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September 16, 2008

Street Noshin', Bangkok Style

Produce delivered in the morning,
on your plate by night.

by Julia Bainbridge

Most people who enjoy nightlife, food, and travel (and especially those who enjoy these things at the same time) know that Bangkok's street food is the best tummy-filling grub for your buck. (Seriously, a plate of noodles costs the equivalent of less than a dollar.) We've heard reports of the most slurp-worthy soups, the most pleasingly spongy fish balls, and, of course, noodles, noodles, and more noodles.

Here's something new--and this may shock some readers, but--Bangkok boasts the best fried chicken I've ever had. Sorry, 'tucky, but it's true. What's more, it wasn't far from Khao San Road, Grungy Backpacker Central, where I stumbled upon this magic booth of crisp. Behind it was a man, grey-bearded and wrinkled (and surprisingly clean looking despite the heat and what I imagine must have been a good 10 hours standing in front of his wok-turned-deep fryer), with just the right touch. He turned out countless batches of the stuff, each time producing bourbon-colored, tender chicken wings--a true feat, since, when frying chicken, the oil must return to a cool enough temperature not to burn the product but must stay hot enough to cook it through. (I can't even do it with professional tools.) If I spoke Thai, I would have asked how he spiced his flour--there was something distinctly south Indian about the flavor--but alas, I left him to his secrets.

The October issue of Condé Nast Traveler reveals another hot Bangkok street spot: Sukhumvit Road Soi 38. Here, from 6 P.M. until 2 A.M every night, a few dozen carts serve up pad thai with fluffy prawns, egg noodles with barbequed-pork gravy, and porridge made with pig's liver, stomach and kidneys. Just the thing before you hit the hay, huh? Check out the October issue, our Asia issue, for more Far East eats.

Further reading:
* The New York Times reports its Bangkok favorites
* Jaunted's BKK food field trip
* Travel idea: Thai cooking school at the Oriental Bangkok
* Read all Catch of the Day posts


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