Bangkok has been hailed as the world’s number one tourist destination and that is not surprising, given the quantity and quality of attractions and things to do that the city, which is the capital of Thailand, offers its millions of visitors. Bangkok is popular as a shoppers’ haven, and it is equally well-known around the world as a city where your epicurean taste will be satisfied to the hilt. Thai food is known all over the world and Bangkok is the country’s food centre. You’ll see eateries preparing famous dishes right in front of you, while Chinatown has fusion Chinese and Thai dishes. Even their simple street food taste good.
You can visit Bangkok anytime although it could be sweltering hot and humid in the months of March, April, May and June. Around the middle of June, the rains normally arrive, which is a welcome respite from the heat and the dust. This is also the time when there are fewer tourists in Bangkok and the rates are lower. There could be some monsoonal rains and maybe street flooding, though. Peak season is during the month of November to February, when the weather is a lot cooler.For foodies, gastronomes and people who seek adventure and love the challenge of trying things new, exciting and exotic, here’s how you can see Bangkok through your tummies, so read on.
Vertigo & Moon Bar, Banyan Tree
For some of the most awesome views of Bangkok at sunset, the best place to be is at Vertigo Grill & Moon Bar, the open air bar and restaurant of Banyan Tree. Sitting on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel, the bar is one of the highest open air bars in the world. The menu’s quite good, boasting of some first-class signature dishes, like grilled sea bass with citrusy salsa and cilantro as well as other barbecued seafood. If you do not like seafood, they also make fantastic steaks and even have a vegetarian menu. Of course they also have their signature drink – the Vertigo Sunset Malibu, a cocktail made from a combination of lime juice, pineapple juice and cranberry juice. Vertigo & Moon Bar at South Sathorn Road imposes a dress code so no flip flops, sleeveless tops and shorts. It’s a pity it’s open-air, so it’s not a place you could be on a rainy day.
Distil, Lebua at State Tower
Rivalling Vertigo & Moon Bar is the Distil, which is located on the 64th floor of the Lebua Tower at Silom Road. Distil is a lounge and cocktail bar, with indoor seating, a circular bar and has an outdoor terrace for people who want to smoke. The sophisticated bar prides itself in serving rare whiskies, cigars and exclusive wines. It also has a resident DJ who play jazzy house music. The dress code is smart casual and you need to be over 20 years of age before you could be allowed to enter this wonderful place. The rooftop bar serves great premium sashimi and sushi, as well as a range of drinks. Distil has a fantastic oyster bar that receives deliveries two times a week of some of the finest oyster varieties such as Fines de Claire, Hama Hama, Pickering Passage and Eagle Rock. It also serves rare and expensive caviar, including four types of Iranian caviar, as well Beluga Imperial Huso Huso and the most expensive caviar in the world, Almas caviar.
Bangkok locals and visitors share some things in common. Both enjoy shopping. Otherwise they are eating, for Bangkok has some of the most delicious, mouth-watering, exotic, enticing and flavourful food in the world. The city offers a wide variety of cuisine, from budget street food to highly-priced dishes prepared by top chefs. While it is always great to dine in a fabulous restaurant, there’s more excitement in sampling the variety of street food found along the streets of Bangkok.
One of the most famous is Chinatown, locally called Yaowarat, where you will find the best and most authentic street food. The best time to visit is during the evening, when the food carts and the streets stalls are out. Expect to be assaulted by the enticing smells from the fusion of Thai and Chinese cuisine. If you wish you can join the Yaowarat Foodie Walk that lasts for 3.5 hours, which will take you to sample the treats in seven eateries and restaurants. You will not only get to taste some of the most luscious food available, you also hear interesting stories and learn about Thai and Chinese cultures, visit local landmarks and successfully navigate Yaowarat.
Close to the train track from Wong Wian Yai is a long street called Talat Phlu that is lined with food stalls and restaurants. The food stalls serve a variety of delicious dishes that vendors take pride in making. There are 10 restaurants in the area that are known for their own specialty. Kim Aeng is known for its gluay chuem or sweetened banana with coconut milk. Tek Heng serves fried rice noodles (mee krob) with soy sauce, palm sugar and marinated garlic while Sab is famous for its crispy catfish, Chinese noodles, and fresh spring rolls. Duck is the specialty of Ung while stuffed pancakes are the specialty of Kanom Bueng Su Arpa. You cannot leave Bangkok without sampling Pad Thai, the specialty of Pad Thai Jay Wan. Soymilk is available from Namtaohu. Tor Janpen serves delicious braised beef and beef noodles. Noodles are also the specialty of Bamee Tongleng while sinful desserts from Kanomwan Talad Plu draw a queue of eager buyers wanting to sample their kanom chan or Thai custard.
Red Sky, Centara Grand Central World
Red Sky is one of the latest additions to the ever increasing number of dining venues in Bangkok. It is a rooftop bar and restaurant on the 55th floor of the Centara Grand Central World, whose seasonal menu was created by Chef Hugo Coudurier. The circular restaurant gives you a 360-degree view of the city. It offers outdoor and indoor seating, world-class food such as prime roasted steaks and locally-sourced fresh seafood. Red Sky serves European cuisine and has a long and extensive wine list, so you are sure to find the right wine to go with your meal. Red Sky is a bit pricey but not too extravagant.
Although situated not that high, as it is located on the 32nd floor of Fraser Suites on Sukhumvit Soi 11, Above Eleven is also a rooftop bar. It’s known for its cocktails as well as its quite unusual fusion dishes that combine Peruvian and Japanese cuisine. It is always a busy place so pre-booking is a must. The bar is open from 6:00 PM to 12:00 MN. It is enclosed in glass and steel so diners are protected from the elements although it also allows for outdoor dining. Some of the recommended drinks include Park View and Big Smokey Apple for a taste of New York, while Chilcano gives you a taste of the flavours of South America. If you want something Japanese, the bar serves several sake-based drinks. Popular among the guests is their seafood ceviche which is a combination of sea bass and prawns in chili sauce and served with sweet potatoes and deep-fried calamari.
After You Dessert Café
Shibuya honey toast is the signature dessert of After You Dessert Café, which also serves a wide selection of sugary snacks and other breakfast items, so there is always a long line of people here during peak hours. The café has a modern yet homey atmosphere, with its wooden décor, natural light and several comfortable seats. Crowd favourites are the shibuya toast that is large enough for two to three people. It’s a large piece of toast served with honey and vanilla ice cream and extra honey to fill your sugar craving. It can also be topped with toffee, banana or chocolate. There’s also the Queen Bee Fudge Cake, Strawberry Crumble and a variety of coffees, teas, frappes and lattes.
Sra Bua is a restaurant but its drinks menu is quite innovative. Their food could be paired with wine, cocktails or juice. Some are paired with white flower iced tea, or lychee and passion fruit juice. You can be sure that the drinks fully complement the type of food you ordered. At Sra Bua, Piña Colada is a dessert, with half a dome of crispy coconut meat that hides scoops of pineapple-flavoured ice cream and Malibu-flavoured mousse. You should also try Sra Bua’s banana cake that’s served with salted ice cream, fresh coconut, milk reduction and toasted almonds.
Have we whetted your appetite for a real food trip? Visit Bangkok anytime at your convenience. Book your flight to Bangkok, and avail of the cheapest airfare rates, your choice of carrier and the time of your choosing through Skiddoo’s intuitive online booking service. You can fly to Bangkok direct via Thai Airways, Qantas, Malaysia Airlines, Emirates, Singapore Airlines or Virgin Australia.