BANGKOK, A TASTING TOUR WITH GAGGAN ANAND
Chef Gaggan Anand offers some guidelines for exploring Bangkok's food scene and eat like a local. Do not miss his list if you are planning to visit the city.
Bangkok is a non-stop city that boasts one of the most exciting food scenes in the entire world, attracting adventurous eaters for years. Not only because of its convenient, cheap and delicious street food or its cross-cultural influences but mostly because it has become one of the most cosmopolitan and inventive Asia’s capital nowadays foodwise.
With lots of good options from food stalls to fine dining venues that vary from new German cuisine to traditional French institutions, its vast culinary richness recently caught the attention of Michelin Guide – last December, the French tire company announced Bangkok first-ever edition, with 14 restaurants with one star and three others with two stars. The city was the latest Asian capital to get a nod from the famous red book.
Gaggan Anand is one of the most acclaimed chefs in town and helped to turn Bangkok into an even more famous food destination in Asia with his eponymous restaurant in Thailand’s capital. Gaggan has retained its place in the top of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list for the last three years and was recently awarded two stars from the prestigious Michelin Guide, drawing the attention of tourists, foodies and food critics. Will he get the prize for the fourth year in a row? You can watch the ceremony live on Fine Dining Lovers here on 27 March, from 8.45pm Macao time. Don't miss any of the action!
The famous chef has found time to share some of his favourite food spots in town: don't miss this list of some of the best restaurants in Bangkok.
BANGKOK IN PRIZES AND LISTS
“Michelin would not come to Bangkok if they did not see all the city's potential”, says Anand. “The fact that the city has the top restaurant in Asia's 50 Best List was imperative for them to come", he adds. According to him, the prizes and lists serve to highlight the diversity and quality of the food made today in Bangkok. “Ten years ago, Bangkok was known mostly for its street food, and there were only some fine dining restaurants located in luxury hotels”, he points out. “But a big shift took place in the last years”. Some have remained, such as Bo.lan (watch our interview on this restaurant).
24 Sukhumvit 53 Alley, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea
Others have opened more recently, such as Mezzaluna, bringing the contemporary and innovative approach to Bangkok's food scene, to mention only two-star restaurants.
State Tower, 1055 Silom Road
Nahm is one of the best restaurants in Asia, according to 50 Best list. “Today Bangkok has become much more diverse, complete and interesting thanks also to these new restaurants," explains Gaggan.
27 S Sathorn Rd, Khwaeng Thung Maha Mek, Khet Sathon
“Street food has evolved and improved so much in this city”, Annand explains. “I can suggest you many places that are worth a visit or that could be included in guides like Michelin, as happened to Jay Fai [a street food venue awarded a Michelin star in Bangkok, known for using good seafood ingredients]. We have a Jay Fai in every corner”, he says. It’s hard for me to give to my friends who come to town the names of the street vendors I like most because I know where they are, but I not always remember their names, so I have to take them”, he laughs. For those who are not used to Thai ingredients and chillies, the chef warns to proceed with caution. But don’t miss Mu Ping, a Thai grilled pork on skewers.
Raan Jay Fai
Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
You can’t consider Bangkok's street food without a trip to Chinatown – or Yaowarat, as locals call it – which is considered the motherland of street food in the city. Annand says it is one of his favourite programs in the city. “The secret is to be carried away by the smells and your own curiosity”, he explains. From the stalls scattered through crowded streets to ingredients stores – like Chinese tea shops – one shouldn’t stick to guides, but follow one’s own instinct. Even so, the chef suggests the crispy oyster omelette made in front of the customer at Nai Mong Hoi Thod, one of his favourites in the neighbourhood.
Nai Mong Hoi Tod
539 Phlap Phla Chai Rd, Khwaeng Pom Prap, Khet Pom
According to Anand, food in Thailand is something taken very seriously. “You literally will find hundreds of thousands of great places to eat walking through the streets, and venturing to get into portholes out there”, he says. “Because people respect the acts of cooking and eating, and they try to do their best, which means that you don’t need to sit in a fancy restaurant to have a great food experience in this city”, the chef adds.
In this sense, there are many casual restaurants he usually goes to for typical and hearty Thai food. Khua Kling Pak Sod “is one of my favourite places in the whole city. Spectacular southern Thai food made with care and great ingredients”, he adds.
Khua Kling Pak Sod
8/1 Soi Thonglor 5 Sukhumvit 55
GAGGAN FOOD EMPIRE
Lately, Gaggan Anand has made his moves to make the city even more diverse gastronomically speaking. He has proven to be a restless food entrepreneur in Bangkok’s restaurant scene. After opening a casual barbecue place (Meatlicious), a modern German cuisine restaurant (Sühring) and a European-Asian fusion concept (Gaa), he prepares himself to take on yet other challenges: a relaxed, natural-wine bar adjacent to Gaggan called Wet (set to open in June 2018) and an omakase tofu venue called Minara Tofuten (to be opened on 19 March 2019).
“My vision for Bangkok is to provide new experiences in the city”, he says, explaining the reasons he only invests in new concept restaurants, not in an izakaya, a ramen shop or a sushi venue, for example. “This city has it all. I am interested in new philosophies regarding food. Gaa, for instance, is something completely new for the city - an Asian restaurant with the European approach: Indian recipes, Thai ingredients and Nordic techniques”, Annand explains.
68/4 Soi Langsuan, Ploenchit Road Lumpini, Phathumwan
“Sühring is a modern German bistro. Why not?”, he asks.
No.10, Yen Akat Soi 3, Chongnonsi, Yannawa
“Meatlicious is a steakhouse with wood-fire preparations. You can easily find it in Argentina, in Peru, in Brazil, even in the U.S., but not here”. “This is what I'm interested in. And as an investor, I look forward to these restaurants to having the connection with what I believe in, and of course, return my money back”, he explains. “I like to invest in places where I can have my team up front, helping them realize their dreams. As a bonus, I can guarantee my own future”, he laughs.
8 Sukhumvit Rd, Khwaeng Phra Khanong Nuea