Ten eateries to quell your nocturnal cravings.

It’s eleven at night and your stomach is begging to be fed. The problem is that most restaurants tend to doze off around 10pm, even on weekends. Sure, there are 24-hour convenience shops where you can drop by for snacks and dumplings, but if you’re looking for something substantial, try one of the following for a proper, hearty meal after 11pm.

Big Mama Pizzeria

The lowdown: Stylish she is not, but Big Mama is definitely generous. At this small and homey shop house, you’ll find every sort of hearty, homestyle food on offer and at low prices. Try the house special—the Big Mama pizza, replete with sausage, ham, eggplant and garlic. If you prefer a Thai twist, there are pizza tom yum and pizza larb kai. Everything here is cheesy—even the décor with its blend of faux wood paneling, African-style paintings and Thai textiles.
Last order: 11:30pm.
139 Sukhumvit Soi 21 (Asoke Soi 1), 02-259-0232. Open daily 11am-midnight.

Coyote on Convent

The lowdown: Head upstairs if you’re after a cozy restaurant ambience, or grab a seat on the ground floor for a lively party feel. The kitchen dishes out all the familiar Mexican favorites, such as sizzling fajitas and bulging burritos. The food won’t win any awards for its authenticity, but it’s still excellent, with heavy Tex-Mex influences. A huge selection of margaritas and addictive nachos makes this watering hole an entertaining joint to hang out with a bunch of friends.
Last order: Midnight.
Sivadon Bldg., 1/2 Convent Rd., 02-631-2325. Open daily 11am-1am.

Crêpes & Co.

The lowdown: Thanks to its friendly service and on-going all-day brunch, Crêpes & Co. remains a firm favorite among friends and families, where you can have crêpes for your starter, entrée and dessert. Choose between the comfy lounge, lively dining area, and outdoor terrace. A good place if you like to experiment, the restaurant is also known for its Spanish, Greek, and Moroccan festivals. It’s laid-back and quiet enough for a chat, yet not too informal to take your business clients. Just don’t gulp down too much sangria.
Last order: 11:30pm.
18/1 Sukhumvit Soi 12, 02-653-3990/1. Open Mon-Sat 9am-midnight, Sun 8am-midnight.

Gotto Retto

The lowdown: Non-smokers should give this sushi bar a wide berth as the place is filled with Marlboro-puffing salarymen and their pretty dates. For the rest of you, feel free to eat, drink, and smoke to your hearts’ content. It’s more of a drinking restaurant serving an assortment of small tidbits than a proper sushi shop, and Gotto Retto’s sushi might not be the best you’ve ever had, but there are still some real bargains on offer.
Last order: Midnight.
87 Thonglor Soi 13, 02-381-4272. Open Mon-Fri 4pm-1am, Sat-Sun 11am-2pm, 4pm-1am.


The lowdown: You have to make your way through food stalls, massage parlors, and shoddy nightclubs to get to this spacious restaurant tucked at the back of dingy soi 8. But there, a vast selection of Thai dishes awaits you. The décor evokes the mystical Anodard Pond, with dark teak, golden ornaments, and lots of flower arrangements. The place is usually quiet until around 9pm, when the expat regulars show up for lingering dinners and drinks. Don’t worry about saving room for the desserts—they’re pretty forgettable—but their signatures, yam som-o (spicy pomelo salad) and neua pun saparod (grilled marinated beef strips wrapped on pineapple sticks), are not.
Last order: 11:30pm.
43 Sukhumvit Soi 8, 02-256-0328. Open 11:30am-3pm, 6pm-midnight.


The lowdown: Even during the day, this bustling ramen shop can get rather wild, when office workers and Japanese salarymen descend for good-value lunch sets. In the evening, it’s similarly packed and the same ear-splitting noise prevails, so this is not the place for a romantic dinner. However, it’s perfect for anyone looking for a cheap, filling, delicious meal.
Last order: 1:30am.
23/8-9, Soi Thaniya, Silom Rd., 02-234-8082. Open daily 11am-2am


The lowdown: This pink building, with its lovely pool and rows of colorful hanging lamps, is a hip hangout for trendy crowds. The menu features a long list of Thai and seafood dishes, which, fortunately, are as good as the decor. After dinner, you can order funky home furnishings and eclectic knickknacks along with your takeaway.
Last order: Mon-Thu 11pm, Fri-Sun 11:30pm.
81 Soi Ari, Phaholyothin Soi 7, 02-270-3340. Open daily 11:30am-1am.


The lowdown: The airy riverside restaurant offers spectacular views with great Thai food to match. Its coveted alfresco terrace, overlooking Rama VIII Bridge, wins the best view prize. As it’s an affordable place, university students and young office workers make up the majority of regulars, but the place is still pretty quiet, so it’s a good spot for an intimate moment accompanied by chilled-out, mellow pop tunes.
Last order: Midnight.
10 Samsen Soi 3, Samsen Rd., 02-268-8362. Open daily 5pm-1am.

Xuan Mai

The lowdown: Dining at this small, no-frills eatery is like having dinner at a friend’s house—a friend who is a fabulous cook. Owner/chef Meyung Robson has won over local foodies and picky Vietnamese expats alike with her homestyle Vietnamese cooking. Balancing Saigon’s flavors with Hanoi influences, the former FBI agent serves ubiquitous Vietnamese favorites, but also more unusual dishes you’d be very lucky to find on the menus of other Vietnamese restaurants in town.
Last order: Varies each day, depending on the customers. But normally the staff are willing to make pho for you till the shop closes.
32 Sukhumvit Soi 13, 02-251-8389. Open Tue-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm, 6:30pm-midnight.


The lowdown: This second branch of the leading Japanese ramen chain is less crowded than its original outlet in Thonglor Soi 13. Accordingly, you can enjoy its toothsome noodles in a quiet atmosphere and without playing hide-and-seek with the staff. The menu is small and simple—a handful of ramen recipes and a few side dishes like gyoza and tonkatsu. Its signature Yamagoya Ramen with boiled egg, seaweed, and tender slices of BBQ pork is the perfect comfort food to sooth a cold, a broken heart or midnight blues.
Last order: 11:45 pm for fried items, midnight for ramen.
98-102 Suriyawongse Rd., (next to Tawana Hotel), 02-637-0588. Open daily 10:30am-midnight.


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50 reasons to love life in the City of Angels

Raise your hand if you love Bangkok!” was our post on a popular web board recently, and the replies were a bit startling, ranging from, “Absolutely hate it. It’s a chaotic city with lots of criminals, pollution and heartless people,” to “Just so so,” and, “Love is such a strong word. Can I just like it?”

To us, though, Bangkok is like a first love, an old flame—the passion might have faded a bit, but there’s a sentimentality still there you just can’t get out of your head. And since there seems to be so much bad news and negativity out there, on the occasion of BK’s 6th birthday, we thought we would celebrate some of the good and quirky things that make Bangkok such a special place.

1. Street food. No other city comes close to our combination of great taste, low price, variety and convenience. Hungry? There are vendors all over at all hours of the day grilling, frying, boiling, cutting, stirring, seasoning, wrapping and bagging. Bangkok is the best place in the world for street food, period.

2. Chatuchak Market. Aside from the skanky pet zone with its cruel vendors, there’s a lot to love about JJ, which has an incredible range of bargains on offer that make a hot, sweaty trip into this crowded mega market worthwhile. With good haggling skills, you can get a whole new outfit from head-to-toe for less than B1,000. If your sense of orientation is lacking, check out www.jatujakguide.com.

3. Khao San Road. A melting pot of young locals, dek naew, backpackers and strident Bible-preaching farangs, Khao San Road is the ultimate spot for people-watching. It’s also a good place to do some shopping, eat fried bugs, sip on an espresso, get a tattoo and party. (Not necessarily in that order.) And did we mention the Captain Jack Sparrow look-alike? If you see him, tell him we said hi.

4. TCDC. Two thumbs up to the Thailand Creative and Design Center (6/F, The Emporium, 02-664-8448, www.tcdc.or.th) for having brought together a museum, a library and a shopping mall and pulling off the impossible: making throngs of Thais go to art exhibitions. At least something good came out of the Thaksin era.

