Just south of Sathorn Road are clusters of back-to-back street food shops who’ve been serving hungry locals and honing their craft for decades.
By paying as little as 40 baht, you could get a dish of noodles and fish balls that someone has spent 40 years perfecting in this neighborhood along the streets of Chan, Saint Louis, and Sathu Pradit.
Plus, they’re largely free of tourists, so you’ll actually be eating what locals eat, not what Instagram influencers/backpackers are snacking on. Ride up and down Chan Road on the following red hop-on-hop-off song taew buses: 1256, 1271, 1279.
Unnamed ‘Bamee Jub Gung’
Taxi drivers, Grab Bike riders, and bros daring each other to finish multiple huge bowls are just some of the regulars that come to an unnamed shop serving huge bowls of egg noodles since the 1970s.
“One big bowl used to be just 50 satang. My mom wanted to give huge portions to working people who need lots of energy,” said Weera Nopparatcharoeksuk, who took over from his parents about 10 years ago, as he swirls noodles with a stick in hot water. “We can charge cheaply because we make the noodles ourselves.”
The shop’s specialty is Bamee jub gung, literally “coolie egg noodles,” a dish popularized by Chinese laborers in the past, who needed cheap, high-energy dishes.
There are three sizes to choose from: 30 baht, 40 baht, and 45 baht: or in layman’s terms, large, larger, and largest. The noodles have no added color – the light yellow is all from the eggs. We couldn’t even make a dent in the 45 baht noodles (and we asked for extra, free pork rib broth as well), a pile of eggy goodness with thick chunks of grilled pork and homemade pork wontons.
“Most of my customers are men, but I’ve had some ladies come in and finish a 40 baht bowl while a guy couldn’t finish a 30 baht one,” Weera said.
Fun fact: Although the shop doesn’t have an official name. Locals have christened it “Bamee Jub Gung Pa Pranee” or Aunt Pranee’s Coolie Noodles, after Weera’s mom.
Open 9am to 2pm Mondays through Saturdays at Soi Chan 43, Yaek 11.
Saphan 3 Duck Porridge
Worapon “Song” Nimsaeng, 44, is the extremely busy owner of the Saphan 3 Duck Porridge shop as customers flock there post-work hours, queueing for both take-aways and in-house bowls of porridge.
“Our shop has been open for 40 years, by my mother,” he said. “This location here is only three years old, though, because we moved.”
A bowl of porridge with one topping costs 40 baht, two is for 45 baht, three for 50 to 60 baht depending on the toppings, and four to six toppings cost 70 to 80 baht. Choose from toppings of duck, snakehead murrel, hog maw, pork ribs, chicken, minced pork, sweet pork, duck wings, duck legs, fish heads, and fish maw.
Large portions (piset), as well as soups of the meats without rice (kao lao) both start at 50 baht.We tried the eponymous duck porridge. Although its rice grains were rough and chunks of duck tough, the Chinese celery and soft pork blood balanced it out. Definitely a filling meal for cheap.
Open 5pm to 11pm daily at Soi Chan 29. Also available on Grab, Get Food, and Line Man.
Sui Homemade Fish Balls
Pawadee “Sui” Sukaratpipit, 67, has been shaping her own fishballs for her stall for 40 years – “ever since this area was all forests and fields.”
Today, she’s still serving up hot bowls of guay tiew noodles with her secret recipe of fish and shrimp balls at Sui Homemade Fish Balls. We recommend the giam-ee noodles with yentafo sauce – the springy fish balls, along with the crunchy-fresh jellyfish, offer a bowl of textures for just 40 baht (50 baht for a large).
Can’t get enough? Buy 100 fish or shrimp balls for 400 baht to take home.
Open 10am to 10pm everyday on Chan Road 18/4.
Nong Puy Bakery
Three-baht eclairs and bravely colorful cakes with endearingly wonky icing decorations are just some of the unintentionally whimsical offerings at Nong Puy Bakery, open for more than 20 years.
“Everything is yummy,” 50-year-old owner Teun Santipapromwong said.
A pack of six chocolate balls with sprinkles is 30 baht, a one-pound cake costs 150 baht, a two-pound cake 220 baht.
Open every day from 10am to 11pm in Soi Tharurat in the Worarat community area. Watch out for motorcycles traversing everywhere if visiting here on foot, as there is basically no distinction between road, motorcycle lane, or sidewalk here.
For half a century, Manuschai Thongchantra’s family worked to establish Yoo-Nguan Pochana as the premiere spot for fish ball noodles north of Chan Road.
Now Manuschai, 35, is the third-generation owner of the popular noodle shop, known for its light, bouncy fish balls (just a touch fluffier than Auntie Sui’s). The secret to their longevity? The fish balls are made from a mixture of Bigeye snapper and cutlassfish, Manuschai said.
Some decor is from the time of the shop’s founding, such as light-up boxes displaying the types of fish used to make the fish balls (though not lit up anymore). Bowls of guay tiew noodles cost 40 baht to 60 baht depending on noodle type and portion, and fish balls can also be bought by the hundreds. We recommend getting egg noodles with fish balls only (40 baht) – or just a bowl of fishballs (50 baht to 60 baht).
Unlike the other shops on this list, Yoo-Nguan also offers a variety of drinks and desserts that hop on and off the menu: brown sugar milk (30 baht), pink milk (35 baht), toast with different jam toppings (20 baht), and shaved ice with bread (40 baht).
Open 9am to 9pm every day on Chan 18/7 Road. Available on Get Food and Line Man.
Guay Jap Trok Sung Bang Rak
The taciturn elderly couple running Guay Jap Trok Sung Bang Rak told the reporter to interview the other places, and then refused to disclose any information about their own shop. A young employee later said to us that the owners “disliked new media,” and that the shop had been open for around 30 years.
The shop sells guay jap, or rolled rice noodle soup, filled with pork belly, hog maw, and tofu for 40 baht, 50 for a large portion.
“No other branches,” signs in the shop say. “Sundays off. Thank you for your patronage.”
Open 10am to 1am daily on 9 Sathu Pradit Road.
Moo Tong Congee
Right next to the guay jap shop is a 24-hour congee eatery bustling with youthful energy, where young men stir entire cauldrons of bubbling rice with boat paddles.
The Moo Tong Congee franchise has been open for 27 years, with this Sathu Pradit branch in business for 17 years. Natthapon Prayut, 22, is the second-generation heir of this five-branch congee business.
“Dad and mom started out at a small roadside cart until we expanded to having five branches today,” Natthapon said. “At first we opened only from 4pm to 4am, but then we pushed for 24-hour opening times so we could serve daytime customers too.”
The Sathu Pradit branch also includes Hainanese chicken rice (40 baht to 70 baht), pork noodles (40 baht to 60 baht), khao moo daeng (barbecue pork with rice) (50 baht to 100 baht), in case not everyone in the party wants to eat congee.
“My mom wanted to include these dishes because she liked them, and she thought they would draw more customers. She actually learned how to make Hainanese chicken rice from a workshop at Matichon Academy,” Natthapon said.
Matichon Academy routinely holds cooking and vocational skills workshops. It is operated by Matichon Group, which also owns Khaosod English.
Open 24 hours, every day on 49 Sathu Pradit Road. Available on Grab, Line Man, Get, and Food Panda. Moo Tong Congee’s other branches are on Somdet Phra Chao Taksin Road, Pracha Uthit Road, and in Chom Thong and Bang Khae districts.
The article is dedicated in memory of Boonkiat (Permpoon) Thaitrakulpanich, the author’s father, who loved and frequented these places.