Top 10 Thai Meals of 2014 (& What You Can Expect in 2015)

By Mark Wiens 29 Comments
My Christmas gift this year came wrapped in a banana leaf!

Greetings all Thai food lovers, and wishing you a Happy New “Thai Food” Year 2015!

2014 has been a wonderful and extremely rewarding year for us at

This year, we’ve covered restaurants in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, as well as Bangkok. Also, this year we introduced recipes, which have proven to be popular, and are now some of the top viewed pages on this website (would you like to see more recipes?).

For the past few years I’ve written about the best restaurants in Bangkok for the year, but since I created a permanent page for that, I just decided to share ten of the best meals I ate in Thailand this year.

A few of these places I haven’t even shared yet on the blog… so this is a sneak preview of a couple restaurants to come as well!

restaurants in Chiang Mai
Northern Thai food at Tong Tem Toh (ต๋อง เต็ม โต๊ะ) in Chiang Mai

1. Tong Tem Toh (ต๋อง เต็ม โต๊ะ) – Chiang Mai

After a trip to the US and Japan, I began the year in Chiang Mai. Our first meal was at Tong Tem Toh (ต๋อง เต็ม โต๊ะ), mostly because it was so conveniently located.

At first I didn’t have high hopes, as it’s the type of restaurant that looks like it caters to Thai tourists. However I was pleasantly surprised, I thought the northern Thai food (Lanna) was quite good.

Khao Soi Khun Yai (ข้าวซอยคุณยาย)
Khao soi at Khao Soi Khun Yai (ข้าวซอยคุณยาย) in Chiang Mai

2. Khao Soi Khun Yai (ข้าวซอยคุณยาย) – Chiang Mai

Although I since have a new favorite (I’ll be sharing about it on the blog soon, it’s in Lampang), Khao Soi Khun Yai (ข้าวซอยคุณยาย) is right in the heart of Chiang Mai, and they serve an excellent bowl of egg noodles and curry.

In Chiang Mai, you might also check out Khao Soi Mae Sai (ข้าวซอยแม่สาย) if you have a chance.

best food in Bangkok
Fish maw stir fry in Bangkok

3. Ah Ou Bangrak (ร้านอาอู๋ บางรัก) – Bangkok

Ah Ou Bangrak (ร้านอาอู๋ บางรัก) is a sidewalk restaurant in Bangkok that serves upscale Thai Chinese street food.

Many of the dishes are not as cheap as one might think, because most of their menu is good quality seafood. I especially enjoyed their stir fried fish maw, and Hong Kong style fried noodles.

Excellent Isaan food in Korat

4. Lab Som Phit (ร้านลาบสมพิศ) – Korat

Although this restaurant in Korat is most famous for their sok lek (ซกเล็ก), a dish of raw beef and blood, all the rest of their Isaan dishes are also delicious.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try a plate of their raw beef salad (it’s a favorite, especially for men at the restaurant), but I was also a huge fan of their tender grilled pork neck and their mam (a type of dark Isaan sausage).

restaurants in Bangkok
One of my favorite restaurants in Bangkok

5. Soei (ร้านเส่ย) – Bangkok

One of my absolute favorite restaurants I ate at (multiple times) this year in Thailand was Soei (ร้านเส่ย), a restaurant in Bangkok that serves unbelievably flavorful food.

The owner, a former rugby and basketball player, is passionate about serving food that’s pungent and strong, and I just can’t get enough of his robust flavor combinations.

Freshwater prawns in Thailand
I can still taste these prawns on my tongue going into 2015!

6. Ruay Goong Pao (ร้านรวยกุ้งเผา) – Ayutthaya

Ying and I ordered 1 kg. of freshwater prawns, which was just three of them – they were huge!

At this restaurant in Ayutthaya, as soon as we ordered, they simply pulled them from the water, chopped off their tentacles, sliced them in half, and grilled them shell down over hot charcoal (check out the video).

The meat of the freshwater prawns was sweet and firm, and the head oil was like shrimp butter – this is one of the flavors that will linger on my tongue into 2015!

restaurants in Chiang Rai
Delicious meat dishes in Chiang Rai

7. Lab Sanam Keela (ร้านลาบสนามกีฬา) – Chiang Rai

Along with visiting Chiang Mai in 2014, Ying and I had a chance to spend some time in Chiang Rai, a city I had wanted to explore for many years.

Probably the best local meal I had was at Lab Sanam Keela (ร้านลาบสนามกีฬา), which specializes in northern Thai food, mostly dishes that are quite heavy on the meat – like the Thai version of Sunday roast!

som tam
Ubon Ratchathani has some of Thailand’s best som tam

8. Pornthip Som Tam Gai Yang (พรทิพย์ส้มตำไก่ย่าง) – Ubon Ratchathani

Ubon Ratchathani has some of the best som tam (ส้มตำ) in all of Thailand, and when I was there for a couple weeks, I ate as much of the good stuff as I could – multiple times daily.

