The last time I travelled to Bangkok was in 2014, it was for a media junket that I had the pleasure of being part of. We started from the Northern area of Thailand (Chiang Rai), headed to my favorite Thai city (Chiang Mai), and winded down in Bangkok. We were spoiled with lavish food and splendid resorts. It was a manicured itinerary, and every bit of it was glorious.
I am a backpacker at heart, and while I deeply appreciate indulgent excursions, I find a certain charm in roughing it out as my travel philosophy has been all about living as closest as I can to the earth walked on by its locals. Street food is always a great idea to me, but I like to balance it out with a fine Michelin star-studded restaurant and up-and coming joints that are worth a visit.
My partner and I had an open long weekend to take advantage of. We haven’t traveled together as a couple for more than year, so we thought of taking a quick, whirlwind Bangkok trip. Following the footsteps of one of our favorite food sources, Mark Wiens, we had an incredible khao man gai (Thai Chicken Rice) at Khao Man Gai Ban Deed Kim (ข้าวมันไก่บัญฑิตคิม), comprising of the most tender steamed chicken and delicately cooked livers with fragrant rice and an addictive chili sauce made with fermented soybeans. Following that was a unique kway teow (noodle dish) at Kuay Teow Khae (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวแคะ (โคตร โคตร) คอนแวนต์) with a hodgepodge of delicious things, fried and mixed. We happily consumed our meals on the bustling side-streets of Silom, happily slurping and closing our eyes in blissful glee as each morsel covered our taste buds with ecstasy.
Chatuchak Market was a first for me, the alleys snaking with tourists and hawkers with the smell of spices, aromatic oils, and leather lingering in the humid air. Nothing quite like it; we uncovered a lot of treasures. Following the market was lunch at Lay Lao, which was a Bib Gourmand pick in the Bangkok Michelin Guide, we devoured a Crab Fried Rice, Squid, and Lettuce with Omelet within minutes—all of which were scrumptious.
A couple of stylish cafés prove that the coffee game in Bangkok is beyond strong—Brave Roasters, Factory Coffee, and Roots. We always like a good drink, and Sugarray Apartment was a fantastic find, as well as Alone Together, a laid-back jazz bar that served punchy cocktails. My happiest accident was stumbling into a fantastic natural wine bar that ticked all the boxes for the setting of a whimsical Haruki Murakami novel: Kang Kao.
A Chiang Mai craving—khao soi—crept up on me, and I was grateful for Ongtong, also a Bib Gourmand pick. We took a breather at After You, which had a dreamy Thai Milk Tea Kakigori—pillowy and soft, it felt like we were spooning clouds into our mouths.
In this short yet sweet trip, I have remembered how Bangkok is such a great place to escape to—even for just a few days. You will never run out of things to eat, places to see, people to meet. It is a city of the future, with its roots dug deep in a tradition so rich and established. Our itinerary was packed, and the rush of wanting to consume as much of the city as we’d like to only left us longing for more. Bangkok is indeed a place where city adventures run deep and gastronomic delights forever abound.