10 of Bangkok's best street food stalls

10 of Bangkok's best street food stalls

An expert on the city's top street eats shares her personal favorites and offers some advice for wannabe culinary crusaders

Chawadee Nualkhair is the author of “Bangkok’s Top 50 Street Food Stalls, a guide to where, how and what to eat at the best street food stalls in Bangkok. We asked her to share a few of her personal street food favorites as well as some eating safety tips. 

Few cities can rival Bangkok when it comes to street food variety and quality. 

Spicy noodles, glistening rice porridges, wobbly pork legs, even gem-like sweets. All can be had for a handful of change and minimal fuss.

Although every Bangkokian worth his or her food cred has their own particular favorite, these 10 dishes are what beckon me back to the sweltering roadside again and again.

1. Oyster omelets at Nai Mong Hoy Tod

Oyster omelets at Nai Mong Hoy TodNai Mong Hoy Tod's delicious oyster omelet. To some diners, streetside oyster omelets might sound like the height of idiocy, but these mollusk-topped creations are some of the tastiest street treats in the city.

Nai Mong offers you a choice of mussel or oyster, with soft or crispy dough, but extra-crispy oyster (hoy nongrom grob grob) is highly recommended: buoyant, crunchy egg topped with a plump, briny taste of the ocean. 

539 Soi Prapachai. +66 (0)2 623 1890. Open daily, 11 a.m-1:30 a.m. daily. 65 baht/plate

2. Stuffed flat noodles at Guaythiew Lod

This Chinese-style delicacy is unabashedly, exuberantly delicious: stuffed to overflowing with pork, shiitake mushrooms and squid, topped with bean sprouts, scallion and deep-fried garlic and bathed in a sweet soy sauce.

Look closely for the added bonus -- tiny dried shrimp embedded in the noodle dough. 

Yaowarat Road, Chinatown. in front of Seiko watch shop. +66 (0)2 225 3558. Open 6:30 p.m.-1 a.m. except Mondays. 35 baht/bowl

3. Chinese-style egg noodles at Bamee Slow

Bamee SlowA bowl of noodles at Bamee Slow, topped with barbecued pork and a hard-boiled egg. This is usually the first place I head to after a long trip away from home. Over the years, the taciturn owner has built up a loyal clientele willing to wait up to half an hour for a bowl of noodles, but every regular has his or her favorite order.

Mine is “dry noodles” (bamee hang), topped with slivered, blanched greens, barbecued pork and a hard-boiled egg, with the minced pork broth separate. 

Entrance to Ekamai Soi 19. Open daily, 8:30 p.m.-3 a.m. 55 baht/bowl

4. Samosas at Samosa

In a city full of soupy noodles and rice dishes, Samosa offers a rare glimpse of the Indian subcontinent in the form of deep-fried dough triangles stuffed with spicy potatoes and accompanied by a deliciously tart tamarind sauce.

Unlike most Thai street food, these samosas are just as good, if not better, the next day at home.

Chakrapet Road, next to India Emporium. +66 (0)2 222 0090. Open 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Monday-Saturday. 10 a.m-6:30 p.m. Sunday. 10 baht each.

5. Crab omelets at Jay Fai

BangkokGlutton.comJay Fai's crab omelets are heavier on crab than egg, making them worth the high price. Defying the belief that all street food is cheap, this crab omelet (kai jiew pu), once a whopping 500 baht, now costs a ridiculous 800 baht, thanks to soaring food prices, says Jay Fai.

That said, the mammoth chunks of fresh, sweet crab and the slight, almost delicate net of egg binding them -- inspired by the way the Japanese make their egg omelets -- are pretty much worth it. 

327 Mahachai Road. +66 (0)2 223 9384. Open 3 p.m.-2 a.m. except Saturdays 

6. Thai-Muslim yellow chicken rice at Khao Mok Gai on Convent Road

Another hard-to-find treat on Bangkok sidewalks is this yellow chicken rice -- also referred to as Thai-Muslim chicken “biryani” -- flavored with a hearty helping of “Islam spices” (krung tet Islam).

A lunchtime favorite among the white-collar set, this dish is rounded out by a helping of super-spicy chicken soup (30 baht).

Convent Road, in front of Bua Restaurant, open lunchtime on weekdays, 30-50 baht/plate

7. Chicken wings in broth at Guaythiew Pik Gai Sai Nampung

Chicken wing soupGuaythiew Pik Gai Sai Nampung's famed chicken wing soup. Go early if you want to catch the chicken wings in chicken broth (gow low pik gai), crowned with a sprinkling of cowslip blossoms (dok kachorn) -- it runs out by 10 a.m.

If you are not a morning person, consider the giem ee (Chinese hand-rolled noodles), another treat that is difficult to find streetside in Bangkok.

392/20 Sukhumvit. +66 (0)2 258 1958. Open daily, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. 45 baht/bowl

8. Grilled meatballs at Anamai

You might think grilled meatballs will be good no matter where you buy them. Unfortunately, there are a lot more misses than hits on Bangkok's streets.

Beef meatball fans should trek to this noodle stand next to Bangkok Hospital for a few sticks, grilled over an open flame and slathered in a sweet chili sauce. 

3 Soonvijai Soi 7. +66 (0)2 318 1606. Open daily, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m., 40 baht/5 sticks 

9. Egg noodles in tom yum broth at Gobu Rot Sing

Gobu Rot SingGobu Rot Sing's tom yum noodles are worth the trouble it takes to find the place. This noodle stand is hard to find. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep trying -- the noodles, surrounded by a peanut-studded sweet-spicy lemongrass broth and topped with two soft-boiled eggs, is worth the trouble.

Klong Jan, across from Nida. +66 (0)86 884 1453, open 24 hours, 45 baht/bowl

10. Thai dessert at Nam Kaeng Sai Khun Muk

The sky is the limit when it comes to placing an order here: a dizzying array of dumplings, jellies and fruit, in coconut milk, lumyai juice or ginger syrup, topped by a mound of shaved ice awaits whomever can make up their minds.

The result is incredibly refreshing, the perfect end to any street food meal.

Sukhumvit Soi 38, open 6:30 p.m.-2 a.m. 20 baht/bowl

More on CNNGo: Bangkok's 6 best street food hoods

Tips for hunting down the city's best street eats

The best way to really appreciate Bangkok street food is to explore the city yourself. While satisfying your own culinary wanderlust, keep in mind the following food safety tips:

  • Look at the condiment tray. If it is clean, the food is likely to be hygienic too.
  • Are there are a lot of customers? Many patrons mean good turnover and the smaller likelihood of rotting food.
  • Dirty dishes on the sidewalk next to the cooking station? No thanks -- you’ll probably be better off somewhere a little cleaner.
  • Think like a locavore. For example, if you are in the mountains and the specialty is “oyster omelets," the mode of transport and method of storage become very important. If you are unsure of how trustworthy the food stand is, don’t order from it. 

What's your favorite Bangkok street food stall? Let us know in the comments box below. 

Chawadee Nualkhair's book “Bangkok’s Top 50 Street Food Stalls," is available online at Amazon.com and in Thailand's English-language bookstores. Check out her blog, BangkokGlutton.com, for updated reviews and recipes or follow her on Twitter