Although I had many delicious, flaming, and pungent plates of som tam while I was there, one of my favorites was at this restaurant, and their gai yang (ไก่ย่าง) was delicious too.

Koy neua (ก้อยคั่วเนื้อ) in Udon Thani

9. Lab Nuad (ร้านลาบหนวด) – Udon Thani

From Ubon Ratchathani, Ying and I traveled to Udon Thani, where we ate at a restaurant known as Lab Nuad (ร้านลาบหนวด).

The restaurant is famous around Udon Thani for serving beef. Everything they do revolves around beef (however, the owner recently added grilled pig breasts to his menu too, which were excellent)!

The food was amazing, the koy neua (ก้อยคั่วเนื้อ), similar to lab, a dish of partly cooked beef in spices, was sensational.

An awesome meal at Mae Hae (แม่แห) in Lampang

10. Mae Hae (แม่แห) – Lampang

To end the year 2014, I’m still traveling around northern Thailand, and I can’t wait to share some of the dishes and restaurants with you.

One restaurant I recently feasted at was Mae Hae, a place in the heart of Lampang, where Grandma serves marvelous northern Thai, Lanna cuisine.

Her food was incredible, and as of now, it was probably the best gaeng hanglay (แกงฮังเล), the famous northern Thai pork curry, I’ve ever had. More details coming soon.

Thai food coming soon
You can expect a lot more Thai food coming in 2015…

What you can expect in 2015…

Exclusive updates: In 2015 I’ll be sending you exclusive food tips and updates by e-mail that you’re not going to want to miss. Are you on it yet?

If you’re not, just type in your e-mail below and click “I’m in!”

What else would you like to see on Do you have any suggestions of what I should write about and cover? Thank you in advance for your feedback!

29 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Bob Jakes (เต้ย)

    7 years ago

    Like the rest, I am looking forward for more Thai recipes in 2015. A hearty สวัสดีปี่ไห่ม to you and Ning. I would like to see a good recipe for my favorite Thai dish, Gaeng Hangleh, in the near future. I have a few pouches of HangLeh powder that I picked up in Chiangmai last year, but since the powder is impossible to find here (Detroit), I need to know what to replace it with.

    • Bob Jakes (เต้ย)

      7 years ago

      Oops, I meant to type Ying, and it came out as Ning! Shame on me!

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Hey Bob, thank you very much, Happy New Year to you as well. Ok, I will definitely note about gaeng hanglay, I haven’t ever made it yet myself, but I will try to learn how and try to make a recipe this year!

  • Kitti

    7 years ago

    Looking forward to Mark and Ying’s marvelous food and travel of 2015 !!!!

  • Heinrich Damm

    7 years ago

    That’s not fair, Mark. I’m sitting here in cold Germany and no way to get my hands on such mouthwatering stuff.

    Anyway – keep up the good work! ❤

  • JRC

    7 years ago

    Great article

  • Derek

    7 years ago


    Happy new year to you too!
    I have got to say your posts and recipes had me scouring China Town in San Francisco last saturday looking for Asian food ingredients. Lots of veg but still having trouble finding galengal there are some shops in the greater bay area that cater to Thai customers I am going to check out.

    Have a prosperous new year ,


    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Hi Derek, great to hear from you, thank you. Hope you can find some galangal. When I was in Phoenix last year, it was easily available at the Vietnamese supermarket, so that might be a place to check out as well if there’s one in San Francisco. Happy cooking!

  • Dino

    7 years ago

    Hi Mark, thanks again to you and everyone involved in your videos and blogs on bringing us amazing content and mouthwatering dishes. Looking forward to another year of delicious dishes and adventures. I personally would like to see a comparison of the different types of curries available in Thailand, such as penang, green and so on. Keep up the great work and Happy New year to you, Ying and Dwight. I’m already counting down the days to come back to Thailand

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thank you very much Dino, and thanks for the idea, that would make a great article. Happy new year!

  • Christian Mattes

    7 years ago

    Hi Mark

    Thanks for your Thai food website!!
    I´m a very very big fan of Thai and Burmese food.
    Since I´m on your mailing list, I´d try much of your reciepes. It tastes incredible good.
    BKK food is very tasty, but my bigest favorite is northern (Lanna) Thai food.
    Tomorrow, I´ve cook for my parents and my family lunch. It will be a tasty Thai lunch with different meat and vegetable dishes with rice.

    I wish you and Ying a very very happy and successful new year 2015!

    PS. Do you have some rciepes for Thai sweets/ desserts?

