Table of Contents
- Taste of Thailand Food Tours
- Bangkok: What to Eat
- Bangkok: Handmade Curry Shop
- Bangkok: Tod Mun Pla
- Bangkok: Boonsap Thai Desserts
- Bangkok: Bang Rak Wet Market
- Bangkok: Wa Tow Herbal Drink Shophouse
- Bangkok: Prachak Ped Yang
- Bangkok: Jae Noy's Shop
- Bangkok: Baan Som Tam
- Bangkok: Than Ying Royal Cuisine Restaurant
Updated July 2018
Wherever travelers wander in Bangkok, they’re surrounded by amazing food and local culture. However, the two aren’t always that easy to bring together, especially if you only have a few days in this fascinating city. Don’t despair, Taste of Thailand are experts at uniting real food, real people, and a real community. You’ll be amazed at how much food, culture, community, and fun can be packed into four short hours. In this week’s Travel Photo Thursday (our 209th) photo essay I share my food tour experiences as we navigated Bangkok’s historic Bang Rak neighbourhood; “The Village of Love.” with Taste of Thailand Food Tours. On a side note: In case you’ve ever thought of getting married in Thailand, Bangrak is the most popular neighbourhood for issuing marriage licenses, which peaks annually on Valentine’s Day 🙂
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Taste of Thailand Food Tours
Booking and paying for your tour is easy with Taste of Thailand’s online booking system. All tours begin at Saphan Taksin BTS Station (Exit 2). Tee, our guide for the morning, was ready to start promptly at 10 am. After a few quick pointers, our group of 10 was eager to savour our first tasty morsels.
Curry puffs were the first item on our tasting menu, and we didn’t have far to go. Six flavours are on offer, and we each chose two. Decisions, decisions! I ended up sampling a mushroom and a coconut. Both were mouthwatering good, surrounded by melt-in- your- mouth homemade puff pastry that rivals your mama’s and grandmamas.
Curry Puff Vendor/ Open 7am-12pm/ Saphin Tasksin/ BTS – Exit 3
Bangkok: What to Eat
Next, tea time at a traditional Thai tea/coffee vendor. An interesting tidbit from history: Tea was first shipped to Bangkok from England second-hand, then double-brewed for the palace’s high society folks.
Bangkok: Handmade Curry Shop
If you’ve ever eaten curry cooked with homemade curry paste, you know how delicious it is, and how much work goes into making the curry paste. There’s a curry paste shop in the neighbourhood that has been taking the work out of the curry paste for Bangrak locals for the past 50 years. Panang, Green, Yellow, Coconut or Red; it’s all made right here. There was no sampling, but Tee promised curry before the end of our tour. With a 50-year track record, it has to be mouthwatering good. If I had been staying somewhere with cooking facilities, I would have taken some with me.
Handmade Curry Shop / Go before 12 noon / Charoen Alley, Bangrak / Go before 12 noon to avoid disappointment
Bangkok: Tod Mun Pla
We were ready for more tastings, and our next stop, the Tod Mun Pla fishcake vendor, was a hit with the group. I was so excited to see Tod Mun Pla on the itinerary. They are hands down one of my favourite Thai tidbits. You can find them everywhere; on the street or in any Thai restaurant. Try them once, and you’ll be hooked for life!
I’m not sure what Tee is telling us here, but I have the feeling we all wanted to grab the plate out of this hand! 🙂
I remember the first time I tasted these morsels of fish cake goodness. I was hooked! Dipped in a bit of Thai chilli sauce get ready for an explosion of flavour. Your taste buds will thank you!
Bangkok: Boonsap Thai Desserts
For a change of pace and taste, we headed to Boonsap Thai Desserts, not any ordinary Thai dessert shop! This modern cafe began as a humble street cart, and although now situated in much classier digs (including air con), the recipes, dating back three generations, are still in use today. The current owner, Tatcha Boonpaisarn, is still very much guided by his Grandmother’s Boonsaps cooking practices. What it means is that each dessert is made in tiny batches with carefully selected quality ingredients.
All of the desserts that I had the pleasure of tasting were over-the-top delicious. My favourites were the gold drop (think of sweet nectar), and the one that looks like spun straw. Made from duck egg, its richness was a perfect complement to the sweetness.
Boonsap Thai Desserts / 1478 Charoen Krung Road, Bangrak/ 7am-5pm (closed on Sunday)
Bangkok: Bang Rak Wet Market
Then, we were off to the Bang Rak Wet Market, the second oldest outdoor market in Bangkok, after Yaowarat Road. Here we sampled a variety of Thailand’s popular fresh fruit. New to me was the custard apple, which tasted exactly like a sweet custard dessert!
