Gimme more street food
Wang Lang Market sprawls due south of one of Thailand’s largest public hospitals and across the river from Thammasat University. Starving students plus hungry nurses? It’s the perfect storm for street food and Wang Lang is a great place to snack yourself to satiety.
Getting here is easy: grab a cross-river ferry from Phra Arthit near Khao San Road or Tha Maharaj near the Grand Palace, or any Chao Phraya River ferry, jump off the boat and you’re in the market. You’ll first hit a proper roofed market which is a good spot to hunt for vintage clothes and other bargains. Upstairs is Zoom 4 Zoom 5, a large restaurant with river-view tables where prices on cold beer and Thai food are kept low thanks to a self-service setup where patrons order at a window.
From there the market runs for at least 300 metres up Phran Nok Road with street cart vendors crowding the footpath, and melts into the maze-like alleys behind. The footpath is worth the squeeze to grab a bag of rich massaman beef curry for takeaway as you munch on muu ping (grilled pork skewers), grilled squid, fresh fruit, khao lam (sweetened sticky rice grilled in bamboo) and loads more.
Along with more clothing and knick-knacks, a dizzying spread of food bulges from several alleys cutting between the river, Phran Nok Road, Arun Amarin Road and all the way south to Wat Rakang. You could pick up a bag of miang kham to roll your own pouches of chilli, garlic, peanut, shrimp paste and lime in wild pepper leaves while you wait for a bowl of khao na ped (roasted duck with rice) or noodle soup at one of the shophouse kitchens with tables.
At the front of the building that houses Baan Wang Lang Hotel, Khun Daeng does decent kuay chab yuan, a Vietnamese-influenced soup of peppery pork sausage and rice noodles. Also on the lane closest to the river, Ek Rot Det churns out tasty bowls of ba-mee muu daeng (roasted “red pork” and egg-wheat noodles in pork broth) and kapor pla (thick fried fish maw soup). If you could go for the more intense flavours of Isaan food on a riverside terrace, wander into Baan Zaap and order yum pla duk (catfish salad), som tam or laab pla (snakehead fish chopped up with toasted rice and spices).
Take the first right off the lane closest to the river if walking south from the pier, then stroll past a spirit tree where women weave flower garlands and look for the Southern Thai food displayed behind glass at Ahaan Pak Tai Mueang Khon. Hailing from Nakhon Si Thammarat, the cooks don’t hold back on spice in dishes like kua kling (spicy chopped pork with curry), gaeng nor-mai (bamboo shoot curry) and gaeng som pla (sour orange curry with fish).
This is just a tiny fraction of the food available at Wang Lang every day from morning to late afternoon—you’ll even find pizza and sushi. While most vendors close up after sundown, the larger restaurants stay open late, and Zoom 4 Zoom 5 and Baan Zaap are both great venues for a riverside dinner.
The market is worth a special trip for food enthusiasts, but it also makes for a convenient spot to fill up before or after hitting nearby attractions like Siriraj Medical Museum, the Royal Barge Museum, Baan Bu bronze village, Wat Suwannaram and Wat Rakang. You could also stop here on your way to catch a train to Kanchanaburi at nearby Thonburi Railway Station.
Wang Lang Market is located straight southwest of Wang Lang Pier and south of Siriraj Hospital on the Thonburi (west) side of the Chao Phraya River. Most street food is sold only during daylight hours but the restaurants stay open until around 22:00.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.