15 Places to Eat ‘Khao Chae’ in Bangkok
A classic dish in the Royal Thai cuisine, Khao Chae has remained highly popular even today.
A classic dish in the Royal Thai cuisine, Khao Chae has remained highly popular even today. Originated from a Mon dish, Khao Chae became a favorite among the Thai royal court since hundreds of years ago. Today, it’s the ultimate seasonal menu during the hottest months of March, April, and May.
Khao Chae, literally “soaked rice”, is cooked rice served in cool flower water, usually with some ice. It’s the perfect pick-me-up in the sweltering summer heat. The rice is typically served with an assortment of side dishes. The most common ones are:
Kapi balls - deep-fried bite-sized balls of shrimp paste.
Stuffed shallots - deep-fried shallots stuffed with minced fish.
Stuffed peppers - banana peppers stuffed with minced pork then wrapped in an egg crepe.
Shredded pork or beef - sweet & salty pork or beef jerky shredded into fine strands.
Candied fish - shredded dried fish (usually yi-son a.k.a. spotted eagle ray) stir-fried with sugar.
Stir-fried chai poh - Chinese dried radish stir-fried with sugar and, sometimes, eggs.
Fresh vegetables such as fingeroots, raw mangoes, cucumbers, and scallions.
Most places serve similar collections of side dishes, with some additional or omitted items according to their recipes.
Here’s how to eat Khao Chae - start by taking a bite of a kapi ball, followed by a spoonful of rice. Then, move on to other side dishes with more intense flavors.
An important thing to note: don’t mix the side dishes into the rice. Enjoying them separately is the way to go. This is to preserve the rice’s freshness and fragrance.
To celebrate summer and Songkran, here are 15 places to eat Khao Chae in Bangkok. Our list includes a wide variety - from long-established restaurants with age-old Royal Thai recipes to upscale venues at five-star hotels, and even an all-you-can-eat Khao Chae buffet.
Wherever you choose to cool off this April, we’ve got you covered. Scroll down to find out our recommendations for this traditional summer treat.
Miss Siam (Hua Chang Heritage Hotel)
We’re starting high and mighty with Khao Chae buffet at Hua Chang Heritage Hotel. They’re serving a refreshing and cooling recipe - a signature creation by their chef. At their dining hall, Miss Siam, you can indulge in the tasty treat in classically Thai yet contemporary ambiance.
The head chef tries to recreate the original rendition of Khao Chae. From the flavor to the table service, you can really get a sense of an authentic Thai tradition.
The highlight is their flower water, infused with jasmine, bread flower, damask rose, and ylang-ylang. The sweet floral notes are enhanced with the smoke of Thai incense candle.
The rice is served with many selections of side dishes: kapi balls, fried salted egg yolks, stir-fried chai poh, stuffed peppers, stuffed shallots, pork & Spanish mackerel meatballs, stuffed dried chilies, shredded pork, and more. All of this comes with an endless supply of fresh vegetables to nibble on as chasers.
There are also uncommon Thai dishes such as watermelon & longan served with ground dried fish, Dok Khae (vegetable hummingbird) spicy salad, rice tossed with Rakum (Salacca wallichiana) & chilies relish, and ‘Moo Hong’ or southern-style braised pork.
You can wrap up your meal at Miss Siam with an array of Thai desserts. As for the interior, Miss Siam looks elegant and stylish in a contemporary Thai style. Enjoy the air-conditioned indoor seating, or feel the warm breeze at the outdoor zone.
Hua Chang Heritage Hotel is located near Siam, so it’s just a hop on BTS away. Plus, you can always go on a shopping spree afterward. Hua Chang’s Khao Chae buffet is available for 675 THB per pax until May 15, 2019.
Up & Above Restaurant and Bar (The Okura Prestige Bangkok)
Despite being a Japanese chain, The Okura Prestige Bangkok offers the classic Thai summer treat as well.
Their Khao Chae recipe sticks closely to the traditional. Freshly cooked jasmine rice with firm grains are soaked in water infused with various Thai flowers. Served alongside the rice are full-flavored side dishes, arranged exquisitely as you do with all Royal Thai menus.
Enjoy Khao Chae staples like kapi balls, candied yi-son, stir-fried chai poh with shallots, shredded pork and beef, stuffed peppers, and fresh vegetables. One of the gimmicks at The Okura Prestige Bangkok is their welcome drink.
When you first arrive, you’ll be served some refreshment - a mix of lemongrass tea and yuzu juice served in silver bowls. It’s a great revitalizer after a hot day.
