Lonely Planet's top 10 ways to eat out Thai style
7. Fast food, Thai style
The classic Bangkok eating experience is sitting on a plastic stool by the side of a traffic-choked road and eating a bowl of noodles or a simple rice dish cooked in front of you. Locals, both rich and poor, will travel any distance to their favourite stall - it is not rare to see Mercedes parked alongside motorbikes. Some stalls are so famous that articles are written about them in both Thai and English newspapers (look for the clippings proudly displayed beside the nightly inventory). You will need a little Thai to order, as English can be limited. The book Thai Hawker Food (available at most Bangkok bookstores) is also a good start for getting your bearings.
8. Perk up your noodle
When you face a bowl of noodles and the array of condiments available to season them, you must be prepared to become your own pharmacist, mixing up the ingredients to create the right flavour balance. Typically these containers offer four choices: sliced green chillies in white vinegar, fish sauce, dried red chilli and plain white sugar. In typically Thai fashion, these condiments offer three ways to make the soup hotter - hot and sour, hot and salty, and just plain hot - and one to make it sweet. The typical noodle-eater will add a teaspoonful of each one of these condiments to the noodle soup, except for the sugar, which in sweet-tooth Bangkok usually rates a full tablespoon.
9. Big deal
Although the prices at Bangkok's best restaurants may seem like chump change when compared to those of their brethren in New York City or London, a few nights of eating out at this level will make a dent in just about anyone's wallet. To ease the pain but still savour the flavour, we suggest dining at lunch, when many of Bangkok's most revered upmarket eateries offer some fantastic set-lunch specials.
10. Calling all daredevils
Silly you - the average garden pest is really a tasty treat. After the wet season, vendors appear throughout town (try Th Khao San) with conical heaps of stir-fried bugs (crickets, red ants and water beetles). Pull off the legs and pop the bugger in your mouth, after which initial revulsion will turn into potato chip-like addiction.