(THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - There is certainly a lot to do in Bangkok’s central Ratchaprasong district – with everything connected by a Sky Walk – but the biggest magnet is still the food.
The Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association and Tourism Authority of Thailand are encouraging people to take a walk around the area to see what they discover.
The Chidlom BTS station is the perfect starting point for food foraging.
Here are 10 great stops along the way.
On the “West Walk” section of the Ratchaprasong Walk, Provence is celebrated for its terrific noodles served all day. The name comes from the picturesque French region and the restaurant is decked out in flowers to mimic it.
Boat Noodle With Beef is a popular choice - aromatic, full-flavoured and chock full of Australian beef.
Snacks include Chor Muang dumplings and spring rolls, while desserts include sticky rice with mango and banana in syrup.
Where: L Floor Gaysorn Village
Top picks: Boat Noodle With Beef, Khao Soi curried noodle with braised chicken drumstick
Open: 11am to 8pm daily
2. THEO MIO
Springy pasta and rich cheeses mark Theo Mio as an authentic Italian restaurant. Home cooking meets wonderful local and imported ingredients in dishes found nowhere else in the city. Chef Theo Randall personally makes the pasta for Pappardelle Con Ragu Di Guancia, adding juicy Wagyu cheeks cuts marinated in red wine and then grilled to perfection.
Where: InterContinental Bangkok
Top picks: Pappardelle Con Ragu Di Guancia, antipasti
Open: 10am to 8pm daily
3. OUAN YUM PU
Ouan Yum Pu is a stall serving north-eastern dishes such as spicy som tum (green papaya salad) in various forms. Spicy santol salad is made with white and fluffy santol pulp and includes crab, dried shrimp or pickled fish. The deep-fried chicken drumsticks and grilled catfish are also terrific.
Where: Stall No. 21, TOT Canteen
Top picks: Green papaya salad with crab, grilled pork salad, grilled chicken
Open: 8am to 2pm daily
4. BKK BAGEL BAKERY
Authentic New York-style bagels of all sorts, topped by a dish called Lox, Stock & Bagel with home-cured salmon, dill, capers, lemon and cream cheese. The Tuna Melt is amazing, too. There are also brownies, pies, carrot cake, cheesecake and cookies, plus Big Apple-style coffee, including vegan coffee.
Where: G Floor Maneeya Centre
Top picks: Lox, Stock & Bagel, smoked chicken, Bacon & Avocado
Open: 7.30am to 5.30pm daily
At the southern end of the district is the The Cook foodcourt with more than 50 street-style eateries. One of them, Boonlert, is an extension of the famous egg-noodle shop in the Nang Lerng neighbourhood. Try the wonton egg noodle with soya-marinated grilled pork or shrimp. The luscious soup – pork bone simmered with coriander root and seasoned with white soya sauce – smells wonderful.
Where: The Cook foodcourt, Level 4 Amarin Plaza
Top picks: Wonton egg noodle, egg noodle with crabmeat
Open: 10am to 8pm daily
6. GREAT HALAL
Anyone who has been to Police General Hospital knows about a no-name food stall there that specialises in Muslim-style som tum and deep-fried minced catfish. Also fantastic are the chicken biryani with tender thigh or drumstick and the mutton biryani with goat meat rinsed in milk and spiced to remove the heavy odour. And the prices here are more than merely reasonable.
Where: Nutrition Department Building, Police General Hospital
Top picks: Chicken and mutton biryani, deep-fried minced catfish salad
Open: 6am to 2pm daily
EAT – the name is an acronym for Eat All Thai – does authentic set meals and a la carte dishes. Pad Sam Mhen is a trio of ingredients famous for its strong taste and smell – bitter bean, solo garlic and climbing wattle vermicelli. The ingredients are stir-fried with curry paste, shrimp paste and a giant river prawn. Stir-fried Cowslip Flower with Salted Egg is prepared differently here. Grilled pork with Northeastern Thai sauce and grilled sticky rice have the meat (a little on the fatty side) charcoal-grilled, dipped in hot jaew sauce and enjoyed with egg-battered sticky rice.
Where: Level 2 Groove @ CentralWorld
Top picks: Pad Sam Mhen, Stir-fried Cowslip Flower with Salted Egg, Grilled pork with Northeastern Thai sauce
Open: 11am to 9pm daily (until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays)
8. WASHOKU GALLERY
A foodcourt that mimics urban Japan and precisely presents its cuisine, this is a great place to enjoy Osaka-style yakitori, Kansai-fashion small-ball takoyaki and the organic unagi for which Kagoshima is renowned. Desserts and snacks come straight from Japan.
Where: Level 5 Isetan @ CentralWorld
Top picks: Onigiri bento, organic unagi, beef tongue teppanyaki, mochi
Open: 10am to 8pm daily
9. KUANG HENG CHICKEN RICE
In Ratchaprasong’s north, Kuang Heng Chicken Rice – more than 70 years old – is duly acclaimed for that dish, but its crisply battered roasted chicken rice, bite-sized pork satay and tasty bitter melon soup with Chinese herbs are also fantastic. The starters include spring rolls and fish maw soup. For dessert, try the Volcano Shaved Ice in flavoured syrup.
Where: Pratunam intersection
Top picks: Chicken rice, roasted chicken rice, pork satay, bitter melon soup with Chinese herbs
Open: Round the clock
10. THE SQUARE
The buffet here is sensational, offering Thai cuisine such as spicy grilled pork salad, papaya salad and Khanom Chin rice noodles, Japanese onigiri with excellent toppings, Chinese dim sum and remarkable Western fare. You can get a pizza, penne, grilled pork, chicken or seafood, bread butter pudding and blueberry mousse.
Where: Level 6 Novotel Bangkok Platinum Pratunam
Open: 6pm to 10pm (Sunday through Thursday)