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BKK food courts versus mall chain restaurants

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Nov 5th, 2015, 06:19 PM
  #1
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BKK food courts versus mall chain restaurants

We are visiting Bangkok for about 2.5 days in December with a kid aged 5. Our kid actually relishes eating mildly spicy Thai dishes, Pad Thai or satays etc. We are planning on staying at the Intercontinental near the Chidlom BTS. Given our extremely short stay, what's the best places to eat great Thai food? We've heard that food courts can be a decent alternative to eating off the streets (which we've heard are the best places to eat!). We noticed several eating options around the Chidlom and Siam BTS stations. Food courts like Eathai @ Central Embassy, Food Loft @ Central Chidlom and food courts in nearby malls like Amarin, Central World, Siam Paragon etc. To add to our confusion, there are also mall based branches of popularly recommended chain restaurants like Kalpapruek, Taling Pling and Somboon Seafood etc.
We have a couple of questions:
1. What would be the best food courts or sit down restaurant branches to eat at in that area (vicinity of Chit Lom and Siam BTS) if we plan on eating about 3 of our meals in the malls?
2. How do those chain restaurant branches (Kalpapruek/Somboon) compare with the mall based food courts (Eathai/Central World etc)?

We wouldn't mind paying a premium or walking a bit more if a particular mall food court or restaurant offered better quality (fresher) Thai food that isn't dumbed down for farangs but we've also heard that a higher price in Bangkok doesn't always mean better quality! We aren't planning to shop much so venturing into the mall would be primarily to sample foods in air conditioned comfort
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Nov 6th, 2015, 03:32 AM
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Do not eat anything from street vendors , it's just too risky. And yes there will be posters that have never had a problem just use your commen sense and you will understand why that is a risky affair.
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Nov 6th, 2015, 03:58 AM
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Food poisoning can happen in food courts as well! (not to mention the same happens in so called western countries)

Millions eat from street cart every day both locals and foreigners with no problems.

My only word of caution would be to take extra care _wherever_ you decide to eat as you have a 5 year old child who may not tolerate the type and spiciness of Thai food as well as adults.

Now, back to answering your question..one of the best Thai restaurants near Chidlom BTS is Spice Market in the Anantara Siam Bangkok, around the corner from Chidlom, near Rachadamri BTS. Spice Market serves very traditional Thai dishesthat I grew up with in the 60's and not easily found these days (not Pad Thai, thank goodness!). It is not cheap but it is genuinely good.
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Nov 6th, 2015, 04:07 AM
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I second that.Street food is way too risky.Food courts in malls like Central,Siam serve some very good thai. Its practically ' food on the go'.Grab a quick bite and off shopping again.

With 2 and a half days,you have the an evening to do a fine dine restaurant.There are aplenty.Name the dish and you'll get great recommendations here from regulars.

I would personally prefer a restaurant with a good view.

The Floating Market @ Baiyoke Tower.

Sirroco and the Sky Bar @ Lebua State tower.

Vertigo @ the Banayan tree Hotel

Arun Residenses Restaurant with a view of Wat Arun across the river.

Scarlett Restaurant @ Pullman Hotel.

Make bookings.Avoid disappointment.
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Nov 6th, 2015, 05:37 AM
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Forget. The view with a kid, IMO, plus those mostly are very expensive...

The loft is fab, fresh and has all kinds of cuisines. It is a unique place... You pay at the end after you visit all the stations and consume your food. A few tables are near the large window. You could eat all meals here and be happy.

In that area are McDonald's also.

The basement of Siam paragon mall is a huge food court.
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Nov 6th, 2015, 06:19 AM
  #6
 
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Just stayed a week near Chidlom. The food courts in Cemtral World Chidlom and Central World Siam have an amazing array of places to eat. Our difficulty was in making a decision.

I love street food but not with a 5 year old. One place which should be ok is the bunch of food stalls by Erawan. Very busy and all freshly cooked .
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Nov 6th, 2015, 07:51 AM
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Thanks for all of your recommendations. As far as high end dining goes, the Spice Market sounds like a good suggestion-currently we have a lunch reservation at 'Nahm' on one of the days as we are fans of the David Thompson cookbooks. We've also heard good things about Supanniga Eating Room. Wondering which of these would be our best option for that 1 upscale meal?!

Are there any places for lunch in the vicinity of the tourist attractions like the Grand Palace/Wat Pho or the Wat Arun? We were thinking of Krua Apsorn near the Library since its often highly recommended but not sure how easy it is to get to or to get a seat there at lunch.

