Discover the Secrets of Bangkok's Back Alleys with A Chef's Tour

A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
I’ve always thought that when it comes to food, the real gem of any city is in the streets. In order to find them, you must either do extensive research and try everything or trust someone knowledgeable—someone whose experience transcends hypes and is bound with tradition. With A Chef’s Tour, I was able to unearth some of Bangkok’s secrets myself with the help of Nutth, our tour guide who also happens to be a chef.

A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
When I went to Bangkok for the first time two years ago, I thought street food was kind of the same everywhere—they were all good. But now, I realized: not all were created equal, and people don’t create street food the same way. I guess that’s what you get when you go to the touristy areas; with A Chef’s Tour, however, you will explore the back alleys of Bangkok and taste food you will never have discovered yourself. If you’re especially curious and adventurous with food, THIS TOUR IS FOR YOU.

A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood


In this 4-hour Bangkok Backstreet Food Tasting walking tour, we wove through the narrow alleys of Yaowarat (Chinatown) in Bangkok tasting all kinds of street food—from traditional noodles and soups to skewers and Michelin-recommended doughnuts. Chinatown is a big, hectic area where people—both locals and tourists—usually go to eat, but I’m sure tourists hardly ever go to the alleyways and the inside markets to check what’s out there. Some dishes in the tour tasted familiar, but most were new to the eyes and taste buds. Nutth introduced us to the stalls and to the vendors, telling them their stories—and for me, it was a new way of exploring Bangkok’s food, culture, and heritage.

A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
The tour started with a visit to a stall serving a type of noodle I’ve never seen before: rice noodles with dried shrimp. The noodles are handmade, and the lady who makes it has been doing it for 60 years. According to Nutth, this kind of noodle is so traditional that you will probably not see it anywhere in Bangkok—it’s practically a lost art.

A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
But the more important part is: was this dish delicious? IT WAS! The noodles are cut thickly, they’re almost like lasagna sheets. Topped with pork, bean sprouts, spring onions, and some dried chilies, they were just incredibly tasty.

A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
Next, we visited a stall serving a ginger-based soup with soybean curd and black sesame rice balls. It somehow reminded me of the Filipino taho, except that instead of melted brown sugar, it has ginger. At first, I thought the dish was weird but as I slurped more of the soup and munched on the delicious black sesame ball, I found myself wanting more. It’s just the ginger and sesame lover in me, I guess. If you love those two flavors, you will surely love this dish.

A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
I would’ve wanted to stay back and get another bowl of that ginger soup but we moved on to the next stall and in a snap, my taste buds were ready for more surprises. Do you love satay? If you do, you must try the stall we visited as part of A Chef’s Tour—they make one of the best satays I’ve ever had. The smoky, charcoal-grilled coconut chicken skewers come with insanely good peanut sauce and ajat relish, made of cucumber, tomatoes, onions, and chilies. Believe me when I say that the Thais are so good with vegetables (their salads—damn), so I have no idea why this simple ajat is so fucking good. 

A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
Right beside this stall is another one selling chicken noodle soup so comforting I wish I drank the whole bowl. Not far away, there’s a lady making pan-fried chive cakes that everyone (passersby included) absolutely loved.

A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood

A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
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Book your Bangkok Chinatown Food Tour here
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Then we went deep into the markets to visit a shop selling “Worker’s Noodles”. It’s one of the oldest establishments in Chinatown (the ones manning it are now the fourth generation), and as the name suggests, laborers flock to the shop to get their much-needed soup during lunch breaks or after a long day. Forty baht gets you a humongous bowl of thin, handmade noodles, pork, kailan, and a tasty clear soup. The soup was not my favorite—I had to put some chilies and sauce to it to suit my taste—but the noodles were really good!

A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
Next, Nutth led us out of the market labyrinth and told us we were going to sample some curry. I love curry, so I was really excited for the next stop. When we finally approached it and I saw a line of red plastic stools beside a curry stall, I almost squealed in joy—it was Khao Gaeng Jake Puey, a curry stall that was actually in my Bangkok bucket list!

A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
I planted myself on a red stool and waited as Nutth ordered for us. The green curry was good, not as spicy as I expected, but according to Nutth, traditional Thai curry isn’t supposed to me lip-numbing spicy. I loved the flavors, I wanted more rice!

A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
We then hopped out of the back streets and went to the main Yaowarat road to sample what is probably the most curious item in the tour: soy sauce ice cream. Deksomboon, the most famous sauce manufacturer in Thailand, sells soft-serve ice cream made of soya milk and topped with sweet soy sauce. It was so good—like salted caramel! I returned the next day and brought a friend for her to try it. She loved it—we were swearing with each spoonful.

A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
Just when we thought it was all over (I mean, we had dessert, right?), Nutth took us to dinner—to a seafood place where we had the freshest and most delicious grilled river prawns, which you dip in an incredible sauce with green chilies and coriander. We also tried some tom yum with fish (really tasty) and green mangoes paired with a sauce made of tiny dried shrimps, chili, fish sauce, onions, and brown sugar—so addicting!!!

A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
Then came the real desserts. First up: a Michelin-recommended doughnut stall. Why would you eat doughnuts in Thailand? I had the same question, but once I popped one into my mouth, I just told myself, yes, I could eat doughnuts in Thailand every single day. I dipped it into its signature pandan custard and holy shit it tasted even better! Next, we walked just a few steps away for our final bites: mango sticky rice! I love mango sticky rice—I love the fact that this stall doesn’t serve the rice super sweet. The coconut cream is mild and subtle, so the mango flavor is highlighted.

A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
All in all, I think we ate 16 dishes and I could hardly move after! But everything was so good that if Nutth insisted to feed us more, I would honestly not say no!

A Chef’s Tour is a unique food experience in Bangkok—one that foodies must definitely try when visiting this city! Bangkok has a vibrant street food scene, but it really helps to have someone knowledgeable to show you around and point to the direction of the best food out there. The city is so big and so busy that it’s impossible to discover these all by yourself—not to mention the fact that you would never hear the vendor’s stories and histories had you gone there by yourself.

A Chef's Tour Bangkok streetfood
A Chef’s Tour also offers an “Old Market Hidden Streets Tour” in Bangkok as well several others around Thailand—I’ll probably try this or one in Chiang Mai the next time I return to this delicious country. They also started offering food tours in Singapore, India (OMG, I want), Myanmar, Malaysia, and even Colombia—check out their website for more information.

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What I loved about this tour:

Discovering food stalls I never would’ve gone to myself
We didn’t go to the tourist traps
Relaxed pace, enough time to enjoy each dish
Nutth is super friendly and knowledgeable
Bottled water provided
Group is small (up to 8 persons) so you can interact with the guide and with each other
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Book your Bangkok Chinatown Food Tour here

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A Chef's Tour


*My tour is sponsored by A Chef’s Tour. All opinions, however, are my own.

Do you love street food? Have you tried Bangkok's street food? How many of the dishes above have you tried? What do you think of A Chef's Tour's Bangkok Backstreets Food Tasting tour?

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