Gotta eat them all.
Gotta eat them all.
- By BK staff
- | May 17, 2019
From decadent wagyu-katsu sandwiches to next-level Thai relishes, here are some of our favorite dishes that have hit menus at restaurants across Bangkok in the past 12 months.
Duck in bile at 100 Mahaseth
The price: B320
The place: It’s always guts and glory at this Charoenkrung favorite which rewards diners for taking the plunge into the world of local offcuts. Try their latest tasting menu (B1,700 for eight courses) for a culinary journey throughout Thailand.
The dish: If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try something truly delicious, go for the duck leg brined in beef bile, fried to a crisp with roasted rice, and served with a caramelized sweet fish sauce. It’s all kinds of umami.
Fermented wild mustard relish, summer greens & vegetables at 80/20
The price: Part of the 11-course "Summer" menu, B3,000
The place: 2019 saw Charoenkrung’s hipster hangout go upscale—think kitchen bar seats, tasting menus and wine pairings. Even with all changes, you get the same bold Thai flavors and incredible work ethic, as evident in their newly launched summer menu.
The dish: Using preserved wild mustard leaves that only grow for two months a year, chef Napol “Joe” Jantraget makes a confit before turning them into a relish which with herbs such as garlic, chili, jenko (edible flowering tree), and ume concentrate (from northern Thailand). It’s then topped with lightly-torched fresh rambutan meat, fried jenkol and chamuang leaves. The unique relish is served with seasonal vegetables like Siam tulip poached in coconut milk, star gooseberry leaves and fresh mango.
Beef short rib at Ash Kickers
The price: B1,060
The place: Ekkamai’s newest arrival may classify as an American smokehouse, but don’t arrive expecting to find barbeque ribs drenched in sweet tomato sauce.
The dish: The intensely tender beef short rib is just wonderful when paired with the spicy jalapeno corn bread served with bacon and onion marmalade. The owners draw their smoking methods from across the U.S. with caveat that only wood is used (no gas or charcoal). The succulent, tender wood-smoked meats are left to speak for themselves—no sauce necessary.
Mushroom and mackerel relish at Bangkok Bold
The price: B190
The place: From a reservations-only shop-house in the Old Town to a ritzy riverside mall, Bangkok Bold has retained the robust flavors of chef Chortip “Nhoi” Ouypornchaisakul.
The dish: Taking inspiration from the the quick-made relish made in Isaan food carts, this dish is an aromatic sensation combining grilled mushrooms, garlic, shallots, chilies and mackerel. They have adjusted the taste somewhat to offer a sour, spicy and salty hit that’s balanced out by locally sourced veggies (both blanched and fresh) and a soft boiled egg.
California ribs at Billy’s Smokehouse
The price: B2,700
The place: You might know Billy Bautista from Osito Unique Spanish and La Monita. Here, Billy takes on low-and-slow smoked meats with an all-American barbecue approach that nods to his California roots.
The dish: You better come hungry as the portions are huge. Bring a group and share the giant platter which includes beef ribs (origins can vary from US “Choice” to Japanese wagyu depending what’s on the market), our favorite full rack of ribs done California style (“a little more chewy and meaty), smoked Sloane’s sausage and a heap of sides including an awesome, unsweetened cornbread—they’ll send out more free of charge on request.
Fried chicken at Brassica
The price: B260 (quarter chicken)
The place: Singaporean Cong Wen (former head chef at Prelude) is right on trend serving up fried chicken and doughnuts amid a vintage Parisian cafe vibe.
The dish: The perfectly crunchy chicken has been marinated in a spicy yogurt mixture before taking a hot oil baht for a good 10 minutes and then being tossed in a mysterious blend of 17 spices. There are five house-made sauces to go with the bird—pungent green herbs, tomato chutney, garlic butter, fermented chili and garlicky mayonnaise—but it’s impossible for us to pick a favorite.
Burger at Bun, Meat & Cheese
The price: From B320
The place: Viral burger mastermind Taiki Tsubota, of Homeburg, has opened a new outlet for his infamous creations on the first-floor terrace at Thonglor's 72 Courtyard nightlife complex. This six-month pop-up booth serves 100 burgers a day.
The dish: Prepped with precision by Taiki's small kitchen team, expect super-light Japanese milk buns and perfectionist 170g beef patties topped with steamed cheese and optional additions, including caramelized onions, crispy shallots, sweet gherkins, pickled jalapenos, fries, housemade ketchup and mayo.