5. Wang Lang Market. A non-touristy haven for those with good eyes who don’t mind rummaging around for the perfect find, Wang Lang is home to secondhand goodies like cult Adidas sneakers, authentic Lacoste polos and other vintage accessories, all at extremely low prices. Wednesday is the best day to drop by, when most shops bring in their new stuff. When you’re done shopping, refuel at one of the small eateries or food stalls serving tasty chow. (See Taste Trek page 20).

6. House. We love King Naresuan, but does it have to be screened every 15 minutes? That’s where an alternative theater like House (31/8 Royal City Avenue, New Petchburi Rd., 02-641-5177, www.houserama.com) comes in and saves us from the deluge of mainstream releases. They screen quality flicks that can’t make it in the big circuit in an intimate, homey setting. And if you’ve missed any of the films, check out the recently opened Little House DVD shop.

7. Suan Lum Night Bazaar. The spot for after dark shopping (sorry, Patpong), Suan Lum Night Bazaar (Rama 4 Rd., MRT Lumpini) sells the stuff you won’t find at Paragon, and it sells it cheap. For clothes by young local designers or CDs nobody bothers to import, this is the place. Then rest your limbs and feast on soggy pizza and cold beer in the beer garden. For a romantic bird’s eye view of the soon gone market, hop on the giant Ferris wheel. Enjoy it now while you can.

8. Motorcycle Taxis. Yes, their driving is bad for your stress levels, and so is their honking, but their zigzagging skills are often your last chance to get to that appointment at all (forget being on time, this is Bangkok). And hey, it’s nearly as exciting and a lot cheaper than a roller coaster ride.

9. Boats. Taking a boat down the river in the morning is a pleasant way to beat the traffic if your home isn’t blessed with MRT or BTS routes. But it’s not just transportation. Boats are a way of life, and our last connection to our long lost title of “Venice of the East.”

10. Malls. We have more than we need, but we do need some. If Sophie Kinsella plans to continue her Shopaholic series, we highly recommend Bangkok as the backdrop. With so many mega shopping malls well connected together with BTS and MRT, and year-round sales, she’d better wear comfy shoes take a whole month off to cover them all!

11. Thai massage. Don’t you hate it when you are the only inflexible one in a yoga class who can’t reach your feet? We do. That’s why we are so glad to have the trained masseuse do all the poses and stretches for us. For a traditional rubdown, drop by Health Land (Try Sathorn branch, 120 North Sathorn Rd., 02-637-8883, www.healthlandspa.com. Open daily 9am-11pm). Or learn from the experts at Wat Po Thai Massage Medical School (2 Sanamchai Rd., 02-221-2974, 02-662-3533, www.watpomassage.com).

12. Boxing Stadiums. After a long, hard week at work, it’s great to blow off steam and vent out your frustration and stress at a boxing ring. Though you aren’t the one fighting, it’s still fun to root for your favorite contender and be blown away by the explosive speed of feet, hands, elbows and knees. If you’re the delicate type, ripped bodies in small shorts are still a good enough reason to watch our national sport. Book a ringside seat at Ratchadamnoen Stadium (Ratchadamnoen Nok Ave., 02-281-4205, 02-280-1684).

13. Dude/Sweet. When it comes to parties, Dude/Sweet never disappoints. It has attracted hordes of fashion designers, photographers, columnists, indie celebs and dek naew clubbers. All flock to a killer bash with the same mission—to tear down the dance floor. Networking is a bonus. For the next event, visit www.dudesweet.org or www.myspace.com/busypartyboy.

14. Taksura. It’s tucked in a small, unassuming alley. From afar, it appears haunted and the music can sometimes be cheesy. But who cares! This 100-year-old house-turned-bar (156/1 Tanao Rd., 081-818-6256. Open daily 5pm-1am) knows exactly how to please its regulars: tasty pub grub, friendly service and most importantly cheap booze.

15. Gay Culture. Not just gay, but LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi, transgender) culture is everywhere in the capital. There’s so much of it, we can’t even begin to scrape the surface in just a few lines. It would take an entire issue. Come to think of it, it WILL take a whole issue. Keep your eyes peeled for our next special “G” magazine.

16. Patravadi Theater. Synonymous with performing arts, the open-air theater (69/1 Soi Wat Rakang, Arun Amarin Rd., 02-412-7287/8, www.patravaditheater.com) spruces up traditional performances with avant-garde twists to appeal to a wider audience. Feed your belly as well as your mind at its riverside Studio 9 Dining Theater, where every Fri-Sat, 7:30pm onwards, a troupe of performing artist serves up a delightful repertoire to accompany your meal.

17. Joe Louis Theater. Officially known as Naatayasala Hun Lakorn Lek (Suan Lum Night Bazaar, Rama 4 Rd., 02-252-9683-4, www.thaipuppet.com), this puppet theater is the last surviving place in the country where you can still catch a mesmerizing show of this ancient art form. Hurry though, the future of this award-winning troupe is cloudy as the night bazaar is scheduled to become yet another mall.

18. Cheap DVDs. The subtitles usually suck and it’s illegal, but how else are we going to see Borat? In addition to the availability issue, it’s also much easier and more convenient to grab one as you’re walking down Silom on your way home. It’s not just that we’re cheap, really.

19. Don Muang Airport. How can you not love the 93-year-old airport? The place has character. And we’re not huge fans of golf, but where else can you find a course nestled between runways? At the Kantarat Golf Course (171 Viphawadee Rangsit Rd., 02-523-6441. Open daily 6am-5pm), badly dressed men tee off against the deafening engine roars with the smell of jet fuel filling the air.

20. Vimanmek Mansion. Step into the leafy complex of the world’s largest golden teakwood mansion (Ratchawithi Rd., 02-628-6300 ext. 5120, www.vimanmek.com. Open daily 9:30am-4pm) and be transported back into the golden era of King Rama 5. The old palace has western architectural influences mixed with traditional Thai elements for a charm you just can’t beat.

21. Colorful taxis. New York has yellow cabs as an icon of the city, while Hong Kong is filled with red taxis. But here in Bangkok, you can choose a cab according to your favorite color or mood! Plus, compared to other capitals around the world, Bangkok taxis are cheap-cheap—great for people who use them, but not so great for the drivers.

22. Temple Fairs. It may be hard to believe, but yes, modern Bangkok still has temple fairs and we absolutely love them for bringing back memories of the good old Thai ways. One of our favorites is at The Golden Mount (Wat Saket, Chakrapatdipong Rd.) in November around the Loy Kratong festival, where you can hit a shooting booth and win some stuffed dolls.

23. Fairy Lights on Ratchadamnoen. Every year, during the festive season(s), Ratchadamnoen Avenue is elaborately lit up with thousands of fairy lights, making a stroll down the street dreamy and romantic.

24. BTS and MRT. Though still modest in reach, the subway and skytrain have completely changed life in Bangkok. They’re clean, easy to use and the most reliable ways to get around in the city center—plus they take some of the pressure off our traffic jammed roads. They’re also a good place to get phone numbers.

25. H Gallery. Housed in a charming colonial mansion, H Gallery (201 Sathorn Soi 12, near Bangkok Bible College, 081-310-4428, www.hgallerybkk.com) showcases the work of up-and-coming Thai artists who have the potential to go inter.

26. Maruey Knowledge & Resource Center. There’s no excuse not to read anymore as this modern library (1-2/F, The Stock Exchange of Thailand Bldg., Ratchadaphisek Rd., MRT Queen Sirikit Convention Center, 02-229-2063. Open Sun-Thu 8:30am-11pm, Fri-Sat 8:30am-midnight) stays open until late
at night.

27. International Gourmet Dining. In addition to our amazing local food, Bangkok has some world-class restaurants at bargain—by international standards—prices. Not only that, we are able to attract visiting chefs whose restaurants are nearly impossible to get into (or afford) at a fraction of what it would cost in their home countries.

