Rattanakosin Old Town
Founded in 1782 by King Rama I “Chakri Dynasty“, the kingdom of Rattanakosin, meaning “city of jewels”, which is the fourth and current traditional center of power in the history of Thailand. One of its first measures was to move the then capital, Thonburi, to Rattanakosin, the Siamese revolution of 1932 ended this period. The old town is not only a historical area, but also a quarter where world-renowned restaurants are among the best in Bangkok.
The most popular Thai dish among tourists and one of the best known in the world. The exact name is kuay teow pad thai (stir-fried rice noodle Thai style). Some believe that it was brought at the time of the Ayutthaya kingdom by Chinese traders.
During the Second World War, Thailand experienced a severe rice shortage. The Prime Minister Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsonghram, to contain the crisis encouraged the consumption of noodles, especially rice noodles which accounted for only about 50% of the rice used. From this decision was born a new noodle, Sen Chan, named after the province of Chantaburi where it was created. By encouraging people to eat noodles instead of rice, he wanted to improve the variety of food, but also to encourage unity and a sense of national identity in the country by creating a national dish that would be appreciated by all. A well-known version says that there would have been a competition to create a national dish, and the pad thai was the winner!
- Phibunsonghram, better known as Phibun, in 1932 was a military officer in a coup d’état where he played a leading role that has deprived the Thai monarchy of its full powers. Besides the creation of the pad thai, he is the man who made an alliance with Japan during the Second World War, and changed the name of Siam to Thailand, created the new flag, and the royal anthem, and New Year’s Day from April, to 1 January. He also decreed that women and men should dress in Western-style clothes – jacket, pants, shirt and tie for men, skirt, blouse, hat and gloves for women, and of course shoes, and wishing everyone would wear hats in public. A beautiful “cultural revolution” was to encourage men to kiss their wives before leaving for work in the morning. Following several coups d’état in which he lost and then regained power, in 1957 he was forced into exile in Japan where he lived until his death in 1964.
Young girl, Samai help her mother to sell Thai food and dessert on a boat (thip) on the Phasi Charoen canal, that’s where she learned to cook the pad thai.
The legendary Thip Samai the oldest pad thai restaurant in Thailand, also the one who created the pad thai Sen-Chan with shrimp oil, sea shrimp and wrapping egg, it is reputed to be the best in Bangkok by many tourists and reviews. Located in Maha Chai Road (ghost Gate-pratu Pee, Since 1966), close to the Klong Saen Saep, Wat Saket, and Kao San road, Thip Samai is a very busy restaurant and you should join a long queue, but if you are patient, the waiting time is not too long. It is also famous for the orange juice that I personally find too sweet and is good coconut shakes. I don’t go there anymore but there is a Thip Samai in Phutthamonthon 4 road where I live and go for lunch once or twice a month.
Is this really the best? hard to say, unconditional supporters will tell you that it is. For me yes it is one of the best, but if you have the opportunity, I invite you to compare it to those I mention, Ekhamai, Mae Am, or pad thai Sala Daeng, Sala Daeng Soi 2 (Silom Road) to make up your mind. Also, don’t hesitate to have one in street stalls or local restaurants, but anyhow you can’t leave Thailand without enjoying a pad thai.
Price 150-200 baht
Orange juice 50 cl, 160 baht
Open from 17.00 to 02.00
Address. 313-315 Maha Chai Road
They opened a branch at ICONSIAM shopping mall
To Go There
By boat on the Khlong Saen Saep is the easiest way, 11 baht/person from Pratunam pier to the last station, Panfa Leelard (Wat Saket), cross the bridge and take left on Maha Chai Road, the restaurant is 200 meters on the left.
Lung Pa Pad Thai
A few steps away is the Lung Pa pad thai, in the shadow of its famous neighbor is somewhat overlooked but deserves a lunch or dinner as much as its competitor. The orange color of the noodles is from the shrimp were cooked to extract fat to make one concentrate, very tasty. One of my favorite.
Chan Man Kung Sod, big, fresh prawns, 90 baht
Chan Man Kung shrimp fat,60 baht
Sen Chan with small dried shrimps, 50 baht
Open from 10 am to 2 am
Close. No fixed day
Raan Jay Fai Michelin Star since 2018
Raan means’ shop, Jay “sister” and Fai mean’ mole. A Michelin star, but nothing has changed especially the delicious cuisine. Mrs.Jay (73) is busier than ever and you will need to be patient before being seated, place your order and be served. The Specialty is crab omelet a real delicacy. It is strongly recommended going there as early as possible and put your name on the notebook for a reservation. The best time is before 12.00, you will have to wait till 14.30 for your lunch.
Raan Jay Fai is not and never has been a cheap street restaurant. Between 1800 and 2500 baht for a 2-course meal and a drink.