Nduja pasta at Bunker
The price: B700
The place: Tim Butler of Eat Me restaurant and chef Lorin Janita of Phang Nga's Esenzi have taken Bunker’s season-driven cuisine in a decadent new direction. The idea behind the new menu is to serve feast-like food that chefs would cook for other chefs.
The dish: New “luxury-comfort” dishes like uni nachos and deep-fried pig face may divide opinion, but we’re enamored with the flavorful Bucatini pasta, cooked perfectly al dente and tossed in a spicy tomato sauce that is layered with Italian nduja sausage and served with mussels. Our only qualm: we want more.
Fried chicken sandwich at Clucking Donut
The price: B220
The place: The people behind the Thai bean-to-bar chocolatier, Malai Chocolate, make a move into classic American comfort food territory—namely fried chicken and doughnuts.
The dish: If you like things in moderation, the fried chicken sandwich might not be for you. This massive sandwich is the owner’s grandmother’s recipe that’s been tweaked through the use of over 30 secret spices. Thanks to an overnight brining process, the chicken is super-juicy on the inside, while extra crisp on the outside. Between a buttery and soft brioche bun you also get a creamy sauce, homemade pickles and slaw—trust us, you won’t be needing your next two meals.
Tomato namtok at Empty Plates
The price: Part of a seven-course tasting menu, B2,100
The place: A Ladprao condo unit has been ingeniously transformed into a warm and intimate, under-the-radar 10-seat private dining institution, primed for socializing. The Thai-Swiss chef-owner, Steven John, plays with Thai and European flavors in unique and exciting ways, using all-local fresh ingredients.
The dish: This inventive play on a Thai beef waterfall salad sees tomatoes peeled, seeded and squeezed dry of liquid for a uniquely firm and meaty texture. Its deep and complex flavor can be attributed to the piquant nam prik jaew dressing, which combines fiery homemade chili and tamarind pastes, fish sauce, lime juice and Sangsom with European touches like Dijon mustard and Worchester sauce. Toasted crispy rice adds some crunch, topped off with fresh mint and cilantro. It is served like a tartare, with a side of freshly baked bread to spread it on.
Ladprao Soi 18, 093-324-0078
Curry rice at Hinoya
The price: From B220
The place: Perhaps the one and only reason to visit Ratchaprasong’s underwhelming new mall, The Market, comes in the form of this Japanese curry-rice champion with 50+ branches.
The dish: Masaru Hiura claims his curry was inspired by his grandmother's recipe, and it certainly brings something new to Bangkok's quick-stop curry scene—the sauce is sweet and tangy, not to mention incredibly rich thanks to hefty chunks of beef or pork. Enjoy it with katsu (deep-fried pork cutlet, from B220) and add a raw egg (B20) for a little extra smoothness.
Elote at Holey Bakery
The price: B150
The place: Alam Porag’s fanatical approach to baking results in some of the city’s best sourdough. His bakeries in Sukhumvit and Sathorn also do excellent puff pastry treats and panini sandwiches.
The dish: This intriguing new arrival has us salivating. The elote (meaning corn in Spanish) is the bakery’s version of the classic Mexican street-food corn snack. The dish is made with Hokkaido Milk Corn, which gives a touch of sweetness, and comes slathered in chipotle mayo then rolled in housemade cotija-like cheese and sprinkled with a hit of chili powder and fresh coriander. Don’t forget to add a dash of fresh lime. Delicioso!
Blueberry Balloon at Ici
The price: B235
The place: The new dessert restaurant from rising pastry chef Arisara “Paper” Chongphanitkul (last year’s Top Tables Best Pastry Chef) doles out sweet treats unlike anything Bangkok's seen before.
The dish: It’s rare to find dishes that look this good and actually taste good, but Ici nails it with this sweet, little dessert loaded with flavor. The perfectly shiny coating encases a creamy cheesecake filling, blueberry gelee and lemon cream, while a crumble base adds texture. Looking just like a real balloon, even the top knot is made with chocolate!
Stuffed schiacciata at iO Osteria
The price: B380
The place: This pizzeria-slash-delicatessen comes from a Sicilian outfit with several restaurants around Singapore, and there’s genuine warmth to what they’re doing.
The dish: Yes, the place is in a mall but that shouldn’t stop you from trying the addictive Roman schiacciata (focaccia) which sees chewy yet crisp Italian flat bread glued shut with soft, stretchy stracchino cheese, ham and peppery rocket. So good, it’s worth braving the CentralWorld crowds.
Grilled octopus at Jua
The price: B400
The place: Nestled deep down a residential Charoenkrung soi, far removed from the Japanese hotbed that is Sukhumvit, this sleek modern izakaya provides the fuel for many a big night out
The dish: How can octopus taste so tender, juicy and flavorful? Served with lemon, extra-virgin olive oil and parsley, this robata-grilled mollusc represents the pinnacle of excellent produce and expert preparation. Just writing about it makes us want to eat it again.
