As a refuelling point for travellers and truckers heading along Route 323, Thong Pha Phum is graced with a wide selection of informal food stands. Simple wooden sheds with plastic tables and a single wok, they're concentrated along the main road in town. Though English menus are non-existent, most stands specialise in only one or two dishes, so ordering should mainly be a matter of pointing.
The market is also a great place to go for goodies like khao lam (coconut sticky rice roasted in pieces of bamboo), grilled chicken and fish and colourful chilli pastes. Even if you don't sample any of the food, a stroll through the bustling market is a must while in Thong Pha Phum. Keep an eye out for fish fresh from the River Khwae.
For a more formal dining setting, the riverside patio restaurant at Baan Thong Yok is a good bet for a whole fish meal, although they keep sporadic hours. But any time is a good one to try the fried black sesame and rice flour snacks that the resort and restaurant are named after. A more "urban" style air-con coffee shop -- the English sign says only "Coffee & Bakery" -- has also opened on the corner of Thetsaban Sailak Road and Route 3272 to the south of town. It's a good spot to cool off with a coffee and slice of cake.
Perhaps the only restaurant worth of note in Thong Pha Phum is the well-known curry stand Rawy Maw, which is 1.5 kilometres out of town on Route 323 on the way toward Kanchanaburi. Its name, meaning 100 pots, is a bit of an overstatement -- on our visit there were only 13 pots of curry. Even so, it's a wonderful place to sample a selection of the amazing variety of curries made in this part of Thailand -- spicy fish curry, sour bamboo curry and fresh yellow eggplant curry among others.