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Modern lifestyles o pt for all things organic

Khruangbin: Texas rock band with a Thai twist

Dax Ward's moody pies of abandoned sp aces

The vast & varied food scene in Kuala Lump ur


Adventures in Food

TM

A community of like-minded nomads, united in the pursuit of food; from chefs and restaurants to street food, culinary events and international forums. Come and disover a new culinary universe with us. See the website for future events.

Contact us: info@gastronauts.asia

www.gastronauts.asia


O

Publisher’s Letter

ur July issue is focused—even more than usual—on the growth of the “organics” movement across Thailand. Everywhere, it seems, people are finally wising up to the concept that individual health, and the health of the planet as a whole, benefits immensely when toxic elements are removed. For the planet it means reducing waste, while for individuals it means putting less toxins into our bodies by eating foods grown without dangerous chemicals. Meet the people, venues, and organizations in Bangkok leading the organic onslaught in our cover feature (starting on pg. 12). Meanwhile, our travel feature (starting on pg. 38) shines a spotlight on Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai—two Northern Thai destinations that are equally as well known for their amazing cultural attractions as they are for their high quality organic produce grown and cultivated in their respective Royal Project farms and greenhouses. In addition, we also jump “over the border” for a culinary jaunt around Kuala Lumpur. Finally, it is on a sad note that we commemorate the passing of two iconic figures: Jerry Hopkins, the celebrated American author who wrote (among many other books) the blockbuster Doors bio No One Here Gets Out Alive; and Anthony Bourdain, the internationally acclaimed author and TV host who was an inspiration to chefs the world over. Hopkins moved to Thailand in 1993, and lived primarily in Bangkok. Bourdain visited Thailand several times, over the year exploring the nation’s diverse food culture for his TV programs. Fittingly, Jerry and Anthony—who died within six days of each other—were friends, bonding in part over their mutual love for trying new and exotic dishes and leading a life of fearless exploration. Both will be sadly missed. All this and more—including our 101 archive and extras—can be found online at www.bangkok101. Enjoy. com. A couple of clicks are all it takes to keep in touch with what’s happening in Bangkok and beyond. And if you as a reader feel there’s something we’re not covering, but should be, please drop us a line at Mason Florence info@talisman.asia. Publisher

What is Bangkok 101 Independent and unbiased, Bangkok 101 caters to savvy travellers who yearn for more than what they find in guidebooks. It brings together an authoritative who’s who of city residents, writers, photographers and cultural commentators. The result is a compact and intelligent hybrid of monthly travel guide and city magazine that takes you on and off the well-worn tourist track. Bangkok 101 employs the highest editorial standards, with no fluff, and no smut. Our editorial content cannot be bought. We rigorously maintain the focus on our readers, and our ongoing mission is to ensure they enjoy this great city as much as we love living in it.

B A N G K O K 101 P A R T N E R S

bangkok101.com

J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 5


CONTENTS 18

CITY PULSE 10

Metro Beat Find out what’s going on this month in Bangkok

12

My Bangkok Rosalind Yunibandhu, founder and managing director of Arcadia Fine Foods

14

Best of BKK From the fight against plastic straws to new and exciting restaurants serving up organic gourmet fare, Bangkok is undergoing an organic onslaught (and it’s about time)

20

Made in Thailand Harnessing the power of Thailand-grown pineapple to develop natural cleaning products

28

40

LIVING IN STYLE 22

Living In Style News and updates for happy and healthy living

24

Health Watch Skintopia Red Light Treatment; BDMS Wellness Clinic

SNAPSHOTS 28

Now New Next Artist Jarupatcha Achavasmit: Material Immaterial

30

Bizarre Thailand Raising edible insects benefits Thai farmers and the environment

32

Joe’s Bangkok Khruangbin: Texas rock band with a Thai twist

34

Very Thai Drinks in a Bag – Part 1

36 Heritage Alliance Français: On the move again

On the cover

Putting less toxins into our bodies by eating foods grown without pesticides, growth hormones, or other dangerous additives, is just one way to live a healthier and more natural lifestyle. Read about the people, venues, and organizations leading the organic onslaught in our cover feature (starting on pg. 12).

