Thailand: Essential tastes of Bangkok

By Marion Grasby

Television cooking show host Marion Grasby reveals her must-eat Bangkok food spots.

Aussie TV chef and entrepreneur Marion Grasby at Khlong Toei market in Bangkok.
Aussie TV chef and entrepreneur Marion Grasby at Khlong Toei market in Bangkok.

Issaya Siamese Club

Open: Daily, 11.30am-2.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm, the bar closes at 1am; tea on Friday and Saturday, and brunch Sunday.

Address: 4 Soi Sri Aksorn, Chua Ploeng Rd, Sathorn

Issaya Siamese Club is a little garden oasis in the midst of the bustling Sathorn area of Bangkok. The setting for an evening of deliciousness here is a white colonial-style house surrounded by tropical greenery.

Chef Ian Kittichai is a big deal in Thailand and one spoonful of his lamb shank massaman curry will have you convinced of his talents too.

Kittichai puts his own modern spin on the traditional without losing any of the integrity of true Thai flavours.

Food highlights: Pork slices with spicy lime sauce, lamb shank massaman, sticky baby back ribs and jasmine flower flan.

Khua Kling Pak Sod

Open: Daily, 11.30am-9.30pm

Address: 98/1 Soi Thonglor 5 Sukhumvit 55

This little gem just off Thonglor Rd dishes up fiery southern Thai dishes. It's unapologetic about its use of spice (so don't bother if you're not a lover of chilli). There's no fancy "plating up" here and the small dining room is furnished simply apart from rather eclectic paintings.

Eating here feels like a visit to your granny's for dinner ... assuming your granny is from the south of Thailand, that is. It's made for locals and it's generally packed every night of the week.

Food highlight: Spicy herbal minced pork or beef salad, fish in spicy yellow curry and stir-fried stink beans.

Nahm

Open: Lunch: Monday-Friday, midday-2pm; dinner: 7pm-10.30pm

Address: The Metropolitan Hotel, 27 South Sathorn Rd, Tungmahamek, Sathorn

For a truly enlightening Thai food experience you must head to Nahm. Australian chef David Thompson is renowned for his passion for Thailand's cuisine. His Nahm restaurant in London was the first Thai eatery in the world to be awarded a Michelin star.

Thompson's dedication to the research and preservation of Thailand's food history means his food carries a certain gravitas - food that sings of the devotion to authentic preparation and ingredients while presenting itself as a modern tune.

It's not cheap by Thai standards but what you get is quite simply stunning. Book well in advance and opt for dinner over lunch (the lunch menu is much smaller).

Food highlight: Smoked fish, peanut and tapioca dumplings; wagyu beef curry; grilled pork cheek with smoky tomato sauce.

Sukhumvit Soi 38 (Thai Street Food)

Open: 6pm.

Address: on Soi Sukhumvit 38, next to Thonglor BTS

This place rocks. Point and choose dishes from any number of street carts and food stalls.

The food here is cheap, clean and tasty. Pull up a chair at any of the roadside tables and just order what you like from any of the stalls along the street.

Food highlight: Yummy street food ... anything from duck noodles to pork belly with rice and a must-have Pad Thai. Finish with mango with sticky rice.

CHECKLIST

Getting there: Thai Airways flies direct from Auckland to Bangkok four days a week.

Further information: bangkoktourist.com.

Australian MasterChef contestant Marion Grasby introduces her Thai family and fantastic Thai recipes on Marion's Thailand. Food TV, Thursdays at 9pm.

- NZ Herald

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