Pete Vinotai, 127 TCCS
So you have a day-off in BKK. Sweat runs down your forehead during a hot Thai noon, and your stomach grumbles after escalating past that massive KFC sign on the BTS. But while you’re hungry for something different than your village’s mom & pop noodle shop or fried chicken from the colonel, and you don’t have 600 baht to blow on a fancy cheeseburger.
Mai pen rai.
Many places serving affordable international flavors can be found in Thailand’s capital, and this guide will help you find some of the best hi-so flavors on your low-so budget.
Tuna Ichiban (Japanese)
With its cornucopia of classic Japanese dishes and sushi options, Tuna Ichiban will get you the most bang for your baht. The highlights here are their rotating specials on everything from sushi sets to sake. Sushi here is very cheap, with rolls less than 100 baht (six pieces). While the fish quality may not be equivalent to other top-grade sushi joints, it is still excellent. There are a few locations around BKK, but I tend to go the one in Silom (BTS Saladaeng). Just FYI, it’s a good 20 min walk from the station.
Bankara Ramen (Japanese)
For heaping bowls of ramen goodness, Bankara is a BKK favorite thanks to their famous tonkotsu broth— a rich soup created by boiling pork marrowbones for hours. Combined with succulent chashu pork slices and springy noodles, you have a hearty and delicious meal for around 200 baht. This restaurant has several locations, but can easily found at the bottom floor of Siam Paragon (across MK Gold).
Paperbutter & the burger (Burgers)
Craving a burger and beer night? This casual, outdoor joint dishes out great pork and beef burgers ranging from 120-190 baht. For something with a stronger kick, try the Chiangmai Spicy Burger, which features a spiced-up meat patty, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, a fried onion ring, shredded pork, their signature Paperbutter sauce, and a slice of lime. As a bonus, Paperbutter offers a deal on their large Japanese Kirin beers: buy three bottles and get the fourth free. It’s about a 15-minute walk from BTS Ari.
Pala Pizza (Italian)
Pala pizza is a lunchtime favorite for BKK expats; highlights on their menu include their homemade pasta and delicious Roman-style pizza. Square-shaped with a thin, slightly charred crust, their selections of pizza are outstanding. Best part is if you’re not looking to down an entire pie, you can purchase them by the slice (40-95 baht). This place is an extremely easy find, right next to BTS Asok.
Hong Teong Long (Chinese)
Great hole-in-the-wall that is (according to the website) open until 4AM. Prepare to point at a lot of pictures, because sometimes the waitresses speak only Chinese. But at 50 baht per bamboo basket, this is the perfect place to get your Xiao Long Bao cravings satiated. This Shanghai delicacy is worth the trip itself; each dumpling is bursting with soupy goodness and is fantastic when dipped into vinegar and chili oil. The rest of their menu is also delicious and cheap; a party can get away with feeling stuffed at 200 baht per person after an array of well-rounded stir-fries and tasty noodle dishes. Forewarning, the wait for food can take a little time, as they are a small establishment. The restaurant is a decent walk from BTS Sala Daeng; expect to spend 20-30 minutes walking when initially looking for this establishment.
Beirut Restarant (Lebanese)
Here you can find good Lebanese food, which is always perfect for a tasty, simple lunch. Beirut is easily accessible too, since the restaurant has opened in several locations. Excellent options include shawarmas and falafel sandwiches (100-140 baht). Look for one near BTS Ploen Chit, BTS Sala Daeng, or BTS Nana, or have it delivered if you’re not feeling a trip outside.
Al-Hussain Restaurant (Pakistani/Indian food)
In the little-Middle East soi of Suk 3/1, you can find delicious Pakistani/Indian food at Al-Hussain. Expect quick service and prices from 100-200 baht, making the restaurant perfect for group dinners. Piping hot Potato Paratha (think potato pancakes), tender mutton masala curry, and rich butter chicken curry are definite highlights. And don’t forget to mop it all up with a side of fresh-baked naan. Come from BTS Nana or BTS Ploen Chit, walk into the soi and look for the sign below.
Daniel Thaiger (Burger)
Daniel Thaiger I haven’t been to, but I have heard great things from friends. It’s a food truck usually by the Sukhumvit area, check their Facebook page for updates on the truck’s location (https://www.facebook.com/DanielThaiger/).
Shoshana is a popular Israeli restaurant near one of the entrances of Khaosan. I haven’t been there in a long time, so I can’t speak to current prices, but I remember it being pretty tasty and inexpensive (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shoshana-Israel-Restaurant/179090055444579?fref=ts). It may have changed, just to forewarn you.
Bamboo Bar (Lebanese)
Bamboo Bar is a popular PCV hangout due to their shisha offerings and cheap shawarmas/hummus (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g293916-d4970557-Reviews-Bamboo_Bar_Restaurant-Bangkok.html). Conveniently, Bamboo is also very close to Nana’s Bumrungrad Hospital. Do try their honey cheese pies (trust me).
Hachiban Ramen (Japanese)
Never ate here myself, but the chain is a popular choice for a cheap bowl of ramen. The food quality isn’t as authentic or refined as other places, but the prices are the cheapest around. You can grab some noodles here for less than 100 baht, with meal sets around 160 baht. There is one located in Siam Center, with several other locations around Bangkok (http://www.thaihachiban.com/2010/mainsite.html).