Bangkok's Food Courts - A Thai Food Lover's Guide
Bangkok's food courts are simply the best ways to sample a little bit of every delicious delight that the Kingdom of Thailand is most famous for. And the best places to find these food courts are in some of Bangok's best shopping malls and department stores. Best thing of all is that foods found inside are very affordable.
Whether som tom puu (papaya salad with crab) or khao man gai (Chicken and rice), whatever it is that you find tasty on the side streets but are too afraid to try because of dubious sanitary conditions can be had in Bangkok's food courts. Most are clean and well organized with picture menus as well as English menus and prices. Plus more importantly all food courts in Bangkok are well air conditioned which certainly comes in handy when you're chomping down on that fiery plate of som tam.
Not only are savory sour and spicy foods available in the food courts, Thais have a sweet tooth and many types of desserts and sweet snacks can be had there as well. Whenever you're planning on visiting these food courts be prepared to bring your appetite, spirit of culinary adventure and a loose pair of pants.
Food Court Basics
Food stalls inside the food courts not accept cash (though there may be only a few vendors accepting cash only). Food court vendors either accept coupons or prepaid debit cards (the amount gets deducted) that are exchanged with Thai Baht at a coupon center usually found near the entrance of the food court. Just hand the attendant your desired amount of Baht and in return you will get an equal value in coupons or in a magnetic debit card. Whatever is left you can bring back to the coupon center and the attendant will give you back cash.
After your yummy meal make sure you go get your money back. This is especially true for the food courts which uses the debiting card system because you will not be able to get your money back the next day if you forget.
Most of the staff working in the stalls in my experience can speak a little bit of English because they are in contact with tourists on a day to day basis. There are also pictures too so you can point to what you would like to eat.
Personally I love eating al fresco at a street hawker stand. But I can understand visitors who need a clean place to eat especially while traveling with young children. The food courts listed here provide clean eating utensils; forks, spoons and even chopsticks. Most importantly there are napkins and plenty of well cleaned bathrooms to wash your hands in inside these popular shopping malls.
Top 3 Recommended Food Courts in Bangkok
All 3 of these popular food courts are found inside malls located in central Bangkok so they are very easy to travel to and most importantly easy for travelers to order and eat their food in a clean environment. All 3 places are connected to the BTS Sky Train so that you can get there quickly and on the cheap too.
#1 MBK Mall - There are 3 food courts located at this very popular mall. The first is on the 5th floor aptly called Fifth Avenue International Food Court. The food selections at the Fifth cost more and the setting a bit more upscale with plenty of international fare. The second food court is located on the 6th floor where the most locals come to eat because there are so many choices found there. Personally I prefer the food court on the 6th floor too. The 3rd food court is much smaller and has traditional Thai and Chinese foods. You can be find it on the 4th floor. MBK mall is right by the National BTS Sky Train station
#2 Siam Paragon - When it comes to malls in Bangkok this one is the newest and grandest. Foods sold here are a bit on the pricier side for local Thais but that doesn't stop them from enjoying traditional Thai fare, Chinese and Japanese dishes. The best way to get to Siam Paragon is by Sky Train by Siam BTS station.
#3 Emporium Department Store - This is another popular shopping complex in central Bangkok. The food court is located on the 5th floor and there are several on the same floor. The one I usually go to looks more cafeteria style and informal with a wonderful view of Benjasiri Park. The others look a bit higher class and so are the prices for the dishes. You can get to the Emporium by taking the BTS Sky Train to Phrom Phrong station.
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More Food Courts in Bangkok Worthy Of Mention
There are 2 more food courts that you should check out with excellent Thai food. You can very easily walk between Pantip and Platinum because they are very close together.
- Pantip Plaza Computer Mall - This mall has lots of digital gadgets including computer software, dvd movies and music cds. Visitors come here mostly for illegally copied movies and computer software. There are 2 food courts here, one on the second floor and third.
- Platinum Fashion Mall - Loads of cheap non-brand name clothes can be bought here made by local designers and other items from China. The food court in here are basically the same as MBK but they use debit coupon cards here. The food court here is located on the 9th floor.
From these two places you can walk to Siam Paragon and MBK but it is kind of far, about a 30 minute walk which may feel longer if it's hot. So you might want to take a tuk tuk since. What I normally do is walk to Central World Mall and take the Sky Walk connects to Siam Paragon for a nice walk under the shade.
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