Bangkok Food Courts
Bangkok food courts are as numerous and as central to life as tuk-tuks and temples. Any one of the Bangkok food courts are the best places to sample a wide range of really cheap and really tasty Thai food. They serve authentic dishes, much like street stalls, but in a cleaner, air-conditioned environment – most are often packed out with hungry locals and inquisitive tourists alike. There’s also plenty of options on cuisine from all around the world – plus many of the worlds fast food chains. Many of the Bangkok food courts are housed in shopping malls and successfully bring together Bangkok’s two great pastimes – shopping and dining.
Food courts have their own rules and methods that can be a little confusing to the newbie visitor. At a food court, you get to choose cuisine from a vast array of different outlets – but you must go about things the right way. The first thing you will need to do is pick up a value card or voucher from the cash desk, as payments are not usually accepted at the stalls. Then you can make your way around, in peruse of some especially tasty or interesting meal. Most of the food courts in Bangkok have menus written in both Thai and english – although some of the smaller, more local orientated ones may not. Don’t worry too much though, as staff in the food courts have become very used to serving foreigners and will guide you through the system. If you have any unused vouchers, they can be redeemed at the cash desk before you leave.
Bangkok Food Courts Guide
- Step 1: When you arrive at the food court you can either look around at the vendors first or buy a voucher at one of the two “Cash Card Counters” located at the start/end of the food vendors. If you are unsure how much money you need for your voucher then look around first and see the prices on various menus. Don’t worry you will get your change back when you hand back your card
- Step 2: Locate a vendor! Walk along the food court and take look at the food on offer. There will be menus in Thai and English along with prices. A lot of vendors may not speak good English or might simply be too busy to answer any questions so do look around until you are comfortable with what you are buying
- Step 3: Order the dish you want from the vendor. Either point or say a menu number next to the item you want. The dish will then be cooked or served up in front of you. Before the cooking starts you can say “No sugar” or “No MSG” or “No spicy”. Most vendors will understand what you mean! Keep in mind Thai cooked food tends to be spicy
- Step 4: As your food is cooking grab a tray and cutlery. In case you are wondering the stainless steel pot of hot water is there for you to dip your cutlery into to sterilise them! Many vendors also offer condiments which you can load up on your tray too
- Step 5: Once your food is cooked it will be handed to you in exchange for your voucher card. The vendor will then swipe your card and the meals set value will be deducted from it. The vendor will then hand you back you card and a paper receipt which shows the item value and the remaining value left on the card
- Step 6: Eat at one of available tables nearby
- Step 7: Need a drink? There are a few drink sellers located around the food court. The same voucher principle holds true with them as well
- Step 8: When you’ve finish eating leave your tray behind (there are cleaners that will tidy up for you)
- Step 9: Locate one of the “Refund Counters” to get the remaining money back from your voucher. Some food courts the same kiosk you bought the vouchers from usually give the cash back
There’s a huge choice in almost every Bangkok food court – all offering the basics of local noodles, vegetarian and Muslim. These days, there are a variety of international cuisines, where you can taste food from all over the globe – such as Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Indian, Italian, English and much more. But really, you should be going for local Thai cuisine! Try some Som Tam – the classic shredded green papaya salad, Naam Prik, a fiery chile sauce into which you dip vegetables, fried fish, and rice cakes, fragrant pork legs simmering in cauldrons of gravy – or maybe the omelettes, with oysters and bean sprouts. Yummy, sounds delicious right!
Drinks are almost always served from separate booths to the food. You’ll find exotic fruit juices, fresh coconuts, blended fruit shakes, smoothies, sodas, tea, coffee and herbal drinks.
Bangkok is famed for cheap and tasty food. Most people might only think of getting Thai food from a local restaurant or getting some from a street vendor. However, the food courts in the city really are a great way to explore local delights. There are many great food courts in Bangkok. Eating at a food court can be fun and you get to try many different things. They are also very reasonable in price – you can get a plate of food for about 60 THB to 90 THB. Enjoy the experience!