Pork Isaan sausage at Lao Dtom Lao
The price: B120
The place: This Old Town newcomer serves up incredibly affordable—and tasty—Laotian cuisine in a setting that's fun and effortlessly hip. It may be a bit far from the city center but it’s definitely worth the trip.
The dish: While the som tum and gaeng nor mai (fermented bamboo shoot soup) are both delicious, the pork Isaan sausage is the one that keeps us coming back. It’s not as sour as what you usually find from street vendors—pair it with their grilled pineapple and you’re cheering. Special shout-out to the Laotian curry which tastes like a cross between Japanese curry and our massaman curry, served with what looks like a sister of kanom jeen.
Ant larvae at Le Du
The price: Part of the four-course "Le Du Minimal" menu, B2,290
The place: Chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn burst onto the scene with his contemporary reinterpretations of Thai classics and expert wine pairings—a combination that’s landed him on all the big awards stages.
The dish: Chef Ton's new seasonal menu comes this new ant larvae dish. ‘Tis the season for mighty ant eggs and they pair beautifully with potato puree, meaty wild mushrooms, pak wan greens, bits of crispy fish, tamarind flowers and delicate fish “dashi” in this floral wreath-looking dish. It’s a flavor bomb that looks as beautiful and delicate as we’ve come to expect.
The vegan tantanmen at Mensho Tokyo
The price: B350
The place: Tomaharu Shono’s Tokyo-to-San Francisco ramen chain elevates the humble soul food beyond the tonkotsu and shio standards. This sleek, monochromatic affair doles out a next-level chicken-based broth furnished with seasonal, local ingredients.
The dish: This long-promised vegan bowl has proven well worth the wait thanks to an intense and nutty broth. Made with Japanese soy cream, coconut milk and a wealth of nuts, beans and local Thai vegetables, the Vegan Tantanmen is without a doubt the most flavorful vegan ramen Bangkok’s ever seen. Love meat too much? You can always add a thick chunk of chashu on top.
Ge Da Tang at Nan Bei
The price: B360
The place: The new Rosewood Bangkok hotel has brought with it this stunning contemporary Chinese restaurant, whose menu and kitchen is split into northern and southern cuisine. Lavish Art Deco interiors by AvroKo are a no-expense-spared mix of gold, marble, wood and leather.
The dish: This Beijingese specialty is a rich soup of wispy beaten eggs in a thick tomatoey broth. It comes packed with seafood—prawns, scallops, fish—with gorgeously soft bites of flour dumpling adding an addictive textural bite to the dish. This is true soul food.
19/F, 1041/38 Phloen Chit Rd., 02-080-0088
OcMuffin at Ocken
The price: B260
The place: The team behind Thonglor brunch behemoth Roast goes in for cross-continental small plates that are built for sharing and unafraid of creative flavor combinations. They’ve recently started offering weekend brunch.
The dish: Move over McDonald’s—chef Johnny Liu’s suped-up take on a McMuffin sees a homemade English muffin smeared with bayleaf butter and layered with a fennel sausage patty, melted American cheese and a lightly folded chive omelet. Deliciously addictive.
Bak Kut Teh at Old Street Bak Kut Teh
The price: From B156
The place: This almost-decade-old chain with over 22 branches spread across Singapore, China and Indonesia is all about Singapore's much-loved herbal pork soup dish.
The dish: Piping hot and packed full of peppery goodness, the clear broth here is as comforting as they come. A small bak kut teh will set you back at B156 or it's B208 for a large. (Good news: there's free refillable soup.) Protein comes not only in the form of pork rib, but also chicken, fish and even frog. The signature dry bak kut teh (B182/B234) is also a must-try, coming packed with rich, saucy flavor in a clay pot.
Thai wagyu tartare sandwich at Olta
The price: B150
The place: The former chef at Phuket’s Bampot Kitchen, Jamie Wakeford, is behind this pared-back restaurant bringing a “modern British” twist to Suan Phlu. Olta shoots for the sweet spot between casual after work meetups with a menu that's big on local produce and reinterpretations of classic British recipes.
The dish: Succulent local beef tartare is sandwiched by soft yet crunchy brioche, accompanied on the plate by a daub of salted egg yolk for extra punch. This absolute peach of a bar snack is priced so favorably you’d be a fool not to go back for seconds (or thirds).