28. Drinking Freedom. We sound like alcoholics, but we appreciate how you can sip a beer as you’re walking down the sidewalk or in a park and not get arrested. And where else can you drink in movie theaters? OK, so there are ridiculous laws regulating the hours you can buy booze (we can understand after 1am, but the afternoon ban is silly), but you can always find a mini-mart or mom-and-pop shop where they’ll sell you a bottle of Sang Som at any hour of the day.

29. Traffic Jams. We all complain about the traffic jams and wish they’d disappear. But when you’re stuck, think of it as your special time—to plug in your Nano, read BK, call up some friends or just daydream. No excuse necessary. Plus, if the traffic started flowing permanently, BKK would be paradise on earth, millions of people would flock to our city and rents would go up.

30. Smart Traffic Signs. Though they aren’t exactly “smart,” they are another distraction for when you’re stuck on the roads. Many capitals don’t have these. We’re so high-tech.

31. Sanam Luang. The huge lawn is an assembly point for people from all walks of life—beggars, middle-class, blue collars—whether for chilling out or for asking for the head of the prime minister. Definitely the place to be for a dose of reality.

32. Samyan Market Foodcourt. Those willing to sacrifice setting and service for big plates of steaks with all the side dishes you want (spaghetti, salads, fries…) on offer for less than B100 shouldn’t miss this favorite haunt of university students.

33. Wat Phra Kaew. We’ve taken this temple for granted for way too long. Mom Juk Mok admitted in BK that he has never been there. Don’t follow his bad example and don’t let the tourists have all the fun. It really is amazing, like nothing else on earth—and it’s right in the middle of the city. Plus, it’s free for Thais!

34. The Grand Palace. Well now that you’re going to Wat Phra Kaew, you might as well do the whole deal. Why don’t you drop by Wat Pho and cross over to Wat Arun while you’re at it. Remember to wear a ridiculous hat and a camera around your neck. It’s fun to be a tourist (See #35).

35. Tuk Tuks. Who doesn’t love being hideously overcharged? Disguised as a tourist, ask them about local temples (all closed for renovation or for today’s special religious holiday), how much it costs to go down the street (B200), or how to get from Democracy Monument to the Grand Palace (a winding path that stops by every jewelry and handicraft store in town). Great for smokers, too.

36. Siam Square. So many shops… so little real choice. Don’t despair, if you don’t want to look like a Siam Square clone, there are ways. Dig deeper, look harder, walk longer, and you will find your look.

37. Accomodating Cops. It’s so nice to have a helpful and understanding police force that saves you the trouble of having to go out of your way to pay a fine at the station when you break the law. Just pay Thailand’s finest right on the spot and be done with the matter. They know how sorry you really are.

38. Beautiful Girls. Sometimes they aren’t even biologically female, but beautiful nevertheless.

39. Beautiful Boys. Sometimes they aren’t even gay.

40. Fat Festival. Heaps of indie icons, fresh-faced artists, a handful of international acts, as well as short film directors, rock it out at this music festival that is expanding its fan base beyond dek naew crowds.

41. The Weather. Unlike other places where you’re at the mercy of the weather, here we have seasons on demand. Feel free to celebrate Christmas on your balcony in a bikini or your summer break in fur and scarf in one of Paragon’s permafrost theaters. You won’t get sick, though you might get locked up.

42. Affordable Plastic Surgery. You can get a new face cheaper than a new car. No insurance, though.

43. Thonglor. For a life that makes soap-ops look like hard-hitting documentaries—if you can afford it.

44. Distribution of Wealth. Pratunam, CentralWorld and Nana are the golden areas for beggars who are said to make around B7,000 a day—no taxes. Are they connected?

45. Everyone Can be Famous. Just put on your chicest, coolest, or weirdest dress and walk around Siam Square, tell the world that You are Here and say Cheeze. Before you know it, you’re in a magazine! As easy as that.

46. Saxophonist on Silom. Against the annoying backdrop of car horns, squealing tires and blaring techno tunes from California Wow, he provides the only sane noise on the street that adds some bounce to your step. Spare the guy some change, please.

47. View From Vertigo. The rooftop restaurant (61/F, Banyan Tree Bangkok, South Sathorn Rd., 02-679-1200. Open daily 6:30-11pm) presents incomparable views of Bangkok skyline that will take your breath away.

48. Parking Attendants. They will miraculously pop up when you’re trying to park and assist you even though you don’t want them to. But people being nice is nice, right?

49. Easy Access to Porn. Especially near our office. Deeweedeeweeseedeesek, anyone?

50. Massage Services. On every block and all hours, even in pub toilets. For happy muscles, not happy endings, of course.

51. BK. We are exclusively available in Bangkok, you know.


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These days, money and fame are what almost everyone seeks—everyone except Wanchana Sawasdee, a.k.a Capt. Bird. With his chiseled face and precise speech, the graceful 34-year-old is a convincing King Naresuan, the great warrior king. Despite his celebrity status, the humble soldier gives himself only 5 out of 10 for his acting in part 1 of the epic directed by M.C. Chatrichalerm Yukol (Tan Mui). In part 2, which they’re now filming—no doubt Capt. Bird will be looking to raise that score.

To be a soldier wasn’t always my dream. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an architect. It was my soldier dad who talked me into it and inspired me to apply to the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy, where I spent five years training.

Life in the military academy was fun. Of course, the training was hard, but I have always been athletic, so exercises were not a problem for me.

Mental strength, physical fitness and self-discipline are what I’ve learned from being a soldier.

Military training is like sharpening a knife. You always have to keep the knife sharp so that you can use it whenever you are in need.

Soldiers have to keep honing their skills, and be ready to serve at any time.

I was very excited when I first found out I got the King Naresuan role. But quickly after that, excitement was replaced by nervousness and anxiety.

I am not a professional actor and had never dreamed of being in the entertainment business, let alone taking on a big role like this.

Tan Mui is a great teacher to me. He spent two years with me before the actual filming started. He learned my attitudes and insights, and tried his best to bring out the real me on the big screen.

No one knows what King Naresuan was like, so the King Naresuan that you see in the movie is a character born from a combination of the scriptwriter’s imagination and my own personality.

What we can’t create or modify, however, is the heroic act that the movie portrays exactly according to history.

Acting is a part of everyone’s life. We all have to act at some point. Take me, for example. I’m a soldier and soldiers aren’t supposed to be afraid of anything. But I am a human; sometimes I get scared, but I can’t let my team see that.

The most difficult thing about filming King Naresuan are the action scenes in which I also have lines to say. It’s very hard for me to combine everything that I’ve learned about riding horses, using ancient weapons and acting into one scene. Imagine having to control a horse that’s freaking out because of the bombs being set off and trying to deliver the right lines on cue.

My life changed quite a lot after I was chosen to play King Naresuan, but it was a gradual change, so I hardly felt the difference.

Though I have to do lots of interviews to do to promote the movie, I’m still just a soldier.

The only expectation I had was that King Naresuan would make Thais love and be proud of their country, like our ancestors were. The movie shows how bad things can be when we lose our national unity.

Some may think it’s not their responsibility to protect the country—that it’s a soldier’s duty. But I believe deep down inside, everyone is willing to sacrifice their life for their country when it’s in danger.

I am, and will always be, a soldier, even after I’m retired. Soldier blood runs deep in me and influences who I am. It will be with me until the day I die.

I’ll definitely go back to serve the country. Though I’m having fun in the entertainment business, the military is always my first priority. I’d love to do more acting, but if there’s a time conflict, I’ll go back to my chosen path of being a soldier.

I’d rather to be remembered as a soldier than King Naresuan.


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BK dons a chef’s hat and joins 6 cooking classes.

Want to try your hand at cooking? Whether you aspire to be a chef or simply want to impress your date, Bangkok has something on offer.

