There’s more to Asian food than pad Thai, California rolls and pork buns. Bangkok has some of the best restaurants offering a wide range of Asian flavors. We bring you a guide on the best places to go Oriental, from the freshest sushi in the best Japanese restaurants to succulent Chinese dim sum in the best Chinese restaurants to healthy Vietnamese fare.
The best Asian restaurants in Bangkok
Number one on the list of Asia’s Best 50 Restaurants for 2016, Gaggan offers one of the best and most enjoyable Indian dining experiences you could have. Chef Gaggan Anand honed his skills in molecular gastronomy at famous three Michelin-star restaurant El Bulli, and has developed what he calls “progressive Indian cuisine.” Tucked within Langsuan, the white, two-story house is a pleasant contrast to Gaggan’s innovative cooking style. The Chef Dining area (which is always reserved) sits right next to the kitchen’s, offering diners a view of how the chefs prepare each molecular dish through a glass window. Sounds good, right? They recommend the Testing Menu, a true representation of Gaggan-ness. Yogurt Explosion, bite-sized homemade yogurt balls with the texture of caviar prepares you for other dishes. The following courses are all cutting-edge and fun: Mumbaiwalla, creative ball-shaped pav bhaji (thick vegetable curry); Viagra, fresh oysters served with Indian mustard ice cream; and air-light truffle soup. Go and see what the fuss is all about.
Looking for a nice Indian restaurant? You’ve come to the right place. Maya, located at Holiday Inn on Sukhumvit 22, is one of the finest contemporary Indian restaurants in the city. Enjoy views of the open kitchen and get a glimpse of chef Ramneek Singh Lamba performing his culinary magic. Maya specializes in presentation – each plate combines original Indian tastes with pretty garnishing. Try the Peshawari murgh tikka (grilled chicken with herbs) with naan bread before finishing off with dessert like the Maya Shrikhand, a delicious treat that blends four different yogurt flavors. Late in the evening, DJs take over the bar and liven up the vibe. There are a variety of wines and cocktails at Maya but if you want to try something new, we recommend the signature SUGAR-huri-CANE (vodka and rum with cane juice).
Among many Japanese restaurants in Bangkok, Nirai Kanai is unique for its Okinawa style that brings the beach atmosphere from the southern islands of Japan to our Bangkok city as if you can feel sea breeze just when you enter the restaurant. Nirai Kanai means heaven of happiness and it is a famous chain restaurant that has a lot of branches in Tokyo; moreover, there are two branches in Bangkok: at Sukhumvit 26 and Thonglor 11 where we are talking about (and this place is our team’s favorite meeting point too). Beside the Okinawa’s decorating style, the plenty of menus you can choose here are authentic Okinawa way of cooking. Try their traditional Okinawa food and don’t miss Okinawan braised pork belly that will melt in your mouth from hours of braising. If you want to taste the real taste of Okinawa, you need to try Kumesen, Soju and soda water mixed with orange juice or other Japanese alcoholic drinks to pair with your food. On Friday and Saturday night, you will get to enjoy Nirai Kanai more because of the live music from shamisen, local Okinawan musical instrument accompanying your delicious meal and bringing you to the heaven as its name suggests.
There’s no place like food at home was what the founder of Saigon Recipe, Nguyen Thuy Tien had been thinking when she moved to Thailand. Then she came up with the idea to open her own Vietnamese restaurant at Sukhumvit. Food here is not just basic things you only know—we mean these Chao Tom (Sugar Cane Shrimp), Namnueng and Pho. But there is a variety of authentic Vietnamese dishes that you’d love to try like Bánh Bèo (Savory Steamed Rice Cakes), Bánh Xèo (Sizzling Pancake), and a number of Spring Rolls and Summer Rolls. Try Bánh Cuốn (Steamed Rice Cake) in Saigon style by pouring all their homemade fish sauce on them, and taste it like a local. Feeling like wanting some hot soup? Forget your Pho because here you’d need to try their Bún Bò Huế (Hue Style Beef Noodle Soup); it’s a little bit spicy, but that is okay, right? Their signature dish is Canh Chua Cá Lóc (Sour Soup with Snakehead Fish), and this one is so common just like our Pad Kra Pao, but in Vietnam-style. To round things off: Chè Trôi Nước (Sweet Glutinous Rice Dumplings) served hot is a good choice or if you are into coffee, Café Sua Da is for you. Plus, the interior, here, gives you comfort and pleasant feeling. Antique collections from Saigon are shown in displays to make you feel as if you are in Vietnam.
What makes this minimal cafe-restaurant outstanding is the cook always picks fresh herbs and some veggies from their fence. Of particular note are Miang Kham (savoury butterfly pea leaf wraps), Lanna-style pad Thai, fried snapper and celery leave with tamarind sauce and if you don’t plan to return to your office in the afternoon, why not end your meal with the unique star-gooseberry vodka,
R.E.234 will take you back to the King Rama era when the Western cultures first arrived in Thailand. Runs by the brains behind Moose, Drac Suvarnapradip, who revamped the old house and filled it with vintage furniture. The place features both Thai and Western dishes. Indulge your palate with the signature afternoon tea set, tiger prawn with pomodoro sauce, stuffed pork chop with pesto cheese and massaman kai while enjoying R.E. 234’s jazz and classical music. Don’t forget to try the organic floral tea before you leave. For jazz fans, live jazz music is available on Fridays and Saturdays.
Banh Mi Bo, just like its name, specialises in Vietnamese sandwiches, banh mi, offering a decent list of fillings, but stars of the show are BBQ pork, lemongrass chicken and the combo—crispy pork belly and Vietnamese-style grilled pork. The place has become Thai palate’s favorite as all the banh mi are served with cucumber, carrot, coriander, and fresh chilli.
Located at the heart of Metropolitan Bangkok, Fillets features a contemporary Edo era-inspired interiors that makes you feel at home. Randy Nopprapa (the chef and business partner), a protege of the world-renown Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, spent over a decade heading some of the best sushi restaurants in Washington DC. Opt for the Omakase Course (starting B4,500), where Chef Randy uses various techniques and flavour combinations to create a wholesome chef’s table dining experience. Not too keen on raw fish? Fillets offers a great selection of local dry-aged beef along with well-composed signature dishes.
Nippon Kai, a combination of restaurant and market, is the main source for the imported-Japanese produce to a number of hotels in Bangkok. Opt for a variety of high-quality seafood like mentaiko, uni (sea urchin roes), otoro (fatty tuna belly) and gindara (snow fish) as well as the premium beef, pork and snacks. Those who love to eat in, try engawa sushi parade, foie gras matsusaka roll and the sweet-meets-tangy Japanese tomatoes.
Let Tale of Gold Mine will take you back to 1949 when plenty of our ancestors were heading to California to looking for a better life with its fantasy setting such as mining kits, a big pair of boots hanging on the mine wall and rusty large engine wheels. Expect the new-American-style dishes--a Chinese as American hybrid--like sweet and sour fried chicken salad, house mantau (duck breast serves with a variety of condiments--parsnip, grated carrots, pickles and coriander leaves). Drinks focus on East-meets-West presentation in cocktails, plump for bone China or shanghai opium and finish off your meal with a must-try chrysanthemum panna cotta that’s got the best of both world by combining the taste of Asian flower with Italian dessert.