Dining Out 3 minutes 29 January 2020

Best Places for Chinese Food in Bangkok’s Chinatown and the Historic Phra Nakhon District

These well-known establishments have been around for generations and are easily accessible by two beautifully designed metro stations that are part of MRT’s Blue ‘heritage’ Line.

Some of Bangkok’s oldest and most famous eateries are located in Chinatown and the historic Phra Nakhon District.

For Chinatown, get off at the Wat Mangkon station and for Phra Nakhon, get off at Sam Yot station which is the next stop over. The four restaurants in the Phra Nakhon district are all located within 550 metres and 1.6 km of the Sam Yot station while the three restaurants in Chinatown are within 850 metres to 1.7 km from the Wat Mangkon station.

A great opportunity to take a tour of historic landmarks and temples that are nearby such as Sao Chingcha (Giant Swing), Wat Traimit, the Golden Mount/Wat Saket temple, Wat Mahan, Phan Fa Lilat Bridge, and the Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall.

Phan Fa (Bib Gourmand)

Phan Fa is an old school, family-run restaurant that opened in 1939. Their famous Hainanese chicken rice and their succulent steamed crab claws evoke fond childhood memories for long-time patrons. Aside from these two classic specialties, other popular dishes include their fragrant crab-fried rice which is exceptional, deep-fried pork intestines, stir-fried vermicelli with seafood, boiled snapper head soup with taro, and everyone knows that you must end your meal here with an obligatory plateful of sweet and fresh peeled Nakhon Chai Si pomelos. Open daily from 9am to 8pm.

Address: Phan Fa (Phra Nakhon) 550-554 Phra Sumen Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
Tel: 02 281 6890

S.B.L. (Bib Gourmand)

S.B.L. (short for Somboonlarb) has been serving traditional Teochew cuisine for well over sixty years. The elegantly refurbished restaurant offers ten different set menus that feature a wide assortment of excellent dishes including their highly recommended stewed fish maw (kra poh pla) and XO scallops. Other signature specialties are Peking duck, whole BBQ pork, boiled whole chicken, mantis shrimp fried eggs, fried lobster with ginkgo seeds, stewed goose legs, stewed abalone in gravy, fried sea cucumber, shark fin soup, grilled mero fish with soy sauce, and for dessert, ginkgo in hot syrup and fried bua loy (rice balls). Open daily from 11:30am to 9pm.

Address: S.B.L. (Phra Nakhon), 710-714 Maha Chai Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
Tel: 02 225 9079

Sae Phun (Bib Gourmand)

For over eighty years, Sae Phun has been serving our most beloved comfort food, Khao Na Kai (Chicken Stew on Rice), a popular one-plate meal made of juicy and tender bite-size pieces of chicken cooked in a rich, smooth, and deeply flavorful brown gravy and poured over rice or noodles. The dish is served with a crispy fried egg on top and slices of the sweet and fatty kun chiang (dry Chinese pork sausage that balances out the savory stew) and garnished with fresh coriander and sliced green chilies (prik mun). Whenever you feel like some good old-fashioned comfort food, indulge yourself with this hearty and warming culinary staple at Sae Phun. Open every day except Wednesday from 7am to 3pm.

Address: Sae Phun (Phra Nakhon), 112 Mahannop Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
Tel: 061 994 7171

Nai Ouan Yentafo Bateng Sao Chingcha (Plate)

When the name of the place tells you that it serves only one dish, you know it has to be good! And after fifty years, Nai Ouan has perfected the art of making Yen Ta Fo – the pink noodle soup that’s packed full of many yummy toppings and bursting with flavor. What goes into a serving of yen ta fo? A hearty hot broth, a small handful of leafy morning glory and rice noodles or not (khao lao), followed by their excellent toppings: steamed fish balls, fried tofu, pork, slices of squid, cubes of cooked blood, fried shrimp balls, deep fried garlic, a special chili mixture, a large crispy wonton wrapper, and of course, a dollop of the fermented soybean paste (red pickled bean curd) that gives this dish its tint of bright pink. Open 9am to 8pm on weekdays and 9am to 4pm on weekends.

Address: Nai Ouan Yentafo Bateng Sao Chingcha (Phra Nakhon), 41 Trok Nawa, Tanao Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
Tel: 02 622 0701

Weng (Woeng Nakhon Kasem) (Bib Gourmand)

Hungry and don't know what to eat? A heaping plate of khao phad (fried rice) is your answer, and you can’t go wrong with everyone’s favorite go-to dish. Good khao pad uses the fragrant Thai jasmine rice and is topped off with Thailand’s national condiment – nam pla prik kee nu (chopped Bird’s eye chilies in fish sauce), a generous squeeze of fresh lime, and a sprig or two of spring onion. This famous food stall happens to specialize in crab fried rice (khao phad pu) freshly made with delicious chunks of sweet white crabmeat that is so good it’s divine. Their other specialties are crab noodles and stir-fried fish maw.

Address: Weng, Woeng Nakhon Khasem (Chinatown), 140 Yaowarat Road, Samphanthawong, Bangkok
Tel: 081 812 5067

Guay Jub Ouan Pochana (Bib Gourmand)

When an eponymous restaurant also contains the name of its signature dish, you know you're in for a treat and Guay Jub Ouan Pochana has been serving their treat for over fifty years. Guay Jub is a rice noodle soup dish made of rolled up white rice noodles immersed in a peppery pork broth that contains pork offal and an egg. What makes this noodle dish unique are the thinly rolled up rice noodles resembling mini cigarillos that are cooked just right almost firm to bite, the clear pork bone broth ‘nam sai’ (this vendor’s specialty as opposed to the darker, denser broth ‘nam khon’), and the assortment of pork innards (a great source of B vitamins). This hearty, nourishing bowl of guay jub is a must for all noodle soup lovers.

Address: Guay Jub Ouan Pochana (Chinatown), 408 Yaowarat Road, Chakkrawat, Samphanthawong, Bangkok
Tel: 086 508 9979

Lim Lao Ngow (Bib Gourmand)

The Lim Lao Ngow food stall is known for their legendary fishball noodle dish (kuay tiew look chin pla) that features homemade fishballs and homemade egg noodles. For over eighty years this family-run stall has held onto their original ancestral recipes and have maintained the quality and taste of their specialties. Their famous ‘bouncing’ fishballs are made purely from fresh select fish meat giving them their soft and bouncy texture and their signature egg noodles are made with premium grade flour and fresh eggs which give them that rich golden yellow and flavorful, chewier texture. Lim Lao Ngow’s expansion into ten branches is testament to the ever-lasting popularity of their noodle dish and the best fishballs in town. So if you’re looking for a healthy meal, then treat yourself to a bowl or two of these very tasty noodles!

Address: Lim Lao Ngow (Chinatown), In front of building no. 299-301, Song Sawat Road, Yaowarat
Tel: 081 640 4750

Hero image: Bangkok's Chinatown. Photo credit: Ninara via Flickr.

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