I am definitely not the first person to write about them nor would they need so much advertisement at all. Nearly everyone who has been to Asia knows of them, been there, ate there. I am talking about Food Courts.
I have encountered them in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or even Sydney and Tokyo. They are everywhere and I think an essential component to the traveler friendly “Asian experience”. Without speaking the local language you can see the food to choose, decide, sign, point, wave, nod and smile to the person who prepares your food and make sure you receive what you crave.
In this post I would like to set the spotlight on Bangkok and I think it is worth it. Some of the best (and it is OK to think cheapest) Food Courts around SE Asia you can find here.
Some westerners fear these places as unsanitary, the food could be bad and they would catch instant diarrhea or worse. I beg to differ.
I have seen kitchen around the world and what ugliness and dirt sometimes comes along… A clean white table linen in the front does not necessarily tell the truth about the kitchen in the back.
So you should really appreciate the fundamentals of a food court. You can decide by yourself if the cleanliness of the food stall you see does it for you. If you don´t like what you see… move along to the next stall, where you “feel it” and food looks just yummy. If you like it, the next step let you observe how he/she prepares your meal under your eyes – nothing to hide.
I experienced that you can get awesome food here. The variety maybe sometimes limited to the essentials. But you are not going for novel cuisine in a Food Court. And when it comes to the typical Asian dishes, I bet you´re going to find them here – and damn good ones for sure.
I for myself go nuts for certain dishes, like chicken rice or roasted duck (over rice or in noodle soup) and the obligatory oh-so-good papaya salad (som tam). I could eat those every day, just love them.
I like to share with you a few pictures I took the last days.These dishes are definitely some favorites of mine. They´re to be found in the MBK Food Court on the 6th floor, the food court for locals. The fancy (and expensive) one for tourists a level below is not bad and much nicer to look at – but around four times the price – and without soul as I think. And I see no shame in appreciation of the fact that these dishes are between 30 and 55 baht – which is near to nothing for western standards. Try to do this at home :D.
Another favorite of mine is Chinese roasted duck – on rice or in a delicious broth with noodles – just marvelous. The duck on the picture is to be found in the Food Court of the Siam Paragon shopping mall.
And the absolutely non-fancy version of duck on rice from the electronic shopping center Pantip Plaza along with some delish Papaya Salad.
I am getting hungry just by looking at the pictures again…