Bangkok Delectable Chinatown
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Bangkok Delectable Chinatown

Outstanding street food, atmospheric markets and a clutch of hip new venues make this lively district a joy to discover

One of Bangkok’s most charismatic neighbourhoods, Chinatown, has witnessed an injection of vital energy with new bars and galleries setting up shop alongside its pre-existing markets and gold shops. Yet while a younger generation of residents is adding something fresh, it is the balance between tradition and change that makes this one of Bangkok’s most rewarding areas to explore.

Shopping in Chinatown
Chowing Down in Chinatown

They take their cuisine very seriously in Chinatown, meaning that only the very best vendors can keep business alive. There’s strong Chinese influence here as you might expect, meaning that delicious noodle dishes and roast meats such as pork, duck and goose are the order of the day. When it comes to finding a suitable street food option it pays to follow the crowds to the busiest vendors. If the tables are packed then you can be assured that the flavours are good and the hygiene standards are high. This area is also home to some of Bangkok’s best-loved restaurant fixtures. With over 50 years of experience, Kam Lung dishes up excellent Hong Kong-style Cantonese fare. Equally venerable is Tang Jai Yoo, which is famous for its suckling pig, hailed by TV-personality Anthony Bourdain among others. Another must-try restaurant is Yim Yim, which has been around for some 80 years and is said by many to offer Bangkok’s best Chinese food.

Cook preparing Food
New kids on the block

In the warren of atmospheric laneways sandwiched between Chinatown, the Chao Phraya River and Bangkok’s main Hualumphong Train Station, shophouse dwellings shelter workshops and old-style jewellery and antique stores. And it is to such buildings that some of Bangkok’s most thrilling new creative ventures have set up shop. For a lively night in a friendly atmosphere, head to Soulbar, which specialises in soulful sounds supplied by resident and visiting musicians.


On Soi Nana in the Sukhumvit area, one of the epicentres of the Chinatown scene, Ba Hao offers excellent drinks and delicious Chinese-inspired snacks (its duck dumplings are a must-try), Cho Why is one of Bangkok’s coolest exhibition and art spaces, while authentic Thai elements such as live traditional music and cocktails made from local spirits such as ya dong (herbal whisky) come to the fore at Tep Bar.

Ba Hao
Back to the old school

The true nature of old Bangkok can be sampled via numerous timeless Chinatown highlights. We love Trok Issaranuphap market, which links Yaowarat Road and Charoen Krung Road. It harbours some outstanding food as well as traditional medicine shops, fortune tellers and outlets that specialize in assorted bric-a-brac. Another great place to browse is Sampeng Lane Market. Fans of vintage vinyl, meanwhile, will adore Broadway Record Store. The shelves here bulge with records decorated with Thai script and some choice 1970s fashions and haircuts. After shopping and snacking, close the day out at Double Dogs Tea Room – a relaxing spot to indulge in tea and Chinese cakes.

Traders sell fruit and vegetables