I’m back in England! Here’s my first blog update since my month away in Thailand, visiting friends and relatives and generally catching up with everyone over there. So much has happened since my last visit in 2008: new government, new buildings, new ways of getting around Bangkok – even a Skytrain to the airport!
Over the next few weeks I’ll post a few photos from the trip. But bearing in mind that I rashly called this blog “Oi’s Thai Food Tips” I’d better say something about food. This post is about eating out in Siam Paragon, the mall where everyone goes in the centre of Bangkok.
Of course, there are thousands of restaurants in other parts of Bangkok, but there’s no denying the convenience of having scores of restaurants under one roof, together with a vast food hall (like a canteen) where you can select dishes from dozens of top-quality kitchens.
During the few weeks my partner and I were there (and my son, for some of the time), we visited several of the restaurants, such as:
Fuji: this Japanese restaurant is one that always has a queue, but it’s well worth the wait. The service is efficient and polite (as it is in nearly all Japanese establishments) and the food is really fantastic value. My tip: take one of the set menus which brings you a dozen tiny dishes. Whatever you have – sashimi, tempura, teriyaki, udon – it all adds up to a great meal.
Fumi: another Japanese chain, also found in other malls like Emporium (at Phrom Phong on the Skytrain), this was our first meal of the trip – and one of the best. I can recommend the delicious sushi, but you need to have something else as well.
Nippon-Kai: yet another Japanese chain (you can’t avoid eating Japanese in Bangkok, there are so many great options – including those where you cook your own food at the table). Nippon-Kai at Siam Paragon enjoys a strategic, central location, ideal for watching the passers-by.
Pho: this tiny Vietnamese counter is ideal for lunch: comfy and friendly, with a good selection of meaty dishes. It doesn’t compare to some of the great Vietnamese establishments elsewhere in Bangkok (like Xuan Mai), but it’s very professional and oh-so-convenient.
Fish Café: if you really just want fish and chips, this is one of the best places in town. The fish is fresh; the chips are perfect. Simples, as compare-the-meercat.com says.
Piri-Piri Flaming Chicken: by now you’ve guessed from their names that most of the Siam Paragon restaurants are mid-market rather than Michelin-starred establishments. Piri-Piri is typical of them: good, satisfying food at a reasonable price, served in the buzzy atmosphere of Paragon’s vast food floor.
As well as restaurants and cafés, there are dozens of food shops selling every kind of Asian and European delicacy. Now, here’s a good tip: If you buy a coffee at one of the many coffee shops – and ask nicely – they’ll let you eat something you’ve bought from one of these other delicatessens. This is unheard of in England, where any café proprietor would be offended if you ate something bought elsewhere. In Thailand, it’s different. We’re so tolerant and easygoing, aren’t we?