Blue Elephant

The chef: Led by founding partner/director Nooror Somany Steppe, a team of professional chefs steps forward to teach and share their first-hand experience.
The class: There are morning (8:45am-12:30pm) and afternoon (1-5pm) courses on offer Mon-Sat. But we highly recommend you wake up early and join the morning class since you get to join the chef in a trip to the Bang Rak market, where you are shown how to pick fresh ingredients. At the theory class, the chef demonstrates how to cook the dishes of the day and hand out the recipe booklet. Then it’s time to put on an apron and make your own 4-course meal to be eaten after class. Here, each student has their own table, stove and wok.
Best for: Well-heeled tourists who want to learn a few Thai recipes before heading back home and explore the local way of life without having to really slum it.
The price: B2,800, inclusive of an apron, a certificate and a basket of herbal teas. There’s also a full-day vegetarian course on offer at B6,000.
Blue Elephant, 233 South Sathorn Rd., 02-673-9353/-8. BTS Surasak. [email protected], www.blueelephant.com.

Chef’s Club

The chef: Most of the classes are led by Chef’s Club head chef, Chef Ing. There’s also a team of chefs who are experts in different cuisines to assist her.
The class: Limited to eight people, the class is small and casual. The airy kitchen features a U-shaped counter, enabling every participant to get a good glimpse of what the chef is doing. The menu changes daily from Japanese and French to Thai and desserts.
Best for: Shopaholics who want to learn a few recipes.
The price: Ranges from B1,800-2,500 depending on the menu.
Chef’s Club, 4/F, Siam Paragon, Rama 1 Rd., 02-129-4558, BTS Siam. [email protected].

La Gritta

The chef: Chef Alessio Loddo has hosted this cooking class for almost a year, but his contract is going to expire at the end of this month. This might be your last chance to learn from him.
The class: It’s often held on the last Wednesday of each month, 9:30-11:30am, but the schedule can be changed at the chef’s convenience. It would be wise to call and check in the middle of a month. This popular class is usually bustling with 18-20 students. It begins with a demonstration, then the budding chefs are divided into three groups of six. Bowls of ingredients, knives and cutting boards are provided for each group. However, there’s only one stove at the chef’s table, which means it takes a while for each group to take turns cooking.
Best for: Guys who want to make moves on the cute Japanese ladies who dominate the class.
The price: B1,450, inclusive of apron, certificate and lunch buffet.
La Gritta, Sukhumvit Soi 19, 02-255-7350, [email protected].

Mandara Academy

The chef: The cooking class is hosted by various spa cuisine experts, with Chef Apple at the helm. She not only teaches you how to cook but also explains the effects each ingredient has upon your body and shares tips for cooking balanced meals.
The class: The course is on offer daily, 9:30am-1pm. Before getting your hands dirty, you get to indulge in a 60-minute Bali Floral Oil Massage at Mandara Spa. Chef Apple is enthusiastic and chatty throughout the class as she leads the students through a hands-on, step-by-step cooking lesson. Recipes are healthy and easy enough to be done at home. Classes are small, from 1-6 people.
Best for: Health-conscious, weight-watching ladies.
The price: B6,000, inclusive of an apron, a certificate and a recipe booklet.
Mandara Academy, Bangkok Marriott Resort & Spa, 257 Charoennakorn Rd., 02-476-0022 ext. 1416, www.marriottdining.com.


The chef: Chef Gaetano Palumbo, who just donned his chef’s hat at Rossini’s last October, shares the tricks of his trade to cook down-to-earth, “full-flavored” Sicilian cuisine.
The class: The cooking area has moved from its original spot in the working Rossini’s kitchen to a corner on the left side of the restaurant with only one cooking booth. The class is held on every Friday, 10:30am-1:30pm. However, it’s more like joining a chef’s table than a cooking class since you get to watch the chef (and maybe two volunteers from a group) closely as he prepares a 4-course meal. On the good side, Chef Gaetano is tireless in sharing everything from how to open a caper can to the proper way to peel tomatoes.
Best for: Those who prefer to stagger away full of facts and food, without actually cooking.
The price: B1,590, inclusive of an apron, a certificate and a 4-course lunch of the recipes you learn prepared professionally.
Rossini’s, Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, 250 Sukhumvit Rd., 02-649-8364. BTS Asok.

Tsu & Nami

The chef: Having worked in Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles, Chef Aki can explain traditional Japanese cooking well and in fluent English.
The class: Packed with the expats, the class is held from 8:50am-1:30pm on the first Saturday of each month. Students have to move around to learn how to cook main courses at Tsu, appetizers in a hot kitchen, sake cocktails at the sake bar and teppanyaki at Nami. The upcoming classes are on Apr 7 and Mar 5. Limited to 12 students, the seats usually are booked very quickly, so call ahead well in advance.
Best for: Those planning a sushi party and who don’t mind getting their hands sticky while learning how to make rolls.
The price: B1,900, inclusive of an apron, a certificate, a souvenir bag,
a picture with Chef Aki and lunch at Nami.
Tsu & Nami, JW Marriott, 4 Sukhumvit Soi 2, 02-656-7709.


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Bangkok’s women chefs speak out

A woman’s place is in the kitchen, or so we have been told. At home, cooking is often regarded as a female job. But in the working world—in this case the professional kitchen—women are clearly in the minority. However, the good news is that many women chefs manage to beat the odds. Here are five of Bangkok’s best.

Chef Zariya “Paula” Charoenphol

Her Kitchen: The shop-house-wide Delicatezza is always full of well-off regulars who come for home style Italian cuisine. Chef Paula, who spent 25 years in Rome, Italy, takes pride in her homemade pastas. Reservations and patience are needed since it’s a one-woman show in the kitchen.

Why do you think there are so few female chefs?
Maybe it’s because people tend to think that men are more diligent and patient than women. But personally, I think it’s the contrary. Plus, we are open-minded, while men can sometimes have a big ego.

Does being a woman affect how you run your kitchen?
Not really. From time to time, people think I’m a tomboy because I’ve adopted macho traits in the kitchen. All my staff are guys, but they are all scared of me because I scold them whenever they do something wrong. Every evening I have to prepare 60-70 dishes simultaneously. I do it all by myself. Call me crazy, but I want each and every diner to enjoy the same delicious food, even on their 100th visit.

Delicatezza, 351/3 Thonglor Soi 17, 02-382-2850. Open Mon 5:30-11pm, Tue-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30-11pm.

Chef Meyung Robson

Her Kitchen: Though there’s nothing to write home about in regards to the décor of this no-frills 10-seat restaurant, we can’t say the same about the food. Run by a former FBI agent, Xuan Mai serves up the best Vietnamese food in Bangkok, winning over local gourmands as well as picky Vietnamese expats.

Where did you train?
Cooking has always been my passion. I never had formal training to be a professional chef. I channel my passion into my cooking, and recreate all the authentic Vietnamese dishes that I remember tasting when I was growing up in Vietnam.

Do you think being a woman has created any challenges for you?
This is a great question for me! I truly believe that there is no challenge too great to tackle, and where there is a will, there is a way. I joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US as the very first Vietnamese, and a war refugee as well. I moved to Thailand to function as the first female Asian diplomat for the FBI. I was responsible for the capture of two Top 10 FBI Most Wanted fugitives from the US. And with all this background, somehow I managed to be a chef at my own restaurant. This says a great deal about how a woman, any woman, can conquer all challenges that life throws at us.

Xuan Mai, 32 Sukhumvit Soi 13, 02-251-8389. Open Tue- Sun 11:30am-2:30pm, 6:30pm-midnight.

Chef Thanunya Kaikaew

Her Kitchen: Blessed with the backdrop of the Chao Phraya River and a stunning view of Wat Arun, it’s no surprise The Deck is fully booked almost every night. Chef Thanunya’s food is also what keeps the diners coming back to this charming restaurant.

Why did you become a chef?
My grandmother cooked for Professor Silpa Bhirasri, so I’ve been familiar with cooking since I was a kid and that grew into love. Later I began taking a proper class in France and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu.

Do you think being a woman has created any challenges for you?
I don’t think gender creates any challenges. If you are hard-working, passionate about the job and able to deal with stress, male or female, you can be a chef. For me, the challenge is creativity. Here, the menu changes every three months according to seasonal ingredients. Plus, I have to prepare set menus for special holidays, so I always have to come up with new tasty dishes and deliver them with artful presentation.