Pepperoni pizza at Soho Pizza
The price: B150
The place: The folk behind Havana Social and Above Eleven branch out to NY-style pizza from this grab-and-go counter.
The dish: Made with 48-hour naturally fermented dough, these large, hand-tossed pies come with a thin and crisp crust, yet are soft and pliable enough to be folded in half, the quintessential marker of a NY slice. The pizza is served by the slice, on paper plates, where you’ll have that trademark oily residue left behind that’s reminiscent of the good ol’ pizzerias on the U.S. east coast. For topping, you really can’t go past the classic pepperoni cheese pairing.
Wagyu-Katsu Sandwich at Sushi & Bar Masato
The price: B1,500 for 6 pieces
The place: Since 2016, Japan-native Masato Shimizu, has been treating Bangkok diners to his omakase that highlights all the best ingredients flown in daily from Japan. Skip the months-long waitlist by heading to the secretive bar upstairs devoted to walk-ins.
The dish: Japan’s wagyu sando is like the holy grail of sandwiches. Catching up on the one of the hottest food trends, Masato is offering their version and it’s killer. The wagyu beef is lightly breaded in panko and fried until just crisp then placed between two slices of perfectly toasted white bread and topped with freshly grated wasabi. The beef, which is served rare, melts in your mouth like butter and the touch of wasabi adds an awesome edge. Only available upstairs.
Prawn satay sandwich at Taan
The price: Part of a nine-course tasting menu priced at B2,100/person
The place: Perched 25 floors above Siam, this ambitious restaurant looks to squeeze the best out of local produce in familiar Thai recipes with contemporary tweaks.
The dish: Chef Monthep Kamolsilp steps up his game with his new tasting menu devoted to tasty little morsels that turn Thai cooking on its head. Our fave course sandwiches juicy satay-marinated prawns between two pieces of lightly toasted bread along with a plethora of green goodness. Nutty yet bursting with freshness, this is one sandwich we’d eat on the regular.
Supreme taco at Taco Bell
The price: B179 (2 taco combo, fries and drink)
The place: The American Tex-Mex giant managed to piss off a ton of fans when it arrived without beef. But it’s since rectified the situation and Taco Bell’s two branches bring to Bangkok the brand’s divisive tacos in all their crunchy glory.
The dish: It’s not Mexican and it’s the opposite of “artisanal,” but it’s a quick fix that hits the spot, especially if you’re drunk. Your choice of seasoned beef or pork topped with a mountain of sour cream, lettuce, cheese and tomato, all tucked in a crunchy taco shell. After all the drama, is it wrong that we kind of prefer the pork? Taco Bell, let’s never fight again.
Dry beef noodles at Thong Smith
The price: B299
The place: With two branches, this restaurant run by the owners of iberry and Kub Kao Kub Pla specializes in boat noodle soups using premium cuts of beef sourced from home and abroad.
The dish: The dry beef noodles use thinly sliced wagyu beef that is cooked to perfection. Silky, almost al dente noodles come topped with crispy garlic for an irresistible aroma. You can choose the level of spiciness—opt for level two if you think you can handle the beat. If you dine at the Central Embassy location, avoid lunch hour as it’s extremely busy. End the meal with a delicious khanom tuay pudding (B29 for two).
Try Central Embassy, 1031 Phloen Chit Rd., 02 160 5794. Open daily 10am-10pm
Unadon at Unatoto
The price: From B180
The place: This Tokyo import is known for serving charcoal-grilled eel at a price point that won’t scare off all but the most spend-happy Japanophile.
The dish: The menu here is short and to the point—order the Unadon (B180, make it a double at B350) for soft and flaky eel atop silky Japanese rice. Add a side of kimchi (B45) or a miso soup (B35), and you’re in business.
Chicken masala at Wet
The price: B390
The place: Gaggan Anand’s new organic wine bar doubles as the affordable curry house he once promised.
The dish: Head here on an empty stomach to enjoy the unctuously unpretentious chicken masala with beautiful long-grain Basmati rice at just a snippet of what you would pay to eat at Gaggan’s flagship fine-dining institution.
White chocolate “egg” at White Lies
The price: Part of an 18-course set meny, B5,000
The place: The former head chef of the Sukhothai hotel, Maurizio Menconi, partners with real estate giant Areeya Property for this Italian fine-dining reinterpretation of the Japanese omakase concept.
The dish: This white chocolate “egg” comes filled with vanilla panna cotta and a runny “yolk” of mango and passion fruit. Sound gimmicky? You’re not wrong, but the dessert features seriously good interplay between lusciously sweet and zesty flavors. The cream custard pudding provides an excellent contrast with the crunchy pastry nest it’s placed on.