Freelance writer Casey Kittrell spent several days eating his
way through Bangkok. Here is his report:
ating in Bangkok is as much of
a bargain as shopping there. Adventurous travelers willing to eat
on the street will find tempting food stalls on every block.
Though I didn't see any refrigerators at these sidewalk
eateries, most vendors buy their ingredients daily, so produce is
fresh. And many dishes are vegetarian, omitting meat and dairy
products that might contain harmful bacteria.
Helpful rule of thumb for clients picking a street vendor: Tell
them to look for a stall where a long line of customers is waiting,
a strong indication that the food will be good, clean and cooked
right in front of them.
Most roadside meals cost less than a dollar, and they can be
If you're looking for more luxury, head for the Oriental Hotel,
the city's premier property and the legendary lodge of authors like
The China House restaurant there is surprisingly affordable --
total price for my meal, including drinks and tip, was $25. The
menu is mostly Cantonese, with many of the best dishes included in
the dim sum lunch.
Even more memorable is the ambience. There are few other places
in Thailand where you'll receive white linen napkins and
Although I can afford to eat at the Oriental, I can't afford to
sleep there. Fortunately, the Vieng Tai Hotel is a comfortable
alternative. Recently renovated, the 200-room hotel is now one of
the best places to stay in Banglampu, a centrally located
neighborhood near many tourist attractions.
It's just a few blocks over from the backpacker boulevard known
as Khao San Road, but the Vieng Tai is no grungy guesthouse. It's a
clean, modern place with many amenities. And the old women pushing
the noodle carts at the end of the street make a mean pad thai.
Vieng Tai Hotel
Address: Rambuttri Road, Banglampu 10200
Phone: (011) 66-2 280-5434
Rates: Rooms from $31 to $83 include breakfast
buffet of Western and Thai food.
Amenities: Internet connection through hotel's
business office; restaurant, pool, banquet rooms; in-room cable
Noteworthy: Real espresso in the coffee shop; good
value for this level of accommodation.
Not worthy: You may have to wait for a table at
breakfast; restaurant can't seat everyone when the hotel is