TRAVEL 38

Chiang Mai 101 In this special 10-page travel destination feature we look at Chiang Mai—the cultural capital of Northern Thailand

40

See & Do Chiang Mai City temples, Nimmanhaemin Road, MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Royal Projects Doi Inthanon

44

Focus on Chiang Mai Healthy eating—from local city favourites to five star resort restaurants

50

Chiang Rai 101 In this special 6-page travel destination feature we look at Chiang Rai—gateway to the Golden Triangle

52

See & Do Chiang Rai Organic adventures include Doi Tung, tea plantations, and a visit to Phu Chi Fa hilltribe village

55

Upcountry Now This month’s events and festivals throughout Thailand

56

Over The Border Restaurant roving in Malaysia’s capital city, while staying at the luxurious St. Regis Kuala Lumpur

Photo by Mythja / shutterstock.com

Bangkok 101 is available at: 6 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

bangkok101.com


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CentaraGrand_CentralWorld


CONTENTS 66

ART & CULTURE 60

Art Exhibitions The latest museum gallery openings across the city

64

Arts Event Bangkok Biennal: a grassroots, underground art extravaganza

65

Cinema Scope The LGBT Film Festival and more

66

Photo Feature Dax Ward explores spooky abandoned properties across Thailand

FOOD & DRINK

96

88

72

Food & Drink Updates

74

Meal Deals Restaurants offer amazing deals for diners

75

Chew On This Food editor David J. Constable’s take on Bangkok’s culinary chaos

76

Special Report Natural selections at Trisara’s PRU restaurant in Phuket

78

Restaurant Reviews La Scala; Canvas; Steakhouse Co; Rossini at Royal Cliff

84

Breaking Bread with Chef Hasan Rizvi from Charcoal Tandoor Grill & Mixology

86

Eat Like Nym Muslim food at Asheeyah Roddee

Food & Drink Listings Capsule reviews of select restaurants in Bangkok

NIGHTLIFE 92

Nightlife Updates

94

Bar Reviews Zest Bar & Terrace; Riedel Wine Bar & Cellar; Wine Connection The Grill

98

Nightlife Listings Capsule reviews of select nightspots in Bangkok

SIGNING OFF 102

Did You Know?... Internationally acclaimed photographer Patrick Brown is a long time Bangkok resident, with a show on this month at River City Bangkok

ART DIRECTOR

GENERAL MANAGER

Narong Srisaiya

Jhone El’Mamuwaldi

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

DIRECTOR OF SALES

Thanakrit Skulchartchai

Roj Ruangkereunya SENIOR SALES MANAGER

PUBLISHER

STRATEGISTS

Mason Florence

Sarinya Chandranipapong

Sebastien Berger Nathinee Chen

SALES MANAGER

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Dr Jesda M. Tivayanond

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Parinya Krit-Hat

Jim Algie, Luc Citrinot, Philip Cornwell-Smith, William Jangles, Reena Karim, Korakot (Nym) Punlopruksa, Craig Sauers, Tom Vitayakul

MANAGING EDITOR

Bruce Scott EDITOR-AT-LARGE

Joe Cummings

Ornuma Promsrikaew SALES EXECUTIVE

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER

Songkwan Udomdech DISTRIBUTION & MARKETING COORDINATOR

Chakkrit Rattanapan EVENT & SPECIAL PROJECTS

FOOD EDITOR

CONTRIBUTING

David J. Constable

Wasin Banjerdtanakul

PHOTOGRAPHERS

EVENT COORDINATOR

EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS

Patrick Brown, Charles Dharapak, Dax Ward

Panisara Bunnag

Anansit Sangsawang

79

PUBLISHED BY

Talisman Media Group Co., Ltd. 54 Naradhivas Rajanagarinda Soi 4, Sathorn Tai Rd,Yannawa, Sathorn, Bangkok 10120 Tel: 02 286 7821 Fax: 02 286 7829 info@talisman.asia © Copyright Talisman Media Group Co., Ltd 2018. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express written, prior permission of the publisher. Views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher, which accepts no responsibility for them.


CITY PULSE | metro beat

JULY’S HOTTEST TICKETS July 23

THAI HOLIDAYS July 27, 30

There are two national holidays this month, starting with Asahna Bucha Day on July 27th, which marks the day when the Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon in India over 2,500 years ago. Then, on July 30th, Thais celebrate the Royal Birthday of His Majesty King, Maha Vajiralongkorn. This year these two days off work bookend a Saturday and Sunday, making for a long weekend of epic proportions.

