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Across from the amulet market near the Grand Palace is Siriraj Hospital and Wang Lang market. Thousands of students from Thammasat University cross the river for cheap housing on the Thonburi side, and Siriraj is one of the largest public hospitals in Thailand. Starving students plus hungry nurses? It’s the perfect storm for street food and Wang Lang market is a great opportunity to snack your way to satiety.
Getting here is easy as cross-river ferries from Tha Maharaj and Phra Arthit piers, and the Chao Phraya Express boats stop here. Come off the pier and you’re in the market. It stretches up Phran Nok Road for at least 300 metres, and melts back into the maze-like alleys behind.
Have a wander around first and then make a plan of attack. Sweets and little snacks are plentiful, like kanom krok (tiny Thai cupcakes baked in a hot metal mold) or kanom buang maprow (crispy wafers filled with meringue and sweet coconut filling or salty dried shrimp filling — they look like tiny tacos, and both are delightful).
There is excellent roasted pork, muu daeng yang, served at several places immediately to the left of the ferry pier (ask for baa mii muu daeng heng for a plate full of springy wheat noodles studded with chopped scallions and chunks of roast pork) You'll also find a very good northeastern Thai restaurant, Baan Saap, serving fiery som tam and sticky rice on a riverside patio.
Several Southern Thai food stalls line the south side of Phran Nok Rd and serve intense curries to go, including huge cauldrons of slow-roasted massaman with chicken or beef. If you're more adventurous, try phad sataw muu tawt, which is made from the unfortunately-named-but-delicious stink beans stir-fried with crispy fried pork belly. The lovely astringency of the sataw beans cut through the fat of the pork beautifully.
Once you’ve reached your street food limit (never! is the answer of the truly dedicated), tons of vendors gather at the centre of Wang Lang selling retro (or faux-retro) clothes, cool kicks, very-used-yet-real designer bags, and all manner of hipster simulacra. This section of the market, called Talad Naew Naew, is best around noon when all vendors are operating at full bore.
How to get there
The market also happens to be easily accessible; a cross-river ferry from Phra Arthit pier (near Khao San Road) can take you here for three baht and virtually all Chao Phraya express boats make a stop at Wang Lang pier.