“Chula – Bantadthong – Sam Yan” – Foodies’ Paradise A Hub of Hip Thai Street Food

Thai Street Food Chula - Bantadthong - Sam Yan

The Property Management of Chulalongkorn University (PMCU) awakens the Thai soft power concept by transforming the Bantadthong – Samyan neighborhood into a Thai street food paradise combining popularity and the “it” factor in a variety of restaurants while emphasizing hygiene, quality, and taste. Conveniently located in the heart of the city, the area is believed to attract consumers, as well as Thai and foreign entrepreneurs.

Street food used to be considered unhygienic by many people who thought it might give you diarrhea. Hawker stalls clutter footpaths blocking people’s traffic, polluting the streets, and ruining the city scenery.

That image is one of the past! Today, street food in Thailand is fast gaining international popularity. It is one of the soft powers that generates billions of baht market value per year. It attracts both Thai and foreign tourists to experience excellent and diverse food so much so that Bangkok is called “The City of Street Food” or “The Street Food Capital“.

Bangkok has many street food districts.  One that is trending and popular among the younger generation is Chula-Bantadthong-Samyan.

“This is another neighborhood as popular as Siam Square, maybe even more,” said Associate Professor Dr. Chittisak Thammapornpilas, Vice President of Property and Physical Management and Director of PMCU, referring to the goal of developing the Bantadthong – Sam Yan neighborhood into a foodie’s paradise – a hub for a variety of delicacies including legendary Michelin Guide and trendy delicacies.

“In addition to a variety of great-tasting, hygienic food, they will also be able to experience the new Thai Street Food atmosphere with good utility systems. The restaurants are tidy, not blocking foot traffic, safe, accessible, and have convenient parking,” Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chittisak said, highlighting the highlights of the new street food district.

Associate Professor Dr. Chittisak Thammapornpilas,
Vice President of Property and Physical Management and Director of PMCU

Streets – the Birthplace of Thai Street Food Culture

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chittisak recalled the history of Thai street food culture that came about and thrived with the construction of new roads.

“In the past, Thai people (formerly Siamese) preferred to build their houses primarily by canals and traveled mainly by waterways.  Shopping for groceries and household goods was made from hawkers on boats until the reign of King Rama V when Western influence led to the construction of roads, with Charoen Krung, Bamrung Muang, and Fueng Nakhon roads as the first ones.”

“When new streets were built, western-style shophouses started to come up alongside forming residential and commercial districts. More and more people started to build their homes facing the streets and travel on land. Then, sidewalk food stalls were born. As cities grew, residential and commercial districts expanded.  With more roads, hawker stalls grow.”

Street Food – The Answers to Urban Lifestyle

Roadside food stalls may ruin the cityscape, but it also perfectly meets the needs of urban living, said Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chittisak.

First, street food offers a variety of cuisines.  Roadside food stalls resemble a food court located in an open area. Consumers can choose from a variety of foods as they prefer, including savory, sweet, snacks, and beverages.  

Second, street food answers the need for price. With free or affordable rent, roadside food stalls are the lifelines of the poor urban population and labor.

From a macroeconomic perspective, sidewalk food hawker stalls, and street food stalls are colorful cultural elements that meet the national economic needs. Kasikorn Research Center has estimated that the market value of the street food business in 2023 will reach 4.25 billion baht.

Street food, the original endowment of Bantadthong – Samyan Areas

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chittisak discusses the efforts of many parties in the past to shape Silom Road into a pedestrian street.  There were already investments, designs, and guidelines, but the plan never came to fruition.  Another spot is Ong Ang Canal.  Various activities have been created for press coverage, but the results have not been as intended. 

“Developing an area into a “district” is not easy with many elements involved, the main one being the people who are going to use the area, the merchants and the vendors.”

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chittisak feels that the Chula-Bantadthong-Sam Yan district has a high potential with many factors that fit perfectly. First, PMCU already has a large land development project complete with zoning based on the uniqueness and clear concept — i.e. assigning the Bantadthong – Sam Yan area to be a hub of Thai Street Food.