LOVERS LAMENTS July 6-7

For two consecutive evenings Check Inn 99 (1/1, Sukhumvit Soi 33) will play host to True Dating Stories, a hilarious live storytelling show about the one topic we all struggle with… dating! Professional storytellers share true tales of (mostly) disastrous dates—the times they got played, made, or just tangled up in that love stuff. And if you want to share in the fun, anonymously write your own dating story on a confession slip, as they will later be read out loud so everyone can laugh together at your amorous anecdote— good, bad, or ugly. Tickets are B200 and things get underway at 7pm. www.facebook.com/checkinn99

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A true international superstar, Celine Dion will be gracing the stage at Impact Arena (Muang Thong Thani) for one night only as part of her Asia-Pacific Summer Tour. It will mark the first time this French Canadian chanteuse has performed in Thailand, and tickets are selling fast. At 50 years young, this award-winning singing legend is still making headlines in the entertainment world, as evidenced by her viral-video hit “Ashes” from the movie Deadpool 2. Tickets range in price from B2,000 to B15,000, with exclusive VIP packages going for B25,000 and B30,000. www.thaiticketmajor.com July 23 American singer/rapper Anderson .Paak is coming to town and local hip-hop fans couldn’t be happier. Known for taking Motown influences in a contemporary funk direction, he and his band The Free Nationals will make their Bangkok debut at Voice Space (BBD Building, Viphavdi Rd). Tickets are B1,800. www.ticketmelon.com

July 25-26

As part of the upcoming Mangosteen Music Fest, the English electro-soul duo Honne will be performing at GMM Live House (8F, CentralWorld) for two nights. Comprised of producer James Hatcher, and singer-producer Andy Clutterbuck, the band first burst onto the music scene in 2014, winning over listeners with their combination of synth-pop and contemporary R&B sounds. Tickets are B1,600 for this all-ages show, and doors open at 6:30pm. www.ticketmelon.com/jamm/mangosteenmusicfest

IF YOU BUILD IT THEY WILL COME July 26-29

Attention Lego lovers… for four days in July the place to be is Plenary Hall, at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre (60 Ratchadaphisek Rd), because BRICKLIVE: Built for Lego Fans is coming to Bangkok! This will be the largest brick-themed event ever held in Southeast Asia, with a display area covering over 4,000 sq.m. It’s an all-ages, interactive experience, divided into zones that allow visitors to get their hands on a huge range and variety of different Lego elements, see rare collections up close, and check out life-size models that include tuk-tuks, ninjas, and the Krunk bear. Tickets are B350 and B500, and each ticket comes with a souvenir and a cashback coupon for B150. www.thaiticketmajor.com bangkok101.com


metro beat | CITY PULSE

ITALIAN FESTIVAL IN THAILAND July 4

The six singers who make up the award-winning a cappella vocal group Upsweep include pop, rock, jazz, and even classical music in their varied repertoire. They’ll be performing at the Music Hall at Chulalongkorn University (254 Phayathai Rd) in a free concert that begins at 7pm.

July 6

The Small Hall at the Thailand Cultural Center (14 Thiam Ruam Mit Rd) presents an intimate production of Puccini’s operatic music featuring some of Thailand’s young opera talents, accompanied by members of the Siam Sinfonietta youth orchestra. Start time is 8pm and admission is free.

July 11

A theatrical presentation by Marco Luly—entitled Italian Comedy in Bangkok—will be staged at the Music Hall at Chulalongkorn University (254 Phayathai Rd). Described as a “feast made of many scenes”, it combines bits of traditional Italian Commedia dell’Arte, alongside elements from the plays of Carlo Goldoni, the father of modern Italian comedy. The actors will be basing some of the scenes on the real experiences of foreigners visiting Asia for the first time, so it’s sure to raise a chuckle. This free performance gets underway at 7pm.

July 11-12

Opera Siam presents Giacomo Puccini’s magnificent opera Madama Butterfly for two nights at the Main Hall of the Thailand Cultural Center (14 Thiam Ruam Mit Rd). Hong Kong-born Singaporean soprano Nancy Yuen (left) stars in the signature role she has performed in opera houses all over the world, while Thailand’s own Somtow Sucharitkul conducts the orchestra. Admission is free, and showtime is 8pm.

July 18

Italian classical guitarist Carlo Fierens, who in 2013 won the ‘Italian National Prize for the Arts’ and has taken part in many guitar festivals in Europe, will be performing solo in a free show put on at the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre (939 Rama I Rd). Start time is 7pm.

