With a homegrown cuisine marked by intensity and balance, a hotbed of international flavors, high-quality local products, and a population that’s absolutely fanatical about food, Bangkok has always been high on the hit list for food lovers. Here’s everything you need to know about where to indulge in the Thai capital.
Hit the heights
There’s something so very Asian about al fresco, skyscraper dining. And nobody does it better than Bangkok. One of the city’s most renowned spots for elevated eating is the Dome at the lebua hotel. Known for its cameo in The Hangover 2, the sixty-third floor is also the setting for Mediterranean restaurant Sirocco and the gravity defying Sky Bar, where a jazz band entertains diners and drinkers. The haute Chinese restaurant Breeze, on the fifty-second floor also has outdoor dining. Other spots for high-society are the Banyan Tree hotel’s rooftop Vertigo and its adjoining Moon Bar. The panoramic views can’t be beat.
Make a meal at the market
Sometimes the city can seem like a series of markets strung together, or even one giant bazaar. The options for shoppers are dizzying, but we’ll narrow it down to the essential few for food. The market of choice for chefs is Or Tor Kor. Comfortable, clean, and much less offensive on the olfactory glands than the “wet” markets, this one is a mecca for chefs from all over Asia buying sought-after goods, like countless varieties of rice, shrimp and curry pastes, spices, canned goods, fresh fruit, meat, and veggies. There are also plenty of stalls serving food cooked to order, of course. Just across the street lies one of Bangkok’s biggest attractions, the world-famous Chatuchak Weekend Market, a city unto itself with 15,000 vendors sprawling over thirty-five acres.
Much at the mall
The parts of Bangkok that don’t seem to be made up of markets definitely seem to be made up of shopping malls. Thais are crazy for them—they are currently working on building the largest in Southeast Asia. Combine the Thai love of food and shopping, and it’s a no brainer that the food courts are a cut above the rest of the world. It’s a great way to eat “street food” in air conditioning, and it’s also a great way to meet locals, who flock to the food courts at lunchtime.
Dine and dance
Sure, it’s touristy, but it’s a worthy diversion. If you’re going to experience a Thai dance show, you might as well experience the city’s best. Sala Rim Naam at the Mandarin Oriental pulls out all the stops. A set menu includes traditional dishes such as Thai style sausage, fried fish with sweet and sour tamarind chili sauce, and green curry with beef, eggplant, basil, and chili. The spectacle includes folk dancing, music, and mock fighting, and guests take a wooden boat from the Mandarin’s pier to get to the show, which is performed in an ornate Thai pavilion.