What’s a dish you recommend for women?
They all like low-calorie, healthy dishes, so my recommendations would be grilled mushroom with extra virgin olive oil, and rocket salad with Parmesan cheese and sun-dried Italian tomatoes topped with balsamic dressing. Salmon belly skewers are also good for ladies since they’re loaded with beneficial omega 3.

The Deck, Arun Residence, Soi Pratoo Nokyoong, Maharat Rd., 02-221-9158. Open daily 11am-10pm.

Chef Nooror Somany Steppe

Her Kitchen: Blue Elephant’s sophisticated interpretations of classic Thai specialties and opulent décor have made it a hit internationally as well as here in Bangkok at the flagship property on Sathorn Road.

As a woman, what are your biggest challenges and how do you deal with them?
The biggest challenge is to control the whole restaurant. Though I now have 27 years of experience and have managed to run my kitchen professionally with an organized system, I never stop learning and always try to improve myself.

What’s a dish you recommend for women?
Namtok tuna (Isaan-style spicy tuna salad). Fish is the best meat and this dish also comes with fresh salad and sweet basil dressing. It’s fresh, healthy and tasty.

Blue Elephant, 233 South Sathorn Rd., 02-673-9353. Open daily
11:30am-2:30pm, 6:30-10:30pm.

Chef Sylvie Bruzeau

Her Kitchen: Tamarind Café needs no introduction. The three-story restaurant-cum-gallery with a rooftop garden is a haven for vegetarian and health-conscious diners. Its flavorful dishes would make meat lovers temporarily forget that it’s vegetarian food they are eating.

Where did you train?
I never had a formal training, but I was lucky to be raised in a family where we always ate “proper” good food cooked by my mother, and with vegetables coming from our garden.

Why do you think there are so few female chefs?
I guess women are still very much shy and feel the pressure from their husbands to be a conventional wife. Being a chef is a hard job with long and late hours, so of course you cannot really pick up the kids at 4pm! Your social life has to shift and it is not always easy to sustain a relationship or have a family life.

Do you think being a woman has created any challenges for you?
When we opened the first restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam, the country was not that open yet. It has been a challenge to establish one’s “authority” upon older male staff. We need to work harder in order to prove that we are capable and can fit in in often male-dominant fields. The challenge was not really being a woman, but opening and running such a business. The good side of it, especially in Asia where, on top of being a woman I am also a foreigner, is that people are sometimes “nicer” and more willing to help.

What’s a dish you recommend for women?
I am not a sweet person, but I love baking and creating dessert for my customers. I would love to use the breast-shaped molds of artist Pinaree Sanpitak for my dark chocolate gateau with caramelized lime zest—it would perfectly satisfy all senses and fantasy.

Tamarind Café, 27 Sukhumvit Soi 20, 02-663-7421. Open Mon-Fri
3pm-midnight, Sat-Sun 10am-midnight.


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Find sanctuary in one of these four new venues

Flore Pleno

2/F, Fenix Tower, 570 Sukhumvit 31, 02-662-2621. Open daily noon-10pm.

The concept: Hidden in a high-end skyscraper, this spa is furnished in modern Victorian style. The plain white walls adorned with oh-so-British flowery curlicues will thrill ladies-who-lunch and their wannabe-Londoner daughters. With its light pink touches, the spa might be too feminine for some, but princesses will just love it.

The facilities: Four spa service rooms and one mani-pedi area with all the facilities en-suite. Each room is painted with a different color to suit the treatment delivered within. The people at Flore Pleno believe that color can affect your mood and mind, so this allows you to receive even greater benefits from your treatment.

Signature treatment: One favorite is the “Tropical Wine Spa Delight” (B3,000/120-180 mins), where you are dipped in wine heated to 40°c, which is supposed to detox and rejuvenate your skin and mind. “Chamomile & Lavender Soothing” (B3,000/120-180 mins) is the preferred option if you’ve had a hectic week, since both chamomile and lavender have relaxing and soothing properties. Your metrosexual pal may opt for the “Extreme & Sport Massage” (B1,800/90 mins) that eases sore muscles and relaxes body and soul.

Price: Starting from B600 (a simple Foot Relax treatment) up to B30,000 (pre-wedding couple package). Somewhere in the middle is the “Timeless Rejuvenate” with caviar and pearl cream (B3,200).

Trinity Nail & Massage

2/F, The Third Place Bangkok, Thonglor Soi 10, 02-390-0655.
Open daily 10am-10pm.

The concept: Clean, modern and affordable—that’s Trinity Nail & Massage’s motto. It positions itself between high-end hotels and neighborhood day-spas with its fine-yet-reasonably priced treatments. The owner guarantees the products used here are of similar quality as The Oriental Spa and Mandara. Hygiene is also the key as Trinity Nail & Massage strives to be on the leading edge of sanitation and cleanliness. No musty towels or unclean pedicure equipment.

The facilities: The spa is relatively small, but it has all the amenities you’d want for a relaxing respite. Draped in dark purple, Trinity Nail Massage is equipped with four treatment rooms and five reclining chairs for foot massage, pedicure and manicure. The spa is willing to set up its chairs on the alfresco terrace for outdoorsy clients.

Signature treatments: The spa developed its treatments to suit the trinity of Thai, Japanese and Western clients. Drop by for a quick “Foot and Hand Spa” that offers a full manicure and pedicure along with hand and foot scrub and mask. Nail paint is also included in the treatment. Just choose you favorite nail colors from OPI and the skilled staff will have your fingers painted in no time. The four-hand massage, in which two therapists harmoniously perform a rub down with the same pressure and speed on corresponding spots, is also recommended.

Prices: The four-hand massage is B1,590/90 mins, while the “Hand and Foot Spa” is B500.Through February, however, Trinity Nail & Massage offers 30% discount for those who drop by before 2pm. The 2-hour treatment that includes body scrub, body mask and aromatherapy massage is also on offer at B990 until the end of this month.

Suk Spa

1/30 Sukhumvit 11, 02-651-2672. Open daily 11:30am-11pm. www.sukspa.com.

The concept: A boutique spa, tucked away in a sub soi of Sukhumvit 11. The theme is suburban Thai, with wood all around. You’ll be amazed that stepping inside takes you outside (again). The treatments rely on the four elements and real traditional folk herbs, which you can always go in search of outside Bangkok, where you’ll find chonnabot elders.

The facilities: Six rooms, two of which come with en-suite bathrooms (the others share their bathrooms and toilets). The en-suite rooms have outdoor showers and ohng (you do the pouring). A single Thai folk herbal steam tent, similar to a monk’s umbrella-like tent, is placed on the patio of the spa room just opposite the hair spa section. A mani-pedi section is on the third floor in what could be a living room.

Signature treatment: The anti-stress back and shoulder massage (B800/60 mins) uses heated mor klua (hot salt in a pot) instead of using luuk prakob like other spas, even placing it over crinum lily (plub plueng), just like grannies do. The “Suk Spa Massage” (B1,600/90 mins), a combination of Thai, aromatherapy and Balinese, is designed to soothe, cleanse and stimulate your blood circulation with the help of traditional Thai hot oil.

Price: Starting from B650 for the foot massage to B1,700-3,250 for the Suk Spa packages that include several different treatments in one go.

Urban Retreat

31/10 Soi Phromjai, Sukhumvit Soi 39, 02-204-2008/9,
www.urbanretreatspa.net. Open daily 10am-10pm.

The concept: Like its name suggest, Urban Retreat sets itself as a haven for urbanites, providing various relaxing treatments far from the hustle and bustle of the city. Urban Retreat is where you can get away from it all for a few hours and let the therapists rub away the stress of your day every day without breaking the bank.

The facilities: Five foot massage stations—six singles and one double—all fit on the second floor, but Urban Retreat manages its space very well. There is ample room to relax and enjoy the pleasure of peaceful privacy in the virginal white décor that evokes a cozy ambiance of a Hua Hin beach house.

Signature treatments: The “Urban Touch” treatment combines therapeutic Indonesian and Thai massage techniques with pampering Maldives-styled moves. If soft and clear skin is what you seek, try the “Shea Butter Body Massage” which promises to help soothe and moisturize your dry and sun-damaged skin. Facial treatments, which use products from Dermalogica, are also popular among Japanese housewives.

