One of the great things about living in Thailand is the opportunity to enjoy an amazing variety of food. From the world’s spiciest salad to deep fried insects, eating here can definitely be a culinary adventure! However, where do you go when you are not feeling so adventurous? No matter how much you love Thai food there will be times when you have a craving for something from home. Whether you are looking for an American hamburger, British Fish & Chips or Japanese sushi your best option for a quick inexpensive meal is to visit a Bangkok food court.
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Almost every shopping mall in Bangkok has a food court giving you literally dozens of options. Best of all you can see exactly what you are choosing, rather than picking from a menu, and there’s no waiting for it to be cooked! Let me introduce you to my Top 5 favourites. Our first stop is in the famous MBK shopping mall.
MBK – 5th Avenue Food Court
Located on the 5th floor of the MBK shopping centre, the 5th Avenue Food Court has a pleasant relaxing restaurant-style ambience and occasionally has a live band playing. You will find a range of international cuisine including Italian, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian, Western and of course Thai food.
The Fifth Avenue uses a credit card type payment system. As you enter you are given a card to hand to each vendor who swipes it each time you purchase a meal. When you have finished choosing your meal from various counters, you hand your credit card to the cashier at the exit and settle your bill. Tipping is not necessary as a 5% surcharge is automatically added to the bill.
Central World – Isetan Food Hall
Located between Chidlom Station and Siam Station we arrive at Central World, which is the largest shopping mall in Bangkok. Inside this huge mall the Food Hall is located on the top floor. The open kitchen design is similar in style to the Fifth Avenue food court in MBK. With seating for over 100 and a stunning view over Bangkok, this bustling food court is great for people watching.
If you fancy Japanese food, then check out Central World’s Isetan Food Hall. Isetan is a large Japanese department store which is full of thousands of Japanese products and brands. If you appreciate authentic Japanese food then a visit to the top floor of Isetan is a must. Recently opened, the Isetan Food Hall boasts a number of top quality Japanese restaurants. Reservations are recommended as they do get busy.
Foodland Supermarket – Took Lae Dee
A short walk from Nana BTS station you will find the famous Took Lae Dee cafeteria. Took Lae Dee means “cheap and good” and this 24 hour cafeteria certainly lives up to its name. The American Breakfast with your choice of bacon, sausages or ham, toast and eggs along with fruit juice or coffee, all for only 49 Baht (that’s around $1.50!) is particularly popular. You certainly won’t miss home after that treat!
A word of caution about Took Lae Dee. Due to its proximity to the night club scene, the customers here get more and more interesting as the night wears on. It is great for people watching but probably best avoided if you are with your family
Asoke BTS – Times Square
The Times Square building is a commercial office tower located a few minutes walk from Asoke BTS station. If you fancy a change from a busy Bangkok food court, Le Fleurs restaurant is one of my favourites in Bangkok because of its quiet ambiance and live music. This is a fantastic place to enjoy a pleasant lunch, well off the main tourists’ trail.
Emporium – Food Hall
Our last stop brings us to the trendy Emporium Food Hall near Phrom Phrong station. Popular with the Japanese and hi-so Thais, Emporium Food Court is at the higher end of Bangkok food court prices. The food court is rather tucked away on the 5th floor, but like all good things the search is worth it as the food is excellent. If you are looking for a real American style hamburger then a stop at Duke’s Restaurant is a must.
These are just a few of the many food courts in Bangkok. Prices typically range from 100 – 300 baht per dish which places them slightly more expensive than a street food vendor, but cheaper than a restaurant. Thai food courts are a great source for fast cheap food and a good place to relax and get out of the heat.
If you have a suggestion for a great food court please share it by posting it in the comments below.