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How to Use Prepaid and Postpaid Cards in Food Courts of MBK and Siam Centre


Food court Card

When you're tired of eating Bangkok street food in the heat, head to the food courts tucked inside the city's behemoth malls. They serve equally tasty grub for every budget. Some of these food courts even have 'single card payment' systems, so instead of fumbling around your pocket for change, you simply buy a prepaid or postpaid card from the centralized cashier and use it to pay your way through the food stalls.

Food court cards are very easy to use and keeps things organized. They are quite helpful, especially for tourists.


Good Ideas: »

Sometimes, it pays to be (just a little) paranoid. Make sure you're covered so you can eat whatever you want.

If you want to be extra careful when eating in a foreign country, bring your personal chopsticks or foldable forks.

Food Republic Signage

Photo by Joan Garcia

Expect to use a prepaid card when you visit Food Rebuplic, which is located on the 4th floor of Siam Centre. It offers  local and international meals. Unlike other restaurants in the same mall, the food stalls inside Food Republic do not accept cash. You will need to go to the central cashier and load up a prepaid card with an amount you thing you will consume. 

Before you get a prepaid card, check out the different menus so you have an idea of how much you need. Once you know your total, you can ask for a prepaid card with that exact amount. There is no minimum amount for loading up prepaid cards, but a 10baht deposit is required (this is consumable). It also takes about a month for the credit to expire.

When you no longer want to use the card, hand it back to the central cashier so you can get the monetary equivalent of the credit that's left in it.

Fifth Food Avenue

Though slightly more expensive, Fifth Food Avenue in MBK Centre is another fantastic place to eat after a long day of shopping. International dishes are offered here, including Vietnamese, Chinese, Arabic, Italian, Japanese, and Indian favorites. Unlike Food Republic, Fifth Food Avenue uses postpaid cards.

Here's how it works: You will be handed a postpaid card at the entrance. Use it to pay for all the satay / pad thai / curry your heart desires. Every time you order an item, the cashier swipes your card. When you're done eating, you can then proceed to the exit and pay for the total amount.  

Sample menu

Photo by Joan Garcia

Though they keep things organized for the concession stands, both the prepaid and postpaid card systems have their  disadvantages for the end user. Prepaid cards can be a hassle if the credit you have turns out not to be enough for that extra plate of pomelo salad. You will have to go back to the central cashier and then again to the food stall (a big inconvenience if you're very hungry). Postpaid cards, meanwhile, can cause you to lose track of your budget and overspend. Keep in mind a mental tally of what you are ordering if you don't want the bill to shock you.

UPDATE: We just uploaded a video (below) showing the MBK foodcourt in its entirety. Watch it to see what you should expect:

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