Regarding street foods, I was born and grew up in Mumbai India so I actually love eating off the streets except that these days I've started to be a bit careful. I might still sneak in a few snacks while we walk around!
The Eathai "food court" in Central Embassy claims to represent street foods from various regions. Is it any good?
Looking essentially to eat great (if not the best!) - Hoi Tod (oyster omlette), Banana Blossom Salad, Nahm Khao, river prawns besides the usual Gaeng Panaeng, Pad Gra Prao etc.
In case we're able to stay 1 more day in Bangkok, we were thinking of hitting the Chatuchak (JJ) market and eating at Or Tor Kor market nearby. That additional day possibly could allow me to swing by Raan Jai Fai for my favorite dish Phad Kee Mao - unless of course someone tells me I can find a rendition that comes close and is relatively easier to get to from the Chidlom area!
Thanks in advance!
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Nov 6th, 2015, 08:43 AM
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I've seen loads of ypung children tucking into Bangkok street food. If locals are sat eating, and it's busy then you've got nothing to fear.
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Nov 7th, 2015, 08:00 AM
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A great lunch place in that area is Le Beaulieu, in the plaza anthanee office building-- further down their driveway

Fixed price French and excellent--suggest a reservation
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Nov 7th, 2015, 12:04 PM
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What sort of international traveller legs it across half a dozen time zones for a few chewy snails, skinny frogs legs, or a croque madame?

Thailand is all about Thai food, and there's nowhere better to enjoy it than at street level.
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Nov 8th, 2015, 04:15 AM
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Locals eating street food-nothing to fear. I don't think so. The locals have adapted to any existing bacteria where as tourists have not. Stick to indoor air conditioned places that have proper restrooms, hot water to wash utensils as well as hands. Where do those street vendors wash their hands? Where do they relieve themselves? How do they wash their utensils? Do they have proper refrigeration of their uncooked meats? Do you really want to risk your vacation by eating off the street in hot humid conditions as that? The argument that you can get food poisoning in regular restaurants does not make a compelling case for eating street food.
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Nov 8th, 2015, 04:22 AM
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Thanks everyone! On the day we eat off the streets, we could pack a PBJ sandwich for the 5 yo (though knowing her, she'd be more keen to try what we're munching on!!��).
Speaking of eating off the streets, what ould a great place for a meal near the old city sights of the Grand Palace and Wat Pho? Import food has a feature on Saochingcha listing places like Chotechitr, Kor Panich but I'm not sure they are open in the afternoons! Any recommendations for food in that area around lunch?

Alternatively, we were thinking of taking a taxi to Krua Apsorn (Samsen road near National Library) which seems like a short ride away?
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Nov 8th, 2015, 12:38 PM
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@MrsBillT - each to their own.

OP - don't be scared off. Use common sense and you will be just fine - like millions of other visitors to Thailand.
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Nov 8th, 2015, 01:15 PM
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Agree with PhilMeow. Just use common sense, the same common sense you should exercise wherever you eat.
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Nov 8th, 2015, 06:09 PM
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BillT is 100% correct about street food IMO.. Think about what he says...
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Nov 9th, 2015, 12:24 AM
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If he's right, then why do millions of visitors to Thailand eat, and often live off food served up on street food stalls?

After you've exercised your common sense, you'll find that street food is served fresh, cooked in front of you and is piping hot. Disposable paper plates/containers are used, and disposable plastic cutlery are what you eat with.

Buffet food, yes posh Sunday Brunch food in hotel restaurants are the worst of all. Think about all the bad habits that diners have...

- Not washing their hands before diving into the food.

- Fingering food, especially bread rolls, until they've found the roll with that right feel.

- Choosing food, having second thoughts, and putting it back.

- Serving themselves and putting the utensil they used back into a different dish.

- Inadvertently dipping their tie in the food or soup urn.

- Eating as they proceed along the counters.

- Coughing as they proceed along the counters.

- Leaning over the dishes at the counter, and starands of hair dropping into the dishes.

- Eating as they carry their overloaded plates to their table.

- Going up for another overloaded plate full and using the same plate.

- The list of bad habits continue - yuk!
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Nov 9th, 2015, 02:43 AM
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@rhkkmk "BillT is 100% correct about street food IMO"

If you think about that sentence, MrsBillT can not be 100% right because if he is then _everyone_ (locals and farangs) who eats street food will get food poisoning. Clearly, this is not the case.

If there is fast turnover of people, food being properly cooked then it's not a problem.
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Nov 9th, 2015, 03:16 AM
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I must be TOTALLY wrong...
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Nov 9th, 2015, 04:48 AM
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Of course there areplenty of people eating street food and not getting sick, just as there are plenty of people eating atposh buffets and not getting sick. It's about risk minimization and common sense. Do you really want to run the risk while on vacation that it will be you that eats at the wrong street stall and you spend half of your vacation sitting on your toilet?

Yes of course it can happen at any restaurant but again if you use common sense you will see that the risks are lower if you frequent an indoor restaurant that has the proper hygiene in place.
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Nov 9th, 2015, 05:45 AM
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And one more point to make, there are three of you and it may be that the husband is fine with the street food, but the wife is not or alternatively you both are fine but you let your 5 year old try some and wham he/she gets sick. Now all three of you are stuck in your hotel room for a day or two..

If you are bent on trying the street food, and I admit there were times when I was tempted to try some when we're in BKK, then Do take all the precautions mentioned above. If it all works out fine, and we all here on Fodors do hope that is the case, then report back to us. If however it does not then please do let everyone know as it will help others make the decision to try street food.
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