Thai street food and hole in the walls, Bangkok et. al.

I arrived in Bangkok yesterday and this am around 8, i was on my way to Jarunee near the BTS when i just about stumbled into Rung Rueang. I saw an open table or two and a plethora of Michelin awards and decided Jarunee sounded good for lunch, Rung Ruaeng was going to be breakfast instead.

Waitress was nice, i was seated and got the 4 step menu. You choose soup type, noodle type, protein type and size of bowl. I went tom yum soup/not dry, sen lek/ medium noodles, all protein types and a medium bowl w a bottle of water.
80 baht.
I love Thailand! LOL!
I am not sure if it is a “foodie” faux pas, but i think next time i will order ba-mee yellow noodles instead of sen-lek. I have had soups that way and like the flavor contrast so i will take that risk of looking like a cultural philistine.

Bowl arrived quickly and it was an aromatic delight. Not the best i have had in Bangkok but very good. Liver was a bit overpowering, but the balance of fishballs, cartilage and pork were really good. It arrived well spiced but i added just a touch more chili flakes oil, not remembering the names of The Holy Four Condiments yet. :smile:

First time arriving at Suvarnabhumi during the day and it was a hot mess. I used Grab and that made it worse, driver took 25 minutes to arrive from 3 kilometers away.
I need to investigate the train. I am staying near Phrom Phong BTS so it may work better to use the airport train and transfer to the BTS.

I still have to post about Long Beach/San Vicente (Palawan) on my Philippines thread, that was amazing!

Does anyone have any insight into how safe ice and/or tap water is in Bangkok?
I use the ice in drinks but i only brush my teeth w tap water. I drink only bottled water. Am i being too paranoid?


I was in Bangkok for exactly one month and was told by my Japanese friend and his Thai wife NOT to drink the tap water at all. I stayed in a combination of hotels, a condominium and also there home. Even at their home, I only drank from their jug filled with specially filtered tap water or bottled water.

But I did as you are doing and used tap water to brush with (and to rinse my mouth after brushing). I am always leery of ice when traveling in countries where drinking tap water is ill advised and asked for “no ice” in Thailand and in Penang, Malaysia just to be safe. When I was eating out with my friends however, they added ice to their drinks provided that it was brought to their table. I may have been a bit too cautious, but I successfully managed to avoid getting a stomach ache or worse.

Yes, I got heartburn in Penang and at Kuala Lumpur airport, but that was caused by eating food too spicy for me (bell peppers and I don’t get along well) not because of sanitation or similar issues.

I didn’t use the train from Suvarnabhumi Airport because my friend picked me up there, but I left Thailand from Bangkok’s LCC airport, Don Mueang and the train that goes there was a breeze. In fact, I have nothing but good things to say about the BTS Skytrain system or the MTR subway systems. I guess it would be better if one could use the same prepaid card on both, but as they are run by separate companies, it’s currently not possible.


Not paranoid at all. I only drink bottled water in most of Asia, even Japan (actually almost everywhere outside of USA). We always get a couple of big jugs of water for the hotel room first thing. When walking about or eating outside, beer is the hydration of choice.

I try to partake of ice only if the ice has a hole in the center. Supposedly means its commercial ice, so theoretically should be made with filtered water.

The first few days in places like Viet Nam or Thailand, I always tell myself to pass on the raw vegetable and cut fruit that are always all so tempting. After a couple of days, I usually say f*** it, toss caution to the wind and indulge with my fingers crossed.


I was just in Bangkok for 2 weeks, and I have been to Phuket many times. When drinking water, I always drink from bottles, but that is also because they are omnipresent. Either for free in hotels, or cheap in 7-11s.

When going out, I have no issue ordering drinks with ice cubes. I have never gotten ill. Hygiene levels are pretty good all over, especially in restaurants and bars, but I also just get ice coffee from some vendor out on the streets. Your mileage may vary of course, I’ve been to Asia many times and I guess I have become a bit more accustomed to local hygiene levels.

I used BTS quite a lot. Try and get a rabbit card: just go to a kiosk with your passport. With the card you can just tap in and out of BTS stations. Unfortunately it is not as sophisticated as eg the Octopus card in Hong Kong, which also offers the possibility to use it as a payment mechanism in taxis and shops.

From the international airport I took the regular taxi. There are two lines at the airport, one of them is for ‘SUV’, nobody takes that line but they are just regular taxis just a bit larger. So almost no waiting time.

