|BBBB||B1,500 and up|
Approximate price per person.
Why it’s awesome: Loosely translated as “very good,” Sanyod lives up to its name with the stickiest, eggiest, most garlic-flecked and moreish noodles in town (B200). Eat them with a bounty of crispy pork, red pork and roast duck.
The vibe: Chinese paintings in oversized frames, big golden vases and round tables occupied by noisy Thai-Chinese families. The glossy menu, written in Thai, English and Chinese, features colorful photographs of cliched Chinese fare like “dry” noodles with roast duck and wonton soup.
The price: BB-BBB
The Elegant Court, Charasvieng Soi 88, 02-630-9200. Open daily 8am-9:30pm
Tang Jai Yoo
Why it’s awesome: A Teochew institution of nearly 80 years, this family-run restaurant’s a no-brainer when it comes to old-school Chinese food. Specialties include the whole suckling pig (B1,800) and fried rice with plump, fresh crab—(B300).
The vibe: A no-frills restaurant where the mood is all in the clientele: chatty aunties and uncles, after-work merrymakers and whole families celebrating a special occasion. Of course, don’t miss the soap operas blasting from corner flat screens.
The price: BBB
85-89 Yaowa Phanit Rd., 02-224-2167. Open 11am–2pm, 4:30–10pm
Yee Lao Tang Jua Lee
Why it’s awesome: Operating for more than 60 years, this second-generation restaurant continues to serve hearty Chinese food. The kitchen is renowned for being generous with meats and toppings. On the menu, you’ll find braised pork belly on a bed of pickled cabbage (B200), fried shrimp-stuffed tofu skin (B120), oyster omelets (B200) and stir-fried eggplant with Chinese olives (B200), along with a large variety of dim sum.
The vibe: This two-story restaurant takes the simple, classical route with round wooden tables, metal chairs and Chinese artwork adorning the walls. The regulars don’t come for the decor—it’s all about the food here.
The price: BB
45-47 Bamrungmuang Rd., 02-221-8447. Open daily 11am-10pm
Yong Hua Restaurant
Why it’s awesome: This old favorite by the Giant Swing has kept a clientele of families coming back for over half a century. The oyster omelets (B350) and crispy-skin fried chicken (B500, dubbed “gai fai dang”) here are not to be missed.
The vibe: Currently in the hands of its third generation, this Teochew restaurant looks like a fine-dining establishment from 60 years ago—the type where your grandmother and her girl friends would hang out on weekends.
The price: B
101 Siripong Rd., 02-221-6429. Open daily 10:30am-2pm, 5-10pm
Why it’s awesome: Headed by native Hong Kong chef Yeung Koon Yat (formerly of Hong Kong’s Forum Restaurant, which once held a Michelin star), this longtime favorite boasts some of the best Cantonese cuisine and dim sum in town, including the much-vaunted lava buns (B130/3 pieces).
The vibe: Family tables, starched white cotton, large windows and wall-to-wall carpeting make for a classic dining room ambiance.
The price: BB
3/F, Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside, Charoenkrung Rd., 02-291-7781-2. Open daily 11am-2:30pm, 6-10:30pm
Why it’s awesome: Tucked in lush Ratchadamri, Chef Man has earned its stellar reputation on the strength of an aromatic Peking duck (B1,600) with wonderfully thin, soft pancakes. A quality menu from dim sum through the heartier likes of dried abalone with crispy rice (B6,800) ensure that the restaurant’s abuzz at all hours.
The vibe: It’s all old-world luxury here, with dark paneled walls, plush red chairs and a semi-open kitchen with ducks hanging in the window. Expect a clientele equally coiffed and refined.
The price: BBB
33/1 Sathorn Rd., 02-210-8100. Open daily 11am-14:30pm, 6-10pm.
Why it’s awesome: China House charms diners who need a dash of hip to go with their shrimp dumplings. Set in a dining area that recalls Shanghai Tang-meets-1920s-China, this restaurant offers dyed-in-the-wool crowd pleasers like oven-roasted Peking duck (B1,750), as well as nouveau-Chinois flourishes like deep-fried shrimp in a creamy wasabi sauce (B820).
The vibe: The tiny aquamarine bar, the deep red and black lacquers, the films playing in the toilets, the shelves of Mariage Frères teas… We could wax lyrical about the tableware alone but you get the point: China House is one sexy place.
The price: BBBB
Mandarin Oriental, 48 Oriental Ave., Charoenkrung Rd., 02-659-9000. Open Tue-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm, 6-11pm
Why it’s awesome: The 30-year-schooled Hong Kong native who heads the kitchen, Jacky Chan, does things to pork belly which are so sinfully delicious that Liu is the first name on many Thai-Chinese families’ lips when it comes to fine dining. Be sure to order it in his signature dong po style (B340), stewed with black soy sauce and served with Chinese buns.
