In a city of over 13 million people, there’s always someone with a sweet-tooth to satisfy, which means there are sweets of every variety to be found across the city at all hours of the day or night. The colorful plethora of desserts fill the streets and markets, taking hold of the senses and filling the belly. Having been to Bangkok 3 times, I’d like to think I have a pretty good feel for the city and it’s food, but this by no means is an exhaustive guide to the expansive and ever-changing food (and dessert) scene in Bangkok. But if you have a few days, and a sweet-tooth to feed, this DIY tour for the best desserts in Bangkok should satisfy your cravings and allow you to sample a variety of delicacies in different settings across the city. Let the sugar-rush commence!
Mango Sticky Rice
To kick off your time in Thailand and your search for the best desserts in Bangkok, it only makes sense to start off with the classic Thai dessert everyone knows and loves. I’ve eaten a lot of desserts and this is still one of my favorites. The simple concoction of sticky rice flavored with coconut milk and fresh ripe mango topped with a thick sweetened coconut sauce is the epitome of Thailand. You cannot leave the city without trying this. At the very least, try some Thai mango. It’s the best you’ll ever taste, and it’s almost impossible to find mangos this good outside of Thailand.
Where to find it: You can’t walk around the city without seeing a street vendor or restaurant selling mango sticky rice. I recommend eating ample amounts (at least once a day while in Thailand) because you will be hard pressed to find it this good any where else in the world. However, if you have a craving, this recipe is a close second. Bookmark it now, and thank me later.
After You Dessert Cafe
This chain dessert cafe is super-popular with the locals, especially students. Every one I passed by was packed with dessert-lovers indulging on their famous kakigori Japanese shaved ice and snapping photos of their other Instagram-worthy desserts. Upon arriving, I grabbed a number and waited for a table. After a few minutes, my number was called, which is also the signal that you’re allowed to order at the counter. The menu is a sight to behold, and is filled with delectable desserts including honey toast topped with ice cream, mile high kakigōri loaded with a variety of toppings, crepe cakes, and chocolate galore.
I settled on the Queen B Fudge Cake which was a layer of rich chocolate cake with fluffy marshmallows embedded in the middle covered with a blanket of fudge and topped with a sprinkle crumble and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream; the prefect pairing to cut the dense richness of the cake. This cake is the “queen b” indeed.
Where to find it: There are After You Dessert Cafes everywhere in Bangkok (with around 25 locations, you can’t miss one!), particularly in the mall areas. The one I went to was in the Siam shopping area.
Food Court of Siam Paragon
There is an endless supply of malls in Bangkok, with Siam Paragon being the crème de la crème. Skip the designer stores, and head straight to the basement food court level. Here you’ll find a wide assortment of the best desserts in Bangkok all in one place. Peruse the “street food” for local delicacies, or oggle the nearby dessert cases filled to the brim of every dessert imaginable.
Where to find it: The lower level of the Siam Paragon Mall in the Siam area of Bangkok. Just get off at the Siam stop on the BTS and you’re there!
Natthaphon Coconut Ice Cream
After a scorching day of exploring the Grand Palace area, this is the perfect place to pop in for a refreshing scoop of perhaps the best homemade coconut ice cream in Bangkok. This hidden gem tucked down an alley is where the locals go for a cool treat and to escape the heat of the day. It’s nothing fancy and there’s no a/c, but it’s the place to go for an authentic Thai dessert experience. The ice cream is made by hand from natural ingredients, and is creamy and full of flavor without being over sweetened. While coconut is the flavor they are best known for, they also serve a dozen others including mango, durian, and black sesame. Each scoop will run you around 30-60 Baht each depending on flavor (around $1-$2 USD) which is a bargain!
Where to find it: Natthaphon Coconut Ice Cream – Phraeng Phuthon Rd, Khwaeng San Chao Pho Sua, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand. Just head down the alley off Bamrung Mueang Road and look for the wooden tables outside the shophouse on the corner. The shop is open daily 9am-5pm and closed on Sundays and days that are too rainy.
The Fabulous Dessert Cafe
The Fabulous Dessert Cafe is pretty fabulous indeed, but gets lost in the chaos of Khao San Road backpack’s district. Weave your way through the booze peddlers, drunk partiers and thumping music, down an alleyway hidden behind McDonalds to escape to a true dessert oasis. Equipped with delightful air con and a cozy teddy bear tea party atmosphere, it’s the antithesis of the Khao San vibe. The staff is friendly, the cafe-style drinks are cold, prices affordable (although more expensive for Thai standards), and the desserts are decadent and tasty. They have a robust menus of both desserts and drinks which makes you want to definitely order more than one. We settled on the Chocolate Royale Cake (chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, and raspberry filling covered with a chocolate glaze) and the Banoffee Cake (bananas, chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings). Both were so good that’s it’s impossible to pick a favorite.
