You don’t need to change your diet drastically juts because you move to Bangkok. Though most expats prefer eating out in Bangkok, there are plenty of stores offering Western food, groceries and delicacies. Shopping for Italian, French, German items or whatever country you may be from, can sometimes be confusing as Thais tend to lump all together under the ‘Farang’ definition, but the supermarkets mentioned here are knowledgeable and have specialties from the major European countries as well as American. Most Western specialties can be bought in one of three specialty stores – Tops (http://www.tops.co.th), Villa Market (http://www.villamarket.com) and Foodland (http://www.foodland.co.th).
Foodland and Tops are both preferable over the other superstores but are generally not as popular as Villa Market.
The best of the bunch for expats is Villa Market; this is the place where you will find that one elusive ingredient that you cannot find anywhere else. Villa Market is the preferred expat grocery store because it has been in business since the 1970’s serving expats since the opening. It was a niche store until just recently when it also became popular with the growing Thai middle class and branched out to all areas of Bangkok and even into the suburbs. Below is a quick list of Villa Markets in central Bangkok:
- Sukhumvit Road, Between Soi 33 and Soi 33/1,the original branch and maybe the best branch
- Sukhumvit soi 49, New, modern, almost as good as the soi 33 branch
- Sukhumvit soi 55, Many Japanese and good branch
- Sukhumvit soi 11, Good branch with parking
- Sukhumvit soi 2 Small branch
- Langsuan Rd., Ground floor, Millenium building
Tops Market can be found in Central and Robinsons department stores as well as a few stand alone outlets. The branch under Central Chidlom Department store is worth a visit in particular as it’s very well stocked with a great selection of meats and deli products.
Foodland is open 24 hours and is popular with expats as well as Thais. They have many branches across the central business districts and in the suburbs.
There are also some chains that offer other Asian products such as:
- Fuji – Japanese (http://www.ufmfujisuper.com)
- Siam Jusco (Soi Chokchai 4; near Soi Charoensukniwet)
- Pata Department Store (In Pinklao, Thonburi)
Arab and Middle Eastern Food
The area of Sukhumvit 3-7 is generally known as the Arab area of Bangkok with many specialized restaurants and shops.