The recent Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day have prompted the notion of celebration, albeit a belated one – by taking your loved one to Chinatown. You will enjoy a fun day spent in Thailand’s most colourful Chinese community.
- ✨ Itinerary ✨
- 1. Explore Talat Leng Buai Ia – a famous Yaowarat market named after an ancient shrine.
- 2. Try the food at old-school eateries much loved by the locals.
- 3. Shop at Lim Hiang Ha Chinese grocery store.
- 4. Stroll along Chinatown in the evening for street food.
1. Explore Talat Leng Buai Ia – a famous Yaowarat market named after an ancient shrine
This popular market is easily reached from the MRT Wat Mangkon Station. Use Exit No. 3 and walk along Charoen Krung Road to Soi 16, and you will see the entrance to the market that can also be approached through Soi Yaowarat 6. Visitors come here to shop for all kinds of ingredients, including fresh and dried foods, spices, tea, and accessories.
At the centre of the market is the Leng Buai Ia Shrine, where you can take a break from the hustle and bustle outside or pray for prosperity and health. Before entering the Shrine, try a Chinese herbal drink at a small shop to the right of the entrance. Its Chinese-style almond milk is good.
It is a pleasant surprise to find such a big Chinese shrine in a small, busy alley.
Leng Buai Ia, according to the Chinese-inscribed plaque inside, was established in 1658, which makes it one of Thailand’s most ancient shrine. Locals come to pray for success in business and prosperity at this Teochew place of worship.
The Shrine is presided over by the deity Leng Buai Ia and his wife. The Chinese god of war Guan Yu is also present. The Shrine is open daily from 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
2.Try the food at old-school eateries much loved by locals
On this particular outing to Yaowarat, we will focus on traditional places that are still popular among the locals. Earsae Coffee is definitely among the iconic names, as it has been welcoming customers for more than 90 years.
Step inside and you will see Chinese-Thai elders having a good time socialising. This old-school café is frequented by people from all walks of life who enjoy its beverages.
- : 103, 105 Yaowarat Road, Samphanthawong, Samphanthawong Bangkok 10100
- : Open daily from 4:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- : 0 2221 0549
Gu Long Pao steamed bun shop is another institution worthy of your visit. Its recipe is said to have remained unchanged for more than 90 years. Fans of steamed buns can find this shop near the Mo Mi Intersection, about 200 metres from Earsae Coffee towards Charoen Krung Road.
The hand-shaped buns are made from dough mixed with sweet potatoes. The price starts from 20 Baht a piece depending on the fillings.
- : 660, 662 Charoen Krung Road, Samphanthawong, Samphanthawong Bangkok 10100
- : Open daily from 9:00 am. – 5:00 p.m.
- : 09 5797 5747
A humble cart with more than 105 years of history to its credit is our next stop. Commonly known as Pae Sia’s dumplings, the vendor can be found at the entrance of the Vietnamese temple, Wat Mongkhon Samakhom (Vietnamese: Chùa Hội Khánh).
A dumpling costs only 3 Baht, and the friendly uncle who sells these delicious savoury snacks is another wonder himself. He is meticulous in his craft, including making his own dipping sauce.
- : Plaeng Nam Road, Samphanthawong , Samphanthawong , Bangkok 10100
- : Open daily at 11p.m. (and normally sold out around 2 p.m.)
- : 08 1726 0777
A pioneer of Hainanese chicken rice shops in Yaowarat, Tai Heng opened its doors in 1920.
The shop is in Yaowarat Soi 8, opposite the Chinese temple Wat Yong Hok Yi.
The rice is cooked to perfection, the chicken tender, and the sauce tasty. A regular plate sets you back only 40 Baht.
- : Soi Yaowarat 8, Yaowarat Road, Samphanthawong, Samphanthawong, Bangkok 10100
- : Open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.. (closed Sunday)
- : 02 222 6791
3. Shop at Lim Hiang Ha Chinese grocery store
This Chinese grocery store is a welcome addition to Yaowarat. Fans of Chinese series will be thrilled by the idea of cooking a dish seen on their favourite show.
The store is stocked with a variety of snacks, beverages, and seasonings at affordable prices. Promotions are held regularly.
The staff is friendly and eager to assist customers. We were reminded to check the expiry date while looking at some discounted goods.
- : 552, 554 Soi 8, Yaowarat Road, Samphanthawong, Samphanthawong, Bangkok 10100
- : Open daily from 10:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m.
- : 08 4523 4888, 0 2639 1018
4. Stroll along Chinatown in the evening for street food
The bustling scene of Yaowarat street food is officially back! Feel free to stroll around and enjoy your picks or follow ours.
This is a good time to try the famous grilled buns (stuffed with generous fillings) of Yaowarat as the queues tend to be shorter. Prices start from 15-18 Baht apiece, and the stall is in front of the Government Savings Bank.
Having a bite of the grilled squid from Raan Nong Guy & Nong Kao is also much easier at the moment. The line is better managed by the stall; it used to be an hour of waiting.
The soft serve from the famous sauce brand Deksomboon shouldn’t be missed. The ice-cream is 20 Baht a cup and available in two flavours: black soy sauce and plum sorbet. Yes, black soy sauce for a sweet treat sounds weird but you won’t regret giving it a try!
Share your favourite shops and stalls with us. We’ll probably check them out next time!