Gourmands will tell you that Bangkok offers a heavenly array of restaurants and bars, with something delectable in every price range. Thai cuisine is a spicy blend of flavors, based on lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, basil, garlic, onion, ginger, coriander, mint, chili peppers, curry and eggplant. Popular menu items include vegetarian or shrimp spring rolls; chicken, beef or pork satay skewers; pineapple fried rice; and pad thai, stir-fried noodles with eggs, tamarind, fish sauce, bean sprouts and red chili peppers, plus chicken, shrimp or tofu.
Liquor made in the area includes several varieties of beer, whiskey and rum. Be on the lookout for rice-based Mekhong whiskey, SangSom Thai rum and Chang Beer (a pale lager). For those who eschew alcoholic beverages, go for cha yen (a Thai version of iced tea). It's made by combining red tea leaves, star anise, sugar and evaporated milk. The creamy sweetness is the ideal complement to the spicy food you'll be eating.
There are numerous places around town to try traditional Thai dishes, including Siam House Cafe, a small restaurant in the Silom area; Jin Chieng Seng, in the lobby at the Inn a Day hotel; and Basil, which offers dishes from four different regions of Thailand (and also runs Thai cooking classes).
For an upscale seafood buffet with a knockout river view through floor-to-ceiling windows, Lord Jim's at the Mandarin Oriental is the place. The emphasis is on seafood; you'll gorge yourself on scallops, tiger prawns, lobster, crab, mussels, clams, oysters and more.
Vegetarian travelers or those simply looking for healthy options will want to try the Bonita Cafe and Social Club on Pan Street, offering vegan and raw food dishes such as teriyaki tofu burgers and zucchini pasta. The friendly owners and cozy atmosphere are as memorable as the food.
Masala Art, located in the Thonglor Complex, earns raves as one of Bangkok's best Indian restaurants. The extensive menu includes dishes like murg makhani, lamb masala, punjabi fish and saag paneer.
Want a break from Asian food? You can find just about any cuisine that you like, including Italian -- and if you're craving some bruschetta or fettuccini, head to Medici, located at the Hotel Muse.
Where to Stay in Thailand
Getting Around Thailand
Bangkok City Guide
Living Like a Local in Bangkok