Farewell Bangkok… Our Top Ten Places to Eat

GLORY BE!! Has it been over a year since the last post?  What ever has become of Secret Asian Man? 

Rest assured! All is well in Thailand. Maybe caught up in the COVID ennui. Stuck in a world of “if you can’t say anything nice,….” and trying not to add to the global angst.  

Though a challenge, I’ve still been able to do interesting things. There was a 20 province road trip that I took part in at Christmas. There were a couple trips to see wild elephants. Some interesting experiences with Great and Lesser Hornbills. Counting the rubber trees and soaking up what I can. 

Our time in Bangkok is rapidly dwindling.  It is going to be a grief process. We’ve been blessed with an extra year and, while we’ve loved almost every moment, it has allowed the roots to grow one year deeper. It’s gonna hurt to get pulled out of here.

Long time readers will recall my posting perfect trip through Jordan.  If you don’t recall, CLICK HERE to read about. And then go do it. 

Thailand though, is a different beast. Spend two weeks here and you’ll have just scratched the surface. I’ve traveled to most of the 77 provinces and each one has something to offer. As many things to see as grains of rice  drying by the roadside. There is just too much. One should just point your plane to Bangkok and alight, then choose a couple places or things to do and do them well. Don’t try to see it all. Most of it has been here for a thousand years. It’ll be here on your next trip. 

So, this time, nstead of tour recommendations, I give you food.

Relative to the rest of the country, Bangkok offers less to the tourist. There is amazing shopping, several temples and, of course, the palace, but you could knock those out in 2 or 3 days and head to the beach for the rest of your vacation. It’s a big, crowded and noisy city.  And absolutely fascinating.  

But there is the food. If you come here, please eat. Eschew the hotel breakfast and hit the streets for some grilled pork.  Grab some fruit at the first cart you see.  Follow your nose to the pig knuckle simmering in a pot.  It is worth giving up the bikini body to savor as much as you can.

And that is what I want to provide here.  Ten great places to eat while you’re here. These are places we’ve gone repeatedly and think they are worth a meal. Some cost hundreds of dollars, some cost under a hundred baht. It is not an exhaustive list. Just last week, I discovered an entire street of places to eatAll should be given a try.

  1. Gaggan Anand.  (68 Sukhumvit 31, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand, https://gaggananand.com/request-a-table/)  The web and TV has a lot of recommendations for Bangkok.  We’ve tried a lot of them and they are really good. Except for Gaggan, though, we’ve tried to shy away from those you’ve already tried. This place is worth the mention as one of the top dining spots in the world. If the Chef himself is cooking, it is an added bonus, but even if not, reserve a spot well-ahead at the Chef’s table. It is an amazing culinary experience. You’re eating at the feet of a God. Resign yourself to the fact that you’ll spend a lot of money. It may be USD200 or more a head.  Do splurge for the wine pairing.  If you want to save money, they’ll split the wine pairing with your partner. You’ll get enough to drink for sure. And, for a neophyte like me, it was interesting to see how the wines pair with all the amazing food.

  1. Sushi Masato. (3/22 Soi Sawasdee 1 Sukhumvit 31 Khlongtoei Nua Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand. www.sushimasato.com) Tucked down an alley is an inset plain door.  A lone bulb lights a sign labeled, “Sushi”. It is a pretty hum-drum entry. Inside, though, is an amazing sushi experience. There are 2 tiny floors, each seating about 12 people. Each floor has a dedicated and renowned chef. They’ve been to the fish markets or connected with sellers back in Japan to select the most optimal seafood. No need for too many decisions. Just let them know you want the Omikase menu. That gives the staff control over your meal choosing what to serve you.  The only other decision you’ll need to make is whether to have the sake pairing. It would be a good enhancement to the meal. It’ll be another pricey meal, but well worth the 2 or 3 hours of dining pleasure.

3. Bankara Ramen, (The Manor 32/1 Soi Sukhumvit 39, Klongtin Nue Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand )  I will dream of this ramen for years to come. My favorite is un-souped noodles and braised pork belly that crumbles apart. I create my individual bite with a couple noodles on my spoon atop a piece of pork and then dipped into the Tsukemen dipping sauce. Both the pork taste like they’ve simmered for days. So rich, so smooth. There may be better ramen places in Bangkok, but I can’t find them, because this place keeps drawing me back. 