After you’ve finished with your meal, you can take the cute, tiny silver bowl home as a souvenir. Another one of the highlights is the ambiance of Up & Above Restaurant and Bar on the 24th floor. The luxurious bar offers a great place to relax with indoor and outdoor seatings overlooking Ploen Chit district.
The Okura Prestige Bangkok has a connected walkway to BTS Ploenchit, so it’s super convenient to get to. The Refreshing Khao Chae is available for 590 per set until April 30, 2019.
Located in Soi Sukhumvit 39, At-Ta-Rote is one of the current hottest Thai restaurants known for their Royal Thai recipes.
One of their partners is the well-known media personality - Niti “Pompam” Chaichitatorn. The name has brought many foodies to the restaurant in their quest for Thai delectables. Among other items, At-Ta-Rote serves Khao Chae during the summer months.
Their Khao Chae boasts an original ‘Phra Nakhon’ (former name of Bangkok) recipe. Cool and fragrant flower water is paired with the thoroughly-rinsed, firm rice.
The rice is served with seven side dishes - stuffed peppers, stuffed shallots, shredded pork, stir-fried chai poh, kapi balls, fresh vegetables, and salted eggs.
At-Ta-Rote also offers menus in the Royal Thai cuisine; some considered extremely uncommon nowadays.
Their decor leans towards contemporary Thai style, decked out with other knick-knacks such as Thai bamboo baskets, tin tablewares, wickerwares, and cushions with Pha Khao Ma print.
At-Ta-Rote’s Khao Chae is available for 380 THB per set until mid-May. Advance reservation is highly recommended, as there are limited servings per day.
Lai Ros Thonglor
Boasting authentic Royal Thai recipes, the long-established Thai restaurant serves Khao Chae all year round.
While the owner’s mother was working at the palace, she learned countless recipes, Khao Chae among them. The original recipe has since been adapted to Lai Ros’ style, available for the common public to enjoy.
Kick off your delicious journey with seven side dishes - stuffed peppers, stuffed shallots, kapi balls, candied yi-son, sweet stir-fried pork, stir-fried chai poh, and fresh vegetables.
Their rice has firm grains, yet feels soft and tender in your mouth. The aroma from incense candle and the coolness are guaranteed to freshen you up. Lai Ros also offers other age-old Royal Thai dishes you can try. The venue has a simple decor with a warm and homey ambiance.
Lai Ros is located in Soi Sukhumvit 49, across from Samitivej Hospital. The Royal Thai Khao Chae is available for 300 THB per set. You can enjoy this traditional treat all year round.
The long-standing Thai restaurant on Wireless Road has remained as popular as ever. A proud family business run by several generations, Sa-nguan Sri manages to keep all of its signature flavors.
The restaurant has been awarded the “Bib Gourmand” by Michelin Guide Bangkok, meaning they serve great food at a value price. Since then, their popularity has doubled. If you haven’t made an advance reservation, the chances of getting a table are quite slim.
Their Khao Chae is a must try, as it’s only available during Thailand’s hottest months. The flower water is mainly infused with jasmine, providing a sweet aroma. The large ice cubes keep the rice cool; a distinctive choice as most restaurants use flake ice.
Sa-nguan Sri doesn’t hold back when it comes to side dishes. They serve stuffed peppers, kapi balls, stuffed shallots, shredded pork, fresh vegetables, and chai poh crisps. The last one is an unusual twist since most places would stir fry them with sugar.
The interior is neat and simple. As you’re enjoying your meal, you’ll hear a constant ring from the phone with people calling in for reservations and ordering take-homes.
Food deliverers often crowd at the front of the restaurant. The sight should be a testament to Sa-nguan Sri’s reputation; it’s a place you definitely should try at least once. Su-nguan Sri’s Khao Chae is available for 250 THB per set until the end of summer.
Baan Wan Go Wit
Baan Wan Go Wit is one of the oldest restaurants in Ratchadamnern. The venue, a 130-year-old colonial house given by King Rama VI, now stands as a classic dining spot.
Their highlight, Khao Chae, is prepared in the Royal Thai style with six side dishes. These include stuffed pepper, stir-fried chai poh, candied yi-son, kapi balls, shredded pork, and fresh vegetables.
All of the ingredients have been carefully selected; from the Ratchaburian chai poh to the candied yi-son from the river mouth in Pranburi. You’re getting the best of the best in terms of quality and taste.
