Top 10 Best Restaurants in Bangkok Chinatown

Best places to Eat in Bangkok Chinatown and Yaowarat Road

If you are brave enough and forget everything you thought you knew about food, Chinatown will surprise you. Street food is always fun and travellers seem to enjoy mixing with locals to experience something traditional. Yaowarat is famous for its very popular food stalls balanced on the most impractical pavements, not to mention the dubious sanitary conditions. And yet, each plastic chair is occupied and a queue is patiently standing by, trying not to get hit by tuk tuks and bikes passing by.

There's also a small selection of indoor restaurants complete with menus in English, including the amazing Double Dogs tea room, with hundreds of types of tea, and Cotton at the stunning Shanghai Mansion where the food is a fusion of oriental flavours. Chinatown is adventure, and the sooner you discover it the better. 

 

1) T & K Seafood

Serving delicious seafood, T & K restaurant (Toy and Kid are the names of the two brothers who own the place) on Yaowarat road is busy as a bee every single evening, come rain or shine. Just like many other popular restaurants in the area, it's not about fancy design and glamourous decor, but about great simple food and the rustic charm of eating on the pavement of a hectic street.

The outdoor area is the most popular but as it's permanently packed you can eat inside or even upstairs with air-con! Now if you associate air-con room with any kind of luxury you would be very wrong. The room is bare with the usual plastic chairs and iron tables, and the cleanliness applies no further than the top of your table, which by street food standards is all you need. 

T & K is dedicated to seafood and once you tried their amazing whole fish served with different varieties of sauce either steamed or deep fried, huge barbecued prawns, crabs, a large array of great seafood soups, and best of all their delicious shells, then you will know why people queue up outside, even in the rain!

Location: Intersection of Yaowarat Road and Thanon Phadung Dao Street

2) Rut & Lek Seafood

Bangkok is a city of extremes and this is particularly obvious when it comes to food. Lek-Rut seafood in Chinatown serves great food in the most unlikely surroundings you could dream of for a nice dinner: a frantic intersection of Bangkok Chinatown.

Nothing differentiates Lek-Rut Seafood from its neighbouring street stalls, except that it is now famous, and of course popular. It's always packed and yet people patiently wait for a seat, standing wherever possible on the busy road. Don't expect tablecloth, silverware and air conditioning. Set on the narrow pavement of the incredibly busy Yaowarat Road, it's a mystery how cars, bikes, by-passers manage to get past without hitting a dining table. Having diner at Lek-Rut is the perfect way to experience the way of life and culinary open-mind of Bangkok. You need to forget everything you know and just go with the flow, it's a fun and fascinating experience. Read More...

Location: Intersection of Yaowarat Road and Thanon Phadung Dao Street

3) Cotton Restaurant (Shanghai Mansion Hotel)

Chinatown is certainly not short of eating establishments, but if you are looking to add a real touch of panache to your meal then it’s impossible to beat the 1930s Shanghai parlour concept at Cotton restaurant. Located on the second floor of Shanghai Mansion Bangkok Boutique Hotel, the decor is simply wonderful, with a spiral cast-iron staircase, traditionally upholstered seating and period touches such as gramophones and antique furniture. The fact that Cotton restaurant faces onto Yaowarat Road means it is central to all the sites and shops of Chinatown and makes a great place for lunch or dinner.

Opening Hours: Lunch: 11:30 to 14:30 – Dinner: 18:30 to 22:30
MRT: Hua Lamphong (short taxi or tuk tuk required)
Address: 479-481 Yaowaraj Road (Chinatown)
Tel: +66 (0) 2221 2121

4) Krua Porn Lamai

Krua Porn Lamai is a typical street food shack for those who enjoy eating like locals, and by that, we mean 'really local'. The dirty cooking station is on one side of the street while the tables on the other, lined against a sooty wall, so the waiters have to constantly cross the busy street with boiling hot plates. Despite its shabby appearance and just like most restaurants in Chinatown, Krua Porn Lamai is always full but for the first timer it takes a bit of courage to pick this place (don't expect an illustrated English menu, all you have is a short list written in Thai above the cart). Famous for its sizzling 'Hoi Tod' - mussels and soya beans omelet brought on a cast iron plate, and for its even more sizzling 'Radna'. Radna is a mix of prawns, squid, chicken and vegetables also brought on an iron dish, but here the cook will pour the gravy on the burning hot plate directly at your table, creating a bubbling smoky haze... it's as good as it's hot! Other recommended specialties are Kyua Taew Kua Krob - Stir fried crispy noodles and Taro Kua - Stir Fried Taro snacks (not the Taro root, but this is one of the only shop using this very popular fish strips snacks in place of noodles!).

