Okay, I have a little time to answer now. First of all, while I didn't make my daily logs public, a friend I travelled with had his own. You might want to check them out. They start at the bottom of the page and get newer as you go up, then you have to go back to the bottom to go to newer entries:
http://www.geekroar.com/leopoldo/catego ... ls/page/3/
There are some errors here and there, but for the most part it should be interesting.
Okay here are my suggestions:
I think Thailand is a very clean third world country. I found it much safer and more hygenic than Mexico, eg. While I wasn't always willing to eat a stew/curry that had been sitting around unheated all day, I did eat my share and never even got a twinge of being sick in two weeks. Of course, I only drank bottled water and I was obsessive about using those little disinfectant towellettes before eating. Take a lot of those. They will serve you well. Often it's not the food that gets you, it's that you're eating the food with your hands after spending all day touching stuff. Although, there really aren't that many true finger foods.
My favorite spots in Bangkok for street foods were:
* Soi Convent just south and at the corner of Thanon Silom. (Thanons are big roads whereas sois are little roads.) Also in either direction on this side of the road up and down Silom there are some good stands. eg, we got some great kanom jeen at a stand just under the Sala Daeng skytrain stop. There was fantastic (Thai, of course) fried chicken just on the corner of Convent and Silom. There was a good kanom jeen seller, too, not far. And across from the kanom jeen vendor one night was a lady making haw mok that were really wonderful. If you go down Convent a little, there was a smoothie maker, although they weren't as good as the store under the Sala Daeng on the north side (forget the name right now, but it's trendy looking), but were cheaper. Rotee Boy is also under Sala Daeng, just to the east, I think. Really interesting rotee. They're the Krispy Kreme of Southeast Asia. This is all near where one of the night markets is. On either side of the night market are "ping pong shows" and other places that will try to lure you in for something sexually related. The night market actually is pretty decent for getting all the crap that people get in Thailand. There are various corners in every direction here, too, that will have street foods, mostly soups. But Convent has the highest proportion.
* Talaat Salanamron, especially along Soi Prannock to the north. This was a total lark. We just went to the water taxi stop N10 and were going to take a taxi down to Wat Arun. But this little market serving almost entirely Thais had fantastic food along the road to the north. There was this terrific curry vendor with probably half a dozen or more different curries in big metal bowls. They had a great variety of vegetables and wonderful flavors. They also had several other dishes, such as stuffed prawns, for purchase. There were many other good vendors, too, such as a place serving the best grilled bananas I had on the trip, both the mashed plantains and the bananas grilled in their skins. We got some really good chicken soup, too.
* Near Suan Amporn and the National Assembly, at the corner of Ayuthaya and Rajadamnoen Nok. I don't know if we were just lucky, but while we were in Thailand there was always something going on here. Looked mostly like graduations. Tons of vendors with a huge variety of dishes. Lots of fried chicken, various satay, and snack foods. Also on Ayuthaya farther west (I walked a lot and the guest house we were staying at was near the river on this road) in front of a bank on the south side of the street were a couple really good vendors every day. Don't know the cross street, though. I'd say about Ratchasima. It was in the middle of a block, though. One of the vendors was selling satay and another was making the little round dumplings, I forget the name, maybe Erik or somebody can help, that are made in the half-circle muffin like pans and then turned over to form balls. The best ones had these little mollusks in them, perhaps a mussel or clam. Very creamy and flavorful.
* Samsen (turns into Chakrabong around the Khao San area) and Ayuthaya or Phitsanulok. Each of these last two roads run east/west more or less and end at Samsen. The busses use them to go in each direction and turn around I think. There's a bit of a market between the two I think and on either side along the road there are some very good food stalls during the day. Along Ayuthaya at this corner was one of the only places in Bangkok I saw rotee (that's how they usually spell it) like you see all over in the north.
* Khao san is hell, imo. I'd rather hang out with the whores and mongers than the eurotrash, whites-with-dreads, unwashed, pseudo-hippies looking for "enlightenment" through a bong. But the place is still alive late night and there are lots of vendors near it and up it. However, most are definitely choosing their foods based on the tourist palate. Hence, there are maybe half a dozen or more pad thai street vendors at any time, something I hardly ever saw anywhere else. Admittedly, though, you can get a great pad thai for about a buck even at 1am.
