Let me lay it to you straight - some of the world's best Thai food can be had for a pittance late night on Sukhumvit Soi 38.
Tuesday - Sunday nights, Suk Soi 38 is jam packed with loyal customers. Though many of the vendors open for business at 6PM, the heavier foot traffic starts rolling in around 10. Night owls find this Soi an ideal munchie haven both before and after a night at the nearby Thong Lor nightspots. Turns out Bangkok's hippest do, contrary to popular belief, consume more than whiskey and soda.
There are almost a dozen ‘favorites' here. Since all the stalls are of such high quality, it really depends on what you are in the mood for. The most acclaimed vendor, by yours truly (and national food critics), is the Phad Thai stall that can be found a few feet from the intersection of Soi 38 and Sukhumvit.
I readily admit I'm a sucker for Phad Thai, but the noodles here are so succulent you wonder if MSG (or something more sinister) was added to the noodles during the production process. Add chili flakes, peanuts, and a bit of sugar, and then enjoy the dish like there is no other. Because there isn't.
Next stall down is a terrific noodle soup vendor. The egg noodles, red pork, and pork wantons are all quite nice and the Chinese men that run the joint are proud of their offerings. In a welcome twist to this standard meal is the crabmeat they can add. The crabmeat has been completely de-shucked and its naturally salty flavor permeates the broth.
If a large dose of protein is what you crave, Suk 38 can fill you up. Lining the right side of the road (if walking from Sukhumvit) you'll find terribly addictive thinly roasted duck, top notch chicken satay, and excellent ‘khao mun gai.'
‘Khao kaw moo (translation: ass kickin' pig foot)' is a personal favorite. Arriving from the daughter of the stall's owner, this dish is an alluring blend of lean and fatty meat. It comes with both blanched and pickled greens, which adds a welcome balance. The pork is tender enough to cut with a spoon, and the fatty bits giggle with the appropriate amount of giggliness. The peppers and garlic aren't sitting there to decorate the table - people, use the accoutrements to add to your dish to optimize your experience.
Suk 38 is truly all-inclusive. Though I'm stuffed after my mains, I can't help but finish my night here with one of the two mango sticky rice vendors that hold audiences here. Though my friend and I nearly came to blows after we disagreed about which one was better, this classic Thai dessert is a great way to cap a visit to Sukhumwit 38.
Sukhumvit Soi 38 is easily accessible via Thong Lor BTS. Most stalls are open Tuesday-Sunday 6PM-2AM.