It’s Friday night in Bangkok. I’m a stone’s throw from Punnawithi BTS station, standing in the middle of a field and surrounded by food trucks at the M.A.P. Weekend Fest. I’m at a complete loss as to what to choose: there’s the Double Cheese Wagyu Burger at Burgler Burger, right next to the Danish-style hot dogs at Food Stop. Then, just a few feet away, there’s Monkey Brownies, tempting me with an array of home-made brownies.
On the other side of the huge grass lawn is Answer Cheeze, where people are lining up to order chunky grilled cheese toasties. There’s also a queue at Ugly Dog, whose icon is a rather crazed-looking canine. The hot dogs here seem more traditional in terms of filling, but come served in exotic-looking buns like the black “Charcoal” and a home-made organic rice berry. Just when I thought that there can’t be any more, I happen across the burgers and bright yellow van of Street Burger, right next door to the taxi-styled Hungry Meter, whose specialty is Philly cheesesteaks. By this point, I’m pretty much sold on their take on the sloppy, delicious-smelling sandwiches, but then I spy one last food truck over in the corner, and its large, hand-drawn sign that reads “Two Angels Tacos”. I ended up ordering a plate of Roi Choi tacos, the owner’s tribute to Korean-American chef Roy Choi, the man who founded the modern food-truck movement in 2008.
There are close to 1,000 food trucks in Bangkok right now. While they often congregate at markets like the one I’m at, they usually pull up and park on different spots every day, often on busy nightlife streets like Thong Lor. Sometimes they partner with bars, as with the symbiotic relationship between Craft beer bar on Sukhumvit Soi 23 and burger van Daniel Thaiger. Food trucks also attend the big music festivals that take place in and around Bangkok, but mostly it’s a case of trial and error — traveling around to scout locations, testing them out and seeing which ones work.
The next night I disembarked the BTS Skytrain at Sala Daeng station to hunt down Bangkok’s most idiosyncratic food truck. Behind an upscale Thai restaurant, occupying a quiet courtyard, I find what I’m looking for. Illuminated by strings of lights, and furnished with red-check tablecloth-covered tables, a small team of wait-staff hover around well-dressed patrons, while at the center of it all is a large truck bearing the words: Pizza Massilia. The entire side wall of the truck is open, revealing two huge chalkboards bearing the menu. In the middle is the “kitchen”, which features a full-sized wood-fired oven and pizza-making station.
It’s an impressive, almost romantic set-up. I later discover the understandable reason is that they’re in the frantic last stages of opening up a proper bricks-and-mortar restaurant. I guess food trucks, like us all, have to settle down some time.
Answer Cheeze has an easy menu of grilled-cheese sandwiches. You have a choice of Hawaiian, BBQ pork or mixed cheese, all served in thick-sliced white bread. facebook.com/answercheezebkk
Often parked outside the Sofitel, Burgler Burger o ers a 150g Wagyu burger for THB229. For just a little more, you can indulge in the 180g “Nuclear” version. facebook.com/burglerthailand
As the story goes, Thai-Western couple Mark and Honey Falconi once complained that there were no good burgers in town. They decided to do something about it, and set up Daniel Thaiger (named after their son). They’re usually parked on Sukhumvit 23 next to popular bar Craft. facebook.com/danielthaiger
This truck’s signature Danish hot dog consists of a crispy sausage covered with special Danish sauce, fried onions and pickle; while the Cocktail has cocktail sauce and cabbage. facebook.com/foodstopth
Monkey Brownies serves amazing home-made brownies and soft cookies with flavors like walnut, peanut butter, cream cheese, raisin, green tea, cashew nut and strawberry white chocolate. goo.gl/JwFQBj
While it is technically a truck, and thus movable, in reality Pizza Massilia is more of an outdoor restaurant, occupying a quiet courtyard at the back of an upscale restaurant. Diners sit at red-checked tablecloth tables, and enjoy amazing pizza accompanied by Italian draft beer. pizzamassilia.com
Two Angels Tacos
Expat Californian Pattanapong Sukduang serves mean tacos using home-made corn tortillas with a mix of classic fillings such as carne asada (beef) and Thai- flavored takes like tom yum goong. For just THB60 each, it’s obvious this is a labor of love. You can usually find Pat and his tacos at night on trendy Thong Lor. facebook.com/twoangelstacos
This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of Smile magazine.