Prices: The most affordable treatment is Thai massage for B300/hour. “Urban Touch” and “Shea Butter Body Massage” are both B800/hour. Or opt for the February promotion at B990 that treats you to a 90-minute treatment of chocolate scrub and aroma oil massage.


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Places to di(n)e alone on Valentine’s Day

A typical dining experience usually involves a group of friends or families sharing communal dishes, while for the approaching Valentine’s Day, lovebirds flock to all the dimly lit romantic places. So where does that leave the solo (a.k.a. single) diner? Most people tend to be terrified by the very thought of dining alone as there’s still a stigma to the soloist. “Don’t they have mates?” is the implied question from the other customers and staff. Put a sock in it! If it’s good enough for James Bond to enjoy a nice solo steak and a martini, it’s good enough for us!

Baan Phra Athit

Leave the world behind and immerse yourself in one of the cushy sofas at this colonial bakery. Take in the glorious aroma of coffee and sample its sinful chocolate fudge. Since there are only a few tables, Baan Phra Athit can’t take a large group, making it a cozy, peaceful place to spend a lingering afternoon.
102/1 Phra Athit Rd., 02-280-7878/9.
Open daily 11am-10pm.

Bed Supperclub

Dress to kill and head to this ultra-chic, all-white restaurant and bar, which is frequented by the models and hiso crowd. Here you can lay down with fluffy pillows while enjoying the “surprise” menu and Sex on the Beaches/Blowjobs served by foxy waiters and waitresses. If you find it too difficult to break the ice with this crowd, warm up with the friendly young bartenders first.
26 Sukhumvit Soi 11, 02-651-3537.
Open daily 7:30pm-midnight.


Food meets fun at this restaurant where the chef is more than willing to be your escort. Forget the big tables where other people’s families and friends surround you. Instead, grab a seat by the counter and be mesmerized by the juggling chefs as they throw, twirl and catch the sizzling teppanyaki.
Bangkok Marriott Resort & Spa, 257 Charoennakorn Rd., 02-476-0022 ext. 1416.
Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 6-10:30pm.

Coffee Society

Thanks to its dark and quiet interior, this café is a good hideaway if it’s peace and privacy you seek. There are plenty of little niches and corners to pass the time alone (sobbing) at any hour of the day or night.
12/3 Silom Rd., 02-235-9784.
Open daily 24/7.


The lunch counter at Foodland is the closest thing Bangkok has to a good old-fashioned American-style diner, and it’s perfectly suited to the antisocial eater. Once you’ve ordered, you can feel free to ignore everyone else around you. Pivoting between grill and counter, seasoned short order cooks serve up consistently delicious Thai and Western standards at reasonable prices.
87 Nai Lert Building, Sukhumvit Soi 5, Klongtoey Nua, 02-254-2179

Gotto Retto

This no-frills eatery is where you can eat, drink and smoke to your heart’s content—perfect for those wanting to get over the ex. During the peak after work hours, it is crowded with Japanese salarymen who are too busy with their Marlboros and sushi, so rest easy that no one will give you that “dude, where is your date?” look. Another plus is that this izekaya opens till 1am (kitchen closes at midnight), so you can always go late.
87 Thonglor Soi 13, 02-381-4272.
Open Mon-Fri 4pm-1am, Sat-Sun 11am-2pm, 4pm-1am.

Mousse and Berries

There is more to this chic café than what its name suggests. For a start, you have a variety of sinful cake and refreshing tropical fruit ice cream to feast on. Then there’s the prompt and professional service, and last but not least, a good view. Order a scoop or two and let the passers-by provide entertainment.
J Avenue, Thonglor Soi 15, 02-712-6054.
Open Sun-Thu 11am-11pm, Fri-Sat 10am-midnight.

Pranakorn Bar

Friendly diners, cool music, affordable food and nice views of dimly-lit Golden Mountain at night make this four-story restaurant-cum-bar a perfect spot for a solo outing.
58/2 Soi Damnoen Klang Tai, Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd., 02-622-0282.
Open daily 6pm-1am.

Roadhouse BBQ

This three-story tavern couldn’t be more solo-friendly. Rustic barrel tables make a nice seating option for the soloist. TVs showing sports are a legitimate distraction, as are shuffleboard, pool and foosball upstairs.
942/1-4 Rama 4 Rd., 02-236-8010.
Open daily 10am-midnight. BTS Sala Daeng.

Roti Boy

When times are tough, Roti Boy is happy to fill in the gap where your friends ought to be. The long lines are all gone now, so you can beeline in and out and on to the Skytrain before anyone sees you. This is hardly a square meal, but hey, who counts calories when they’re depressed?
292/1-2, Siam Squre Soi 4, Rama 1 Rd., Phatumwan,02-658-4483.
Open daily 8am-9pm

Tapas Café

What would be better than spending the evening over tasty little Spanish bites accompanied by pitchers of sangria? This modest-sized bistro caters to the spontaneous singles as well as commitment-phobes with a menu that changes daily. An eclectic mix of Spanish jazz and Cuban salsa enhances the informal, welcoming ambiance. The counter could be fun for those in the mood to mingle. And Cheap Charlie’s is just around the corner.
1/25 Sukhumvit Soi 11, 02-651-2947.
Open daily noon-11pm.

Telephone Bar

Most people come here to drink and ogle the local talent, but what most people don’t know is that the pad thai, khai jaew and khao soy are pretty darn delicious, even without the boy parade. Most tables have telephones (yes, they really work). Let your fingers do the walking and order yourself up a cutie from table 5. If you strike out, fret not—you can probably find yourself a take-away dining partner. Bon apetit!
114/11-13 Silom Soi 4, 02-234-3276.
Open daily 6pm-1am. BTS Sala Daeng. www.telephonepub.com.

Just the Two of Us

Investigate this parade of Valentine dining promotions.

Love Cherish by Chao Phraya

The Bangkok Marriott Resort and Spa (257 Charoennakorn Rd, 02-476-0022. www.marriott.com/bkkth) is on a mission to cherish your love with special set menus at all outlets. All couples receive a glass of sparkling wine and a complimentary red rose.

Table for Two

Boost your appetite and spice up your love life with the help from Ember (99/11-12 Lang Suan Balcony Building, Soi Lang Suan, 02-6522086. Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-2pm, 6:30pm-10pm). His and hers six-course meals cost B1,600 per person.

Flight of Love

Booze it up with a purchase of a bottle of Grey Goose Vodka at any of the following venues—Mellenium Hilton, Conrad, Dusit Thani, Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, Met Bar, Koi, Hard Rock Café, Hu’u or Q Bar—and an exclusive flower bouquet will be delivered to your loved one on VDay!

Love me Tenderloin

Throughout the month of February, Amapola Bar and Steak House (72/1 Sukhumvit Soi 51, 02-258-7077. Open daily 6pm-12am. www.amapolabkk.com) presents three special Valentine’s promotion six-course menus: Thai seafood set (B1,800 per person), Thai fusion (B1,200 per person) and the Ultimate Valentine’s set (B2,940 per person), featuring Kobe steak sirloin. 

Urban Honeymoon

The Metropolitan (27 South Sathorn Road, Tungmahamek, Sathorn, 02-625-3388. metropolitan.como.bz) presents “Garden of Love” at its chic signature restaurant, Cy’an, featuring a uniquely passionate six-course meal at B3,500 per person.
Spellbound by the River Award winning restaurants at The Peninsula (333 Charoennakorn Road, Klongsan, 02-861-2888. www.peninsula.com) will feature set menus on Feb 14 starting at B4,400 per person. A glass of Kir Royale and a rose are complimentary upon arrival.

Key Factors to Dining Solo

This is very important—nothing makes you feel more uncomfortable than sitting at a table for four with three empty chairs. Pubs solve this with seating around the bar, while sushi places, especially those with conveyer belts, seem designed with the single diner in mind. Sushi bars have the added bonus of interacting with the chef, and are often worth a visit just for the banter. Pubs, of course, encourage chats with the bartender or your fellow patrons.

