trial period for the new stations, which runs from late July until Sept. 28, includes free rides at the five stations (although passengers must transfer to another train at MRT Hua Lamphong).
Day or night, Chinatown is always full of life. The area’s history goes way back, when Chinese immigrants settled in what is now one of the most vibrant street food locations Bangkok has to offer. And here we are, gathering the old town’s restaurants, cafes and food stalls — new and old, well-known and less-known — that are worth checking out (some of them have been around for decades!). And, they’re all within walking distance from MRT Wat Mangkon.
Ba Hao Tian Mi
We wrote about the dessert parlor when it first opened in April, and now it’s even more convenient to get to — it’s just a 200-meter walk away from MRT Wat Mangkon into Soi Texas. At the cafe, you can expect contemporary spins on traditional Chinese desserts. The highlights are a minimalist cup of black sesame pudding with black sesame syrup (THB128), soybean pudding in goji berry syrup (THB108) and salted egg lava toast with pork floss (THB188).
FIND IT: 8, Phadung Dao Rd (Soi Texas), Samphanthawong, Bangkok
Jing Jing Ice-Cream Bar and Cafe
Sriracha sorbet, salted egg coconut ice-cream and even ponzu sauce sorbet served with pork slices — this spot has wacky and awesome flavors served in an icy scoop, and is just a few hundred meters away from the newly opened MRT station. The Chinese-themed artisan ice cream shop Jing Jing opened back in 2017 and it’s dedicated to creating homemade ice-cream made from local ingredients. In the month of Mother’s Day, with jasmine flower as the symbol, it launched new menus that infuse jasmine into the ice cream.
FIND IT: 154, Soi Charoen Krung 14, Samphanthawong, Bangkok
Bok Kia Street Vendor
Bok kia is an ice-cold sweet treat originating from Hainan, China, and is quite easy to find when you’re in the Chinatown area. At this street cart located across from the Plubplachai Police Station, you can cool down by picking from a variety of toppings such as ginkgo nut, pumpkin, lotus root, corn, grass jelly or red beans.
FIND IT: Yommarat Sukhum Rd (across from Plubplachai Police Station), Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok
Nai Mong Hoi Thod
Listed in the Bangkok Michelin Guide, this shophouse restaurant has served Thai-style oyster or mussel omelettes for over three decades. The pancake-like dish of Teochew origin using eggs and oysters as main ingredients is a classic street food in Thailand. At Nai Mong Hoi Thod, the dish can be ordered soft or crispy and is priced at around THB70 to THB80 per serving.
FIND IT: 539, Plubplachai Rd, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok
Hia O Kha Mu
Braised pork over white rice, anyone? Next to Wat Mangkon, you’ll find a food cart and a few sets of tables with people eating khao kha moo, a rice dish with braised pork trotters and egg soaked in a savory, umami-packed sauce. The owner, Hia O, has been selling this quintessential Thai street dish influenced from the Teochew cuisine for nearly 40 years. The menu items range between THB50 to THB70.
FIND IT: Mangkon Rd (next to Wat Mangkon), Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok
Siang Ki Khaotom Pla
If you’re missing grandmother’s khaotom pla, a simple rice soup with fish slices, then good news: the healthy, homey dish has been served for over 90 years at this shophouse-restaurant on Soi Charoen Krung 12. The menu offers a variety of seafood-based porridge, from a bowl of rice soup with sea bass for THB50 to a combination of sea bass, shrimp, fish roe and scallop in rice soup for THB200. The fresh seafood and generous portions are the reasons behind the restaurant’s nearly century-long success.
FIND IT: 54, Soi Charoen Krung 12, Samphanthawong, Bangkok
Super hungry but looking for a budget-friendly meal? In a dark, dodgy-looking alley on Soi Charoen Krung 23, this restaurant serves a bowl of old-school egg noodles cooked over a charcoal fire, and they come with great portions of sliced pork, wonton dumplings and veggies for THB40 and THB50 only. The restaurant has been around for 60 years and is now being run by the family’s third generation.
FIND IT: 38, Soi Charoen Krung 23, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok
Pae Xia’s Shumai
In front of the Chinese-Buddhist temple Wat Mongkol Samakhom (Chua Hoi Khanh), it’s impossible to miss a wheelcart with steamy shumai pork and shrimp dumplings sold by 75-year-old owner Pae Xia. For decades, the dim sum favorite of many has been made by the man himself, as well as the deep-fried garlic and his specialty sauce (soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and pickled chili). Each dumpling is priced at THB3.
FIND IT: Plaeng Nam Rd, Samphanthawong, Bangkok
Nai Ek Roll Noodle
Among restaurants on the street of Yaorawat Road, you can see people waiting in front of Nai Ek’s to be seated. Included in the Bangkok Michelin Guide, the restaurant’s specialty is Chinese roll noodle soup in a flavorful broth and topped with tasty crispy pork belly. It’s simple but delicious with reasonable prices (THB50 per noodle bowl). Nai Ek, who emigrated from China in the 1960s, sold the noodles on a street cart before he opened the restaurant in 1989.
FIND IT: 442, Yaowarat Rd, Samphanthawong, Bangkok
Jok’s Kitchen (or Jok Toh Diew)
Arguably the most celebrated private dining spot in Chinatown, Jok’s Kitchen (or locally known as Jok Toh Diew) is hidden in a very narrow alley of a small market next to Wat Mangkon. The restaurant has only two round tables and serves family-style Chinese-Thai feasts comprising of the chef-owner’s home-cooked specials such as deep-fried snow fish, salted halibut and giant steamed crab claws. Booking is compulsory.
FIND IT: 23, Soi Itsara Nuphap, Plubplachai Rd, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok
Lhong Tou Cafe
The Chinese-themed cafe on Yaowarat Road opened just last year and it’s become a new hip destination among millenials who visit for Instagrammable, stylish interiors and Chinese-themed snack bites such as its salted egg lava bun (THB29), mini barbecued pork bun (THB49) and Chinatown-inspired chestnut tart filled with red cherry coulis (THB135).
FIND IT: 538, Yaowarat Rd, Samphanthawong, Bangkok
Double Dog Tea Room
If you need a break from the hectic pace of central Chinatown and feel like sipping cup of aromatic fine tea, then try this shophouse-turned-tea room. Double Dog is a favorite among in-the-know tea drinkers, as it specializes in brewing tea leaves (both Chinese and Japanese) that are sourced from quality selections. A tea set comes with the tea of your choice with a baked snack, and starts at THB150.
FIND IT: 406, Yaowarat Rd, Khet Samphanthawong, Bangkok
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