How to be an economical epicurean in Bangkok, according to the 2019 Michelin Guide for Thailand
1. Nai Ek Roll Noodles
A Chinatown mainstay in Bangkok — since 1960 — this no-frills, all-day restaurant’s signature pork belly with rolled noodle soup is the reason there’s often a line outside. The satisfying savory dish comes in three sizes — opt for the small bowl (THB50, about P81) to leave room for more street snacks. In case noodles aren’t your thing, there’s stewed pork spare ribs with rice (also THB50). You’ll be hard-pressed to spend more than P400. 442 Yaowarat Rd; open daily from 8am to 1am
2. Tung Sui Heng Pochana
This old-school eatery is a bit of a challenge to find — the guide has the wrong address. Its winning specialty is its delectable stewed duck hotpot (THB200, about P322). Offal lovers may request to add other duck parts to the pot — try tongue, gizzard and intestines. For less than P600, enjoy a hotpot (enough for two) with sides of egg noodles (THB20, about P32) or steamed rice. 649/651 Banthat Thong Rd; open Mondays to Fridays, from 3pm
to 10pm; and 2pm to 10pm at weekends
3. Khao Tom Pla Kimpo
Menu highlights are the seafood soups, which vary in price according to their ingredients. A large mixed bowl of delicious grouper, plump shrimp and tender squid, in a peppery pork and fish bone broth (THB300, about P484), served with yummy fried fish skin (THB10, about P16) and complimentary cold tea, is a blast of nutrition that will whet the palate and fuel you up for more city adventures. 1897 Charoen Krung Rd; open daily from 6pm to midnight
4. Eat Pad Thai (Fai Ta Lu)
Acclaimed Thai chef Andy Yang runs a posh restaurant — Table 38 — but at this modest second-storey eatery, he dazzles diners with his take on a few Thai classics. Noodle lovers will delight in his elevated pad Thai with banana shrimp (THB185; about P298) and pad Thai with Berkshire (or kurobuta) pork (THB135; about P218). It’ll be a splurge, but the price tags reflect chef Andy’s expertise, as well as the sustainably sourced ingredients
used in the cooking. 115/5 Dinso Rd; open daily from 10am to 9pm
Important note before you go: The first Michelin Guide Bangkok was published in 2018 and secured the Thai capital’s standing as one of the world’s great dining destinations. Alongside the fancy award-winning restaurants, the book also gave special recognition to the city’s famed street food scene. The 2019 edition, expanded to include Phuket and Phang Nga, continued the tradition, acting as an excellent primer for street food fans. However, inaccuracies were found, including incorrect addresses. It’s also worth noting that even street food vendors said to operate every day sometimes close up shop unexpectedly, so follow the guide but always have a Plan B ready!
This article first appeared in the January 2019 issue of Smile magazine.