Pa Tong Go, or Chinese-Thai Fried Donuts in Bangkok

Pa Tong Go (ปาท่องโก๋)

by ครัว ชวนกันกิน on Lad Phrao Road, Bangkok

It's an early morning in Bangkok, and it's raining. I would be unhappy to be outside in this weather at such an early hour if it wasn't for one thing: the promise of one of my very favorite (super unhealthy) Thai breakfasts! This morning I'm having pa tong go, a type of fried donut that is related to a Chinese youtiao. You can usually only find this Thai breakfast dish if you are up and about with the dawn.

Thai pa tong go, or fried donuts, in Bangkok, Thailand
Thai pa tong go, or fried donuts, in Bangkok, Thailand

Pa tong go is made from dough which is left to rise for several hours (although unlike some types of dough, it must be made fresh every day). The dough is shaped into an X shape which always makes me think of a chromosome for some reason, and deep-fried in a big wok of hot oil. Pa tong go is sometimes called a "Thai donut", though it's more of a fry bread. It's most popular as an early morning snack with the city's Chinese-Thai population, and you can find it all throughout Chinatown. This morning, however, I picked up a bag of pa tong go from a local shop on my street.

I had never ordered it from this shop before, and when I asked the shopkeeper how much it cost, she told me "one piece for one baht". What a deal! This has to be the cheapest Thai dish ever!

Pa tong go is crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and delightfully oily. It's certainly not a health food and no good if you're on a diet! It's purely a junk food, and that's what makes it so very good.

Thai-style breakfast consists of pa tong go, sweetened condensed milk, and hot soy milk

Pa tong go is usually served with a little takeaway cup of sweetened condensed milk to dip the dough in, but personally I find it too sweet. I prefer the donuts by themselves and think that they are already tasty enough.

It's also popular to pair a plate of pa tong go with a cup of steaming hot sweetened soy milk, sometimes with grains or sesame seeds added.

Restaurants only sell pa tong go very early in the morning. They usually start frying up the dough around 4 or 5 am, and often switch to selling noodles or other foods by 8 or 9. If you want to grab a bag of hot, crispy pa tong go, be sure to get up early! It's worth it.

Thai pa tong go (fried dough) for sale in Bangkok, Thailand

Super cheap! This is probably the cheapest breakfast you can find in Thailand!
1 baht for 1 piece ($0.03 per piece)

ครัว ชวนกันกิน (no English name for this restaurant, although the staff can speak some English)
On Lat Phrao Road, near MRT Phahonyothin Exit 1. Next to the pharmacy and the 7-Eleven.