On our way back to Holland we had an 8 hour layover from 6pm to 2am. Too long to stay at the airport, and more than enough time to get into downtown Bangkok and back. We took the Airport Rail Link, which is a cheap (99 baht = 2.5 euros) and fast option to get into downtown Bangkok. If you don’t have a lot of bags this is definitely a good option as it took only 30 minutes, whereas with a taxi it takes at least 45 minutes, though usually longer thanks to traffic. We got out at Phaya Thai station and took the skytrain (BTS) to Thong Lo station. We were heading for Sukhumvit Soi 38, the famous and very popular street food street in Bangkok, frequented by both locals and tourists.
We arrived and walked up and down the street to determine what to eat. We wanted everything, but since our stomachs are not limitless we were forced to make a choice. My friend had told me she always gets the pork noodle soup, chicken rice, pad thai, and mango sticky rice when there. So we followed her advice and had all of the above except for the soup. We started with the chicken rice – steamed or fried chicken were the options. Fried please! Fragrant and tasty chicken rice is one of the most comforting dishes in the world, in my humble opinion. I can eat a plate of just chicken rice with nothing else. But we had some succulent pieces of fried chicken to go with our plate of rice. We were sharing a plate so we could try other stuff, but I wasn’t very good at sharing and ate most of it, wanting more afterwards… I was in chicken rice heaven and it ended too soon. Have I mentioned I love chicken rice?
Reluctantly we walked away from the chicken rice stand, or perhaps I was the only reluctant one. We headed for the pad thai and mango sticky rice corner. The pad thai was the best pad thai we have ever had, hands down. On the one hand this is, of course, great to discover and experience. On the other hand, pad thai will never be good enough anywhere else. Every pad thai we will ever have will be compared to this one, and most likely fall short. Game over. It was salty, tangy, fish saucy, the shrimps in it were perfect (not overcooked), and you could taste the wok hay. Sigh…
After the pad thai we got some more meat on a stick, of course. Sausage, chicken, and pork. These, too, were amazing. The meat is tender, the bbq sauce, which was sweet and salty, had glazed and charred the meat perfectly. Last up was the mango sticky rice. You just can’t get mangoes like that in Europe. So perfectly ripe and sweet. The sticky rice was covered in sweet coconut milk and there was a scattering of crispy, puffed rice that added a great texture dimension to it all. Delicious. We were completely stuffed and headed back to the airport for the long flight home. Bangkok street food, we miss you!