The Receipt: What I Spend in a Week on Food and Drink in Bangkok
Bon Appétit magazine has a regular feature called “The Receipt” documenting how readers across the U.S. eat and drink in a week and what they spend to do it. I love reading this series, so I thought, why not do my own little food diary. I am constantly going on about how much more expensive it is to eat out and cook at home compared to Budapest, so I was interested in taking a look at one week of my life in food and drink.
Some Stats . . .
- Week’s total: $200.20
- Restaurants/school cafeteria: 1720 THB/$49.39
- Takeout: 2339 THB/$67.17
- Groceries: 1864 THB/$53.53
- Coffee: 1240 THB/$35.61 including a bag of beans
- Most expensive meal/purchase: 875 THB/$25.13 at The Deck
- Least expensive meal/purchase: 10THB/$0.29 bottle of soda water at school
- Number of restaurant/cafeteria purchases: 6
- Number of takeout meals: 3
- Number of grocery trips/orders: 2
8:30 a.m. I wake up to a message on my phone that my Grab food delivery has arrived. Today is a public holiday here in Bangkok, so I am sleeping in much later than usual. Last night, I did the most Bangkok of things and pre-ordered some breakfast for myself to heat before heading out for a fancy pool day. I got a jar of overnight oats for today and a jar of coconut chia seed pudding with passion fruit for later in the week (315THB/$9.15). I haven’t bought groceries in a few weeks, so I knew I would want to be able to have a simple breakfast before leaving the house. At 9:22, I finally get out of bed, make a French Press (Starbucks, previously purchased), and go downstairs to get my food.
9:45 a.m. As I eat my oats, I decide to finally put in a grocery order so that I don’t have to order in every meal this week (1065 THB/$30.84). I plan and buy groceries for three simple meals for dinner (salmon, a quinoa salad, and a broccoli parm frittata) and order the ingredients online at Tops Market. They are out of broccoli for the frittata, so I make a mental note to pick some up at the veggie stand outside the school gate on the way home from school tomorrow.
12:23 p.m. At the hotel pool, I settle into my lounger and order a fresh smoothie with banana, ginger, and orange (150THB/$4.35) and some Gyoza (210THB/$6.08). Later I order pork satay (195THB/$5.65), French fries (120THB/$3.48), and a Coke Zero (70THB/$2.03). Total food and bev spent at the pool 745THB/$21.87. However, I spent 1000THB/$28.97 for the day pass and all the food was credited against that. Sooo…not really sure whether to count this as food spending or activities spending.
4:56 p.m. I get home from the pool and pick up the groceries I ordered this morning from the front lobby. I’m not hungry yet, but I put some quinoa (previously purchased) on the stove in anticipation of being hungry later. I’m happy that one of the meals I planned was a salad since I already ate a lot today.
6:07 p.m. I look up the recipe I’m planning to make for dinner (Quinoa Salad with Cucumber, Orange, and Edamame from Serena Wolf‘s Instagram) and I realize that my cucumbers didn’t come in my grocery delivery. I quickly order some from Grab Mart (along with that broccoli and some random kale I have no idea what I’ll do with) (256THB/$7.41) and get in the shower before I start prepping the salad. The cucumbers arrive just as I’m done prepping the salad. I add them and eat!
Monday Total: 2381THB/$68.93
7:56 a.m. I didn’t have enough coffee left to make a batch of cold brew last night, so I buy an iced latte at the school coffee shop. (65THB/$1.88). Really not a bad iced latte for the price. If there’s one place to find good prices, it’s definitely our school cafeteria and coffee shops.
8:46 a.m. I have a few minutes to spare between homeroom and my first period of the day (which is actually a meeting, not a class), so I have time to pop back into the English Department kitchen and scarf down a few bites of the coconut chia seed pudding I ordered yesterday.
11:54 a.m. Time for lunch. For the first time in ages, I’ve actually brought my own lunch–leftover quinoa salad from dinner last night and a frozen packet of soup that I grabbed from my freezer (3 for 249THB/$7.20 at Get Fresh, previously purchased). The air quality is “Unhealthy” today according to the AQI meter, so instead of eating outside like I normally do, I eat with some colleagues in the English department kitchen. I miss the feeling of taking a break that I usually get by going outside for a bit.
