You’ve heard it all before.
Thai food is the best! So flavourful! So cheap! So many exciting cross-cultural influences!
A cliché, for sure, but undoubtedly true: it’s bloody good.
I’m going one step further.
The food scene in Bangkok is the best in the world.
We’re not just talking plain and simple, glorious Thai food here, although that undoubtedly plays a huge part.
I mean the plethora of international restaurants serving up dish after dish of impeccable cuisine; the streetside woks heaving under the weight of mind – and arse – blowing ฿40 Pad Kraprao; the gluttonously creamy tiered sponges in the luxury shopping malls; the ramshackle British pubs serving up delectable fillets of salmon (shout out to the Royal Oak…); the ridiculously extravagant hotel breakfast buffets; and even the canapé-style bar snacks provided when you’re enjoying a casual pint after work.
I could go on.
Across the city, food is generally of an excellent standard – whether it be Thai, Indian, Spanish, American, Peruvian, Greek or Japanese. Although there are occasional missteps here and there, there’s no other city in the world that I’d attribute the same consistently high standards to as Bangkok when it comes to food and restaurants.
And what’s more, the food here is always incredibly good value for money – a cheap menu is never necessarily indicative of shoddy ingredients or crappy cooking. Even the restaurants I associate as being more expensive are a bargain compared to their counterparts in other global cities.
Let’s address the elephant in the room here. I’m British; I’m more than well acquainted with bad food and poor cooking.
What do I know about good food?
The benefit of having eaten quite a lot of overcooked meat in my time is that I’m especially sensitive to and grateful for good food when I do eat it. One of Bangkok’s main draws for me personally is undoubtedly its food scene and how so many of its chefs – both local and international – manage to match the culinary skills of other cuisines and cultures.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve eaten great food around the world – lamb tagine in the Jemaa el-Fnaa in Marrakesh, haggis in Edinburgh, steak in Soho, New York, Dim Sum in Tsim Sha Tsui, mille-feuille in Chamonix. I’ve even eaten a KFC bargain bucket in the UK House of Lords.
But regardless, while all of these dining experiences were sublime (that’s some seriously good popcorn chicken, amirite?!), I’m not sure there’s another place in the world where I’d be able to wander aimlessly and stumble into any old hole in the wall and be assured of some truly excellent grub at a reasonable price like I do in Bangkok.
I tried it in Chamonix and found myself very ill after an abortive attempt at eating cow intestine.
That one may have been my fault.
Bangkok doesn’t just do international food as well as it’s done in its hometown – it often does it better.
The yorkshire puddings at The Huntsman‘s Sunday Roast are genuinely better than those I’ve had in actual Yorkshire. I once spent a week in Italy where I ate pizza every single night. It was amazing pizza. But I still think the ones they whip up in Peppina for ฿300 are better. Don’t even get me started on Thaiger burgers…
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, khanom: Bangkok knocks it out of the ballpark every single time.
It’s certainly not unheard of for me to eat out twice, even three times, a day and yet there is still so much good food I’m yet to get my grubby paws on in this city.
For me, there’s nowhere and nothing better than Bangkok’s food scene.
What do you think – does it get any better than Bangkok?
Featured image is by Austronesian Expeditions and used under a Creative Commons licence