Bangkok and street food go hand in hand. One of the main appeals of visiting the bustling city is to eat like the locals and check out the street markets. Step outside your hotel in the morning and see lines of people selling anything and everything from fresh fruit to fried chicken to spring rolls.
Be aware that street markets do not follow the same health guidelines as in the United States, but you will be getting authentic Thai food. A little stomach ache is nothing compared to cheap plates of delicious food, am I right?
A plate of freshly prepared chicken basil rice with a fried egg for only 40 baht.
If you’re looking for a large concentration of street vendors, I highly recommend checking out a floating market. If you’ve ever seen pictures of people in long-tail boats floating down a small river buying produce, you know what a floating market in Thailand consists of. The most popular (and thus the most touristy) is Damnoen Saduak, located over an hour away from Bangkok. Not wanting to travel the distance, I decided to head over to Khlong Lot Mayom Floating Market instead.
Only open on Saturday and Sunday mornings, this small market is bustling with people. Unlike other floating markets, there are no long tail boats to ride and the main market itself is on solid ground.
On the bright side, there are still numerous street vendors from which you can try different dishes. The tom yum soup above was the best I’ve ever had during my entire trip.
There are two sections to Khlong Lot Mayom market. On the right side is the smaller section with about 40 different stalls. Buy a snack and grab a seat near the canal.
On the left side is the bulk of the market with at least 100 different street vendors.
You can find almost anything from grilled seafood to coconut tapioca to chicken skewers.
Fresh papaya salad can be prepared with your preference of spiciness. I’ve never seen so many variations on papaya salad, some even including raw shrimp.
If you love tropical fruit, Khlong Lot Mayom market is a great place to purchase some. I found the sweetest pomelo I’ve ever had for only 40 baht. Every other stall I’ve tried thereafter just didn’t compare.
Aside from the day markets, there are also night markets that sell similar street fare. One of the most popular is The Rot Fai Train Market; however, it is located quite a distance away from Bangkok. Due to the success of the Train Market, a second location has opened closer to the city on Ratchada Road. The New Rot Fai market is much smaller in size but still holds the theme from the original location.
Visit anytime from Thursday to Sunday from 6 pm to 12 am. Find antiques, second-hand toys, clothing and accessories in one part of the market and street vendors in another.
In addition to Thai food, there are stalls offering Western, Chinese and even Korean cuisines.
End the night with a visit to one of the bars located towards the back end of the market.
Next up, visiting two of my favorite restaurants in Bangkok: Soei and Thip Simai.
Check out the rest of “A Bite Out of Thailand:” series:
Part 1: Bangkok Highlights
Part 2: Shopping in Bangkok
Part 4: Soei and Thip Simai
Part 5: Gaggan
Part 6: Elephants World
Part 7: Krabi