Open 14.30 to midnight
Close on Sunday and Monday
Address. 327 Maha Chai Road near Pad Thai Thip Samai
Between the Democracy Monument and the Red Giant Swing (Sao Chincha), many restaurants offer a wide choice of good Thai dishes and desserts, as well to chill in a beautiful teak wood old house recently lovingly renovated as a cafe
Tien Song Ped Yang
Established for more than 65 years, the house specialty is duck, and especially the ped yang (roasted duck). In a setting that, like many of its neighbors, has remained almost intact since its creation, the duck is excellent, very tender and the sauce (Hoisin) is good and it’s also cheap. Many regulars, good service, the young waitress speaks a little English. Amateur of this dish I am never disappointed, although my preference is the one of “dancing duck” on Rama 4 in Khlong Toei. The menu also offers crispy pork “moo krop“, roast red pork, or wonton noodle soup and other dishes.
Located just in front of City Hall
168-172 Dinso road
open from 8:00 AM – 8:30 PM every day
Krua Apsorn a Royal History
Chanchawee Sakunkan or Aunty Dang is the creator of Krua Apsorn’s recipes, she was not a cook but a government official who had an excellent reputation for her culinary talents among her colleagues and superiors. It was after being chosen to cook a Thai meal for Princess Srinagarindra, mother of King Bhumibol Adulyadej during a visit to the Sirikit Dam in 1970, that she joined the royal kitchen team. Krua Apsorn has been in operation for more than 20 years.
The Table of Dinso Street
It is no secret that Apsorn is an almost must-eat table in Dinso street. I am going there when I am around and this time I went only for the omelet called kai foo Poo (egg fluff with crab). Fried with minced pork and mixed with crab. Apsorn offers a menu where there is a choice of dishes to savor.
In addition to Dinso and Samsen road, Krua Apsorn has 4 other restaurants, but which are “outlying” of Bangkok’s tourist districts.
*Michelin Bib Gourmand 2019 in Samsen road
Open Monday to Saturday from 10.00 to 20.00
- Apsorn Thai-Sanskrit. Female nymphs and celestial dancers of Tavatimsa heaven
Arawy Restaurant for Vegetarians
For the vegetarians, a small restaurant Arawy serves very good “small” and cheap dishes. When ordering, ask the price of your dish(es). On the menu, spicy sausages and deep-fried oyster mushrooms for snacking, pumpkin in green curry, mustard leaves in vinegar and eggs, bean and tofu, coconut curry in banana leaf (hor mok) and more,
152 Dinso Road
Open Mon-Sun 7:00am-8:00pm.
Rok Mor Morning Market
For early birds, local markets where small restaurants come to buy fresh meat, seafood, spices, and vegetables. For the experience of joining the local community and why not have a cheap local-style breakfast. Takes place every morning.
To Go There
Take Bamrungmuang Road from Dinso to Tanao Street, the market is on the left in the small alley after Soi Thesa
Best time to visit 06:00-10:00
Thai Sweets and Cafe in a Teak House
Mont is the name of a chef with over 45 years of experience in his bakery, nomsod means’ fresh milk. In 1964, he began selling his famous steamed bread (kanompan) and condensed milk bread on the street. He quickly became popular that his cart was no longer suitable and opened his restaurant. It is now a very popular dessert throughout the country, as evidenced by three branches in Bangkok (MBK and Thonburi) and one in Chiang Mai.
Toasted or Steamed
You can choose between Toasted, or steamed bread with coconut custard or coconut egg custard, or jam, and the most original, with butter and creamy corn soup. I tasted the roasted with chocolate 25 baht, with an ice black coffee (oliang) 35 baht but they also have a wide choice of drinks as well as fresh milk or flavored milk, lemon tea, coffee, and others. It is true that it is more delicious than any other that can be eaten by street vendors. A place where all Thai people, especially the young but also not so young and with families, go for a simple and cheap dessert. A place where all Thais, especially young people but also not so young and with families, go for a simple and cheap dessert.
As soon as the restaurant opens, it fills up and customers have to join the queue to place their order, but despite the confusing system, everyone finds a place to seat or take out their order with them in a plastic bag. A beautiful success story that still has good days ahead.
Good for tea time
160, 1-3 Dinso Road, Bangkok
Open daily from 14:00 – 22:00
Kor Panich Mango Sticky Rice (khao niaow mamuang)
The Tanao street next after Dinso road is where you can have one of the best Kao niaow mamuang in Bangkok. The 80-year-old institution is a household name for its sweet sticky rice. Kor Panich people claim that the recipe comes from the royal kitchen where the owner’s wife’s mother used to work. And the standard they’ve been holding on to is that the sticky rice must be the popular khao niaow kiew ngoo type (from Chiang Rai), coconuts must come from Chumphon and sugar from Kanchanaburi.