Baan Wan Go Wit also serves other classic Royal Thai dishes. Their decor leans on vintage vibes; it feels as if you’ve traveled back to the times of King Rama VI.
There are only a few tables available, as the owner and family live on the second floor of the house. As such, an advance reservation is recommended. If you enjoy an old-timey atmosphere and authentic flavors, this place is a must-visit.
Baan Wan Go Wit’s Khao Chae is available for 250 THB per set all year round.
Khao Chae Mae Siri
We’re shifting our focus to original street food in the old town neighborhood of Bang Lamphu.
Khao Chae Mae Siri is arguably one of the oldest Khao Chae vendors. They’ve been here since near the end of King Rama V’s reign; that’s five generations of Khao Chae masters. Khao Chae Mae Siri uses an authentic Mon recipe, meticulously prepared in every step.
They start by choosing high-quality rice and rinse them thoroughly with pure water. Then, they infuse the flower water with the aroma of incense candle and their homegrown jasmine. You can be sure the flowers are toxic-free.
The side dishes include stir-fried chai poh, candied yi-son, kapi balls, and shredded pork. Khao Chae Mae Siri occasionally offers stuffed peppers as well, depending on the availability of the ingredients.
The ‘venue’ is simply a small cart with a few tables laid out. Some like to order several sets to take home. Khao Chae Mae Siri sells Khao Chae all year round. So whenever you crave this classic Thai treat, you can have it.
We recommend coming early. On days with a lot of customers, they can run out of servings. Khao Chae Mae Siri is available for 25 THB per set all year round.
Khao Chae Phetchaburi, Nang Loeng Market
As another one of the oldest Khao Chae vendors, Khao Chae Phetchaburi has been selling Khao Chae for over 40 years at Nang Loeng Market. As the owner comes from Phetchaburi, the recipe here originates from the province.
The rice is soaked in water infused with jasmine and ylang-ylang. Fragrant and refreshing, it’s served with three side dishes: kapi balls, candied yi-son, and stir-fried chai poh.
The shop is located in Nang Loeng Market; a small, simple stall with just a couple of tables. You can also buy their Khao Chae as take-homes, available all day and all year round. If you’re passing by Nang Loeng, try this Petchaburian Khao Chae for a change.
Khao Chae Petchaburi at Nang Loeng Market is available for 35 THB per set all year round.
Here’s one for the Nothaburians - located on Tiwanon Road is Baan Yaa. The traditional restaurant serves age-old and rare Thai dishes as well as classic recipes with some new twists.
The flavors at Baan Yaa are exquisite. So much so that Michelin Guide Bangkok has awarded them with “The Plate” - The award signifies a quality restaurant with fresh ingredients and masterful preparations. Baan Yaa’s Khao Chae is one of their recommendations and a crowd favorite for sure.
The rice here is different from other places; their Royal Thai Khao Chae is dyed blue with butterfly pea. The cooling color, along with the aroma of incense candle and jasmine, has made the dish truly invigorating.
There’s also a full range of side dishes like stuffed peppers, stir-fried chai poh, shredded pork, kapi balls, stuffed shallots, and fresh vegetables.
The atmosphere feels warm and cozy, like dining in your own home. Baan Yaa is located on the side of Tiwanon Road, so it’s not too hard to get to. With the Purple Line MRT, traveling there should be just a short train ride away.
Butterfly Pea Khao Chae is available for 275 THB per set all year round.
Chimethai, a homemade-style Thai restaurant, is located in Prachachuen. They focus on clean, fresh, high-quality ingredients.
Their menus are based on the owner’s family recipe - they taste just like how your mother might have made them. For the summer, Chimethai is offering Royal Thai Khao Chae. The rice is served in jasmine water; cool and refreshing with sweet floral notes.
This comes with a full set of side dishes: stuffed peppers, stuffed shallots, stir-fried chai poh, shredded pork, kapi balls, dried chilies, and fresh vegetables.
Chimethai’s decor choice is rather simple. The air-conditioned dining area provides a safe haven from the heat outside. Chimethai is located right at the entrance of Soi Prachachuen 24, so no need to wiggle your way into confusing alleys.
Royal Thai Khao Chae is available for 190 THB per set until June 2019.
Baan Mae Yui
For over 15 years, Baan Mae Yui has been celebrating home-cooking with grandma-approved, family recipes passed down through generations. Their food still retains the original taste since its conception.
Baan Mae Yui’s Khao Chae is prepared in the distinct style of Soi Ratchakru neighborhood. The steamed rice with thin, firm grains is soaked in mineral water infused with homegrown jasmine.