Grab in BKK is usually more expensive than regular taxis, even as regular taxis most of the times won’t use the meter and just give you a flat fee. I only used grab when it was impossible to get a regular cab, or when I needed to go to a difficult address.

Enjoy Bangkok! Hope to read a lot about your adventures there, and if you need any advice please let us know! In my BKK thread from a few weeks ago you will already find some nice places (I think). :slight_smile:


I’ve lived in Chiang Mai for almost 20 years. 99% of the tap water is probably OK. Brushing your teeth with it is certainly fine. The problem is mostly the old lead pipes. But the 1% risk isn’t worth it especially since filtered and bottled water is free or very inexpensive. The problem with restaurants that serve free water or with water-cooler water is that it usually comes from recycled bottles from bottling plants that use reverse osmosis. I don’t know how often those places are inspected or how well they clean the bottles and machinery. Small sealed bottles eliminate all risk.
Ice is always made for filtered water, never from tap water.


I spent 5 outstanding food days in Bangkok and had some really phenomenal dishes! And I hit a few old favorites that were on an off day. To start with I booked a room for 3 days in the Phrom Phong area, near the PP BTS station. I did not realize it until I got there but that area is Little Tokyo and most of the places nearby were Japanese, which is cool but I was looking for Thai food. (Funny aside, my hotel LIveZen is kind of Japanese in that there are no chairs, just a tatami mat and a bed)
But I hit a locals place I had heard of called Jarunee which is under the Phrom Phong BTS station. Very fast service and a wide variety of Thai food. I knew I was going to get roast duck when I hit the Chinatown area of Bangkok so I got Hainanese Chicken and rice at Jarunee and it was pretty good. Not as good as the place Peter had tipped me off about, but good.

Then later that day I hit one of the places Peter had told me about, Prachak, for a combo plate of roast duck and crispy pork. It was really good, but the duck was really mild. I think I might have gotten two types of pork instead of one duck, one pork dish. Not sure.
Funny now, but I was plenty confused when I was eating it.

The Shumai was good, too.

I have been trying to put in more foot miles, so I took the ChaoPhraya boat to Phra Arthit and then walked to Fan Fa boat pier, but I stopped near Ram Buttri to get an iced coffee at a coffee place I like and for some reason I decided to get a Thai Crepe to go with it. I am not a desert person, but the crepe was a welcome treat.

I also got a kick out of the Freddie Rice Curry sticker.

The next day I moved to the Key Hotel near Nana. Not my favorite part of Bangkok, and not surprisingly, I ordered food badly. I tried a pizza again, I know, I have failed here before. And I did again at a place that is well respected and was a reco from someone on this site that I respect a great deal. And my pizza was a salty mess. LOL! I ordered a Diavola, which is not an easy pizza to make well and this one was overly salty and kind of “off”. Not bad, the sauce just did not taste like pizza sauce somehow.

I appear to have run out of “pizza luck” or something. Or my expectations/taste buds are at fault, which is a real possibility.

So I went back and hit Rung Reung again for a great bowl of noodles and a side of fish skin.

Then I took off to meet friends in Hua Hin via train 171 which was a hot sweaty mess. I am too old to travel in a fan train. LOL!
I did like the new train station at Krung Thep Aphiwat, which is abbreviated KTW just to mess with my mind… Anyway, Thailand has built new train stations everywhere on the southern line (not sure about the rest) and they are huge, (half unused) cavernous spaces that were built with future expansion of rail traffic in mind.

But that is a subject for another day.

Bimodal transit, Thai style.

Key hotels roof-top pool, nice breakfast and bar area, too.


Great report, looks like you enjoyed yourself massively!

That does look like duck to be honest, maybe you were expecting something more pronounced flavour wise? I wanted to go to Prachak, but just didn’t have time. I love duck, Cantonese roast duck especially, but I like it more dry style.

And sorry to hear about the disappointing pizza experience! Yes, the sauce is different than we are used to, maybe that is just the local preference, ie the way they do it. I had the same pizza and it was a nice change of all the Thai food in the almost two weeks I was there.

Bangkok is just such a massive city, so much to eat!

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Your lunch plate did look like a roast pork- roast duck combo, but very much more pork than duck there!