The latest glossy magazines, today’s paper and of course BK are welcome diversions for those not yet addicted to iPods, and for a lot of people represent the only spare time they have for a little infotainment. Just remember, it’s hard to hold open a paperback and eat at the same time.

Do you get a look of pity (or scorn) from the manager when you say “Table for one, please”? Yes, it happens, and some places still think it’s fair game to stick you at the table next to the swinging kitchen door or halfway into the alley. The industry thinking is that a table for two represents at least double the spending as it assumes a single diner doesn’t want to linger. Another factor: Just because we are alone doesn’t necessarily mean we want pity chat. We’ll let you know if we feel like talking. It’s advisable to pull up seat at a solo-friendly places.

People-watching is a fun way to pass the time and provides a free live show—an insight into the mosaic of the local neighborhood.


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Ring in the Chinese New Year feasting till you drop at food-studded Yaowarat

Nai Chia

In front of Kasikorn Bank, Yaowarat Branch, 08-6340-1492, 08-1917-8439. Open daily around the clock
Apparently, chestnuts are more popular than we thought. Or else Nai Chia wouldn’t have carried on roasting them for almost half a decade. Like 7-Eleven, this street vendor is open all day, everyday.
The deal: Nai Chia does only one thing—roast chestnuts. It takes a laborious 40 minutes to roast the nuts in a huge pan over hot sand. The hawker opts for Japanese chestnuts that are smaller than the Chinese counterpart, but are said to be sweeter. Feel free to ask for samples, but don’t get too close to that sizzling pan.
The price: B200 per kilo.

Jae Auan Raat Naa

In front of Sri Thong Gold Shop, 08-1633-5102. Open Tue-Sun 6:30pm-3am
With 20 years of experience in the business, this raat naa stall with a wide following has just expanded its fan base, winning the most votes from viewers of Channel 3’s Sud Dej Prathet Thai as the best raat naa hawker in Bangkok.
The deal: Tender pork, crisp veggies and tasty gravy are the three rules of thumb of Jae Auan. For best flavor and texture, the lady owner and her husband marinate the pork overnight. Though the stir-fried noodles in gravy are the stars here, you also have it good with pad see iew (stir-fried noodles with egg and pork).
The price: B30-50. Jae Auon also sells her marinated pork at B180 per kilo.

Stir-Fried Chicken Noodles (no official name)

Trok Issaranuphap, Open daily 8pm-1am
Despite its hidden location, this hole in the wall has been around for half a decade and can get pretty crowded since there are only a few tables. The stall has no official name, but the vendor who also doubles as a cook prefers us to mention his stall as “Golden Wok Chicken Noodles,” so Golden Wok Chicken Noodles it is.

The deal: No phone number, no reservations. It’s first-come-first-served here, and the surly waitress makes sure everyone is served. The moment you seat yourself, she brings each and everyone on the table a bowl of kuay tiew kua kai. Don’t bother to order or object because she will stubbornly serve you anyway, even if you just want to accompany your hungry friend. On the bright side, the chicken noodles are scrumptious.
The price: B30-50.

Hua Seng Hong

371-373 Yaowarat Rd., near Lieng Seng Heng gold shop, 02-222-7053, Open daily 8-1am. www.huasenghong.co.th

Equipped with many cooking booths, outside is where all the action takes place. Inside is a long, low-ceiling hallway, which sometimes feels a bit claustrophobic, filled with roars of locals and Chinese tourists. There’s nothing to write home about the decor, fortunately. That’s not the case for its food.
The deal: The menu offers gargantuan Chinese dishes with shark’s fin soup, braised goosefeet in a clay pot and steamed crab with glass noodles as the highlights. However, there are more affordable choices like BBQ pork noodles and rice topped with roast duck. Though on offer all day, dim sum tends to run out in the evening, so it’s wise to drop by before 6pm.
The price: B30-1,000.

Nai Lek Auan Kuay Jub

In front of the Old Market, Yaowarat Rd., 02-224-3450, 08-1611-6920. Open Tue-Sun 6pm-12:30am
It’s a war! This tiny vendor with less than eight tables is the hot favorite of diners from all walks of life, so chances are you have to squeeze in a table with university students, race to grab a chair, or fight with a hiso big-hair lady before enjoying its kuay jub. Drop by and don’t forget your patience.

The deal: Like other kuay jub stalls, Nai Lek Auan serves its rice noodles with pork entrails and crispy moo krob. But it’s the fragrant clear soup, packed with kicks of pepper that sets the difference. These appetizing noodles work well as a cure for the flu.
The price: B30-40.

Aun Pochana

In the front of New Leam Thong theater (China Town Rama), Yaowarat Rd., 08-9130-3352. Open Tue-Sun 6pm-3am.
If a long wait at Nai Lek Auan’s puts you off, Aun Pochana is a good alternative. Head to one of the tables on the footpath for breathing space, or opt for a table inside the defunct theater if you don’t want to play hide and seek with the staff.
The deal: Similar to Nai Lek Auan, Aun Pochana is known for its aromatic peppery broth. You can also order fish maw soup from the adjacent cart to go with your rice noodles.
The price: B30-40.

Bua Loi Nam Khing (no official name)

Across from Watson’s, Yaowarat Rd.,08-7019-3170. Open Tue-Sun 7pm-2am
This dessert stall spreads the tables on the street. The vendor can speak only broken Chinese, but that’s enough to take orders from the customers from the Mainland.
The deal: Hot and cold Chinese-style dessert to wash down the meal. There are gingko seeds, black sesame dumplings and bean curd to be paired with your choice of fresh milk, ginger soup or longan juice.
The price: B40-80.

Toast (no official name)

Across from Jae Auan Raat Naa and Bank of Ayudhya, Yaowarat Rd., 08-7598-0888, 08-1492-5131. Open Tue-Sun 6:30pm-midnight
You will be lured to this stall by the sweet aroma of buttered toast. Though there are a few tables to welcome seated customers, the young crowd that makes up the majority of its regulars often order takeaways.
The deal: The stall offers “crispy” toast and “soft” steamed buns. Top it off with sangkaya (Thai egg custard), chocolate, pineapple or strawberry jam. The kind uncle doesn’t mind if you order coffee or hot milk from the adjoining stall.
The price: B7-8.

T&K Seafood

49-51 Soi Phadung Dao, 02-223-4519, 08-1507-5555. Open daily 4:30pm-2am
Named after initials of the couple owners, Toy and Kid, T&K Seafood is one of the long-standing seafood stalls in Yaowarat. However, it is more widely known as “the green shop” since the staff all put on green aprons. Plenty of seating available in and outside the restaurant.
The deal: Expect everything sea-related from oysters to shark fin. The energetic servers often force a hard sell, passing menus to passers by. But once you agree to settle at the stall, they turn out to be nice and attentive, providing so many recommendations that make you eat more than you should. Wait, is that also one of their tactics?
The price: B100-500.

Chinese New Year promotions

The Chinese Restaurant (Grand Hyatt Erawan, Rachadamri Rd., 02-254-1234 ext 3070. Open daily noon-2:30pm, 6:30-10pm. www.bangkok.grand.hyatt.com) gives you the choice of delicious Cantonese set or a la carte menu with stuffed crab claw, shark’s fin soup, oyster and sea moss in brown sauce and much more.

The Empress (Royal Princess Larn Luang Hotel, Larn Luang Rd., 02-281-3088 ext 147. Open daily 11am-2:30pm, 6-10pm) is celebrating two February festivities, Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year, with its 10-course menu for two (B6,500-B20,000). The menu is available for both lunch and dinner throughout the month.

Liu (The Conrad Hotel, Wireless Rd., 02-690-9999. www.conradbangkok.com). Master chef Wong Kam Yao is introducing special Salt Baked Chicken for family diners this Chinese New Year. Other Chinese New Year specials include Shanghai stewed pork leg and sautéed garoupa fillet, which are all available Feb 16 to Feb 23.