The side dishes are quite spectacular. Other than staples like kapi balls, fresh vegetables, stir-fried chai poh, stuffed shallots, and stuffed peppers, Baan Mae Yui also offers unusual options like candied snakehead murrel and crispy shredded BBQ pork.
Baan Mae Yui stands boldly in Soi Ratchakru. The 50-year-old house has been renovated into a more contemporary venue that still keeps its warm and homey atmosphere. The open kitchen allows you to see every step their chef takes to create delicious delights.
Khao Chae Mae Yui is available for 320 THB per set until April 30. They offer limited servings per day, so advance reservation is highly recommended.
Within the neighborhood of Ari, a short distance away from the last venue is Suan Gulab - a long-standing Thai restaurant. They serve a wide range of Thai dishes with a few Chinese and international items to boot.
For those looking to cool off in the classic Thai style, Suan Gulab’s Khao Chae is an absolutely refreshing option. The sweet fragrance of the rice and jasmine water is completed with an array of side dishes.
Enjoy stuffed peppers, shredded pork, kapi balls, stuffed shallots, stir-fried chai poh, seasoned deep-fried pork, and fresh vegetables. The venue of Suan Gulab is quite spacious with plenty of parking spaces and indoor and outdoor seatings. The outside is shaded by many trees.
Suan Gulab’s Khao Chae is available for 220 THB per set until the end of summer.
Kalpapruek, the renowned Thai restaurant, has been serving local delicacies for over 39 years. There are three branches in Bangkok at Silom, Sukhumvit 39, and CentralWorld.
The ingredients of each menu have been carefully selected to ensure they’re fresh as toxin-free.
Their Khao Chae is only available during Thailand’s hottest months. It’s a special recipe of Pramuan Palace, in which the flower water is infused with fresh jasmine overnight. That’s why the water is extra aromatic and refreshing.
For the side dishes, enjoy as many as seven items: kapi balls, stuffed shallots (with dried snakehead murrel), stuffed peppers, stir-fried chai poh, stir-fried sweet dried snakehead murrel, candied yi-son, salted egg yolk, and fresh vegetables.
Kalpapruek wants the customers to feel like dining in their own home. This wish is reflected in everything from their food to the interior design.
Pramuan Palace Khao Chae is available for 350 THB per set until May 2019.
One of the most popular premium Thai restaurants, Apinara is well-recognized among Thai and international foodies. Located on the 2nd floor of Groove at CentralWorld, they focus on contemporary Thai cuisine with unique recipes masterfully crafted by their chefs.
Apinara’s Khao Chae is only available during the summer. With dishes served in a Thai wicker basket, the creative and ultra-chic presentation makes for a perfect shot for your social media.
As to be expected, the ingredients are of top-shelf quality. The rinsed and cooked rice is soaked in water infused with fragrant jasmine and incense candle; a delicate dance on your tongue.
The rice is served with seven side dishes: kapi balls, stuffed shallots, stir-fried chai poh, shredded pork, candied fish, stuffed pepper, and fresh vegetables. A glass of refreshing watermelon juice is included in the set; just the thing to finish the meal with.
Aprinara’s decor looks and feels traditionally Thai with some contemporary twists and attention in every detail. Seatings are divided into the indoor zone, which offers more privacy, and the outdoor area, where you can watch people passing by. There’s also a bar where you bring your friends for a hangout.
The Khao Chae set (with a drink included) is available for 425 THB per set until May 31, 2019 at all branches of Apinara and Nara.
We’re ending our Khao Chae guide with something of a comfort choice.
S&P is an excellent option for those who can’t visit more obscured venues. The chain has branches all over Thailand. Enjoy their Khao Chae at the restaurant or in the comfort of your own home by ordering delivery.
For this year’s stunning rendition of Khao Chae, S&P is serving bright pink rice dyed with beetroots. They use quality jasmine rice; its aroma intensified with the sweet fragrance of jasmine flowers.
The rice is served with several Thai side dishes: stuffed peppers with a mix of crab meat, kapi balls made from the famous Khlong Khon kapi mixed with herbs, shredded pork, stir-fried chai poh, and fresh vegetables.
You can complete the meal with another classic seasonal treat - Nam Dok Mai mango & sticky rice.
Beetroot Khao Chae with Nam Dok Mai mango & sticky rice is available for 298 THB per set until May 31, 2019 at all S&P branches (except airport branches).