IT’S THAI-M TO EAT!
There are two things you’ll notice in Bangkok – one, someone is always eating and two, the food is so delicious that pretty quickly, that someone is you. Apart from the freshest fruit ever, satay sticks on the street, that international bestseller pad Thai and wholesome beefy stews with noodles (burp!), Bangkok also has a list of must-eat dishes and must-visit joints.
Let’s start with the lazy gourmet’s shortcut – the Bangkok Food Tours. Let someone tell you to eat, repeatedly, and constantly, through the city for at least four hours. Offering over 10 tours across options like day and night, walking, floating and tuk-tuk, meals at local homes, modern and ancient cuisine and more, these tours are value for stomach.
If a tour is not for you and you’d rather soak in the city (and the flavours) on your own, start with Rosabieng, a local place blissfully devoid of the more vapid kind of tourist. Come here for a huge range of authentic cuisine, with stand-out dishes like the best fried chicken wrapped in pandan leaves, fantastic tomyum, and green curry. This rustic wooden-house-turned restaurant is famous for its fresh, coconut-based dishes and homemade custard apple ice cream.
Or you could dabble in the new wave of Thai cooking at Paste Bangkok.
Paste specialises in artisanal Thai food, with traditional, locally-sourced produce and modern presentation. Be warned: the sea bass curry and duck salad with banana flowers has reduced many a critic to happy tears – luckily, the service is excellent, so at least napkins are at hand.
During your stay, you must plan to eat at The Blue Elephant once.
Billed as a bastion of outstanding royal Thai cuisine, it offers a fine-dine experience across Thai curries, sauces, seafood, meats and more. Located in a lovely century-old heritage building, this is where your tastebuds die and go to heaven. Luckily, the Thais believe in reincarnation – and your tastebuds will come alive at your next meal, with the aroma of tomyum soup at Saw Nah Wang.
Beloved Thai staple lemongrass is married with lime leaves, soy sauce and coconut milk to produce a union that every beaming mama will approve of. Frequently ordered with shrimp, Saw Nah Wang’s tomyum soup can also be spiced up or down with fresh chilli and garlic. Feel free to also slip an order of meephat krachet into your meal. These angel-hairlike rice flour noodles make for a slurpy accompaniment or even combine into a noodle-y broth, khowsuey-style – or can be dipped into your soup.
Contrast the multi-course wonders of these restaurants with the romantically- named The Never Ending Summer, another justly famous Thai restaurant, located by the Chao Phraya River.
With its rustic-industrial-chic ambience, this restaurant is a melange of traditional and modern, offering both familiar classics and reinterpreted favourites.
Meat dishes, like the grilled pork collar and seafood dishes, like the deep-fried soft shell crab spicy salad, are the most acclaimed, seen on quite a few tables.
And, finally, for those for whom it’s always duck season, there’s Charoeng Wiang Pochana Restaurant. Play safe with traditional, roasted lean duck on steamed rice, with cucumber and ginger on the side. Or roasted duck sticks with egg noodles. Or take home a vacation story to beat all, with juicy, flavourful fried duck feet wrapped in intestine – clear proof that, sometimes, foot in mouth can be a good thing.
GETTING THERE: Closest city: Suvarnabhumi Airport (23km) Air India, IndiGo, Jet Airways, Spicejet, Malindo, Bangkok Airways, Thai Airways and Malaysia Airlines fly to Bangkok from Mumbai and New Delhi.
GETTING AROUND: Private cars, taxis or tuk-tuks can be hired in Bangkok. Negotiate, negotiate and negotiate before you get into either. Radio taxis are also a convenient and affordable option to get around.
WHERE TO EAT
- Bangkok Food Tours
- Paste Bangkok
- The Blue Elephant
- Saw Nah Wang
- The Never Ending Summer
- Charoeng Wiang Pochana Restaurant