  1. Soi 38  (800 1 Sukhumvit Rd, Phra Khanong, Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110, Thailand)  Tucked in a nook right off Sukhumvit is a street-food ecosystem.  Brightly lit, very popular and clean.  There are 8 or 9 vendors. Peruse the offers. You can get fruit juices, Mango sticky rice, Pad thai (Perhaps the best in the world, according to the sign), Satay, Som Tam, and a variety of others. Order from everyone, tell them where you’re sitting and they’ll bring the food to you. Pay them on delivery. Napkins are hard to come by so it is a true finger licking experience. Don’t feed the cats. 
  1. Cholos (Soi 12, Bangkapi Mansion, 89 Sukhumvit 12 Alley, Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110, Thailand) When we’re in the mood for SoCal Tacos, we head to the deep end of Soi 12. Nestled in the corner of a condo parking lot is a semi-permanent food truck slinging out tacos, burritos and more.  Plus frozen margaritas and beer. A nicely lit shelter and a great playlist add to the ambience.  The pork birria is amazing. The chips are fresh made as required. 

The last 5 places are in Chinatown.  It just seems to be a section of town that we’ve wandered and roamed the most, yet really barely put a dent in, given the vast number of places to eat.

  1. Hong Sieng Kong (734, 736 Soi Wanit 2, Talat Noi, Samphanthawong, Bangkok 10100, Thailand) is a wonderful place to while away an afternoon. And a great place to start a Chinatown food fest.  This place is hidden at the end of a sub soi in Talat Noi amid a bunch of auto part reclaiming shops, and it has a prime spot along the Chao Praya River.  It’s been there so long, trees are slowly enveloping the place.   It is immaculately decorated with old Chinese antiques.  This includes, I assume, the owner or matriarch, who holds a seat at a table near the stage, coiffed in the styles of her day.  There is live music every weekend afternoon.  Go late in the afternoon. Grab a shady seat by the river. Watch the barges amble by against the setting sun. The ferries and long tail boats flit from shore to shore.  The orange coffee is refreshing. The ham and cheese croissant flakey and savoury.  There are lots of food and drink options available. If you have 3 or 4 hours and a good book, it is a lovely way to spend the afternoon.
  1. Lim Law Ngow Fish Ball Noodle Place– (299, 301 Song Sawat Rd, Samphanthawong, Bangkok 10100, Thailand, https://www.limlaongow.com/)  Lim Law Ngow, is the center of another street food eco-system.  They’ve received a number of Michelin plate Awards  for their fish ball noodles soup. There are a couple of types of noodles to choose from. Then you select whether you want soup or not. That’s it. It is that simple.  We usually get a double order of egg noodles with no soup. There is usually one English speaker at the order desk. Or there is one English language menu with photos and ordering instructions.  Put in your order and have a seat and enjoy the people watching.  The OJ guy across the street has fresh squeezed juice. There are some other dumplings and satay stand for sale as well as crushed ice dessert. Eat it and beat it. There will be a crowd waiting for your table.
  1. T&K Seafood (49, 51 Phadung Dao Rd, Samphanthawong, Bangkok 10100, Thailand) T&K Seafood is great! If you walk down Yarowat Road, there are a number of places to eat.  Hawkers beckon and wave menus under your nose. Honestly, this is the only place we’ve tried, but it is consistently good stuff, so we kept going back.  There is often a line, but it moves quick.  They’ll wave you to a seat on the street or any number of tables up stairs.  On the street is where you wanna be, even if it’s a hundred degrees. Cars and tuk tuks will roll by.  Every once in a while, you’ll catch a whiff of something other than food. It may be the sewer, but it may be the chestnuts roasting down the street. In addition to the ambience, the food is wonderful.  Try the steamed sea bass with garlic and lemon sauce, served in a brazier at the table. The crab fried rice is great as are the curried crabs and tamarind shrimp. Topped off with a beer over ice and it’s a great night out.  
  1. Nai Ek Roll Noodles (442 ซอย 9 Samphanthawong, Bangkok 10100, Thailand) is across the road and down a ways. This is one of the few places for rolled noodles that I’ve seen, a rather unique form of rice noodles.  Served in a bowl of rich broth and a choice of a couple of toppings. I like mine with crispy pork and a few dashes of white pepper.  Wash it down with a bottle of cold chrysanthemum tea. This is another place where there is often a line, but it moves quick. Coconut ice cream from the cart on the street out front is a nice treat. 
  1. After a Chinatown meal, we often head to Bao Hao Tian Mi ( 8 Phadung Dao Rd, Samphanthawong, Bangkok 10100, Thailand)  for a custard dessert.  They’ve only got a couple tables, and there is often a line.  Take a number and get in line.  There are lots of unique flavors, and they always seem to have a new one on offer.  Plus, they recently added breakfast, which looks promising.  The same folks have a great cocktail bar nearby which is also a nice place to stop

Two Honorable Mentions that have been steady stand-bys for us. Both are consistently good and fulfilling meals.

  1. Saras Vegetarian Indian Food.  (15 Sukhumvit 20 Alley, Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110, Thailand) The Chola Bhatura is a great dish as are the Dosas
  1. Prime Burger.  (497 Sukhumvit Rd, Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand)  I like the London Burger. Mrs. SAM likes the Haloumi Burger. Good fries, too, if you eat them on site.

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