“The Bantadthong – Samyan area already has great leverage.  It has always been known for a variety of restaurants — the ones that have been there for a long time and new ones that just moved from Little Talad Noi and Yaowarat (Chinatown) areas.”

Based on such leverage, PMCU has upgraded the entire area to be a modern street food district, focusing on hygienic food preparation, tidy, clean, and modern design, while providing easy, convenient, and safe access, unlike the traditional street food image.

Apart from the advantages of existing street food entrepreneurs, Samyan-Bantadthong is also a prime location in the heart of the city with a large number of consumers, including students, office workers, and tourists who need food from breakfast to supper.

“When you come to eat at Bantadthong – Samyan, you will feel the lively atmosphere and energy of the young people, and maybe even reminisce about your teenage years, having fun and being lively.”

However, despite several positive factors, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chittisak said that for a “neighborhood” to prosper sustainably is not easy.

“It is not easy to satisfy visitors, and to accomplish this, PMCU needs to depend on team collaboration including management services of Chulalongkorn University as a whole as well.”

The Charm of Thai Street Food at Chula – Bantadthong – Samyan

Chula-Bantadthong-Samyan street food is rapidly gaining popularity, in part because of the influence of social media to help generate awareness and popularity among consumers who come by because of the word-of-mouth influence of both friends and reviews from bloggers.

“Reviews from bloggers and customers are a major driver of the area’s rise to fame, quickly becoming unexpectedly more popular.  When more customers come, more restaurants open.”

Street food บรรทัดทอง
Chula-Bantadthong-Samyan street food

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chittisak summed up the vibrant Chula-Bantadthong-Samyan street food as follows:

  • The restaurants have permanent locations and are hygienic.
  • You can safely pick and choose the food you like along the sidewalk.
  • Looking for restaurants is very convenient as tons of restaurants line the whole Bantadthong road.
  • The neighborhood is conveniently located in the heart of the city, easy to reach by MRT, BTS, or buses number 53, 67, 73
  • Several parking lots can accommodate a large number of vehicles. (See parking lots map click here)
  • Chula students can use Chula free air-conditioned buses Lines 2 and 5, or hail an electric tuk-tuk via the Muvmi application.

Nowadays, Chula-Bantadthong-Samyan Thai Street Food is ever more popular. Passersby, especially in the evening and evening, will see long lines at various restaurants, and riders with their motorcycles parked on the street waiting to pick up their online orders. This has started to cause traffic congestion. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chittisak said that the PMCU is working on solving the problem and managing the space for all parties’ benefits.

Roadmap for Chula-Bantadthong-Samyan Thai Street Food

Visitors can enjoy 3 groups of tasty food:  

  1. Legendary restaurants are traditional restaurants that have been in this area for generations — from father to son, such as Sam Yan Porridge, Jedang Restaurant, and Jewan Soy Milk. 
  2. Michelin Guides such as Gimpo Fish Porridge, Elvis Suki & Seafood, and Leng Leng Fish Balls.
  3. Trendy delicacies such as CQK Mala Hotpot, Nueng Nom Nua, Everyday Thai Tea, and Mae Duan Thai Dessert

Legendary Store Categories

Sam Yan Porridge

Samyan Porridge is a legendary congee shop that has been around for more than 70 years. Originally called “Li Kiang Tai”, Samyan Porridge has been open since the first building of the Faculty of Political Science was built.  Now, it has expanded to 8 branches with guaranteed original taste, be it raw materials or the preparation process of pork balls from grade A pork, and the porridge is cooked just right.

The most popular menu is pork medley porridge with egg. Those who want to reduce their carb consumption can order the ultimate pork congee with no soup. 

Hours: 5:00 – 9:30 AM, 3:00 – 8:00 PM.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jok.3yan
Map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/YWuQfsEmMpH6jUXX7

Je Dang Somtum

The legend of Je Dang restaurant was born in 1990 from a small hawker pushing cart by the fence of Chula’s Faculty of Law that has expanded into a restaurant. The great taste that customers love has attracted investors so much that they have expanded the business to include 30 stores today.

The most popular dish is roasted-rice grilled pork neck with signature dipping sauce, fried chicken spicy salad, corn and salted eggs salad, spicy grilled pork salad, and minced catfish spicy salad.

