If you were lucky, you got a taste of fast-food heaven yesterday. Sadly, In-N-Out Burger isn’t going to open here anytime soon. Here are some other big names we’d love in Bangkok—so much so, we’d even settle for just a four-hour popup.
First opened in 1948 in Baldwin Park, California, In N Out has built its name on its straight-up, all-American burgers made with quality ingredients. Part of the appeal is its relative scarcity: with 328 branches (no franchises!), all on the West Coast. Outside the US, the brand has been known to host (infuriatingly) super-short-term popups, from London and Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur (in January) and now Bangkok.
Think CentralWorld food court, only Italian. This German-born restaurant franchise (OK, slightly weird) aims to satisfy everyone. Say you want pasta, while your one friend prefers pizza, another risotto and another...well, you get the point—then head to Vapiano. Each cooking station has its own specialist chef who whips up your meal in front of you in around 10 minutes, meaning everything is customizable. It’s not fine-dining, but this fun, flexible and communal style of dining has seen Vapiano reach 33 countries globally.
It's not fair. Singapore, Malaysia and Australia all have Nando’s. But not us. And yet the South African-born chain serves pretty much the piri piri version of our gai yang, and it would just make so much sense. Who wants Chester’s Grill? There’s always Piri-Piri, but would McDonald’s really satisfy your In-N-Out cravings?
Piri Piri (Siam Paragon, Emporium)
Often pitted as the “East Coast In-N-Out.” Shake Shack started out as a hot dog cart, but in recent years has taken a more traditional route to world domination, opening locations across the US and Asia, including Tokyo and, soon, Hong Kong. Their prices are typically slightly higher than In-N-Out’s and their menu goes beyond cheeseburgers to the “Chick'n Shack” and “Shack-cago Dog.”
See In-N-Out above.
Whole Foods Market
Baimiang Health Shop (The Circle, Ratchapruk Rd., 028-638-576) and Organic Supply (148 Nakniwat Rd., 021-016-410)
Zambrero (try 6/F CentralWorld, Ratchadamri Rd., 022-511-788)? Ugh, “fancier” components but don’t even taste half as good. La Monita (Mahatun Plaza, Phloen Chit Rd., 02-650-958) will have to suffice for now.
Shari Shari (Silom Complex, Silom Rd., 097-926-9293) does a mean sushi burrito, while the sushi sandwiches at Isao (Sukhumvit Soi 31, 022-580-645) actually cut it pretty close, too. But they’re still just not it.