Only one table inside
*Bib Gourmand Michelin 2019
Address. 431-433, Tanao Road
Open: 7.00 am – 6.00 pm
Gingerbread House Cafe Baan Kanompan Khing
Previously known as Baan Sao Ching Cha because located near the red Giant Swing. A former private residence, one of a few golden Teak well-preserved gingerbread-style architectural in Bangkok with the Wat Devaraj Kunchorn Worawiharn (golden teak museum), and the Wat Bovoranives Vihar, which is the temple of predilection of the current Chakri dynasty. A style that was popular among aristocrats and rich families as a symbol of high-ranking status. Abandoned several years ago has recently been lovingly renovated. Some parts have been restored the roofs, ceilings, walls, and floors and after about four months of renovations turned into a charming café, where it is very pleasant to enjoy good Thai desserts and homemade drinks.
* Gingerbread-style is a distinctive architectural style, which consists of a complex structure, a pitched roof, overhanging eaves and shutters with louvers (baan kra thung in Thai) and beautifully carved woodwork.
Built in 1913 by an official of the Agricultural Ministry under the reign of King Rama 6, and inherited in 1964 by his granddaughter who was the private dentist of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. She has never lived in the house let the staff of her dental clinic, many of whom have come from the provinces to settle there. Today, the house belongs to her daughter and her husband who gave it a new life, “Our goal is for Baan Kanompan Khing to become a cafe-cum-living museum “. Ancient furniture and several old photos of the house are on display.
Opened at the beginning of the year 2019, the capacity is about 40 people. Upstairs to enjoy the small rooms and its old furniture or the “office” balcony and sofa or the terrace in the shade of an 80-year-old mango tree. There is an air-conditioned room on the ground floor, but with few seats.
I had a Thai iced coffee (coffee yen) and was surprised that it was not too sweet as it is often the case in Thailand. Very nice presentation and delicious cake 120 baht. Every pastry is tempting, I let you choose.
Chao guay (grass jelly with Thai tea ice cream topped with sweetened gold Egg Yolks Thread, bael fruit cake, Bua Loy (small colorful balls made of glutinous rice flour in warm coconut milk), pandan leaf-infused coconut ice cream, iced mint macchiato, and more.
A nice old house to chill and enjoy some Thai delicacies served in vintage-style brassware and crystal ware used to recreate the past dining ambiance.
Address. Soi 47 (soi lang bot phram) Dinso road
Open daily, except Monday, from 11 am to 8 pm. Weekend from 9 am to 8 pm
The wooden frames above the windows were originally carved with letters of the Thai alphabet, reading Khan – the common name of Khun Prasert Thabien – the founder of the house is used as a logo
One of the Most Famous Areas of Thai Gastronomy
Just like Charoen Krung, this part of town is incredibly rich for the gourmands, and during your stroll in this area (one of my favorites) which does not lack interest and attraction, if feeling a little peckish you will find culinary specialties with vendors installed on the sidewalk.
Nice Place to Stay
I fairly often go to have lunch and for a walk in this area, and I have noticed beautiful old renovated wooden houses as guesthouses, and hostels in small Soi. I have visited some of them which in addition to their good location in this quiet area, these accommodations are comfortable and clean.
Colonial house full of charm, the modern meets the past. The perfect nest for lovers.
25 Trok Silp, Dinso Road
Lovely cozy wood house
31 Trok Silp, Dinso Road
Beautiful wooden house Colonial-style. Unfortunately is closed at the moment
113 Trok Sin, Dinso Road
Next to Baan Dinso, Ban Thuandang (was undergoing renovation when I went there)
117 Trok Sin, Dinso Road
Due to the neighbor’s construction around our house which caused your inconvenience, we have to close the house and relocate your room to Baan Dinso 2, the building at the Democracy Monument corner
Close to the monument of Democracy but set back from the road, small pool
84 Ratchadamnoern Road
More homestay style than a guest house, a locked door for security. Not easy to find.
41 Trok-Watmahannaparam1 Mahannop Road
Homestay in a nicely restored heritage property, a little hard to find, on the same lane, then Villa Mungkala
4/4 Troksin, Tanao Road
Budget hostel, rooftop
22 Soi Samran Rat
What I Think
I am not in favor of Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and try to avoid it as much as possible. Monosodium glutamate (MSG). Is a natural food in tomatoes, mushrooms and many other, so why to add more. Most of the restaurants and stall vendors use it to enhance the flavor, also, if you think like me, don’t forget to ask, no Pong Choo Rot or Ajinomoto please (Ka, Kap).
A very interesting website to learn more about all the additives found in food.
I hope this will be helpful for planning your next trip to Bangkok. If you have any questions, I will be more than happy to help you out.