Start musing about your favourite experiences in Bangkok and food will undoubtedly be high on the list. Award-winning travel writer Helen Hayes shares 10 places to try – all with Michelin stars.
R. Haan *2 Michelin Stars
Thai cuisine has a rich history, a real ‘wisdom’ that intertwines the secrets of Siam’s food traditions with modern techniques and the meshing of cultures. It is still undeniably Thai. One of the best places to experience this is R. Haan, which means “something consumed for sustenance’ in Thai. Headed up by Chumpol Jangprai, R. Haan is inspired by an old Thai poem which translates as ‘In the river, there are fish; in the rice field there is rice’. His menus are based on authentic recipes and he uses the same ingredients found in the originals.
Sorn * 2 Michelin Stars
It is all about the south at Sorn, with chef owners Supaksorn Jongsiri (Khun Ice) and Yodkwan U-Pumpruk focusing on long lost recipes and cuisine from their home region. The restaurant is in an old house with ingredients sustainably sourced from farmers and fishermen. Most dishes are slow cooked; even the soup is double boiled over six hours.
Jay Fai *1 Star
It is not common to find a street food vendor with a Michelin star, but Jay Fai is anything but common. The lipstick wearing Jay Fai still cooks on charcoal, just like her father did, and conjures up dishes like crab curries and crab omelette while wearing ski goggles. The omelette is legendary and long queues outside the door are customary.
Canvas *1 Star
A rarity in Bangkok, Canvas is the brainchild of Chef Riley Sanders. Riley hails from Texas and his travels as a chef brought him to Bangkok in 2013. He fell in love with Bangkok and after more visits, started planning Canvas. Diners love to sit at the counter to watch the chefs in action as they prepare the nine-course tasting menus.
Table 38 *1 Star
Table 38 is a chef’s table experience with one 10-seat communal table allowing diners to watch and interact with Chef Andy Yang and his team. The goal of Table 38 is to show the possibilities of Thai cuisine – “using today’s knowledge to tell yesterday’s story”. Choose from five dining experiences from an introduction, up to the ultimate 44 course Chef Andy Yang Experience.
Sühring *2 Stars
A villa restored by German twins Mathias and Thomas Sühring has been winning rave reviews ever since it opened. The twins learned the traditional German techniques from their grandparents, and they have been brought to life with love at this now two-starred establishment. Diners choose to sit in the dining room, winter garden or at the kitchen counter.
Mezzaluna *2 Stars
You’ll be starstruck by the view from the 65th floor of the Lebua Hotel and the incredible dining experience at Mezzaluna. Chef Ryuki Kawasaki lets the fresh Japanese ingredients shine, preparing them with classic French cooking techniques. The seven-course set menu changes with the seasons, except for the ‘Exceptional Murakami’ dish, a wagyu beef dish from his hometown in Niigata Prefecture.
Upstairs *1 Star
Upstairs was first awarded a star in 2018 and has kept it since thanks to Chef Dan Bark. Dan’s delightful 10-course tasting menu is a blend of Progressive American cuisine with each dish a mixture of techniques and ingredients not restricted by geography and with no boundaries of flavour combinations. The dishes are complemented by selections of craft beer, cider, mead and wines.
Paste *1 Star
Everything about Paste is striking, from the spiral sculpture made from silk cocoons, to the beautiful curved booths and of course the food. With chef and co-owner Bongkoch “Bee” Satongun at the helm – she was crowned Asia’s Best Female Chef in 2018 – diners adore the menu of shared dishes inspired by Royal Thai cuisine using traditional cooking techniques. With Satongun’s husband, Jason Bailey, hailing from the Southern Highlands of NSW, the dynamic duo recently opened an offshoot of Paste in Mittagong.
Saawaan’ *1 Star
Meaning ‘Heaven’ in Thai, Saawaan lives up to its name. Chef de Cuisine and owner Sujia ‘Aom’ Pongmorn, takes diners on a creative journey through 10 courses of authentic Thai cuisine. Ingredients are locally sourced, including squid from a small fishermen’s village in Krabi. The dining experience is enhanced by Chef Patisserie, Arisara ‘Paper’ Chongphanitkul, who was the first Thai chef to compete in the Ladies World Pastry Championships.