1. Tang Jai Yoo
Now run by the third generation of the same family, this Teochew restaurant has stood for more than 75 years and is still going strong, always packed for both lunch and dinner. The most famous dishes include steamed blue crab with salted Chinese black olive, Chinese-style sashimi, suckling pig and egg noodles with braised goose feet. The place is not just popular with aunties and uncles, but also a younger crowd that knows where to go for original Chinese treats.
85-89 Soi Yaowapanich, Yaowarat Rd. (opposite to Hua Seng Heng Gold shop), 02-224-2167, 02-224-2172. Open daily 11am-2pm, 5-10pm (last order 9:30pm)
2. Yim Yim (or Jim Jim) Restaurant
Taking its name from a Thai phrase meaning “smile, smile,” Yim Yim was the first Teochew restaurant in Yaowarat and has been open for nearly a century, offering authentic Teochew Chinese food made from recipes brought over by the owners’ family from China. It’s very near Tang Jai Yoo restaurant, situated on the second floor of the building at the corner of Yaowapanich and Padsai Road. Though the place looks old and you have to walk up a shabby staircase to the dining room, Yim Yim’s customers are not here for its ambience. The stars of the show are the roast whole pig with crispy skin, seasoned shrimp roll and oyster omelet.
89 Padsai Road, Behind Hua Seng Hong gold shop. Open daily 11am-2pm, 5pm-10pm
3. Hua Seng Hong
Though it now has 16 branches around Bangkok, the original is still going strong thanks to the same old faces. Set right on Yaowarat Road, this 40-year-old eating spot is famous for the consistency of its roast duck, fresh crab and king prawn dishes. There are some quality Thai dishes too, but really its specialty lies in traditional Chinese treats. Try the braised goose feet in a clay pot, roast duck, steamed crab with glass noodles and stir-fried crab with yellow curry powder. The seafood is always fresh, the crab wonderfully meaty and the dim sum well worth trying.
4. Eiah Sae
If you want to get a real glimpse of nostalgic Yaowarat, head to the 87-year-old Chinese cafe Eiah-Sae for its famous Thai-style tea and coffee. Every day you’ll find a local gathering of elderly Thai-Chinese regulars (mostly men) who come to chat and do business over coffee. It serves a wide range of Asian teas—lemon iced tea, traditional Thai black tea, Thai milk tea and hot tea—as well as other traditional drinks like nor kao (a mix of tea and coffee with the almond-flavored heng yim). All can be ordered with egg custard on toast, soft-boiled eggs or toast with butter, jam or chocolate spread. The bread is freshly baked daily according to the founder’s’ family recipe. The place is hidden in Padsai street not too far from the main Yaowarat Road and open for breakfast at 4am.
101-103 Yaowarat-Padsai Rd., Yaowarat, 02-221-0549. Open daily 4am-8pm
5. Piang Ki Pochana
Finding Piangki Pochana will take your best navigation skills but the authentic Hakka Chinese food is well worth it. The highlight dishes include kao yok (braised pork belly with dried Chinese cabbage), radish meatball, soybean sheet stuffed pork chitterlings and steamed chicken marinated with Chinese liquor. Eating here is more like eating at a friends’ house, as the owner serves food in portion sizes to match the number at your table. Walk-ins are welcome at lunch time but it gets very busy in the evenings. To find it, head deep into the same soi as Wat Kusolsamakarn temple.
Soi Wat Kusolsamankarn, Ratchawong Rd., Taladnoi, 02-221-6024. Open daily 11am-7pm
6. Chinatown Scala
This restaurant opened in 1951 when a Chinese chef migrated to Thailand and found that no one outside of hotels was serving fish maw soup. After hawkering around the Yaowarat area, he moved into a shophouse whose neo sign has become a Chinatown icon. The highlight fish maw soup still remains on the menu, along with peking duck, suckling pig and seafood such as stir-fried crab curry. Choose between a private dining room or the bustling main hall with its lazy Susan-equipped round tables. There are now two branches on Yaowarat Road just a few steps from each other.
483-485 Yaowarat Rd., Taladnoi, 02-623-0183-7, 02-623-0808. Open daily 10:30-2am.
7. Guay Jub Nai Lek (Auan)
There are a bunch of guay jub (rice noodle) stalls along Yaowarat Road, but the most famous is the 30-year-old Guay Jub Nai Lek (Auan). Parked their stall on the corner of Yaowarat Soi 11, Nai Lek (Auan) is popular among locals for their peperry clear soup and super crispy pork and pork entrails. You might have to queue for some time but the guay jub is worth the hassle—and you might even make some new friends while you wait.
Yaowarat Rd., 02-224-3450, 08-1611-6920. Open Tue-Sun 6pm-12:30 am.
Brought to you by Tourism Authority of Thailand