Thai food, at least the kind readily available in most parts of Bangkok, involves a fair amount of hot spicy stuff, garlic and multiple ingredients. It might be very hard to sort out which dishes did/did not have at least a lick of peanut oil, seafood or something else your kids are allergic to. If you don't speak Thai and have such concerns, you might need to stick to upscale restaurants where you have a more set menu and can likely ask your questions in English.

However, even (or especially) in the smaller places food is assembled as you order it, and we usually had no trouble asking for dishes made with less hot stuff. Especially at any place that is aimed at tourists (you'll know), the degree of fire in the food was easily amended. When in doubt, start low and work your way up-at a real Thai street joint asking for it “hot” can call forth a true weapon of mass destruction.

What to know more about Thai food? Take a taste of, or sample

Cool Tip: Ask your hotel person to aim you at a “wet market” and ask whether it is better to go in the morning or late afternoon. Everything that swims, crawls or slithers is for sale, most of it swimming, crawling or slithering in front of you and on display. I can't say how tasty they might be to eat, but we saw snails, frogs, turtles, snakes, eels, insects as well as chicken and boring fish for sale.

Grocery stores are all over; the larger ones sell products familiar to shoppers from the UK and North America, so your kids will not want for cookies and sweets they overeat at home. You can usually find a wide range of juices, sodas and, for older kids, beer at very nice prices. Be sure to detour into the fruit and vegetable aisles and I assure you of seeing at least five things you cannot identify but which look pretty good.

Also, note that McDonalds, Burger King and KFC have clean stores all around the city. We won't tell anyone that you had a Big Mac in Bangkok if you don't tell that we did too.

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