Who would want bread when you can have a bagel instead?

We’re obsessed with these doughnut-shaped puffballs: doughy, dense and slightly chewy with a crispy yet elastic crust—who would want bread when you can have a bagel instead? But who does it best? We’ve blind tasted bagels from some of the top spots in town and here’s what we think.



Dean & Deluca 

Who: This upscale US deli chain has flooded Bangkok with NY-style goodies—10 branches and counting.
Taste: The beautifully roasted crust has a slightly chewy, elastic finish that gives way to aromatic bread that’s perfectly salty with a mellow sweetness. However, the texture is almost just like typical white bread.
Verdict: Not 100 percent bagel, but gets the job done.
Price: B50
Where to get it: Try G/F, Mahanakhon Cube, Narathiwat Ratchanakarin Rd., 02-234-1434.



Au Bon Pain (Barely a Bagel)

Who: Franchises of this casual Boston-headquartered bakery/ cafe have become ubiquitous in Bangkok, selling baked goods and icy drinks.
Taste: The evenly-browned, crisp crust reveals a light, airy interior that unfortunately lacks the crucial features of a bagel: density and chewiness. On top of that, it’s bland and without fragrance—isn’t this supposed to be the brand’s highlight?
Verdict: Disappointed is an understatement.
Price: B65
Where to get it: Branches everywhere



Holey (BK Pick!)

Who: This Bangladesh-hailing bakery has become a mainstay on the Bangkok cafe scene, known for their perfectly-executed breads.
Taste: This plump, round bagel has a deep, tangy flavor thanks to its sourdough base, with just a hint of saltiness. The dark crust is chewy and elastic, giving way to a stretchy, springy, dense interior, which exudes the scent of fermented dough. We’d happily eat this on its own.
Verdict: Worth getting out of bed for.
Price: B70
Where to get it: Two branches. Try 45/12 Sukhumvit Soi 31, 02-101-1427.



BKK Bagel 

Who: The name says it all, really—this collaboration between two friends (one Thai, one American) was the first to break the Bangkok bagel scene, and is wholly dedicated to the holey treat.
Taste: Don’t let the uneven, creamy shade of this soft, chubby puffball fool you, as one tear reveals a dense, elastic dough inside. The bread is quite moist, only lightly flavored with a hint of saltiness, meaning you can easily top it with either sweet or savory spreads.
Verdict: Goes with just about anything.
Price: B45
Where to get it: G/F, Maneeya Center, 518/3 Phloen Chit Rd., 02-254-8157.



FeedPoint (Runner Up!)

Who: Asoke’s humble neighborhood bakery specializes in homemade kettled bagels.
Taste: Tastes just as a real bagel should: doughy with a decent chew. Plump and nicely rounded with a light-brown exterior, its comfortingly homemade look gives way to dense dough.
Verdict: The hefty homemade bagel.
Price: B40
Where to get it: 88/1 Sukhumvit Soi 23, 02-101-6335.



Maison Jean Phillipe

Who: Bangkok’s favorite French viennoiserie specialist may have closed its standalone store, but its artisanal, fresh-baked breads remain a hit in the city’s high-end supermarkets.
Taste: These experts nail it with their fresh, round, evenly-browned bagel. The chewy exterior opens to stretchy, slightly stringy dough, with the perfect balance of sweet and saltiness.
Verdict: Something of a classic.
Price: B85/bag of three.
Where to get it: Villa Markets.