2:05 p.m. I make a cup of tea with milk and sugar (supplies provided by the school) for the afternoon break and finish it during the advisory period.
3:37 p.m. We have advisory team meetings after school and my lovely team leader has ordered cookies for us. They’re the big, squishy, partially cooked ones. I eat 3/4 of a chocolate chip cookie and immediately regret the sugar overload.
5:43 p.m. I get home from school after a stop at the mall and immediately get dinner started – a quick and easy baked salmon (340THB/$9.96, Tops Delivery) and steamed broccoli (65THB/$1.90 for a head) from my grocery order yesterday.
Tuesday total: 65THB/$1.88
8:01 a.m. I arrive at school and get another iced latte (65THB/$1.90) at the coffee shop. Upstairs in the English office, I eat the last of yesterday’s coconut chia seed pudding.
9:23 a.m. Curriculum planning meeting this morning means free snacks! I have half a mini pain au chocolat, half a mini cinnamon bun, and a fruit kabob. We are also offered coffee, but I’ve just finished my morning iced latte so I pass.
11:30 a.m. I manage to get to the cafeteria just before the kids do, so no waiting in line for food. I go to the sandwich bar and get my usual–a wrap with chicken, cheese, lots of veggies, and honey mustard. While I’m distracted chatting with a colleague, they put my wrap in the toaster. (I end up eating only half because the lettuce inside is warm.) I get a soda water to go with my lunch (total 85 THB/$2.44).
4:25 p.m. After school, I go out for drinks with a friend (and by “go out” I mean, go to her house where she and her partner have a full-on tiki bar in their living room). We share two craft beers (one passion fruit and one blueberry muffin flavored) while snacking on mixed nuts and dried mango. When her partner gets home, he makes cocktails for us. First an amaretto sour and then his own invention with infused Butterfly Pea.
8:50 p.m. By the time I get home, I am starving (and a little tipsy). I order a chicken burrito on Grab (359 THB/$10.31) and watch Love is Blind.
Wednesday total: 509 THB/$14.62
7:53 a.m. Still haven’t managed to get more coffee beans, so another iced latte it is. I also grab a banana for breakfast. (80 THB/$2.30)
12:01 p.m. I go for lunch on the later side today. I get stir fry chicken with basil and chili topped with a fried egg and a side of rice (80THB/$2.30) from the Thai section of the cafeteria. The air quality is a little better today, so I eat outside.
2:15 p.m. I grab a cup of coffee with cream from one of the coffee stations in school. It’s not the greatest but it’s something to get me through last block.
4:11 p.m. I finally have a chance/remember to stop by Starbucks on the way home from work. I grab a bag of Ethiopia (595 THB/$17.09 for 250g). Ethiopia and Kenya make the best cold brew in my opinion. Starbucks beans are expensive here, but at least they have a deal where every fifth bag is free.
6:58 p.m. I get distracted when I got home from school, so I don’t end up starting dinner until almost 7 which is late for me in Bangkok. I make Serena Wolf’s Personal Broccoli Parm Frittata with the groceries I ordered on Sunday. This meal used to be in heavy rotation when I lived in Budapest but I forgot about it until recently. Really quick and easy meal! I also get a batch of cold brew going for the morning.
Thursday Total: 755 THB/$21.69
7:43 a.m. I plunge the French Press and strain the coffee through a paper filter. This step isn’t entirely necessary, but I like the smooth taste with no grit at the bottom of the pitcher. I pour some into a tumbler with lots of ice and a little milk.
10:06 a.m. I didn’t grab anything for breakfast, but it works out perfectly because I forgot it’s Friday which means “Friday Snacks” in the staff room. Today we have chicken quesadillas, fruit, and some little squares of banana cake with chocolate chips. The cake is so good I go back for another piece.
11:37 a.m. I have a professional development half-day session at another school in Bangkok. After a long Covid period with no in-person trainings, it’s really nice to be able to meet up with other professionals again. They’re providing lunch for us before the session. I go to the buffet and get vegetarian fried rice, a bit of grilled chicken thighs, some pork with mushroom cream sauce, and broccoli. They are only serving instant coffee, so after the meal, I make a cup of tea with milk and a little sugar.