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I think you both must be right about the duck, Damiano and Peter. I just had a meal of duck with egg noodles and fried egg at Duck 995 in Ko Tao and even though the 995 version was in brown gravy the flavor was similar to the duck half of the duck/crispy pork combo dish I had at Prachak. I think my brain was thinking “Peking Duck” and I was ordering “Thai duck”, so there was a disconnect between what I was thinking and what I was eating.

As to the pizza, I think I am becoming a bit of a pizza curmudgeon so I will take a break from ordering those for a while. There are so many Thai dishes I have not even heard of so that should not be too great a sacrifice.

Back on the Bangkok food scene, I did hit two recommended places on my last day there. Both Chandrphen and Krua Apsorn were winners. I started with the BBQ chicken at Chandrphen and it was delicious. I ended up wearing a good bit of it because I tore into it a bit enthusiastically. It was not fancy, simply lightly seasoned and perfectly roasted. The wait staff there were good sorts. The waitress seemed to enjoy the fact that I was going after that chicken. I like it when cooks and wait staff take pleasure in diners enjoying their food.

I also got an order of sweet duck in an orange sauce that tasted like lightly reduced orange/plum sauce? Not sure, but even though it is sweeter than I usually like, it worked well.

It was not open for the first couple days I was there but I also visited Krua Apsorn for crab meat in yellow curry with rice. Wow. That was a rich dish and perfectly seasoned. Just outstanding!

I also ordered something that I think was Yum Woon Sen-like. Glass noodles with seafood and a decent amount of chili. Nicely spicey and delicious. Yum Woon Sen type dishes are a favorite of mine.

Then I walked over to Petit Peyton for a Root Beer Float and made the mistake of submerging the ice cream in the root beer and had a minor root beer tsunami… No pictures of that.
Who knew that ice cream would cause root beer to foam like mad? I sure didn’t. LOL!


That duck in gravy looks very appetising!

The duck meat you had in Bangkok looked very plump, maybe that was causing the confusion. Because Cantonese duck can be less plump sometimes, as some mostly prize the skin of the duck. I’ve had instances where in a restaurant we were only served the skin, no meat! :slight_smile:

I really loved the roast duck curry I had in Bangkok. It also contained chewy pieces of duck skin, nice change in texture from the meat.

We went to Chandrphen twice, really lovely place with nice people and good food. Glad that you enjoyed that experience!


Really nice to hear from you and see the delicious things you have been eating! Where to next?

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It was yum woon sen. :blush: :+1:


In Phrom Phong, you’ve got a couple of Emporium supermarkets on either side of each other, at those two BTS shopping centers. Very much expat-oriented, those Emporium markets are.

If you head a bit east down Sukhumvit, Ekkamai has a shopping center with a lot of Japanese food. Come to think of it, I think Phrom Phong also has a Japanese supermarket.

For Pan-Middle Eastern restaurants and shisha, Sukhumvit Soi 3 and thereabout. Pad thai and pomegranate juice, it can happen there.

Thai restaurants, yeah, I do those, too. Did any one area stand out for you in terms of street food?


Chandrphen was a winner! I liked the food, the staff and the location. I had hung out in the park to the east of there for a time. Great Chinese clock tower.

Argh. Can’t find the clock tower, this is north of there a hundred yards.


I am not sure. I am actually enjoying Ko Tao more than I thought I would. This was my old hangout back in the 90’s and early 2000’s but of late the amount of haphazard new construction kind of threw me. But I guess I am getting used to scuba shops where the water buffalo used to roam.

I am thinking that Chania on Crete will be my next stop, the temps are slowly starting to rise a bit there. I may hit southern Italy for a few days and then I think I will go to Devon or Cornwall in England. My paternal family (Beardsley) is from Ilkeston up near Derby though we left a long time ago. I am kind of thinking I might go up there for a few days just to see the old church. One side of the Beardsley family was Church of England so their names are in the records there, which would be cool to see if it is open to the public. I haven’t done any research on it, kind of afraid to jinx it. My side of the family were dissenters so my direct ancestors are not recorded.
Maternal side is Squires so finding a hometown for that side would be problematic.
Then home to the States in mid-April. I miss Montana and most of the snow will be melted by then.


