Who doesn’t love stumbling upon a foodie gem when they travel? I sure do! When I was recently in Bangkok, Thailand I became obsessed with finding the best places to eat, whether it be local street food stalls, small family run joints or fancier high dining restaurants. Luckily in Bangkok it seems the city is centred and pumping around food. People live and breath for it. That’s my kind of town! One place I didn’t expect to find a decent feed was at the mega shopping mall MBK. To my delight and surprise it turned out to be a hidden foodie secret! One that I’m happy to share with you! Some of the best food in Bangkok was at MBK.
After hours wandering through the countless levels of MBK shopping mall in central Bangkok I was tired, hungry and keen to take a break. I vaguely remembered seeing the food court when I had been their years before, so I headed there hoping to find something quick to eat that could tied me over before my next flavour packed meal. However when I walked into the MBK Food Island I noticed that it was full of local Thai’s sitting at tables that were overflowing with delicious looking food. One food safety rule that I try to stick to is that if there are mothers and young children eating, then my unfortunately delicate stomach will be safe to eat there. The MBK food island was filled with young families! Hooray! I knew I was safe to eat there, and from the look and smell of it I was in for a treat!!
Another thing that calmed my nerves about the quality of food here was that every stall here has a sign “Good Clean Food’ proudly on display, and each stall looked spotless. All of the meals were prepared fresh when you ordered, and I could see that all the meats were sitting on banks of cold ice.
When you finally decide what to eat you have to purchase a food card with credit. There is counter selling these cards directly when you enter the food island, and another one inside if you need to top up. This is an measure to limit the cross contamination between money and food preparation. All you have to do is hand over your card when you order. They swipe it. Then soon you’ll have a plate of freshly cooked piping hot food served in front of you, with the assurance that the person who prepped it was not also touching money. It’s a great simple system.
We were overwhelmed with the amount of choice at the food court. With delicious dishes from kebabs, to noodle dishes, seafood, curries, roasted meats, crepes, thai desserts, etc. There were endless options!! Personally for me I wanted to eat as much Thai food as possible, so I stuck to the Made to Order Thai food stall who made simple and delicious dishes.
Here were some of the dishes that we sampled:
Stir fried morning glory with minced pork, spring onion and chilli served on a bed of steamed rice. This dish became my go-to dish in Thailand and was featured at every meal. Literally I ate this every day, if not multiple times a day!!! Morning glory is a type of water spinach that is abundantly found in Thailand. When stir fried its leafy top wilts, whilst its stem retains its crispy bite. It’s the perfect vegetable carrier for flavours such as oyster sauce, and is a suitable accompaniment to many Thai meat dishes. I couldn’t find a dish that didn’t work well with stir fried morning glory. This particular dish at MBK came with minced pork, garlic and a small amount of chilli. It was one of the best I sampled.
Another iconic dish that can be found all over Thailand is minced pork with holy basil. This simple dish is packed with flavour from the holy basil and hits of fresh or dried chilli. Usually this dish comes served with steamed rice and a fried egg. There is something very comforting about the combination of the juicy pork and the gooey egg. The MBK version is also stirred fried with crisp long beans and pieces of baby corn.
When in Singapore one of the dishes I focused on eating was Hainanese Chicken rice, which is considered the national dish of Singapore. Thailand also has their own version, which is as delicious as its Singapore counterpart. We ordered a plate of mixed chicken that came with half crispy fried chicken and half steamed chicken meat. The meat was perfectly cooked to be very juicy. The rice was very flavourful, but wasn’t particularly oily as I found with most of the chicken rice dishes I tried in Singapore. At the front of the stall there were large containers of ‘extras’ including minced ginger and chilli sauce. I added heaped spoons to my plate, and these two additions really made the dish complete. The ginger allows the dish an earthy hum, whilst the chilli vinegar sauce gives the meat and rice a sour hot note which helps cut through the oiliness/ fattiness of the dish. For me the best part of the whole dish is the bowl of clear chicken broth with flakes of spring onion. It’s one of those elements that one completely underestimates- I mean how flavourful could clear broth be? The answer- VERY. This was the ultimate accompaniment- soothing and brought all the elements together. I wish I could have ordered bowls of just the broth. It was delicious and restored my faith in this beautifully simply dish.
This meal at MBK was one of the surprise highlights of my trip to Bangkok, and saved me in a moment of mid shopping hunger. I love being surprised by food, and MBK was a real treat. The food here is incredible value which most dishes being under 100 Thai baht each. We feasted on a range of dishes and drinks, and spent only AU$10 which is a very budget friendly option that doesn’t skimp on flavour. This is some of the most simple and best food you can find in Bangkok.
Have you been to MBK? For endless shopping options or delicious food?