4:02 p.m. After the workshops, some of us head across the street for drinks at a local Thai restaurant. I share two bottles of Sauvignon Blanc with three other girls (470 THB/$13.40 for my part) and someone orders a few snacks for the table.
7:16 p.m. After happy hour, I head to my friend’s apartment for our usual Friday night TV and takeout. She opens up a bottle of red wine for us to share and we order some burgers from The Meatchop. They’re amazing despite being delivered. For dessert, we have a slice of lemon tart to share (600 THB/$17.11 total for my part). Today’s show is season two of White Lotus–we’re behind!
Friday Total: 1070 THB/$30.73
10:23 a.m. It’s a lazy weekend morning, so I don’t even get coffee started until after 10. I brew a French Press with the Ethiopia beans I bought on Thursday. I usually save hot coffee for weekends when I have time to drink the entire cup. Plus, the heat of Bangkok means I don’t mind drinking iced coffee every morning. In Budapest, on the other hand, iced coffee was a sign of summer.
11:55 a.m. I finally get around to making breakfast. I guess we can call it “brunch” at this point. I sauté the kale (89THB/$2.56 for 200g) that I impulsively bought in Monday’s last-minute order. I add salt, pepper, some ground chili flakes, a squeeze of lemon, and some grated parmesan. Two scrambled eggs on the side.
3:10 p.m. Feeling a little hungry but holding out for an early dinner. I eat a handful of almonds and drink a Coke Zero that’s in my fridge, left over from some takeout order last week.
5:30 p.m. I meet a group of friends (and friends of friends) for an early dinner at The Deck before the Harry Styles concert. There are eight of us from different schools in SE Asia. A few have flown in from Saigon and KL to make a weekend of the concert. I order chicken fajitas, soda water, and a margarita that comes serves in a coup glass without ice (875 THB/$25.10).
10:28 p.m. After the concert, we walk for ages trying to find a place to sit and have a cold drink. We finally end up at a 7-11 instead and I get a bottle of water and an Oreo ice cream sandwich (37 THB/$1.06).
10:59 p.m. Of the three of our group who are left, one decides to get a motorbike home, so two of us continue the journey to find an open restaurant. We can’t find one so we settle for McDonald’s. I honestly can not remember the last time I’ve been to McDonald’s. I think it’s been years and I probably just got an ice cream. We share some chicken nuggets and french fries. (100 THB/$2.87 for my share).
Saturday Total: 1,012 THB/$29.06
10:05 a.m. Another person in town for the Harry Styles concert is a colleague from my last school. We both left last year after being there for 8 years (me) and 10 years (her). We meet up for breakfast at a place called Nick and swap stories about our new schools and life in Asia. I get an a la carte breakfast: two sunny-side-up eggs, hash browns, and Italian sausage. We both try the iced sparkling orange and espresso coffee drink. (450THB/$12.92)
3:13 p.m. After breakfast I go for a two-hour foot massage. (Much needed after all the standing and walking at the concert last night!) Then I wander a little and get a second coffee as a treat: an iced caramel macchiato at Starbucks (165 THB/$4.76 for a Grande).
4:39 p.m. It’s rare that I actually do in-person grocery shopping these days because there is nothing within walking distance of my place. Not to mention, in 2020 I got used to ordering groceries online. I’m right near the Tops/Robinson’s, so I decide to pop in and get some protein for dinner to add to the veggies I already have in my fridge. I had the thought to thaw some chicken thighs this morning but forgot when I left the house for breakfast. I’m planning to get some chicken thighs in Tops but then I see salmon (422 THB/$12.12 for 230g) and decide to get that instead. I also get a container of plain yogurt (52THB/$149 for 500g) for breakfast this week and a bag of cut pineapple (69THB/$1.98).
6:45 p.m. I make the salmon and sauté the rest of the kale the same way I did for breakfast on Saturday. After I eat, I clean up the kitchen and make some overnight oats for breakfast tomorrow. I improvise a recipe with milk, cinnamon, and frozen blueberries added to the yogurt and oats (all previously purchased).
Friday Total: 1,158 THB/$33.25
What an interesting week! Sounds like you have quite the vibrant life in Bangkok. 🙂 I feel like Thailand got more expensive over the last 10 years. It used to be dirt cheap for everything.