Hours: 10:30 AM – 4:00 PM. Closed on Sundays (depending on the branch)
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dangsomtum
Map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/Rs63tWLEdWoTWRmeA (Sam Yan Branch)

When it comes to desserts at Bantadthong, do not miss Jee Wan Soy Milk. This healthy dessert shop originally sold only hot soy milk and soybean curd with ginger syrup.  Once they had moved to Chula Soi (Alley) 22, more items were added to the menu, such as grass jelly with fresh milk, cold soy milk with toppings, sesame dumplings in ginger syrup with toppings, etc.

The restaurant has been operating for more than 30 years and is already well-known.  But their fame skyrocketed when the world-famous sensation Lisa (Black Pink) came to the restaurant for dessert.

Popular menus include volcano grass jelly with fresh milk — the chunky and chewy grass jelly cubes served with rich sweet fresh milk, and sprinkled with Milo chocolate malt powder, and crispy dumpling with fresh milk — a combo of crunchy tapioca and soft dumplings in fresh, aromatic milk.

Hours: 3:00 PM – 11:30 PM Closed on Sundays
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100067812128759
Map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/GhXMPmt54NRu8ohv8

Michelin Guide Guaranteed Restaurants Category

Kimpo Fish Porridge

Gimpo fish porridge has been open for more than 70 years. The uniqueness of the shop is the large fresh grouper hanging prominently in front of the shop.  With the guarantee of the Michelin Guide award (2017-2023), this shop is known for its freshness and wide variety of seafood like bringing the whole ocean to the table, from grouper, pomfret, perch, shrimp, squid to shellfish. The shop sources the freshest ingredients and deboned thoroughly.

When coming here, foodies often order rice soup dishes, like rice soup with fish, shrimp, squid, or shellfish. The soft-boiled rice texture is just right, not too mushy. The popular rice soup menus are red grouper rice soup in which the fish skin is chewy but not fishy; and Grey pomfret rice soup with mild and tender, but chunky fish meat, served with the special signature dipping sauce. Another popular dish is sea bass rice soup with big chunks of fish, and aromatic broth, sprinkled with fried garlic, chopped celery, and caramelized galangal powder, served with the delicious soybean dipping sauce.

Hours: 3:30 PM – 10:30 PM Daily.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KimpoBanthatThong/?locale=en_TH
Map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/AgikwafgA1oiYoHk9

Elvissuki & Seafood (Banthadthong)

Elvis Suki & Seafood is a street food restaurant that has been operating for more than 50 years. Formerly known as Ha Seng Huat, it was renamed Elvis Suki. The first branch is located on Soi Yotse and has opened a new branch on Bantadthong Road. The selling point of the restaurant is hotpot, with pork, chicken, beef, and seafood.

This restaurant has received the Michelin Guide certification for 6 years in a row (2018-2023) and the recommended Michelin Guide menu is beef sukiyaki.  The meat is tender and delicious, not chewy.  For those who do not eat beef, try the seafood stir-fried mixed vegetables served with a delicious dipping sauce.  The vermicelli is cooked in a way that all are coated with egg, and chewy by tender, mixed with big shrimp, fresh and crunchy squid.  Another must-try menu is the stir-fried chicken noodle (the restaurant’s original recipe). The chicken is tender and the dish is aromatic with mild smoky flavors of wok stir-fry. 

Those who like seafood must try the scallop supreme dish (Michelin-Guide recommended dish 2018 – 2021) served with sweet and spicy sauce. And there is also a rich and refreshing Soho plum juice.

Hours: 3:30 PM to 12:00 AM. Daily.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064996654389
Phone number: 081-994-5168
Map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/kNnq8SFT8wefq5KC6

Long Leng Fish Balls

Originally located at Suan Luang Market under the name Nai Bai, the restaurant was later renamed Long Leng and moved to Bantadthong Road, opposite the CU Centenary Park.

