The Best Food Courts in Bangkok
Pretty much anyone who has even been close to Bangkok will likely equate the city synonymously with food on some level.
And whether that is likely to be restaurant food, street food, or a 5-star hotel buffet, indeed you will find ample supplies and variants of all things food-related in the Thai capital, and for the most part, it’s all good.
But when you’ve been to Bangkok a few times, or maybe you happen to be on a somewhat extended stay in the city, sooner or later you may find yourself scratching your head about what exactly the best eatery options actually are –- at least in terms of variation — and perhaps even more importantly, in terms of value for money. This is somewhat inevitable once you’ve started to get a feel for the place and the prices, with regard to the different types of food on offer and the establishments from which they are presented.
Although there’s always lots of chatter about how great Thai street food can be, one has to be a little careful with buying just about anything that they lay their often rose-tinted spectacles on — if you get it wrong, the consequences can indeed be dire. The other main option to strict street food is over-priced high-street or shopping mall restaurant food which often entails paying for the surroundings in which to eat food this is less than cordon-blue to say the least.
So, the obvious solution would seem to be…food courts!
Food courts, sometimes referred to as food centres, are undoubtedly one of the best options there is in Bangkok when it comes to both choice and value for money, either when travelling or staying in the city. Some of these Bangkok food courts are admittedly fancy, which will undoubtedly be reflected in the price, while the majority are more standardised. But what you will find in pretty much all of them is authentic Thai food that for the most part won’t break the bank.
One thing is for sure though –- food courts in Thailand mean choice! Whether you fancy something cheap & cheerful with ‘no frills’, or you’d rather go for a 5-star food court in a luxurious high end shopping mall…in Bangkok you’ll find food courts just about everywhere.
The majority of shopping malls will undoubtedly contain some kind of food centre, as will many office blocks and towers, some indoor and outdoor markets, the airports, and even hospitals.
So let’s have a look at some of the best Bangkok food courts on offer, in no particular order, across a few various destinations and prices ranges.
1. Emporium Food Court (Phrom Pong)
Emporium Bangkok is a high-end shopping centre with six floors, located in a prime area along the Sukhumvit Road. This complex is home to a variety of globally-renowned designer brands that seem to be an absolute must for the majority of affluent Thais intent on wearing their wealth upon their sleeve, so to speak.
As well as a luxurious cinema complex, a state-of-the-art space for exhibitions, and an impressive supermarket, you’ll find the Emporium food court situated on the fifth floor. What you’ll experience here is a sleek, modern food court that has undergone several revamps in recent years, and offers a selection of food stalls selected for their excellence in particular dishes, and from various regions and countries (although predominantly Asian).
This is a fairly expansive, air-conditioned Bangkok food court, and is a great place to stop for lunch – especially if you can get close to some of the seating around the edges of the centres which offers some great views of the city. A clutch of mid-range-priced eateries occupy the centre space of the court, which offer various types of fare including Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai along with, coffee shops and a couple of fast-food joints – and even a burger joint, in fact.
Behind the centre section, there are a few more sections offering Thai, Japanese, and various other international cuisines in a pleasant environment.
Location: The Foodhall, 5th floor, The Emporium Shopping Complex, 622 Sukhumvit Rd, Khlong Tan, Bangkok 10110 (BTS Phrom Pong)
Hours: 10 am-10 pm
2. Emquartier (Phrom Pong)
Literally opposite to the Emporium across the other side of the street is a slightly more recent addition to the gamut of hi-so malls prevalent in Bangkok, which is in fact owned by the same company. Here you’ll find something of an upgraded food court located in the basement, offering a wide range of dishes at prices that are predictably somewhat higher than they would be in a more standard food court, and even slightly higher than in the Emporium.
Needless to say, the place is very clean and orderly-looking, with tables being cleared and cleaned in record time by a large team of uniformed service staff. You can expect to see a reasonable number of foreigners and their families dining here among the locals.
What you’ll find here is a selection of Thai cuisine, including a few street-food-style affairs, along with a few other options, like healthy salad bars and other light meal options, a few other internationally-themed affairs, ice-cream, and a few various other desert options.
Location: Emquartier Department Store
Address: 647/2 Sukhumvit Rd, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110 (BTS Phrom Phong)
Hours: 10 am-10 pm
3. MBK Food Centre
In the district of Siam’s huge, tried & tested, tourist-favourite shopping complex MBK you’ll find a reasonably-priced Bangkok food court on the sixth floor. According to which signs you follow exactly you may see it advertised as MBK Food Centre or MBK Food Island.
Certainly this is a good example of a more standard, no-frills, city-centre Bangkok food court, so you can expect it to be busy on most occasions. Here you’ll find a range of all the local favourites including Thai curries, spicy dishes, and the Chinese-style steamed chicken and rice varieties.
As with most food courts of this type, you’ll need to buy a card beforehand (on which you’ll top-up the desired amount you may require to spend), and it may be noted here that this is the common way of operation in most Bangkok food courts although some stalls like those selling deserts and drinks usually require cash.