Location: Soi Plang Nam, a street on the right hand side of Yaowarat road

5) Kuay Jab Nai Huan

Kuay Jab Nai Huan is one of Yaowarat road all time favourites... This small stall only serves one dish and is packed non-stop from six in the evening to late at night. Kuay Jab is made of large rolled rice noodles with crispy pork belly, sometimes with intestines and most importantly served in a very very peppery clear soup, with prices starting 40 baht. It's so popular you will certainly have to queue patiently, standing in this incredibly busy intersection, or if you are lucky, they might take you further down the lane to set a table up just for you, in the middle of nowhere.

Location: Intersection of Yaowarat Road and Yaowa Phanit streets

6) Odean Crab Noodle Soup

Odean is a very clean and rather discreet restaurant located behind Wat Traimit, in a small street near the Chinese gate of Odeon circle in Chinatown. Obviously it should have been called Odeon restaurant but it joined the many charming typos in Bangkok with the name 'Odean'. This is not just another noodle soup joint as a bowl can cost as much as 500 baht!  The noodles are usually just traditional yellow egg noodles and the soup is light and clear... So what is their secret ingredient?

The key ingredient is nothing more than a delicious crab claw served on top of your soup... but not a tiny nipper... a big one, as big as you are willing to pay! So when ordering, you need to specify the price you wish to pay: from 200 to 500 baht. You can of course order a simple crab soup for 50 baht in which you will just get some crab meat, but the real deal here is to order a big claw. Everybody knows, the bigger, the  better! You can also order the same dish but 'dry' where the soup itself is served separately.

Location: Charoen Krung Road, just near Wat Traimit and the big Chinatown red gate

7) Double Dogs Tea Room

The decor is fairly simple, but spotlessly clean and everyone is given a heartfelt welcome by the owner, appropriately named, Khun Tee, and his staff. For newcomers to the world of tea, the menu is informative and easy to read, with separate sections on different tea types and regions. The tea set is a nice option for anyone looking for a refreshing drink together with a small snack. For 160 baht you get a Da Hong Pao tea, a well known blue tea from Fujian in China, with one Chinese baked tea cake from a selection of six.   Double Dogs Tea Room also serve reasonably priced beer and wine, as well as a limited food menu consisting of noodles, desserts and ice cream. Read More...

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Thursday: 13:00 - 21:00 – Friday to Sunday: 13:00 - 23:00 (Closed on Monday)
Location: 406 Yaowarat Road, Chinatown
Tel: 0863293075

8) Raan Look Khing and other sweets carts

No street dining experience in Chinatown would be complete without a fun local dessert. Often overlooked by travellers because of its unusual appearance, Thai sweets sold in the street bear no resemblance western desserts. Displayed on a tiny cart surrounded by the usual iron tables, small bowls are full of mostly unidentified multicoloured 'ingredients' used to prepare a cold dessert called 'Tao Tung'. You might recognize corn and red beans, but probably not the black jelly (Chao Kuai) or the green odd-looking noodles (Lod Chong), lotus, water chestnuts or the gingko nuts served in longan juice. You might even think this is a salad buffet!

Among the many sweets found along Yaowarat some are must-try: 'Bua Loy Num Khing' - rice balls stuffed with black sesame paste served in a very sweet and hot ginger sauce, or try 'Tao Tung Yen' - shaved ice with an assorted mix of the above mentioned toppings and covered with syrup, a great way to end a hot day or after a very spicy dinner. There are several of these carts along Yaowarat road, but Raan Look Khing (Baby Bamboo) at the intersection of Yaowarat road and Yaowa Phanit street is one of the most popular.

Location: Intersection of Yaowarat Road and Yaowa Phanit streets

9) Hua Seng Hong

One of Chinatown's more expensive options, but don’t doubt that you will get your money's worth. This large restaurant is known for it extensive seafood menu, as well as an excellent dim sum assortment and more unusually, a good variety of sweet treats. There are set menus, or you can pick from an a la carte selection. We recommend the yellow curry with crab meat and  the large sea bass with soy sauce which could easily feed 4 people.  If you want one of the most raved about Thai desserts, try the crepe cake. The restaurant is clean and modern, a great place to enjoy Thai Chinese cuisine.

Opening Hours: 14:00-24:00
Address: 371-373 Yaowarat Road
Tel: +66 (0) 222-0635

10) Himali Cha Cha

This long-established restaurant is the work of Cha Cha, who for 40 years cooked for the rich and famous. Cha Cha's son has maintained the family tradition of serving hearty Indian fare. Curries abound with mutton chutniwalla being the pick of the lot. Vindaloo is also recommended but for those of a less fiery disposition, chicken kashmiri, a rich, mild Himalayan blend with dried fruits, nuts and yoghurt will hit the spot. The restaurant is a chilled out spot in bustling Chinatown, with a lovely terrace and water feature outside. Inside they play soothing music and the service is swift and friendly. 

Opening Hours: 10:00-23:00
Address: 1229/11 Charoen Krung (New Road) Soi 47/1
Tel: +66 2235-1569
Cuisine: Indian

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