Where to find it: Head down Khao San road until about the midway point and look for Buddy Lodge and the McDonald’s connected to it. Head into the “plaza” entrance to the left and head down the alley until you reach The Fabulous Dessert Cafe. Hours are 2pm-Midnight daily. Prices range from 100 Baht – 250 Baht.
Another of the best desserts in Bangkok is the whimsical Stretsis Parlour. This is where dessert dreams come true. As soon as you walk through the door, you feel as though you are entering the pages of a storybook directly in to one of Alice’s tea parties. Spiral staircases draped with heavy fabric flank each side of the room, and soft pink floral and woodland creature wallpaper cover the walls. The design of this cafe is perfect right down to the details in the drinks, desserts, and table settings.
While they nailed every detail visually, the desserts themselves left a little to be desired. The day we went, the menu was pretty sparse as they were almost out of everything. I settled on the pineapple cake, which was reminiscent of a hummingbird cake, and was chocked full of nuts, pineapple, coconut all within a spiced cake topped with cream cheese frosting and a bedazzled crown of dried pineapple.
While I feel the desserts could be a little better (especially for the price; it was around $25 for two desserts and two beverages), it’s still worth a visit to escape the hot streets of Bangkok and be transported to a fairytale dessert wonderland complete with unicorns and whimsy galore.
Where to find it: Stretsis Parlour is located on the 2nd level of the Central Embassy shopping mall in the Lumphini district. Also, note, seating is extremely limited, so reservations are highly recommended. We lucked out and caught it in an in between time and only had to wait 5 minutes or so for a table.
If I had to pick, I would say Paris Mikki has the best desserts in Bangkok. This place blew me away. Their desserts are a work of art and almost too pretty to eat (I did say almost). It feels as if you’re walking in to a Parisian patisserie, and in 2017 unsurprisingly they won an award for “Best Pastry Chef.” If you visit one dessert cafe on your trip to Bangkok, this should be it, it’s that good. While there, I wanted to order one of everything, but alas, my stomach and pocketbook wouldn’t allow it. I settled on a staff recommendation and obvious fan favorite, the Philip 70 (195 Baht) which consisted of 70% dark chocolate, soft chocolate cake, and long husk hazelnut, and the Caramel Luxembourg (175 Baht) which was a simple combination of pâte à choux and caramel vanilla filling. The Philip 70 was a chocolate-lover’s dream, the creamy dark chocolate layers paired with the crunchy hazelnut layer was dessert perfection. I’m a chocolate person to the core, so although I didn’t love the Caramel Luxembourg as much as the Philip 70, it was still pretty darn tasty. The caramel was smooth and creamy with just a touch of salt. If you’re a caramel person like my husband, this one is for you.
Where to find it: There are a couple of Paris Mikki locations in Bangkok, the one we visited was located on Sukhumvit 19 near Terminal 21 Mall.
Crispy Thai Pancakes
Combine a crispy crepe, fluffy meringue and shredded coconut or sweetened shredded egg yolk, and you have the crispy Thai “pancake”. This is a favorite sweet snack of Thais (and visitors alike) that are common around food markets and street stalls around the city, particularly in the afternoon and evening. The batter is poured on a hot griddle and the meringue and toppings are spooned inside while it cooks. Once it’s finished, it’s folded and ready to eat! The flavor of the shell is reminiscent of a fortune cookie, but much thinner and sweeter, and the filling is like a delicious gooey melted marshmallow. These are best eaten fresh or at the very least on the same day or they will get soggy and not so tasty.
Where to find it: I found these at the Ratchada Rot Fai Train Night Market, but they can commonly be found at food markets and street stalls around the city, particularly in the evening.
Steamed Coconut Pudding
Anything with coconut is a win in my book. These bite-sized beauties are a combination of tapioca flour, heavy coconut cream, coconut pulp and sugar then steamed in banana leaves or ceramic bowls. The result is an intense coconut custard that will leaving you dreaming about long after you leave Thailand.
Where to find it: I found these at the Nang Loeng Market but they can commonly be found at food markets and street stalls around the city.
Coconut Rice Flour Dumplings
Similar to the steamed coconut pudding, this dumpling variation is made with rice flour for a studier texture. They are then fried up in little griddles and topped with either sweet or savory toppings such as green onions, sweet corn, taro, shredded coconut, or just plain. Golden on the bottom and creamy on top, they will melt in your mouth and are best eaten warm.
Where to find it: Once again, these can commonly be found at food markets and street stalls around the city.
Pa Tong Go Savoey
This Chinese donut stall on Yaowarat Road in Chinatown is legendary. It’s so legendary that they have earned themselves a spot in the Michelin Guide, and once you try them you’ll know why. These Chinese donuts are unlike any donut I’ve tasted and amazingly are only 40 Baht for a small order. They are served with an addictive pandan coconut dipping sauce that is so tasty that you’re going to want to go back for them every night you’re in Bangkok—I know I wanted to!