I went to the EmSphere in Phrom Phong. Holy… That is over the top, bougey, glitzy middle brow, uber capitalism at its flashiest. Not quite high brow, not quite luxe, but not far from it. I really enjoyed it!! LOL!
I went to the Ikea first then I wandered around the 4 or 5 coffee shops then I looked at 5 or 6 different cafes, half of which appear to be affiliated with Gordon Ramsay. Ok, maybe not half. Then I had a nice rice porridge with seafood and chilled with an iced coffee.

Oddly enough, I am having trouble finding the Thai Iced Coffee that I fell in love with on Ko Samed. It is strong black Thai Arabic coffee chilled in the refrigerator. The barista pours sweetened condensed milk in the bottom of the cup, pour the already chilled coffee in, adds ice and then dresses it with evaporated milk and a shake of a spice container that tastes slightly of Thai Iced Tea spice mix. But less of the spice and more of the condensed and evaporated milk. You can taste the strong espresso coffee but the flavor profile is rounded a bit by the sweetened milk and the sprinkle of spice. I think it may be a Ko Samed thing because it is not easy to find in Bangkok, Hua Hin, Chumphon or Ko Tao. I found something similar yesterday but they did not add the spice mix or the evaporated milk at the end.


That coffee sounds neat, but does it hold a candle to Vietnam? They have my regional go-to cuppa.

As for the newest megamall on Sukhumvit, that’s quite something to put an IKEA along one of Bangkok’s busiest roads. That’s one thing Bangkok isn’t missing, more reasons to cause car traffic.


It actually is kind of similar to the drip coffee I had in Vietnam where the waitress pours hot water into a steel filter holder on top of the porcelain cup that has a half inch of condensed milk at the bottom, then pours the very black coffee into a glass of ice, thereby diluting it but chilling it too.
The Thai version adds the evaporated milk on top as a decoration and further sweetens it, plus it gets the little shake of Thai Iced Tea spice (tamarind and/or cinnamon?) on top as well. So the Thai one is a bit sweeter and it has the spice added to it, too. I have never really watched Thai Iced Coffee being made, it is usually made in the kitchen. Now I am going to have to do so.
The Ikea is on the 3rd floor of the EmSphere building so the parking is all around the back or side, I guess. I did not see the entry ramp.
I took a picture of the Thai script for their signature coffee, but i think it just says coffee. Shrugs
The dog comes to my table when i order it so it must smell good.
I am probably overthinking this, but it was a favorite occasion in our day when we were on Ko Samed and I cannot find the same version in Bangkok or Ko Tao.


Just back in Chumphon after a week on Ko Tao and I am reminded why I love Thai food. I am staying at a new’ish hotel in Chumphon called Loft Mania, which is also graced with the presence of Koffee Mania and… You get the idea.
Anyway, I was working my way down the line of steel hot “plates” and saw a Tom Ya soup, of sorts. Mostly it was just a liquid to keep this boney meat moist and hot, and boy did they succeed! It was delicious and redolent of lemongrass, kaffir leaves and gingery chunks. I am not even sure what the meat is, pork, maybe? Love this “simple” dish. Every time I order it I wonder why I don’t do it more often, but to see it done well in a steamer for a buffet breakfast? That is pretty cool.

I also hit the Green Kitchen for Vietnamese Vegetable Rolls which were served with lettuce and … I can’t remember the name of the sawtooth leaf? Coriander? They were good but the rich crab lump curry was much better! Not as good as Krua Apsorn in Bangkok but darned good.

But Ko Tao was more enjoyable than I feared. It is way overbuilt but the south side of the island was slightly less crowded and a lot more fun.

The food at Relax on Baan Chalok was good, not great. The seafood and the fruit shakes were the best. Fighting off the mosquitos after dark was a full time job, though.

And the snorkeling was pretty good too. I need to find the cartoon triptych I photographed way back in 1998. It has three scenes of Ko Tao.
First, a westerner steps off a fishing boat into a paradise island populated with happy locals.
Second, the island is jammed with westerners trashing the place and visiting bars and places of ill repute.
Third, the last westerner leaves the island, looking with disgust at the polluted, ruined island, while the locals sit sorrowfully on the steps of their torn up businesses with a beachful of dead fish. And this cartoon was done in 1998 before the commercial buildup moved outside of Mae Had. I need to find that foto.

Chinese New Year is celebrated in Thailand. As my host put it, “We party with everyone!”

The statues had new “clothes” the second day i was there.


That’s tom jab chai - a pork soup-stew with mixed vegetables.