I came to Thailand with dreams of revelation. An openness to be transformed. The praise of those who’ve come before me ringing in my ears.
I came to Thailand to eat. To get lost in the mysteries of unknown cuisines, lost in the tumult of street vendors and the surprise of point-to-buy guess work. I wanted it all.
And I gave it a good try.
Bangkok did not disappoint. Though I only had a few days, I tried to make them count. Luckily we were staying quite close to the food market on Soi Rambuttri in the Ban Phan Thom neighborhood (old town) which made access to inexhaustible top notch street food a breeze. But we managed to work in a few restaurant meals as well. The smaller portions and puzzlingly low prices made sampling much easier.
Thipsamai Pad Thai
Near the top of my list was Thipsamai Pad Thai. It’s generally accepted that this is the best pad thai in Bangkok. Which probably means the world. In the US pad thai is synonymous with westernized thai food so I was excited to try this dish in context. This place is no secret, even the royal family eats here. Arriving right at opening there’s already a line around the block. The kitchen as is common here is on the street and I get to watch plate after plate of this dish go out and mountains of empty plates come back while we wait.
The menu is surprisingly long for basically having one dish. And they’ve developed a whole system of icons to describe each variation. To translate it’s basically, plain, with small shrimp, with large shrimp, with no shrimp, and with shrimp, crab and squid.
There’s nothing fancy about this dish. It’s noodles wrapped in a thin omelet with 2 shrimp. But it’s the best pad thai I’ve ever had. And I’ve had a lot.
You can read my first reaction to Soi Rambuttri night market in my Day 1 post. I think I can let the pics speak for themselves.
Other Bangkok food
Outside of the delights of street food, I’m sure the city has an endless selection of amazing restaurants but honestly I barely scratched the surface. Here are a few of the dishes we managed to taste.