There is something unique about Bangkok – coining their phrase of ‘Same, Same but Different’ is so true. The city itself hasn’t changed much over the years but yet, there is a feeling of difference. There are many elements to the city’s chaos that I love, hard to pinpoint or describe; the streets are much the same, and much of this city I associate with many great childhood memories. I had been going with my grandmother, mum and aunts and cousins since I was a little girl. The women in my family have always had a soft spot for this city, and 25 years ago there were even greater bargains to be had. Days were spent shopping scattered with eating street food, before booking a 3-hour massage in the evening. Returning back to Bangkok as a mother of 4, and looking with an adult perspective, it is ‘Same, Same but different.’
There is much to do in Bangkok from shopping to eating using the old adage, a city that never sleeps. Bangkok is filled with malls with the most popular area being around the Erawan shrine. Favourite malls for expats and locals include Erawan, MBK, Siam Paragon, Central World Siam, Terminal 21 depending on what you are looking for. Much has already been said about these malls, but what captured our attention this trip was Bangkok’s new food scene that has emerged in the last 20 years.
Bangkok’s edgy food scene
Bangkok’s middle class, expats and wealthy families have grown tremendously, over the last 2 decades creating much demand for more refined food, and the restaurant scene is bursting at the seams that even on our 3 day trip to Bangkok it was just impossible to cover it all leaving you wanting more.
Unique restaurant run by a chef husband and wife team (her nickname is Bo and his Lan from his name Dylan), and this restaurant serves Thai food with a twist bringing out unique flavours through high quality ingredients sourced from local farmers to also help the local community. First course includes a shot of Thai rice wine, followed by a spray of homemade mouth wash to clear the palette before an array of foods was sent. The quality of spices, herbs blended together created long lasting aromatic traditional Thai smells and flavours. Also, not only were some ingredients organic but also there was a good selection of organic wines too.
One of the most sought after dim sum houses in Bangkok and it can take 1 month for a reservation. The most delicious had to be the perfectly prepared Peking Duck served with paper thin wrappers. The dim sum was of such incredible quality with prawn har gao and siu mai. Service was extremely quick and it was one of the best food frenzies I had ever seen.
The restaurant is 16 years old and still going strong, with head chef Tim Butler from New York constantly brining new influences from around the world to his plates. The restaurant is set over two floors with a bar and bamboo veranda downstairs and a buzzy restaurant for diners surrounded by local art. The menu includes dishes like Grilled Abalone and Black truffle, Spicy Rabbit Ragu, Grilled Veal Tongue, Wagyu Short Rib and Sea Urchin on three different types of pasta.
This is probably one of the most beautiful restaurants for lunch in Bangkok (probably a new favourite of mine) set in a Grand old Estate in Nai Lert park which opened only in 2015 to celebrate its 100th anniversary. The restaurant sits in a glass pavilion overlooking the grounds, and the recipes are from the aristocratic Bodiratnangkura family’s favourite Thai dishes. The food is a little spicy as they are authentically prepared so tell them to tone it down if you can’t face the challenge.
Our trip ended with an amazing tour of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). It has unique interpretations of traditional Thai art fused with more modern day street photos. The architecture of the building was definitely the highlight with large spaces to showcase the work.