Where to Eat in Chinatown Bangkok overwhelmed us on our first visit to the Thai capital over fifteen years ago. There were a bewildering number of options then and there are even more now. To ensure you eat well, follow our Yaowarat Road itinerary.
If, like us, you went and were overwhelmed by the mind-boggling number of restaurants, casual eateries, food stalls, and mobile carts to feast at, then our guide to where to eat in Chinatown Bangkok should make your eating a lot easier and a lot more satisfying.
If you haven’t been to Chinatown Bangkok, then make it a high priority to eat your way along Yaowarat Road and make sure you follow our itinerary. If you’re not familiar with Thai food, then click through to this post on the best Bangkok street food dishes first, which includes some Chinatown specialties.
Where to Eat in Chinatown Bangkok, Our Yaowarat Road Eating Itinerary
Chinatown Bangkok is one of the best neighbourhoods in the Thai capital for eating, but while where to eat in Chinatown Bangkok is a no brainer for locals, deciding where to eat can be daunting for first-timers to the city.
Serious feasting needs to focus first on Yaowarat Road, the main thoroughfare of this endearingly chaotic district, which should be a must-visit for food enthusiasts planning to eat their way through the Thai capital.
Atmospheric markets hidden down laneways and incense-filled temples tucked into buildings make Chinatown Bangkok a fascinating place to explore by day. But it’s after dark, when the plastic chairs come out and the neon lights go on that this culinary hot spot really comes alive.
Around 5pm nightly – except Monday when everything is closed – food stalls set up their mobile cooking carts, stainless steel tables and plastic stools on the inner lane of Yaowarat Road and surrounding streets. They stay open until late or when the food runs out.
When it comes to where to eat in Chinatown Bangkok, these are spots where we like to go and the food we love to eat on Yaowarat Road when we’re back in town.
Where to Eat in Chinatown Bangkok
Start at around 4pm. If coming from Ratchawong Pier begin with the kanom jeeb jiao gow. If already in Chinatown, start with curry rice on Thanon Mangkorn and then walk along Thanon Charoen Krung, turn right into Thanon Plaeng Nam until you get to Yaowarat Road and then walk in the direction toward Lamphun Chai Road.
Khanom Jeep Jiao Gow
Some of Chinatown’s best kanom jeeb (steamed pork and shrimp dumplings), sprinkled with deep-fried garlic, fish sauce and a lethal homemade chilli sauce, are sold by a smiling lady in front of the 7-Eleven on the corner of Thanon Song Wat and Thanon Ratchawong. Ten for 30 baht; 2pm-midnight.
Continue along Thanon Song Wat and turn left into Thanon Mangkorn and continue until Thanon Charoen Krung, then cross the road.
Khao Gaeng Jek Pui
At 4pm each day (except Monday), Chinatown’s most famous curry stand starts trading on a footpath in front of two sets of much-photographed green shophouse doors, plastered with stickers. Nicknamed ‘musical chairs khao kaeng’ by locals, Khao Kaeng Jek Pui has no tables, only two rows of red plastic stools, which are pounced upon each time someone leaves. The specialty is khao gaeng (also written as ‘kaeng’), ‘curry rice’ in Thai, and there an array of them. The best of the lot is the kaeng kari moo (yellow curry with pork). Avoid the insipid khiew wan gai (green chicken curry). If you want to play musical chairs, nab a stool as soon as you can. The owner’s English-speaking son will come and take your order. Only line up if you want to take-away. Note: if you’re looking this stand up on Google, it’s also written as Khao Gaeng Jek Puy or Jake Puey while one local Thai hotelier jotted down ‘Jay Puy’ for us. 2018 update: while the weather-beaten doors are still there, sadly, we recently returned to discover the building repainted a dull cream. On Thanon Mangkorn, near the corner of Thanon Charoen Krung.
Continue walking along Thanon Charoen Krung until you come to Thanon Plaeng Nam.
Khao Tom Jay Suay
This popular century-old khao tom shop is of a kind that are slowly disappearing. Khao tom is the Thai-Chinese rice soup, which is not as thick as jok, the Chinese rice porridge like congee. Traditionally these old fashioned shops didn’t only sell khao tom, as it was always eaten with side dishes, which is why you’ll find an array of cooked dishes piled on trays out front. The ped palo (duck stewed in Chinese five spice juices) and jap chai (vegetable stew) are very popular. It opens at 4pm and stays busy all evening with locals dropping by to pick up take-away. Corner of Thanon Charoen Krung and Thanon Phlab Phla Chai.
Instead of continuing along Thanon Phlab Phla Chai, do an about-face, cross the road, and walk down Thanon Plaeng Nam.
Khanom Jeeb Wat Yuan
Half-way down Thanon Plaeng Nam, you’ll spot another of Bangkok’s best kanom jeeb (steamed pork and shrimp dumplings) being sold from a small push cart on a lane in front of Wat Yuan. This old guy’s been at it for over 50 years – trust us: he knows how to make dumplings.
Khun Thot’s Kun Chiang
A little further down the street, take a look at this traditional ‘kun chiang’ or sweet Chinese sausage shop. Still handmade, still delicious.
Turn left onto Yaowarat Road.
Bua Loy Niew Thong – ‘the Durian Lady’
Back on Yaowarat Road, you’ll spot the elegant old durian lady who sells durian from stands set up on the inner lane and from the back of her truck, and she has been doing so for over 20 years. If durian isn’t your thing, near her you’ll spot several stands selling sweet Thai desserts. Thanon Yaowarat, in front of Tok Yang Gold Shop.
Kuay Jap Nai Ek
The dish to try at this busy, fluoro-lit eatery is pork, stewed or grilled, served in a clear broth, on rice, or with flat rice noodles. Delicious. 442 Thanon Yaowarat Soi 9. Daily 7am-midnight.
Nai Liew Ped Yang Yaowarat
Back on the footpath, a mobile stand, dripping with glistening roast duck, with stainless steel tables set up around it, sells the most amazing duck on the street – and we’ve tried them all. Thanon Yaowarat Soi 9, in front of Thong Bai shop. Nightly, from around 5pm.
There are a few crispy pork and BBQ pork stalls around, but this is hands-down the best crispy pork on the strip. Try the speciality of the house – steamed rice topped with crispy pork and a sweet sauce. Thanon Yaowarat, after the stall above.
On the opposite side of the road, on the corner of the next block, you can’t help but see this footpath seafood joint packed with locals and tourists picking out fresh seafood to be cooked to order. Cnr Thanon Yaowarat & Thanon Phadung Dao.
Kuay Tiew Lod Pra Thep
Further down, a serious man in crisp cook’s whites methodically makes up dishes of some of Bangkok’s best flat noodles with pork, shitake mushrooms, bean sprouts, and deep fried garlic – until he runs out. He doesn’t speak English, so just point and smile. Thanon Yaowarat, in front of Seiko shop.