Are you itching to try some real Thai food in Bangkok? Screw all the fancy Thai restaurants, when you dine out off the beaten path – local style – then you can truly experience Thai food in Bangkok.
Not only do the local Thai restaurants in Bangkok serve hearty and traditional cuisine, but they ‘re also super cheap if you’re travelling on a budget. At most of the Thai restaurants popular with the locals, you can dine from just 70 baht per person… And remember that these restaurants are popular for a reason.
Thai Style Restaurants
Local restaurants in Thailand have a very different vibe to the more mainstream restaurants which are aimed at tourists, they’re worth visiting if you want to see a real part of Thai culture that you could otherwise completely miss.
A typical experience dining in a local Thai restaurant is casual, where diners share food platters in the middle of the table, are served drinks from shabby metal trolleys, drink from 5 litre beer towers and maybe even get to hear a Thai folk music performance from a local singer. A really popular feature of some local restaurants in Thailand, also seems to be the do-it-yourself barbecues, where patrons cook their own food on the table in front of them.
For the best local Thai restaurants in Bangkok, here’s my personal top 5:
Banrie Coffee is by far my best Thai restaurant in Bangkok. It’s open 24 hours a day, has live music, cheap beer towers, a cute beer garden, laid-back atmosphere and simple good food. Banrie Coffee is perhaps a little more sophisticated than your average local Thai restaurant, it’s more of an evening hangout for both young Thais and expats in Bangkok. But not only is it a cool hangout, but this Thai restaurant also has an extensive menu of Thai cuisine at an affordable price, complete with a fairy-lit urban garden.
SD Bar BQ is an all-you-can-eat buffet style restaurant in Bangkok, totally Thai style and packed full of cheerful locals. It’s not got the cheapest of prices by local standards, but for the range of dishes on offer and the unlimited food, it’s really not bad value at 129 baht per person. In fact if you’re looking for a place to sample a complete range of Thai cuisine, SD Bar BQ Buffet might be just what you’re looking for.
The layout of SD barbecue is casual and authentically Thai – tables are set out in long lines of benches with holes in the middle to barbecue your own food. Yep, this is a typical do-it-yourself barbecue-style restaurant (and it get’s pretty damn hot too) – of course there are other pre-cooked options available too if you don’t feel like cooking your own food. (Tip: another good barbecue restaurant in Bangkok worth visiting is the rooftop restaurant Bar-BQ)
Yong Lee is a Chinese-Thai style restaurant which has been around for almost 50 years and definitely looks it’s age. With grease splattered walls and tattered old menus, this is about as local as it gets. The restaurant itself is nothing fancy but the food is still pretty good for an off the beaten path visit.
Food at Yong Lee can be a little more adventurous, with Chinese fried bowels and beef tongue soups, however there are also a range of traditional Thai dishes too. Yong Lee is great for a casual lunch off the beaten track in Bangkok.
The Good View is a more extravagant restaurant compared to many other typical, local Thai restaurants in Bangkok. In fact, this is probably the most expensive restaurants out of my top 5 local Thai restaurants in Bangkok.
Located on the riverside, the restaurant has sophisticated wooden decking, a fairy-lit terrace and an indoor bar area with live music performances and a dance floor. It’s still pretty off the beaten path though, and has an extensive Thai, Western and Japanese menu with plenty of typically Thai beer tower’s available. If you’re after a special or romantic night out in Bangkok, Thai-style, then try Good View.
Sabai Jai Gai Yang, like Yong Lee and SD barbecue, is another humble little eatery in Bangkok. With a battered menu, plastic tablecloths and a modest karaoke-style folk stage, the restaurant maintains a casual yet lively atmosphere. It’s specialty is grilled chicken, however it has an extensive menu of Thai dishes and is great for sampling the local cuisine.
Picture by leolaksi