If you’re an adventurous eater, no trip to Bangkok would be complete without a trip to Chinatown. With its crowds, heat, noise, bright lights, smells (both good and bad), it can all feel a bit like an assault of the senses. However, that’s something that many people love about it. Chinatown gives an all-go insight into Bangkok’s street food scene. It operates non-stop, 24 hours a day but the best time to visit is at night when it comes into full swing. Most street food vendors open their stalls from 6pm onwards.
The endless street food vendors stretch as far down Yaowarat Road as the eye can see. Many of the stalls have been in business for generations and as a result, some have made a name for themselves. Reputable vendors are a good option for those who are cautious when it comes to eating street food. Many street food stalls have their own pop-up seating areas – dining at the roadside is all part of the experience.
There are a number of vendors selling plastic bottles filled with freshly squeezed juices. They don’t look overly exciting and I didn’t give them a second glance until my friend picked one up and insisted that I give it a go. I tried a few of them but the lime juice was my favourite – it was sweetened with a little sugar to offset the sharp, tangy edge and was a perfect little pick-me-up, especially in Chinatown’s hot and sticky environment.
These sweet and crispy Thai pancakes (pictured) were an absolute delight. They were filled with a coconut-based mousse and sprinkled with various toppings such as stringy sweet egg or fried coconut. I would recommend trying these for yourself if you spot them – especially if you have a sweet tooth.
Just a little disclaimer – I in no way advocate eating shark fin. It’s incredibly cruel and damaging to certain species. I didn’t realise what it was that I was having my picture taken next to at the time. Annoyingly, this was the only relatively decent photo of myself that I managed to get!
Bua Loy Nam King (pictured) are glutinous butter dumplings with a black sesame filling, served in a sweet ginger syrup. This was probably my favourite thing that I ate in Chinatown. They are incredibly rich and indulgent, not to mention sweet!
Bangkok’s Chinatown is also a great place to do some photography – there are weird and wonderful things to observe at every glance. It’s one big non-stop photo opportunity. I recommend turning up with space on your camera, an empty stomach and an open mind. Perch on a plastic chair by the roadside and try a variety of eats from the vendors, whilst marvelling at the wonderful chaos.
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