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The 10 best restaurants in Bangkok, Thailand

The 10 best restaurants in Bangkok, Thailand

by Great British Chefs 14 March 2018

Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie, co-head chefs at London’s celebrated Thai restaurant som saa, share their favourite places to eat in the Thai capital.

Thai food is a firm favourite in the UK, but it’s only recently that we’ve moved beyond the ubiquitous green curry and discovered dishes like laab, miang and nahm jim. Go to Bangkok, however, and you’re faced with an incredible number of street food stalls, shabby cafés, neighbourhood restaurants and temples to fine dining, all offering various dishes and regional cuisines that are rarely seen outside the country.

In London we have chefs like Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie to thank for our increased awareness around Thai food. Their restaurant som saa was one of the first to offer regional Thai dishes full of authentic fire and flavour. Of course, that came after the duo’s many trips to Thailand and Bangkok in particular, where they would eat as many different things at as many different restaurants as they could. While street food stands are where you’ll find some incredible, affordable dishes, these are the restaurants Andy and Mark say you simply must visit when in the Thai capital.

Bo.lan

Co-head chefs Bo Songvisava and Dylan Jones proved high-end Thai food really does have a place in Thailand when they opened in Bangkok in 2009. They have a genuine connection with the country and its history, which is reflected in the food. The restaurant is now operating with a zero-carbon footprint whilst working with and endorsing their amazing suppliers, who utilize sustainable practices and grow some of the best produce Thailand has to offer. Offering a choice of two tasting menus, it will be a definite stand out. bolan.co.th

Err

Err is Bolan’s sister restaurant where the same ethos behind sustainability and championing great suppliers is exercised in a more casual environment. Err is found in an old shop house near to Wat Pho (also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha). Try the sai krok – fermented pork sausage made with gaba rice. There's also a great selection of Thai craft beers. errbkk.com

Soei

Soei used to be located adjacent to Sam Sen train station but has recently moved just down the road. There was a particular charm in the 7:08 to Chiang Mai whizzing by but I'm certain the food is still packed with flavour at the new spot. Must-haves include kaem pla tu tod (fried mackerel faces) and gaeng chu chee pla tu, a rich coconut cream curry utilising the body of the same fish whose head you just ate.

Khua Kling Pak Sod

Slinging southern Thai food across four locations, you'll be able to experience the heat and herby flavours of the south whilst still in Bangkok. Try the Mu Hong – soy-braised pork belly – and the restaurant’s namesake Khua Kling, a spicy turmeric-laden minced pork dry stir-fry. khuaklingpaksod.com

Or Tor Kor Market

What started life as an agricultural co-op grew into one of the best markets in the world. It’s where you’ll find everything from live seafood and some of the best fruit and veg Bangkok has to offer to kitchen equipment and flowers. It has a broad range of Thai food for sale which can be tasted over a few separate meals. Best of all, if you ask the right stall you can get your hands on the fruit called som saa.

Nahm

Undoubtedly one of the best Thai restaurants in the world, Nahm is David Thompson's flagship restaurant. David in one of the most inspiring people in the food world and has devoted a lifetime to the obsessive pursuit and study of Thai cuisine. The food at Nahm is relentless, uncompromising, elegant and sophisticated all at the same time. It's an absolute must. comohotels.com

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Or Tor Kor Market is considered one of the best fresh food markets in the world
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Bangkok's Chinatown is a sensory feast of colours, lights, smells and tastes, and should be at the top of the list for anyone visiting Bangkok for the first time

Bangkok Bold

A cooking school which cooks hard to find old-style Thai food to the highest level. If you gather together a few friends you can book it out for a private dining chef's table experience. The ingredients, techniques, knowledge and love that go into the food here is, to us, as good as you'll find anywhere in the country. bangkokbold.com

Krua Apsorn 

A Bangkok stalwart that's been around since before we began visiting Bangkok. Krua Apsorn now has a couple of branches in the city and is a great place to go to experience classic, balanced central and southern Thai cooking at very reasonable prices. Be sure to try their stir-fried crab with orange chillies and their sour fish curry (gaeng som). kruaapsorn.com

Laab Ubon

Isaan food is never far away anywhere in Thailand, especially in Bangkok, and Laab Ubon is a solid choice to sample the punchy, fishy, herbal flavours of Thailand's north-eastern province. Introduced to us by the chefs from Nahm restaurant (it's an after-service favourite of theirs), do like they do and go late in the evening, order a cold beer and eat duck laab and som tam boo pla raa (green papaya salad with preserved crabs and fermented fish sauce). facebook.com/Laabubon

Chinatown 

An eating tour of Chinatown's main street Thanon Yaowarat and the surrounding sois (sidestreets) is a must for any first-time visitor to Bangkok. Among the many great things to seek out are roast duck noodle soup, charred wide kua gai noodles with chicken and preserved squid and some of the abundant Thai seafood dishes getting cooked out on the street at the main intersection. Think hot and sour soups, grilled massive gung mae nahm river prawns or blood cockles with punchy seafood nahm jims thick with pounded green chillies and garlic.

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