Every now and again, you’re going to find yourself at the MBK Center in Bangkok. Maybe you need some elephant-print pants, a selfie stick, a knock-off Prada bag, or a new tribal armband (cool tat, bro!). Whatever brings you to this seventh level of hell, plan your visit around a meal. Don’t be tricked by the signs advertising “free Thai iced tea for tourist” in the fifth-floor tourist lounge/international food zone. The best eats in this godforsaken place are located in Zone A on the sixth floor. Speed past the bland standalone restaurants and look for the dingy food hall in the back. Here’s where you’ll find 23 kiosks serving authentic Thai and Sino-Thai dishes (som tum, tom yum kung, yen ta fo, kway teow, kway chap) for just a smidge more than you’d pay in the street.
We can vouch for the succulent stewed pork leg over rice with a soy sauce egg from stall C23 (pictured above), the crispy-edged oyster omelet from C15 (also available with mussels), and the mango sticky rice from A12 (below). Two entrees, a drink, and a splittable dessert can be had for around 300 baht ($8.62 USD). The food stands don’t accept cash, so give your money to the cashier at the edge of the court and she’ll hand you a swipe card, which you then use to pay your stands of choice. The “coffee zone” near the back windows has the best lighting, plus free WiFi for an hour if you buy a drink. Much as we hate navigating the labyrinth of hawkers and slow-moving sunburns on the floors below, perfectly executed khao kha moo makes everything better.
Phayathai Rd., Pathum Wan, Bangkok, Thailand; +66-2-620-9000.