    Kind regards

    Christian Mattes

  • Susan

    7 years ago

    Mark, I can’t tell you how excited I am to discover that you have recipes on your site. I spent 7 weeks in Bangkok almost 8 years ago now, and it was an experience I will never forget. I fell in love with Thai food, and actually got to take a cooking class in Phuket earlier this year. I have not checked out all the recipes, but I’ve found a couple that I definitely want to make. I’m on a mission to persuade my husband that Thai food is wonderful (I am making progress…) I’d love to see any recipe you care to post. There was a vegetarian patty I fell in love with that I to this day have no idea what the ingredients were; it was just something I ate every time I found it. If you have any ideas about what it might have been and have a recipe, I would be forever grateful. Happy new year to you and your family. I’m really looking forward to what your blog brings us in 2015.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Hey Susan, so great to hear that you love Thai food and cooking as well. Hmm, the vegetarian patty could have been a number of things. Were they sweet or savory?

      • Karen Corbett

        7 years ago

        Love the recipes and reviews. How about a recipe for barbequed or grilled mushrooms. I have eaten some fantastic ones, but don’t know how to make it myself. I think the cooking technique is key?

        • Mark Wiens

          7 years ago

          Hi Karen, thank you very much, and for the suggestion as well. I love the grilled mushrooms as well – I’ll put that on my list for recipes to do!

  • Bruce

    7 years ago

    I love Thai food and am always looking for various restaurants that serve well-prepared examples in down-home style.
    My job takes me to all of the major cities in the West (USA) very often so if there is a way I can find out about places to try and then report on them, I am happy do so so.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Hey Bruce, good to hear that you enjoy Thai food and are able to travel frequently. Thanks for the offer, will let you know if we’re looking for anything. Thanks.

  • Dan

    7 years ago

    Hiya mark! On the ground here BKK and loving it. Have used your website for inspiration and guidance for many years. always have great experiences in the ground.

    Today we had boat noodles at vic monument (on river, closest shop to street), we were charged 186b for 4 bowls 1 pork crackling and 1 water, doesn’t add up to the 9b listed in your blog post about the place? Seems more like 30b a bowl… ( there was no price on picture menu for soup, but I noted there was prices for the extras. I’m sure the thai next to us with about 8 bowls wasn’t paying that!

    I guess It’s a first world problem…. But don’t like being taken advantage off by enterprising Thais.

    How should I handle this situation when person pleads no English?


    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Hey Dan, thank you very much, glad you’re enjoying the Thai food. So sorry to hear about this, I’ve never heard of them overcharging at this restaurant, and especially for something like boat noodles… the bowls were the very small ones, just 2 – 3 bites per bowl, right?

      In situations like this, and what I do when I travel to other destinations, is try to communicate with them how much per bowl before I sit down. Then really pay attention to the other tables how much they pay.

      Sorry about this again, I’ll look into it.

      Happy new year,

    • Kitti

      7 years ago

      Dan, sorry to hear you get overcharged.

      At Victory Monument, there are so many boat noodle restaurants so it’s easy to confuse which one is the right one.

      The last time I check the price of boat noodle at Victory Monument, most restaurants still 10 or 12 baht per bowl, pork cracking is the same price so the price goes up from 9 to 10 and then 12. Only Doy Boat Noodle ต้อยก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ is 15 baht per bowl still the same price as Mark’s blog (some people say at Doy you get more portion per bowl).

      After all, 186 baht for just 4 bowls for sure is not the correct price if you went to the same place as Mark did.

  • Chris Wotton

    7 years ago

    Mark – I NEED that gaeng hunglay in the penultimate picture! It looks incredible. All the best to the three of you for 2015 and hopefully catch up with you again soon.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Hey Chris, that gaeng hunglay was the best I’ve had so far! Happy new year, and yes, let’s definitely connect in 2015.

      • Bob Jakes

        7 years ago

        I will have to try that Gaeng hunglay too! It will have to be good enough to top the version I had in Payao earlier this year. Hopefully you can publish a recipe for this.

        • Mark Wiens

          7 years ago

          Thanks Bob. Yah, a recipe for gaeng hunglay is one my list!

  • Steve Kyne

    7 years ago

    Dear Mark

    I wanted to thank you for an amazing year of posts. Eating through someone else’s eyes and taste buds is made infinitely easier when that someone else has a fine camera and an excellent way with words. I have enjoyed every post, even though I mightn’t always comment on them.

    Wishing you and Ying a safe and happy end to 2014, and here’s looking forward to 2015. May it be culinarily rewarding for all of us.

    Happy New Year

    PS: Yes to more recipies!
    PPS: Best wishes to Dwight, too

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Hi Steve,

      Thank you very much for your kind words and for following – we really appreciate it. Dwight has many projects going on, but he’s doing great. And many more recipes coming.

      Thanks again and happy new year,