Our lovely “fruit” lady…
What would a Thai market be without a beautiful kitty cat asleep with the papayas? 🙂
Bang Rak Market/ Charoen Krung Rd. (close to the Shangri-La Hotel/ Open 7 days a week – 6 am to Noon and then 4 pm until late)
Bangkok: Wa Tow Herbal Drink Shophouse
From the market, we headed to the Wa Tow Herbal Drink Shophouse. This is another neighbourhood institution with the current location being 4th generation. For the uninitiated herbal drinks can be something of a mystery, and while many swear by their medicinal properties they are not backed up by science. Hey, if you think it’s helping what ails you, why not? We were able to choose from a variety of drinks, and my drink of choice was longan. Very pleasant taste and I would have it again. Known as “dragon eye” by the Chinese, thought to cure anemia, and benefit your heart. I also got to sample something called “Goto Kola” (that might not be quite right), and believe me; the stuff was BITTER.
This shophouse is also the creator of the internationally famous Healthy Boy brand of sauces.
Wa Tow Herbal Drink Shophouse/1443 Charoen Krung Rd./8am – 9:30 pm Daily
Bangkok: Prachak Ped Yang
Our next stop was Prachak Ped Yang. The restaurant is a neighbourhood institution, serving roasted duck with a dark rich sauce over rice (Khao na pet) for more than 100 years. We also sampled it over noodles. The duck was cooked to perfection, and the rich sauce was a perfect complement. My preference was the duck over rice.
Prachak Pet Yang/ Charoen Krung Road (across from Robinson Bang Rak)/ +66 (0)2 234 3755/ Open everyday 7 am-9 pm.
Then came a street stall dish that I can never get enough of, fried banana. This food stall is extremely popular with the locals. You’ll often find customers lined up ten deep just waiting for their fried banana fix. Fresh bananas are sliced, rolled in sesame seed and then deep fried to crispy perfection. Cooked until they are chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside, it’s little wonder that they are such a hit.
Bangkok: Jae Noy’s Shop
Fried Banana Stand/ Charoen Krung Road && Si Wiang Intersection/ Everyday 10am to late
Bangkok: Baan Som Tam
Our next taste sensation was a selection of Isaan food (originating in Northeastern Thailand) at Baan Som Tam. We sampled som tam salad, the restaurant’s signature dish with 26 varieties on offer. Our som tam was traditional. There was also a delicious lemongrass salad, and larb gai (gai is chicken). The lemongrass salad was my favourite, followed very closely by the som tam salad. The sweet, sour, and salty flavour combination exploded in my mouth, and combined with the freshness of the ingredients was impossible to top. For some strange reason, I didn’t get a photo of the larb gai, which was also an excellent choice to excite the taste buds.
Baan Som Tam /9/1 Soi Sriviang, Pramuan Road, Silom Subdistrict, Bang Rak District., Bangkok, Thailand/Every day from 10 am – 10 pm
Bangkok: Than Ying Royal Cuisine Restaurant
Finally, we ate like royalty at Than Ying Royal Cuisine Restaurant, where we completed our tasting tour with delicious curry on jasmine rice. The restaurant is owned by M.R. Sorut Visuddhi, son of Princess Sulabh. Only the freshest ingredients are used. All dishes are elegantly presented. Everything is cut so that a guest is never required to use their knife. Any fish served should be boneless. These are some of the details that make the distinction between food and cuisine. It’s not uncommon for a dish cooked in the royal kitchen to have been prepared using a recipe that it 200 years old.
Than Ying/ 10 Thanon Pramuan (Pramuan St.), off Silom Rd. (between Silom 17 and 19)/ 3 minute walk from Surasak BTS/ Every day from 11:30am – 11pm
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I enjoyed the tour, and would highly recommend it to anyone who is at all interested in eating and learning more about Thai food.
Sorry, if I have made you all incredibly hungry with so much deliciousness! 🙂
Tours run daily and as mentioned above can be booked online through the Taste of Thailand site. The cost of the Village of Love Food Tour 1450 Thai Baht (approximately 40.00US) (Price updated for 2018). Be sure not to eat before you go. You’ll have the opportunity to try so many different dishes, food, and drink, and you don’t want to miss a single one! You’ll find a complete list of food tours on offer on their site.
I was a guest on the tour. As always, all opinions and photos are my own.
Have you ever taken a food tour with Taste of Thailand Food tours? What was the highlight for you?
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