There is actually another food court in MBK, one floor lower down on the fifth, and this is a little more hi-so in its approach, in that the vendors swipe the value of the dishes onto the cards when you order them, then you settle the amount on the way out. Obviously with this method it pays to be a bit more aware of the prices before ordering! The second court is the least thrifty of the two but also features a wider range of cuisine than the first one, which is pretty much a Thai affair.
Located in: MBK Centre
Address: MBK Centre, 444 Phayathai Rd, Wang Mai, Bangkok 10330 (BTS Natural Stadium)
Hours: 10 am-10 pm
4. Terminal 21
Right next to the terminally-gridlocked junction at Asok on the Sukhumvit Road, stands the huge Terminal 21 shopping complex with an airport theme.
You can decide for yourself as to whether Terminal 21 is worthy of the praise it gets from the hordes of visitors or not. The place is a somewhat strange combination of small, local-name boutique-style stores with a sprinkling of bigger names in the materialistic world. The food court though, has an impressive range of options, from standard Thai cuisine to a few international choices.
Food courts in Thailand mostly tend to be on the ground floor – other than that they’ll rather confusingly be set on the top level, and as with Emporium, here you will also find the latter to be the case. Terminal’s food court in neither the cheapest nor the most expensive on this list, and it does have options outside of the standard Thai fare. So check it out if that sounds about right.
Location: Sukhumvit Road, Asok BTS/MRT station
Hours: 10 am-10 pm
5. Tops (Asok/Sukhumvit)
If you don’t fancy trekking all the way up to the top floor of the multi-levelled, Tardis-like expansiveness of Terminal 21 for lunch after a few hours’ shopping, then literally 2 minutes’ walk to left of it back along the Sukhumvit Road, you can find Tops Food Court.
In the basement level of the popular supermarket (housed under the Robinsons department store), you’ll find nothing too fancy, rather a typical, evenly-priced Thai food court – and probably the best type. Here you’ll find all the Thai staples of noodle and rice-based favourites, with a few dessert options to boot.
This is a value-for-money food court that does, in many ways, exemplify the best of the Thailand experience.
Expect to pay somewhere around 50 baht per dish for the usual range of standard Thai favourites. There is nothing fancy about this place which is kind of refreshing in itself and ideal if all you are looking for is a decent meal and the value-for-money that is questionable in some of the more expensive places that basically offer the same fare.
Location: Robinson Department Store Sukhumvit, 259 Sukhumvit Rd, Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110
Hours: 10 am – 10 pm
6. Central Department Store Food Court (Ladprao)
Central Ladprao is one of Bangkok’s major malls just out of the centrally-located (and hence most expensive) areas. The food court here has undergone endless re-vamps with the last one having been in 2020, giving the place a more modern and varied layout. This place is always packed, especially during lunch hours, probably due to the excellent food and value-for-money prices.
Situated right next to Tops supermarket on the basement floor of the mall, the seating arrangements are nothing fancy and often the food court often has a sense of chaos to it during busy times –- this is Thailand –- and if you turn your back for a second to go and get a drink you’ll likely have lost your table within seconds unless you leave a jacket or something on the chair
Thai food is the main order of the day here with a few Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese options – oh, and a couple of kebab and burger options.
Located in: Central Plaza Ladprao
Address: 1695 Phahonyothin Rd, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900 (BTS Ha Yaek Lad Phrao and MRT Pahonyothin)
Hours: 10 am-10 pm
7. Ratchaprasong Food Park (Big C)
This Bangkok food court is something of a vast space has undergone a fair few face-lifts and restorations like the majority of Bangkok food courts in this posts.
There are a few decent views to be had from some of the seating arrangements, not only of the tropical forest décor, but also from some of the windows here. The food court itself is features a reasonably varied selection of cuisine.
There are three main sections featuring rice dishes, noodle variations, and international options. This means Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai and Indian food for the most part.
The price here is reasonable, but it is worth noting that even though food courts are generally the cheaper option in Thailand, when you are in city-centre region malls you’ll still be paying a little over the odds for what is basically standard Thai and Asian cuisine.
Location: 4/F, 97/11 Ratchadamri Rd., Bangkok
Hours: Open daily 9am-9:30pm
8. Food Republic (Siam Centre)
No post on Bangkok would be complete without including at least something from either Paragon or Siam Centre – so we’ve gone with the food court from the latter, although you will find them in both.
Food Republic, to use its name proper, is a trendy-looking food court comprised of a bunch of food and beverage stalls containing more top nosh. The modern décor gives the place a cool and clean atmosphere, albeit a typically bustling one, with all the usual dishes and options likely to be found in a city-centre food court with just above average prices that attracts a varied mix of clientele by way of both locals and tourists.
Location: Siam Centre, 1 Rama I Rd, Pathum Wan, Pathum Wan District, Bangkok 10330 (BTS Siam)
Hours: Daily from 10 am to 10 pm