* Chinatown. The place is nutso, crazy, insane. But it has A LOT of interesting things to look at and A LOT of street foods. It's like a noisy, smoggy maze, but worth a trip. Get there earlyish. The side streets have all the stuff.
* Aw Taw Kaw Market: This is southwest of Chatuchak and open during the day. If you follow the main road just south of Chatuchak, you'll eventually see a big market across the street. On the west side of the building (which is covered with open sides) there are many hot foods vendors. But check out all the produce, etc. There's also a candy/snack shop just southwest of this market that was very cool. Got some tasty things there.
I didn't eat at many restaurants at all. I mostly stuck to street food. It's cheaper and I can see what I'm getting before I order and just point. But I did have one great meal in a restaurant, plus some other good dishes.
* MBK Food Court: We tried a couple of the food courts in shopping malls. They're so much better than what you're used to in the US. Most of the stuff is made fresh and from scratch and the shoppers all know they can go down on the street and get something cheaper if they want. Each stall specializes in a few dishes. Of the various food courts, I thought the one at MBK was by far the best. They had the best variety and the best quality. I loved the papaya salad and mango salad vendor at the far corner of the place. But there was plenty to try and eat. There's even some Indian food vendors and smoothie vendors. Note: You do have to purchase tickets prior. None of the vendors take money, they just take tickets, each of which as a value.
* Chote Chitr. I got this place from RW Apple's article in the NYT
. Tough to find. Very tough. My suggestion is to get close and then start asking people or find a cab driver familiar with it. Not easy to find at all, but worth it for sure. The dishes he recommends were the best dishes we had. Ask for recs, too. They do speak a little English and have an English menu, I think. Definitely don't skip the banana blossom salad.
* btw, if you want a bit more upscale places, I picked up this book
and brought it back. Pretty cool. If you like cookbooks, I'd suggest a trip to Asia Books. They're all over. Plenty in English and I picked up some items you can't really find in the US.
* Learn as much basic Thai as you can, especially how to pronounce transliterations. It's probably too late now, but I really wish I could at least pronounce actual Thai script. Definitely learn your numbers. They're very easy. I think Thai, except the pronunciation, is a very easy language. I picked it up so much faster than Japanese. Any bit of Thai from a farang is greatly appreciated, too, even if it's just a korp kuhn krap. Numbers, though. They're a must if you want to get off the beaten path.
* Pick up Nancy Chandler's Map of Bangkok as soon as you can. It's way cheaper in Thailand, though you can find it online and at good bookstores. It's not especially useful for getting around, but once you are somewhere it has lots of markets and other points of interest, plus a map of Chatuchak market. You may want a second map, though, although the Lonely Planet map in the book is quite good. The big problem with getting around is that taxi drivers generally don't know where anything is either.
* Plan out your destinations ahead of time, use the Skytrain as much as possible, and take taxis instead of tuk tuks. The tuk tuks are fun, sure, but they're generally a worse price and less comfortable unless you're under 5 ft tall. Personally, I liked walking around because you always see stuff along the way, but that's going to result in heavy sweating.
* Oh, speaking of sweating... In Bangkok, it's unusual to see shorts. I wore them anyway, but know that it's unusual. Sandals, however, are the norm, even when wearing nice clothes. I however, bucked the trend again and wore comfortable sneakers because I hate getting my feet all gross and dirty. But I would have been cooler in sandals.
* In double-checking a few things here, I noticed this Chowhound post
that looks very useful. It even overlaps with some of my suggestions. Wish it was available before my trip.
* We stayed at a guest house just north of Thewes Market called Shanti. I really liked the area -- away from all the touristy stuff with interesting things within walking distance, plus close to good bus routes. (My theory on busses is that you don't need to know their routes, you just take them until they turn or you reach the place you need to go.) It was also very close to a water taxi stop making it perfect for getting to all the Wats, Chinatown, etc.