The vibe: Lacquered chairs and lazy susans. Without a window in sight and lighting that’s permanently set on “mood,” this is one best left for the evening.
The price: BBB
3/F, Conrad Hotel, 87 Wireless Rd., 02-690-9999. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 6-10:30pm
Why it’s awesome: Welcome to our favorite spot for dim sum with prime river views (along with Ah Yat, see above). At Mei Jiang, however, your prawns in port wine sauce (B500) and roasted pigeon marin (B720) come with the more regal ambiance of the Peninsula.
The vibe: Large bays windows look out upon a manicured lawn running towards the Chao Praya. Looking in, the decor is timeless and cream-toned.
The price: BBB-BBBB
G/F, The Peninsula Bangkok, 333 Charoen Nakhon Rd., 02-020-2888. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 6-10:30pm
Why it’s awesome: A must-visit for lovers of soup dumplings, this Taiwanese import is one of the most popular restaurants in CentralWorld. Make sure to get a set of xiao long bao (soup-filled steamed dumplings, B315).
The vibe: This massive family-style restaurant is often bustling with people. A glass pane lets you watch the armies of dumpling-makers, a good way to build anticipation until a giant steamer of perfectly formed, thin-skinned Shanghai-style dumplings appear on your table.
The price: BB
7/F, CentralWorld, Ratchadamri Rd., 02-613-1697. Open daily 11am-9:30pm. BTS Chit Lom
Why it’s awesome: Hong Bao's exhaustive menu isn’t a mark against its quality; the food’s excellent starting from the all-day dim sum through the signature steamed rice rolls (B120) to the full-fledged, family-style dishes like steamed red grouper with black bean sauce (B180).
The vibe: A clean, white dining space broken up with folding dividers and decked out with chandeliers and ink prints.
The price: BB
Sukhumvit Soi 39, 02-662-3565. Open Mon-Fri 11am-2:30pm, 5:30-10pm; Sat-Sun 10:30am-10pm. And at 5/F, Central Embassy, 1031 Phloen Chit Rd., 02-160-5679. Open daily 10am-10pm
Why it’s awesome: The offerings of this Singaporean-born joint used to be the preserve of Rajpruek Golf Club’s phu yai membership before it branched out to EmQuartier. Now the rest of us can feast on its aromatic tea-smoked duck (B1,150) and unique lava-filled sweet potatoes (B135/3 pieces).
The vibe: The purple-upholstered, button-backed booths, faux-gold-dripping chandeliers and billowing curtains have kitsch, theatrical charm.
The price: BB
8/F, EmQuartier, Sukhumvit Rd., 02-003-6240. Open daily 10am-10pm
Why it’s awesome: The world's cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant is known for pork buns (B120), which pack barbecue sauce and chunks of roast pork into a trademark crisp, sweet bun. Other must-try items from the placemat menu are the mildly tangy pan-fried radish cakes (B100) and the pork and shrimp shumai (B120).
The vibe: Don’t expect a fine-dining ambience; Tim Ho Wan is more akin to a high-volume tourist site. The wait-staff may swarm around you in comically large numbers, but they’re efficient and informative.
The price: B-BB
3/F, Terminal 21, Sukhumvit Soi 21, 02-006-5288. Open daily 10am-10pm
BK Asks : Where do locals really eat in Chinatown?
Pannee Leelanukul, 62, owner of Jay Daeng Gium Chai
“I recommend Tai Seng Restaurant. Before they moved here, I would go to Grand China Restaurant whenever we had a big family gathering. Now I like Tai Seng. I love their dim sum, fruit salad, stuffed duck and Peking duck.”
Korkiat Jienjaras, 36, owner of Xia Hu Chalam
“If you love egg noodles, I recommend Aung Egg Noodle in front of 7-Eleven at Phadung Dao Road. They serve excellent shrimp dumplings and aromatic roasted pork.”
Bodin Mongkolsuebwong, 36, owner of Jay Fai Som Cheng Juice
“I love Porn Lamai. Every dish they prepare is good thanks to quality ingredients such as large shrimp. I recommend you try their rad na phu khao fai (stir-fried noodles in gravy) and taro pad kee mao (spicy stir-fried fish snacks), both of which they serve on hot plates. You need to eat it quickly!”
Namjit Saetang, 49, owner of Nong Amm milk and bread
“I love to eat tom lued moo [pork blood in clear soup] at Nai Weng stall on Plaeng Nam Road. I like how they get rid of any unpleasant odor in the preparation, as well as the sweet pork bone broth.
Pui Punturanan, 34, owner of Hoy Tod Texas
“I recommend a goose place called Lao Tang. It’s very good, with a broth that’s not too salty and perfect with a bowl of rice.