This restaurant has been operating for more than 40 years. For the past 6 years, it has been awarded the Michelin Guide 6 years in a row (2018-2023). The main highlight is the fish balls.  Their recipe does not add any flour, and the fish balls are freshly made every day. The most popular signature dish is the dry Tom Yum Yen Ta Fo (Thai Pink Noodle).  The signature taste of Tom Yum Yentafo requires no further seasoning. When eaten with crispy swordfish skin, the recipe adds more to the “umami” or “essence of deliciousness”  taste.  In addition, the must-try snack menu is fried pork dumplings that are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Hours: 4:30 PM to 11:00 PM daily.  Parking is available at the CU Centenary Park.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Longlengnoodle
Phone number: 095-7594131
Map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/1JwcBmAwYrs3hJTLA

Trendy Restaurants

CQK Mala Hotpot Samyan – Bantadthong

CQK is an authentic Mala hotpot shop from Chongqing. There are many branches, but the one at Bantadthong is the largest in a three-story space with contemporary Chinese decor, complete with both private rooms and a VVIP room (for 20 people) suitable for parties and karaoke with a group of friends or families.

The specialty of this restaurant is the soup, which is available in many flavors, including pumpkin soup, pork bone broth, and beef Mala broth.  The dipping sauce bar has directions for seasoning methods to match the selected soup or the staff can help.

The menu that should not be missed is shrimp meatballs, and big scallop tendons, which when dipped in the Mala soup, go very well with the special dipping sauce. 

For meat lovers, Japanese wagyu beef that’s soft and melts in the mouth dipped in mala soup for about 10 seconds will fit the bill. Duck intestine dipped in mala soup is unstoppable.  The popular snack is fried Mantou served piping hot that’s crispy, aromatic, and delicious.

Hours: 11:00 AM – 03:00 AM Open daily
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ciqikoubkk/
Phone number: 097-7507777
Map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/Jj3cMXaE2QQB3oLH6

Nueng Nom Nua

Nueng Nom Nua is a famous restaurant from Phuket that serves diced bread on a skewer.  It began with the owner’s passion for bread making as a hobby, leading to the idea of experimenting with homemade bread and dips.

Following its success in Phuket, the owner brought the homemade recipe to Bangkok, opening a second branch at Bantadthong.

The best dish is the lava-salted egg dip with Hokkaido milk ice cream.  Anyone who wants to eat a variety of dips can order the crispy Shokupan and choose from many choices of dips including pandan Kaya, lava salted eggs, and Hokkaido fresh cream which is perfect when paired with the original noir milk. For a savory treat, we recommend imitation crab and shrimp roe wrapped in seaweed bread — a delicious novelty menu that is a must-try.

Hours: 4:00 PM – 01.00 AM Open daily
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100090203659707&mibextid=LQQJ4d
Phone number: 092-0939111
Map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/ZozMc4yqmBqAEYy6A

Everyday Thai Tea

The name of this restaurant is as long as the line of customers waiting to enjoy the delicious tea. Formerly named Better Beam café it had iced milk tea as its signature menu, after two years of operation, and only sold iced tea menus, the name was changed to Beams Cha, then eventually adjusted the name to what it is today to communicate the best menu honestly to the customers.

The shop is decorated with an orange tone in a minimalist style. The must-try menu is Cha Yen with baba — the rich, sweet, and aromatic iced tea with unique mini pearls- that are chewy and enjoyable.

Hours: 8:00 AM – 10:30 PM. Open daily
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/everyday.thai.teaa
Map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/np3LdynPRwdCDxee7

Mae Duan Thai Dessert  Bantadthong

Mae Duan Thai Dessert used to be at Sam Chuk Market, Suphan Buri Province. It is a Thai pastry shop that uses old traditional recipes from over 50 years ago selling over 50 in-house sweets, all starting at 10 baht.

The signature dish is Khanom Thuai or Thai coconut milk custard made daily from Mae Klong coconut sugar and  100% freshly squeezed coconut milk yielding a sweet and creamy dessert. The bottom layer is gluey, fragrant, and delicious. Another popular dish is mango sticky rice. Mango slices are beautiful, sweet, and slightly tart. Glutinous rice is soft, not lumpy, and perfectly topped with freshly squeezed coconut milk.

