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A Foodie Tour in Bangkok’s Chinatown!

Bangkok was so crazy hot that our best times exploring the city were at night when we could walk around without feeling like we were melting into the ground. We didn’t want to leave Bangkok without exploring the infamous Chinatown neighbourhood (known as Yaowarat)…I wanted to see where The Hangover Part 2 was filmed and see the nitty gritty side of the city.

After a little research, we stumbled across the Chinatown Foodie Walk with Bangkok Food Tours. This was the perfect way to get a guide to help us navigate this crazy part of Thailand’s capital, and to explore some strange food with the added bonus that they promised we wouldn’t get sick.

Our trusty guide, Olive, gave us the lowdown on the Chinese history & culture in Thailand. And more importantly, she picked out all of the foods we tried!

Entering Chinatown

Here’s the lowdown on what we tasted…

#1) Dim Sum (Which loosely translates to Touch the Heart in Cantonese)

We started our night with four different kinds of Dim Sum. I was always interested in trying these little dumplings but I was a little concerned about what was inside. Turns out there are MANY different varieties of dim sum, ours were: deep fried shrimp in bean curd sheet, green shrimp (the green comes from pandana leaves), crab stick seaweed, and curry egg scallop.

Of course pretty much anything deep fried is tasty, so the deep fried shrimp got two thumbs up. Our unexpected favourite was the curry egg scallop.

Our favourite is on the bottom doesn't look all that appetizing but the flavours were wonderful!

All kinds of little dumpling looking things to pick from at The Canton House.

It looks scarier than it is. These dim sum are just coloured green from pandana leaves.

#2) Tea?? A VERY Bitter Herbal Drink

After our dim sum, we stopped at a stall that has been around for 111 years for a taste of their “bitter herbal drink”. This drink is supposed to be good for cooling the body down in hot weather and for soothing a scratchy throat. Our guide warned us that 99% of people she takes on the tour cannot finish the drink. We quickly found out why when we took our first sip and experienced a taste that was like Buckley’s throat syrup but even worse. Skott took the challenge and finished the whole glass but I was done after one sip!

I have no idea why there was a line up...this stuff is awful! But maybe it works!

#3) Chinese Buns

These “buns” are actually steamed so they look whiter than a piece of Wonderbread, but the true wonder is what’s inside. We sampled a bbq pork bun and a pork and quail egg bun. We had been passing these up time and time again in Vietnam, but if I had known they were essentially like a bbq pulled pork bun from back home, I would have been snacking on these more often!

#4) Pepper Soup

Our pepper soup tasting was one of the most fun because it was a pumping little street stall that we probably never would have had the guts to order from without Olive’s help. We sat on tiny plastic stools to enjoy a bowl full of peppery noodle soup with salted pork in it. This was Skott’s favourite of the night.

Entering the side street for some new flavours

Noodle soup with a peppery punch!

#5) The King Fruit

We couldn’t leave Thailand without trying durian, also called “The King Fruit”. These big, spiky fruits are actually not allowed on planes or in most hotels because they smell really strong. We finally got a chance to see if they taste as bad as they smell….and in my opinion…they do. But the Aussies we were with thought they tasted like custard. I think these fruits are definitely an acquired taste.

We tasted our durian at a famous stall run by "The Lady with the Golden Finger". Apparently she can always tell when the durians are ripe enough to cut into.

This lady knows her stuff when it comes to durians.

#6) Thai Ice Cream

Usually I wouldn’t eat ice cream before shrimp (see below), but in this case it worked. We got to choose from sweet basil and coconut ice cream or a scoop of bright pink old fashioned lychee berry. Both were tasty, but the sweet basil and coconut won out for me!

Sweet basil and coconut ice cream was a nice cool treat.

#6) River Prawn

I didn’t really want to know what river these came from, but we found a rockin’ stall that was firing up river prawn and crabs on the corner of the street. The prawn were enormous and when we got them hot off the grill they were perfect, dipped in the “killer sauce” Olive gave us.

Killer Sauce...the seeds are actually the hottest part of the pepper so when you see those, you know you're in trouble!

#7) Last Stop- Duck Cheek and Dessert

Ahhh duck cheeks, complete with duck beaks for a little extra crunch!

Our last stop may have been the strangest. Duck cheek is a delicacy that is very sought after and very expensive in Chinatown. They are served deep fried and still attached to the beak which is a little intimidating…but when in Chinatown I guess. There isn’t very much meat there but it’s quite tasty. I’m glad I tried it, but I probably wouldn’t order it again…I just feel bad for poor Daffy.

Dessert was a bowl of dough balls that are stuffed with poppy seeds and served in a sweet ginger soup. If you squish the balls in the soup before you eat it, the whole thing looks really cloudy and unappetizing. The flavour is actually quite nice but the texture is very strange because the poppy seeds inside the dough are really dry. The second dish was much better for me. It was another soupy concoction, but this time there were bites of water chestnut marinated in lychee berry flavouring served in a soup of sweet coconut milk.

Sweet ginger soup, with black poppyseed dumplings...weird texture, but tasty.

A HUGE thanks to Olive for leading us through the streets of Chinatown and even taking us down the very street where “The Wolfpack” was filmed in The Hangover II.

I love trying out new foods and I think this is the very best way to get out of your comfort zone in Thailand and try something other than pad thai!!

Wanna go too!? Check it out at

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9 Responses to “A Foodie Tour in Bangkok’s Chinatown!”

  1. D.J. - The World of Deej May 14, 2012 at 5:14 am #

    Food should be the center of any great trip…great stuff!
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..Check Out Time – The Week in Travel

    • Shawna May 28, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

      I completely agree. I think half of my posts and definitely over 50% of my photos from this trip relate to food. haha For me it is one of the most important things to discover about a new country or culture. I always seem to ask…what do you normally eat for breakfast…what is your favourite thing to eat for supper? We are now in Guatemala, land of the totrillas and I’m very pleased with our situation!

  2. Annette | Bucket List Journey May 15, 2012 at 1:16 am #

    Even after your description, I still want to taste Durian :)
    Annette | Bucket List Journey recently posted..12 Tips for Navigating the London Underground

    • Shawna May 28, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

      Haha…I think it is still something a person has to do. I totally support your choice : )

  3. Chrystal McKay May 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    I am a little obsessed with poppyseed dumplings. They are SO scrumptious! But I agree on the texture being a little weird. All of these foods look so yummy – I can’t wait to return to Bangkok. Such a wonderful city!
    Chrystal McKay recently posted..Saadin Tombs: A Hidden Beauty

    • Shawna May 28, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

      It’s so strange…I actually find myself craving these! We don’t have a Chinatown here in Guatemala but perhaps we can find the poppyseed dumplings in Vancouver’s Chinatown on the way home. Enjoy your return to Bangkok on day!!! : )

  4. Audrey June 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    Such a good idea to go with a tour, that way you get to taste all the local specialties you wouldn’t normally know about! Food usually ends up being the centre of any trip I take. I love trying new dishes! :D
    Audrey recently posted..Introducing Backpacking Travel Blog

    • Skott June 28, 2012 at 4:28 am #

      As do we Audrey…. as do we… :)


  1. If You’re Going To San Francisco…. | Get Up and Globe - November 6, 2012

    [...] and pastas or Chinese dumplings (try the bbq pork). Walking through Chinatown reminded me of our food tour in Bangkok.Then take a break from walking and GO ON A WINE TOUR!!It would be a darn shame to be in California [...]

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