Most visitors to Thailand find themselves falling in love with the same things: the warm smiles of the Thai people, the glittering temples, the white-sand beaches and perhaps more than anything else, the food. From a zesty green curry to an exotic banana blossom salad, you could eat three Thai meals a day, 365 days a year without exhausting the culinary possibilities. And oh, what possibilities they are! We’ve rounded up some of Bangkok’s truly out-of-this-world dining experiences — we’re calling it the Seven Culinary Wonders — for those days when a plate of pad thai just won’t do. Be sure to check out one (or all) on your next visit to Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok:
1. Unicycles and catapults and roast chicken, oh my!
It’s worth considering a visit to any dining establishment that involves firing roast chickens into the air with a catapult. But when those roast chickens are caught by a man on a unicycle, it becomes a “must visit” on any Thailand travel itinerary. Ka Tron Restaurant, on the outskirts of Bangkok, is that place. Just wait until they set the chicken on fire and the unicyclist catches in on his head — not a spectacle to be missed. And by all accounts, the sweet-sour-hot-salty chicken is rather good, too. (Bonus: Ka Tron also features karaoke!)
2. Popular local snacks that’ll make you “bug out”
Cruise the stalls on the corner of the Sukhumvit Soi 4 districts, also known as Nana, and you’ll spy a selection of crispy treats popular with the locals: yes, bugs. Here’s how it works: wander this entertainment district with an ice-cold Singha beer and you can choose from grasshoppers, which have a crunch similar to that of tortilla chips (but with a few more legs involved), to ants, pan-fried with lemongrass and chili. When in Thailand…
3. German microbrews and magic shows
When a plain old restaurant dinner won’t suffice, Tawandang is the place to go for food, beer and entertainment. A cavernous German-style beer hall, Tawandang has been priding itself on its microbrews, made under the watchful eye of a Bavarian brewmaster, since 1999. With a menu of items ranging from traditional German pork knuckle and typical Thai Tom Yum soup to Tawandang’s most popular snack, deep-fried duck tongues with chili and garlic, there’s sure to be plenty to entice you to drink more beer. And with a show encompassing performances of live music, acrobatics, ballet, hip-hop dancing and magic, you may find yourself staying there longer than you’d intended.
4. Barbecue delivered by a dancing robot
Everyone loves a good table-top barbecue, but we have even more love for barbecued items when they’re delivered by friendly robots dressed as samurai. At Hajime Robot Restaurant, an R2-D2 lookalike delivers your favourite shabu shabu, yakiniku (barbecue) and other Japanese dishes right to your table, and according to the restaurant’s website, “Not only its cute appearance impresses the customers, but also ‘Hajime’ Robot’s intellect does its job.” That “job” incudes taking orders, preparing food and clearning tables. If that wasn’t enough, the robots also dance. Have you booked your reservation yet?
5. Bangkok’s most “expensive” street food
Street food in Bangkok is prized for being as tasty as it is cheap. A bowl of street noodles will usually set you back around THB 35, or just over US$ 1. But visitors to Raan Jay Fai, renowned for being Bangkok’s most expensive street food shop (admittedly there is a building, but all of the cooking and eating goes on right on the street), wax lyrical about the pad khee mao, or drunken noodles – thick stir-fried rice noodles with a mountain of deliciously fresh shrimps, squid, crab, crunchy young coconut and hot basil. Priced considerably higher (starting from THB 360, or US$ 12) than the average plate of fried noodles in the city, Bangkok locals swear that these are the best going. Don’t miss the crab omelette as well, a roll of egg that is lightly crispy on the outside, unctuously gooey on the inside, and filled with delicious pillows of soft, white, fresh crabmeat. And the price? THB 800, or US$ 27. It may be the most expensive street food in Bangkok, but compared to most Thai dining experiences overseas, it’s a steal.
6. Cooking with “Poo” (it’s not what you think)
Most Thai people have many nicknames, and “Poo” just happens to be the affectionate moniker of Khun Saiyuud Diwong, a resident of Bangkok’s largest slum in Klong Toey, and founder of the Helping Hands Thai Cooking School. The school was set up with the assistance of the Helping Hands initiative to support slum residents and help them develop micro-businesses. Now, Khun Poo shares her culinary talents with visitors to Bangkok through her cooking classes, held six times a week. And with a book of recipes entitled “Cooking with Poo” also available, there’s no excuse not to take your new-found culinary skills home and treat family and friends to a tasty Thai meal.
7. Table for 5,000, please
When you feel like rounding up 5,000 of your nearest and dearest, there’s only one place in Bangkok large enough to cater to your needs – Royal Dragon. With a capacity of 5,000 customers and 1,000 staff (yes, you read that right!) to serve them, Royal Dragon is a Chinese-themed seafood restaurant, but perhaps more than the food, it’s the entertainment that entices guests. As you work your way through a pile of steamed prawns, don’t forget to turn your attention to the traditional Thai dance performances, exciting Thai boxing and sword fighting, and the intriguing “Flying Catering Man” show. And in order to make sure you enjoy the show and get your food piping hot, the serving staff wear roller skates for stress-free, quick and speedy delivery.
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