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.

 

In-N-Out Burger

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.

Bangkok alternatives:

Daniel Thaiger (Sukhumvit Soi 30/1), Teddy’s Bigger Burgers (try Gateway Ekamai, Sukhumvit Rd.) or, as a couple of our editorial team snarkily suggested, McDonald’s (sacrilege!).  

 

Credit: de.vapiano.com

 

Vapiano

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. 

Bangkok alternatives:

The Commons (Thonglor Soi 17) nails the pick-'n-mix vibe, if not the singular Italian focus. In the more traditional restaurant mode, there's always Peppina (try Sukhumvit Soi 33) or Pala (BTS Asok). 

 

Credit: www.facebook.com/NandosSwansea

 

Nando’s

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?

Bangkok alternatives:

Piri Piri (Siam Paragon, Emporium)  

 

Credit: www.shakeshack.com

 

Shake Shack

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.”

Bangkok alternatives:

See In-N-Out above.  

 

Credit: www.facebook.com/wholefoods

 

Whole Foods Market

This eco-friendly, organic chain of grocery stores is a healthy eater’s heaven. Here, you’ll find products ranging from fresh produce to homeware and even clothes. The deli section is also amazing, whipping up organic, ready-to-eat meals that taste better than many chain restaurants. A lot of branches also carry organic beer and wine.
 
Bangkok alternatives: 

Baimiang Health Shop (The Circle, Ratchapruk Rd., 028-638-576) and Organic Supply (148 Nakniwat Rd., 021-016-410) 

 

Credit: www.facebook.com/GromOfficial

 

Grom

It’s preposterous that Bangkok is still light on good international gelato names. Specializing in Italy’s signature icy treat, Grom is a huge franchise that not only makes flavorful gelato but also uses organic ingredients.
 
Bangkok alternative: 
Tuscany-hailing Ghignoni (try 252/5 Silom Rd., 087-811-6462) is a fine stand-in, boasting same traditional methods as in Italy with no coloring or preservatives in flavors. 
 
 
Credit: www.facebook.com/chipotle

 

Chipotle

How does this brand make something so simple taste so phenomenal? And if you peer into the kitchen, you won’t see anything fancy either. We put those delicious burritos and bowls down to their use of local, chemical-free produce, free-range meat and fresh ingredients. Who wouldn’t want good food fast?
 
Bangkok alternatives:

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.  

 

Credit: www.facebook.com/Sushirrito

 

Sushirrito

The brainchild of a San Franciscan sushi and burrito lover and Hawaiian fusion chef, this genius idea makes all of us wonder why we haven’t thought of it ourselves. The giant rice and seaweed outside acts as a “tortilla,” stuffed and rolled with Hawaiian ingredients such as hand-line caught yellowfin tuna, fresh salmon, shrimp, pulled pork, cucumbers, avocado and, of course, pineapple. 
 
Bangkok alternatives:

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. 

 

Credit: www.thechickenwire.chick-fil-a.com/Food

 

Chick-Fil-A

Chicken and fries done right—not too dry, not too oily and not too salty. Their spicy chicken sandwiches and waffle fries are to die for.
 
Bangkok alternative:
KFC? A&W? Texas Chicken? You don’t need us to tell you they can hardly compare.