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Best Bangkok street food hoods
Eat your way through these zesty city food zones, jammed with some of Bangkok's most delicious grub
Foodies around the world talk about Bangkok’s street food culture, and rightly so. Every resident has a favorite stall and a favorite dish, and many an argument has started over a conversation about who has the best sauce, the tastiest noodles, the finest broth or the most delicious roast beast.
But while there are plenty of stalls on plenty of streets, there are only a few really standout neighborhoods with a sparkling collection of sois and alleys full of different eating options.
Here are some of the best.
1. Victory Monument
Around this monument to a brief 1941 scuffle between Thai and French forces in Indo-China lies a maze of side-streets and alleys crammed with all kinds of food.
One particularly good stop, just northeast of the monument at the end of Ratchawithi soi 10 and across a little bridge, is Sud Yod Guey Tiaow Reua (Best Boat Noodles). Nine baht gets you a small bowl of delicious boat noodles; eat 20 bowls and you get a free Pepsi.
But the biggest concentration of food lies on the southern side of the traffic circle where hip Thai teens eat and drink late into the night.
If you want a bit more selection, head south down Phaya Thai Road to Soi Rang Nam, which is packed from end to end with restaurants, street stalls and pubs.
Getting there: Take the BTS to Victory Monument. Best time to visit: Evenings.
2. Tha Phra Chang Pier/Road
If there’s one food rule in Thailand, it’s that the area surrounding any university will be a gastronomic gold mine.
This little cluster of sois and restaurants on the river at the end of Phra Chan Road and beside Thammasat University is more than enough proof.
Out front, it's mostly shops selling clothes and jewelry, but toward the river tiny hallways and crowded wall-to-wall eateries sell nearly every Thai dish imaginable, and many of the seats come with a relaxing river view.
Further down Maharat Road -- past the amulet market -- Tha Chang Pier is another riverside area densely populated with all manner of food and dessert carts.
Getting there: Take the Chao Phraya Express ferry to Tha Chang Pier. Best time to visit: Weekdays, during the day.
3. Khao San Road
Hear us out on this one. This beastly, infamous tangle of roads, sois and alleys populated with a startling variety of examples of the human race is also one of the best places to tuck in.
True, much of it is watered-down to appeal to the widest variety of palettes, but if it’s variety you want, you’ve come to the right place.
Everything from falafel and Burger King to khao moo daeng and ginger soup is cooked up here. A quick walk over to Soi Ram Buttree, which curls back behind Wat Chana Songkhram, will get you even more food, but the focus here is more on drinking establishments. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Getting there: Take a taxi. Best time to visit: Anytime, Khao San never stops.
4. Charoen Krung Road/State Tower
This stretch of the long and well-known road -- built in 1861 to satisfy uppity foreigners who wanted a wide road for their horse-drawn carriages so they could get out for some fresh air -- is crammed with sois and sub-sois offering all kinds of food.
Beginning at the base of State Tower at the foot of Silom Road, a walk south on Charoen Krung toward the BTS will offer up enough grub to satisfy any hungry soul.
Nip into Soi Si Wiang for some great khao soi gai or just stay on Charoen Krung for a sizeable selection of stalls.
At the end, turn right into Charoen Krung 50 and finish up with a roti, an artery-clogging log of fried dough, banana, eggs and sugar.
Best time to go: Weekdays between lunch and late afternoon.
5. Soi Ari
Once a cloistered little neighborhood in the 'burbs, Ari is now home to a Starbucks and an Apple retailer, among other global brands.
Despite this, the little cluster of sois around the Ari BTS station has remained a funky food oasis. Phahon Yothin 7 is the main drag and is lined with all manner of food stalls, open until well after dinner.
The sub-sois and side streets branching off of here contain tons of great choices as well for hungry explorers to sniff out.
Getting there: Take the BTS to Ari station. Best time to go: Any time, especially weekends.
6. Huay Kwang Market
Another rule of Bangkok food: follow the crowd.
The area around Huay Kwang intersection is populated by large, garish massage parlors, which means lots of people at all hours of the night.
While known as more of a market area, you can find some great food if you turn left off Ratchadapisek Road and follow Pracharat Bamphen Road for a few hundred meters.
It’s a great place to come after a night out, as the stalls serve food well into the wee hours, and the eccentric crowds always make for a good night of people-watching.
The red pork dishes (moo daeng) around here are particularly good.
Getting there: Take the MRT to Huay Kwang station. Best time to go: Any night of the week, after 11 p.m.
Did we miss your favorite eating neighborhood? Tell us about it in the comments section below.