Where to find it: Pa Tong Go Savoey – 489 Song Sawat Rd, Khwaeng Samphanthawong, Khet Samphanthawong, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100, Thailand, on the corner of Yaowarat Road and Song Sawat Road in Chinatown. Open 6-10:30pm daily, closed on Mondays.
Fried Bananas with Coconut Sauce
A quick and tasty snack when you’re craving something sweet. Once the bananas are fried, they get a nice golden caramelized crust on the outside, but remain soft and gooey on the inside. The coconut sauce is similar to that served with mango sticky rice and adds a nice balance to the fried bananas.
Where to find it: I found these at the Ratchada Rot Fai Train Night Market, but they can commonly be found at food markets and street stalls around the city.
Pandan Layered Jello Dessert
There is no shortage of questionable looking mystery jellos in Thailand. I was a little afraid to try them at first, but then quickly discovered that they are delicious! Many are made with coconut as the base and fruit or herbaceous flavors layered in. Just remember, green usually means it’s pandan flavor (aka the vanilla of Southeast Asia), and is a safe and tasty bet. The version we tried was made by a woman that has been making it in her home near the market for over 30 years! She starts the process at 4am every morning by chopping the pandan leaves, extracting the juice and flavoring her jello. She then steams it over charcoal layer by layer until it’s complete. It’s eaten by peeling it layer by layer; be careful, it’s sticky!
Where to find it: These can be found at vendors and restaurants at the Nang Loeng Market but they can commonly be found at local food markets.
Roti tends to be geared more towards tourists, but still delicious nonetheless. The dough is stretched out super-thin and fried on a flat top with loads of butter then filled with the ingredients of your choice (usually egg or bananas) and topped with chocolate or coconut sauce.
Where to find it: These can usually be found at night markets and more touristic areas of town. There is no shortage of roti stalls in Bangkok.
Ah durian, the king of fruits and the fruit everyone loves to hate. You either love it or you hate it. It’s famous for it pungeont smell and being banned from hotels, trains, and pretty much everywhere except for outside. Some restaurants even have durian rooms to keep the smell contained. Don’t let its spiky exterior fool you, it’s soft, creamy, and luscious inside. There are several varieties of durian which range in flavor and pungency. Be sure to ask the vendor for recommendations on their best fruit. It’s a must try if you’re an adventurous eater.
Where to find it: Follow your nose, you’re likely to find a stall nearby. Or, if you’d rather try it “hidden” in another dessert, cafes and restaurants often will feature it when it’s in season (April-August).
Iced Dessert with Jellies
Another refreshing treat to beat the Bangkok heat. These iced desserts are a choose your own adventure; a Thai sno-cone of sorts. They start with a base of crushed ice and sweetened coconut milk then from there you choose your toppings from an assortment of jellies, beans (yep, beans are used in desserts in SE Asia), fruit, noodles and syrups. I usually stick to the more traditional pairings of pandan noodles and coconut jellies, but hey, now’s your time to go crazy with it.
Where to find it: These iced dessert stalls are most commonly found in food court areas of malls. Every mall should have at least one in it. The one in MBK’s food court in particular has a lot of options.
Assorted Thai Cakes
Part of the reason I love Thailand so much is the fact they have a stellar dessert culture. You could eat a new dessert every day and still find something new. Case in point: the cakes! These are great because you can try a variety and they are super cheap (like 10 baht each or less). So if you don’t like one, it’s no big deal. It’s an endless array only limited by the maker’s imagination, so order a bunch and snack away. My favorite combinations tend to be anything with coconut or pandan.
Where to find it: These can commonly be found at food markets and street stalls around the city, particularly in areas where there are several vendors.
Egg Yolk Tart
This is another one that’s a little strange, but somehow works. Egg yolk, sugar, and flower water are boiled in sugar syrup and formed into shapes. They can commonly be found in flower shape (Tong Yip), round shape (Tong Yord), or shredded (Foi Tong). They are super-sweet with a grainy texture that slowly dissolves as you eat them.
Where to find it: These can also be found at food markets and street stalls around the city, particularly in areas where there are several vendors.
A Few Other Dessert Cafes to try that we didn’t get a chance to visit:
Mo & Moshi – The place for super-sized ice cream sundaes. These things are monsters!
Patisserie Rosie – Contemporary french pastries, ice cream, tea room and crafted coffee.
Golden Mango – Quaint cafe serving up Thai favorites.
CODE Cafe of Desserts – An ideal place for people who are craving new innovative desserts.
A map to help you on your dessert quest
What are some of your favorite desserts in Bangkok?