Man Ho (JW Marriott Hotel, Sukhumvit Soi 2, 02-656-7700 ext 4245. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 6-10:30pm) is celebrating Chinese New Year with five Cantonese culinary sets;\: Sawasdee Pee Mai (B9,000), Ngeun Thong Lai Ma (B11,000), Chok Larb Mark Mee (B13,000), Mung Mee See Suk (B16,000), and Rung Reung Taloadpee (B30,800). The sets are available from Feb 18-20.

Mei Jiang (The Peninsula Bangkok, Charoennakorn Rd., 02-861-2888. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 6-10pm. www.peninsula.com) is offering two special Chinese New Year set menus from Feb 10-25. The Fortune Menu (B1680) pampers you with a great selection of seafood dishes. Wealth Menu (B1980) fills your stomach with some supreme shark’s fin and lobster soup, roasted duck, steamed crab claws and more.

Siang Ping Loh (8/F, Grand China Princess Hotel, Yaowarat Rd., 02-224-9977 ext 338, 303. Open daily 11am-2:30pm, 6-10pm. www.grandchina.com) is celebrating Chinese New Year throughout the month of February with a special menu. Try their shark’s fin soup and grilled snowfish with soya sauce.


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8 hot food delivery services for meals in the safety of home sweet home


What: A wide selection of one-dish meals and a la carte specialties to suit your busy cosmopolitan lifestyle.
Where: The delivery area extends only to Sathorn, Silom, Sukhumvit and New Petchburi, with B20 delivery charge.
When: Order one hour before you want to have a meal.
Why: Despite its limited delivery zone, Cosmo caters to all types of diners with a variety of dishes. There are noodles and fried rice for busy office workers, Vietnamese fresh spring rolls for the health-conscious, as well as Mix-Speed sets for the whole family.
How: 02-261-4546, www.cosmoseafood.com, daily 9:30am-8:30pm.

Food By Phone

What: A popular and reliable delivery service that brings high-end dining from what are said to be Bangkok’s top restaurants to your door.
Where: Limited to Sukhumvit and Silom areas, with B60-80 charge per restaurant. However, those outside the delivery zone can call an operator for help. The charge goes up, of course.
When: A well-trained delivery guy arrives within an hour after ordering.
Why: Prices of the dishes are a bit higher than on the actual menu at a restaurant, but you can choose various cuisines from over 50 restaurants around town. Be it churrascaria grilled items from Fogo Vivo, chicken tikka from Indus or pastas from Buono, Food By Phone picks up your meals and delivers them warm in microwaveable packages.
How: 02-663-5503, www.foodbyphonebkk.com, daily 10:30am-10:30pm.

Jae Kee

What: One of the city’s best somtam parlors offers a variety of saap Isaan fare along with legendary finger-licking fried chicken.
Where: Around Bangkok. The delivery fare varies according to your location.
When: Though there’s no guarantee, a trusted motorcyclist usually bring the orders right to your doorstep within 30 minutes.
Why: Avoid the tricky location, limited parking space and scorching weather and enjoy Jae Kee’s chicken in your comfy abode. No minimum order required.
How: 02-655-8489, daily 7am-9:30pm.

JJ Delivery

What: Affordable international dishes on offer at a click.
Where: The service is available in the neighboring areas of its three outlets in Suan Lum Night Bazaar, Thonglor and Ratchathevee. A delivery guy makes a special trip for those outside the delivery zone when ordering more than B1,000.
When: Your meal arrives within 45 minutes.
Why: Spaghetti, green curry, somtam or even California rolls—JJ Delivery has them all. For those with hectic work schedules, there’s a pinto service, which will have your dinner delivered daily around 4:30-6pm.
How: 02-712-3000, www.jjdelivery.com, daily 9:30am-9pm.


What: Devilishly addictive fast food from Big Macs to double cheeseburgers and fries for people unafraid of cellulite on their thighs.
Where: With over 70 outlets around the city, McDonald’s provides an extensive delivery area.
When: McDonald’s promises to have your orders delivered within 30 minutes, but there’s no consolation prize if the delivery guy is late.
Why: It offers late-night delivery, that’s why. Time-strapped execs working overtime and sports fans glued in front of the TV screen for a live football match all can count on Uncle Ronald for something to nibble on. The call center operates daily from 9am till 10pm, but at some outlets, such as Khao San and CP Building Silom, delivery is extended until midnight.
How: 1711. A minimum order is not required, but there’s a B20 delivery charge.

MK Suki

What: Thai-style shabu with delicious roast duck, reasonably-priced dim sum and an oh-so catchy themed song.
Where: The delivery service covers almost all of Bangkok, with an extra B20 charge. A minimum order of B150.
When: You have an hour to set up the hot pot before your orders arrive.
Why: Healthy choice for family and friend gatherings. Lots of bowls, chopsticks and hot pots are needed, though, which means an extensive wash up afterwards.
How: 02-248-5555, daily 10am-9pm.


What: Italian-style, oven-baked pizza that serves as an alternative to Pizza Hut and Pizza Company when you crave baked dough.
Where: Initially run by famous Italian restaurant Zanotti, the pizza place is now merged with S&P and has nine delivery joints around Bangkok, expanding its delivery area to Silom, Sukhumvit, Ratchada and Ramkhaheng.
When: A pizza guy will knock on your door within 35 minutes. Prepare B20 delivery charge.
Why: Though sometimes the crust gets a bit soggy by the time your pizza arrives, based on our experiences at the Sala Daeng outlet (bad air-conditioning, indifferent service), you’re better off with the home delivery option. If you are done with typical seafood or Hawaiian pizzas offered by almost every pizza company, its signature Zanotti, topped with Parma ham and Mascarpone cheese, is a nice change.
How: 1344, daily 10:30am-9:30pm.


What: Export-quality frozen dim sum and seafood for busy, on-the-go people.
Where: The extensive home delivery covers 50 districts of Bangkok. Delivery charge varies from B20-50 according to the destination. Free for over B500 purchase.
When: Usually, the frozen treats turn up within an hour.
Why: Thanks to its long shelf life (one year in a freezer), T-Time’s frozen dumplings serve as a backup meal when everything in your fridge is rotten. Just heat them in a microwave for a few minutes and then pop them in your mouth. For a healthy option, try its whole wheat buns.
How: 02-295-2000, www.ttimefood.com, Mon-Fri 8:30am-6pm.


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Having spent the last few years as house musicians at Jam Bar, these three friends—singer Aun, guitarist Aon and drummer Pop—are now set to achieve success in their own right as Moon. Their chart-topping opener “Ja Mee Mai,” a blend of solid American rock with hook-filled tunes and heartfelt vocals, sets the tone for their debut album Midnight, to be released on Jan 19.

Why “Moon?”
The word “moon” is short and easy to understand, but at the same time it means different things to many different people. For us, it represents hope. Sometimes the moon disappears from the sky, but it always reappears and shines again. No matter what the obstacles, if you put your effort into something, you can achieve even what seems to be impossible.

How did you guys get noticed?
Not long after we got together as Moon, I also got a chance to work with Sleeper 1 on Difference Parts 1 and 2. Nor Crescendo heard the songs and liked my voice, so he asked if I had a band; he helped produce our album.

What was it like working with him?
He is a great producer who allows the artists total creative freedom. He let us work and think by ourselves and also provided helpful guidance.
Aun: His three rules of thumb are that we have to hand in the work on time, the product needs to be high quality and, most importantly, we have to be proud of our effort before it is released.

Does experience performing in pubs help when you go on tour?
Pop: It helps a lot, but I still get nervous. In bars, no one cares about the musicians—the customers just dance at their tables. On tour, I feel a bit more pressure because we get a lot more attention from the audience.
Aun: Yes. It’s a whole different story. Playing in pubs, we cover already-popular songs, so it somewhat guarantees that the crowd will enjoy themselves. Our songs are totally new for them. The fans may not like them or can’t sing along. It’s harder to pull off the show, but we are proud of all the songs on the album.

What do you expect from the album?
I am 100% happy with it. It is our first album, but everything went very well from composing to recording.
Pop: Not much. It has been surprising for me to see how many people know and like our songs.
Aun: I’m not sure how I’ll feel in the future, but right now, I’m happy and proud of the album.


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