Bangkok, with all its street food, food shops, restaurants and food markets is a great culinary experience for everyone. Given the variety, cheap prices and availability, this city offers us many options for dining and having a good lunch. However, there is one food court that stands out in the crowd: Pier 21 Food court. It’s Bangkok’s most popular food court for several reasons.
Photo: Pier 21 Food court is a very popular and well-visited food court that is designed in a San Francisco decor
In Bangkok it is quite common that shopping malls have a food court or at least a dining area with restaurants. Usually these food courts offer a wide range of local dishes. However, you can also find a (limited) variety Western food such as pasta for example.
Food courts are similar to street food places. Yet, you sit indoors in an air conditioned hall protected from the noise and pollution that you are usually exposed to when eating on the streets.
The principle is everywhere the same: In the center of the foot court are tables and chairs. You can sit anywhere you want. There is no waiter. Just staff that makes sure the tables are clean. Around the table area there are several smaller food booths and stalls where you can make an order. You get a paycard at the cashier desk with the top-up amount that you paid upfront. With this card you go to a food stall of your choice and pay as soon as you make an order. Usually it takes 1-3 minutes to prepare your meal.
Nobody is pushing you to buy something. Basically, you can even sit there without buying anything. Students often choose food courts to hang out or study.
What makes Pier 21 Food Court so popular?
Pier 21 is located on the 6th floor of Terminal 21 shopping mall. It’s right in the heart of Bangkok’s central business and entertainment district Asok. Furthermore BTS Skytrain and MRT lines intersect here. Besides of a huge number of offices that are that are located here, this area is also a tourist spot. Thus, this food court is situated at the right spot and can be reached easily.
Photo: View over Asok area from the windows of Pier 21 food court
Photo: Pier 21 is on the 6th floor of Terminal 21 shopping mall, that is right in the heart of Bangkok
Variety and quality of food
Pier 21 offers a large variety of local Thai dishes. The menus cover all regions of Thailand such as north-eastern food like Larb Moo, Somtam and Moo Yang to name a few. The quality of the dishes is on par with those from well established food shops in town. In other words, it is authentic Thai food.
Cutlery is clean. Moreover, you are given the option to dive your fork and spoon in hot water to make sure it is free of germs.
Photo: Probably the most well known Thai dish for foreigners: Pad Thai
Photo: North-Eastern food stall: Larb Moo, Somtam, Moo Yang is available here among others
Photo: Cripsy Pork Belly (Moo Krob) and Duck with rice
Photo: Mango Sticky Rice is one of the most popular desserts at Pier 21
You will encounter probably the longest queue at Pier 21 in front of the smoothie shop.
There is a reason why it is so popular. It’s cheap (25 – 40 THB), it tastes good and you have many options: Watermelon (my recommendation), Mango, Wild-berries, Banana, cherry and different combinations.
With the Golden Gate bridge at the entrance, the signs, the lights, the wooden facades, and the Victorian architecture, Pier 21 decor resembles the city of San Francisco, California.
It’s unique and a total contrast to the decor of other food places that have more “Asian” elements. The name Pier 21 itself is an allusion to San Francisco’s famous Pier 39.
For the clean environment, the quality and variety you get the prices for dishes at Pier 21 is hard to top. Prices for dishes start at 20 THB.
To give you an example: For 100 THB that is not more than 3-4 usd, you can buy:
- a smoothie (25 THB)
- a spicy chicken salad (40THB)
- a portion of Fried chicken with rice (35 THB)
Pier 21 is not profit oriented. The owners of Terminal 21 don’t collect any fees from the food stalls to keep prices low for the sake of attracting more people to this huge mall. Apparently, it seems to work quite well.
Video: A review of Pier 21 by EatSleepBangkok
Pier 21 Foot court in Terminal 21 Shopping mall is so popular for a reason. While the prices for food are as low as street food outside, the taste is as good as in restaurants or other food shops. Unlike eating outside, at Pier 21, you have a clean, neat and air conditioned environment without traffic noise. There is a large variety of dishes and the setup gives you a certain San Francisco feeling. You should be aware that during lunch time (12PM-1Pm) and evening hours (5 PM-7 PM), it can be quite crowded, such that finding a place to sit might take some time.