F Why Bangkok is the best place for food tripping - jeepneyjinggoy

Why Bangkok is the best place for food tripping

All the grilled meat-y goodness in one tray. Rolling Ribs, Le Meridien Bangkok

Bangkok? Again? But why? 

The food! 

After the two-year no-international-travel pandemic spell, celebrate! You may just have had enough of home cooking and food deliveries after a long period indoors. Aren't you yearning to dine outdoors, or better yet, dine in another country? My choice? Bangkok. It's just the best place to be.

Undoubtedly, Bangkok is a food haven, a melting pot of international flavors. Name it, they have it. You’ll probably say it’s HK or SG, but how far does your moolah go in these cities? In the Big Mango, it’s a long way. BKK has street food to fine dining, and the Michelin stars are showered all over shining brightly on recommended hole-in-the-wall eateries to silverware-laden tables by starred chefs offering savories and sugary fares from below 100Baht to several thousands. In this place, eating is an adventure. There’s something to discover each day. 

On top of my Thai food list-Khao Niaow Ma Muang (mango with sticky rice). I have this daily when in Bangkok.

Obviously, it's my favorite.

The hotels and malls are the most convenient places to go to if you want choices. In hotels, a foodie can hop from one cuisine to another in a single stop. It’s a culinary trip from Thailand to Italy, from India to Japan, and elsewhere. The food trip’s “fare” varies per establishment with the established ones a bit costly, but it’s worth every baht. You might chance upon the foie gras on scallops on the buffet of Next2 Cafe at Shangri-La Bangkok or the Phad Thai omelette, a breakfast specialty at Latest Recipe of Le Meridien Bangkok. The gelatos are also divine in these places. 

House specialty for breakfast, the Phad Thai Omelet, at Latest Receipe restaurant of Le Meridien Bangkok  

Delicious discovery. Peanut Butter Cheesecake at Rolling Ribs, Le Meridien Bangkok

Finding wonders on the buffet spread- the Grille foie Gras on Scallops at the Next2 Cafe of SHangri-La Bangkok

3 out of 12 sampling 3 flavors of Ice cream on Next2 Cafe ice cream wheel

Meanwhile at the food courts and specialty restaurants in the mall giants like Siam Paragon, Central World, Icon Siam, Em Quartier and others, there is a variety of cuisine offerings with cost that’s easy on the pocket. All year round, these malls feature cuisines in pop-up kitchens both indoors and outdoors, the latter serving as an alternative to the street food fare. 

And street food is one of the ingredients of Thailand’s popularity. Day in and out the entrepreneurial spirit of the locals is alive. Carts are pushed to positions, each serving a particular dish—from fruits to savories, steamed to fried. It’s a 24/7 sight across the city. 

Fresh Pomegranate juice and more freshly squeezed thirst quenchers in the malls or on the streets

More freshness. Fruits, peeled, sliced & ready to eat

Grilled Octopus at Sook Siam

Eateries may not be open around-the-clock but during peak hours, each gets its share of diners. Where the locals form a long queue, it means the food is good. That's the best advertising for the place. It won’t take long until Michelin takes notice, visits, samples and gives its stamp of approval— the Michelin Bib Gourmand, a recognition awarded to restaurants that offer stellar food at an affordable price. There are 64 marked across Bangkok, which includes both the street-side joints and fancier ones. 

Totally unexpected. Feasted unknowingly on a Michelin Bib Gourmand resto  from Chiang Mai in Sook Siam. Khao Soi Lamduan Faham's Khao Soi Kai (Northern Style Curried Noodle Soup with Chicken), 80baht

And when you fancy the “fancy” on which the Michelin Stars shine upon, Bangkok has no shortage of it. There are 24 with 1 Star and six with 2 Stars, including Le Normandie, Suhring Mezzaluna, with Jay Fai seemingly the most popular with the general public. To reach for them would mean to reach deeper into the pocket. But that depends on one’s disposable income, or for gourmands, money is not an object. 

Jai Fai may be the most affordable on the starred list, however, there are superstar chefs kind enough to have their gastronomic delights more accessible for many foodies. German twins Thomas & Mathias Suhring with Indian Gaggan Anand opened CDGre, a lifestyle coffee shop and restaurant in Siam Paragon. Who’s following next? Let’s wait and see. 

Michelin star chef's affordable bites at CDGre in Siam Paragon. Carnival Beef Burger at B390

Food, like art, is subjective. In Bangkok, there’s a multitude of offerings that will catch one’s fancy. If you ask me, a short food trip to Bangkok never works. Stay longer, or keep returning, and dive into the food scene! 

Now is the best time to head to Bangkok. The city does not have the usual crowd of visitors— yet, though tourists are starting to arrive. What is normally a snaking line at the immigrations is now a handful of visitors per officer. You zip by for the entry stamp. That’s more time to dive into the food spread that awaits you in the city center. 

Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.

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