Hours: 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM. Open daily
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Maeduenbkk/
Map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/oGbeS1aiq95eWAbT7

Word of Mouth Street food review, Bantadthong – Sam Yan

Thanakorn Wachirabenjapong

Thanakorn Wachirabenjapong / Age: 20 years old / Occupation: Student / Nationality: Thai

“I am a Chulalongkorn student, living not far from Bantadthong.  Getting there is very convenient by either taking the Chula bus, MuvMi electric tuk-tuk or walking. I like Bantadthong because it is a hub of famous restaurants, with reasonable price making me feel like eating here often.

“My favorite restaurant is Steak Ahma. This is one of the first restaurants I ate at with my university friends. My favorite dish is the Ahma Steak Tray. The portion is big, while the price is affordable.  For dessert, I like grass jelly in fresh milk at Bualoy Parinya restaurant. ”

Morakot Chanmaneelert

Morakot Chanmaneelert / Age: 19 years old / Occupation: Student / Nationality: Thai

“I come to Bantadthong quite often because I love going out. And there is a variety of food to choose from in one place both savory and dessert. Another charm of Bantadthong is the park. After dining, you can take a stroll while the food is digesting at the park.  The atmosphere is not as busy as in Yaowarat. Students come to walk quite a lot. It feels safer than in Yaowarat.”

 “When I come here, I like to visit the Saneh Larb Koi restaurant to eat the very delicious spicy papaya salad with rice noodles and grilled pork neck. I often come back and eat here often. My favorite dessert is soybean curd in fresh milk with ginkgo at the delicious Jeh Wan Soy Milk. It’s delicious and packed with ingredients == a legendary restaurant to visit.”

รุ่งโรจน์ โรจนธรรมกุล
Roongroj Rojanathamkul

Roongroj Rojanathamkul / Age: 24 years old / Occupation: Project Management Officer / Nationality: Thai

“I like to come to Bantadthong.  I have read reviews from many pages and saw that it is a new food district that is as interesting as Yaowarat. There is both a dessert of savory food in one area and a variety of restaurants, including Chinese, Korean, and Thai food throughout the entire street.

“I like to eat at Nueng Nom Nua. I’m amazed by the taste of the bread and milk that go so well together. I also like to eat at Saneh Larb Koi.  I’ve tried “Koi” the Northeastern spicy sliced meat salad, and it opened up the world so much that I want to eat it again and again. The food is clean and tasty.”

Lúu Chí Sanh
Lúu Chí Sanh

Lúu Chí Sanh  / Age: 28 years old / Occupation: Flight Attendant  / Nationality: Vietnamese

“I often visit Thailand with my friends once a year and wouldn’t miss visiting Bantadthong because this is an interesting area.

“My favorite dish is fried Chinese sausage at Jeh O — a legendary restaurant in the area. The food is good but the lines can be a little too long. Another place I like is Jae Wan Soy Milk. I tried it for the first time and was impressed.  The fact that I came with good friends made it even more impressive. The atmosphere here is very welcoming. I’ll come again next year for sure.”

Cirelli Kelian
Cirelli Kelian

Cirelli Kelian / Age: 23 years old / Occupation: Automation Engineer / Nationality: French

“I came to Thailand as a tourist. A Thai friend recommended that I come to Bantadthong. I like beef, so I can eat at almost every place. For dessert, I like to eat bingsu (Korean shave ice) at Ting Ting restaurant. In France, there is neither bingsu nor boba. Thailand is a hot country, so I want a refreshing dessert that is not too sweet. Ting Ting restaurant is a great answer to my needs. It is also an air-conditioned restaurant.”

Karen  Le Rox
Karen  Le Rox

Karen  Le Rox / Age: 35 years old / Occupation: Administrator / Nationality: New Zealander

“I come to Bantadthong 2-3 times a month.  There is a uniquely “nice vibe, great, authentic, and local food” that can’t be found anywhere else.”

“I like to eat noodle soup at Lek Yai Traditional Tom Yum Noodles shop, because I’m very addicted to the large portion of minced pork that the restaurant gives, and the noodle itself is so delicious.” 

Chula’s encouragement and support for research is excellent for teachers, students, and the public.

Associate Professor Dr. Suchana Chavanich Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University

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