Ever wondered where to find the best Pad Thai in Bangkok? As no trip to Thailand would be complete without sampling the country’s most famous dish. The stir-fried rice noodle dish is hugely popular among foreign tourists and even CNN awarded it the number five spot on their "World's 50 Most Delicious Food" list. In this article, we cover - what we believe - is the best Pad Thai in Bangkok and where to find them. We also give you a short history lesson about Thailand's most famous dish as it has a not-so-common origin.
A History of Pad Thai
An early version of Pad Thai was first introduced to Thailand by Chinese traders during the Ayutthaya Kingdom (1351 – 1767) and Thai people adjusted the dish to their own tastes. During World War II when Thailand suffered from a shortage of rice because of floods and war, Pad Thai was crowned Thailand’s “National Dish” to promote the consumption of noodles and Thai nationalism. Since then, Pad Thai has become hugely popular. More details about the history of pad thai can be found in this extensive well-written article about the history of Pad Thai.
Today, although the recipe has stayed the same, you’ll find five key ingredients on the table which you can use to adjust the flavour of your Pad Thai: peanuts, chilli, sugar, fish sauce and vinegar. This is similar to the western habit of seasoning dishes with salt and pepper and you’ll quickly learn what suits you best.
The best local spots for Pad Thai in Bangkok
Unfortunately, Pad Thai restaurants can be hit or miss and we definitely don’t recommend that you start your search for the Best Pad Thai in Bangkok with one of the vendors on Khao San Road. Want to know where you can find the best Pad Thai in Bangkok? Then check out these top local restaurants.
The 5 best Pad Thai in Bangkok are:
1. Pad Thai at Thip Samai
This list of Best Pad Thai in Bangkok wouldn’t be complete without Pad Thai Thip Samai. Thip Samai (Former: Pad ThaiPratoopee) is Thailand’s most famous and longest-running Pad Thai restaurant. The prime minister who introduced the national dish claimed: “Pad Thai Pratoopee is the truly authentic taste of Pad Thai.” The Prime Minister famously brought his foreign guests to this restaurant, earning it a legendary reputation.
Today, the restaurant is still extremely popular and people queue every night for up to an hour to get a table. We recommend that you come before 18:00 or after 21:30 when you’ll get through the queue quickly. Pad Thai Thip Samai specialises in Pad Thai wrapped in a thin omelette. They serve five different versions, ranging from a 60 THB Vegetarian Pad Thai to their premium 300 THB version which is prepared with prawns, crabmeat, dried squid and sour mango.
We always go for their Superb Pad Thai with Big Prawns which costs 200 THB. It’s a bit more expensive than their Superb Pad Thai with Regular Prawns, but we think the addition of these large premium prawns is well worth the extra cost. Ask yourself, how many times do you eat at the world’s most famous Pad Thai restaurant? More in-depth information can be found in our article about Thip Samai and its famous Pad Thai. General information, such as opening times, location, menu and TopTravelFoods users' opinions can be found on the TopTravelFoods review page of Thip Samai.
2. Pad Thai at Baan Pad Thai
This neat shop house focuses more on the premium (and slightly more expensive) Pad Thai. The restaurant is located in a Soi on Charoen Krung Road, a street with lots of famous restaurants like Kuajub Mr Jo, Silom Saeng and Prachak Ped Yang. Baan Pad Thai takes this traditional dish to the next level, preparing it with crab (280 THB) or three grilled jumbo river prawns (250 THB). Trust us, the prawns are really large! The version with smoky grilled chicken is another great option. Baan Pad Thai is the most expensive restaurant on this Best Pad Thai in Bangkok list but we really enjoy the premium ingredients, even if they do come with a higher price tag. Baan Pad Thai is also listed in our article about the best restaurants near Lebua Sky Bar in Bangkok. More information about this restaurant, such as opening times, location, menu and TopTravelFoods users' opinions can be found on the TopTravelFoods review page of Baan Pad Thai.
Pad Thai with Jumbo River Prawns (250 THB)
3. Pad Thai at Hoi-Tod Chaw-Lae Restaurant
This restaurant not only serves delicious Hoy Tod, but its Pad Thai is something to write home about too (so we did!). Why do we think the Pad Thai at Hoi-Tod Chaw-Lae Restaurant deserves to be on this list of best Pad Thai in Bangkok? The slightly sweet Pad Thai itself is well-prepared, but what we like most is the crispiness of their fried battered shrimp, which are of decent size and quality. They also serve a Pad Thai with mixed seafood (150 THB.) Prices here are a bit higher than what you usually pay for your Pad Thai, this is due to the location in high-so Thonglor. Hoi-Tod Chaw-Lae Restaurant is also listed in our article about the best hoy tod in Bangkok, as it serves phenomenal oyster omelettes as well. More information about this restaurant, such as opening times, location, menu and TopTravelFoods users' opinions can be found on the TopTravelFoods review page of Hoi-Tod Chaw-Lae Restaurant.
Pad Thai with Mixed Seafood (150 THB)
4. Pad Thai at Pad Thai Ar-Simp
Pad Thai Ar-Simp's menu boasts lots of different options. These include Pad Thai Wrapped in Egg, a unique Crispy Pork Pad Thai and their signature Pad Thai Ar-Simp served with quality seafood such as mussels, squid and shrimp. There’s something for everyone here but we recommend choosing from the “Ar-Simp” signature list, which is spicier and full of flavour. The Ar-Simp signature Pad Thai deserves a spot on this Best Pad Thai in Bangkok list. Ar-Simp is also listed in our article about the best restaurants near Jim Thompson House Museum. More information about this restaurant, such as opening times, location, menu and TopTravelFoods users' opinions can be found on the TopTravelFoods review page of Ar-Simp.
Padthai Ar-Simp Song-Krueng (150 THB)
5. Pad Thai at Pad Thai Narok Taek
This restaurant is relatively new to the game but is already gaining a good reputation among local Pad Thai lovers. Pad Thai Narok Taek is a worthy mention on our Best Pad Thai in Bangkok list, located on Lat Ya Road, a street with lots of famous restaurants. The cook fries up his famous Pad Thai at a street cart in front of his house, which is always surrounded by locals satisfying their Pad Thai cravings.
The Pad Thai served here is a bit on the sweet side and the noodles have a tasty charcoal flavour. Pad Thai Narok Taek serves four versions ranging from a 40 THB vegetarian Pad Thai to an 80 THB Pad Thai which comes with large, tasty, fried river prawns. This makes it the cheapest Pad Thai champion on this list. More information about this restaurant, such as opening times, location, menu and TopTravelFoods users' opinions can be found on the TopTravelFoods review page of Pad Thai Narok Taek.
Pad Thai (80 THB)
There you have it, our ultimate list of the Best Pad Thai in Bangkok. All these restaurants, and many others, are listed in our food recommendations app called TopTravelFoods. Instead of recommending good restaurants, we recommend the best food these restaurants have to offer. Together with extensive filter options, you can always find the best food during your trip to Thailand. The app is available for both iOS and Android and is completely free. Or when you are on a desktop, you can start exploring the best local food in Bangkok now.