July 31

Jazz fans take note, the Fabrizio Sotti Trio will be performing at the City Campus Auditorium at Bangkok University (109, Rama IV Rd), in a free concert beginning at 7pm. Along with top NYC musicians Mino Cinelu and Francisco Mela, Fabrizio paints a dynamic sonic picture that presents him as not just an extraordinary and innovative improviser, but as the harbinger of a unique and distinctive sound. For more information about the ongoing Italian Festival in Thailand 2018, visit the website at: www.ambbangkok.esteri.it bangkok101.com

PATRIOT PICNIC July 7

The annual AmCham Independence Day Picnic is coming to Bangkok Patana School (643 La Salle Rd, Sukhumvit 105), starting from noon and continuing until 7:30pm. Whether American-born or not, everyone is invited to celebrate the 4th of July and enjoy good-natured games such as tug-o-war, egg toss, gunny sack races, and pie-eating contests. There’s also a charity raffle, featuring prizes such as hotel stays, meal vouchers, and more, while food vendors include Roadhouse BBQ, Conrad Bangkok, Dairy Queen, and Sunrise Tacos. Meanwhile, for musical entertainment, Matthew Fischer and the Fishes, Southern Cross, Cactus Terrain, Sticky Fingers, and Groove Junkies will be on hand to play American rock, blues, and folk favourites. Admission is B300 (free for children under 12) and shuttle vans will run from noon till 8:30pm between Bang Na BTS and Bangkok Patana School. For tickets call 02 254 1041 ext 226, or email: kittie@ amchamthailand.com.

DANCE FEST July 29

Originating in Amsterdam, in 2000, Sensation is now a world-class electronic music event that even has a suggested dress code—all white. This year’s mega-EDM blowout event is entitled ‘Rise’, and features an all-star line-up of cutting edge DJs including Whoisjody, Dirty South, Mr. White, Ko:Yu, Dannic, Sam Feldt, and Dash Berlin. It all takes place at BITEC Bangkok (88 Bangna-Trat Rd) starting at 6pm and continuing till 2am. General admission tickets for this 20+ extravaganza start at B3,200, with privileged access to the deluxe zones tickets going for B5,100. www.ticketmelon.com J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 1 1


CITY PULSE | my bangkok

Rosalind Yunibandhu Founder & Managing Director, Arcadia Fine Foods

natural production methods. Finally, it’s making (little) movies. In the world of quality food and wine–and not least in the organic, biodynamic and sustainable segment–I believe that storytelling is key to conveying the true value of products and their ingredients. I work with a talented group of cinematographers and film producers to tell the stories of these products–whether our own, or those of others.

Tell us about yourself. As a lover of both foods and cultures from around the world, I believe that food offers us much more than just a means of sustenance; to me, it’s also a vehicle through which we can tell the unique stories of the land, as well as the people and traditions from which it’s borne. In turn, it helps us to connect more deeply with others. Having spent my childhood in New Zealand and much of my adult life in Thailand, I have a connection to land and nature. This feeling intensified and became the seed from which Arcadia Fine Foods would grow. I founded the company as a way to both discover these stories for myself and to share them with others. How did Arcadia Fine Foods start? It was during a long weekend in Italy, off the back of a business trip to London, that Arcadia really started sprouting. A friend of mine introduced me to an incredible winemaker in Tuscany, whose sincere and infectious passion for his work (“my job is to sell happiness”, he would say) made me realise I wanted to be in the food and wine business, too. So, I returned to Thailand, quit my job–ending an 11-year tenure– and moved to Italy! I had no other plan in mind other than I wanted to create a business that would unite my passions: beautiful foods, wines, cultures and sustainability. With an apartment in a 500-year-old Florentine palazzo as my base, during three months, I travelled across seven regions of Italy with the goal of understanding the country’s food and wine landscape. Lugging my 30kg suitcase of food and wine samples with me, I travelled the country from the very north in Piedmonte, right down to a tiny island in the South, from which I could see the coast of Africa. Eventually, I returned home and created Arcadia. 1 2 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

What is your role and day-to-day responsibilities at Arcadia? I’m the Founder and Managing Director. As a start-up company it means I do a bit of everything. There are four main areas of business on which you’ll catch me multitasking. First, it’s the curation and promotion of unique food and wine products. I’m constantly on the search for unique organic, biodynamic and sustainable foods and wines of the highest quality, and I work with both like-minded importers and suppliers to bring our customers beautiful products with intriguing stories. Second, it’s creating events. Through events we bring together and support like-minded, passionate people. Thirdly, it’s developing educational programmes. In another life, I spent over a decade in consulting, during which I co-founded and led the PwC Sustainability & Climate Change practice and Sustainability Academy in Thailand. I continue to promote awareness and understanding around food and sustainability in my new role and work with our extensive networks of winemakers, artisans, and experts to deliver high-quality food and wine educational experiences focused on organic, biodynamic and

Why are biodynamic wines important? And organic chocolate? In both cases, they are restoring our harmony with nature–whether through their production and consumption or their intriguing stories. Being in balance with nature is not only better for the environment and our physical and mental health, but also, importantly, our tastebuds (well, where there are talented producers involved, at least–but, you see, that’s where Arcadia’s careful curations comes to the rescue!). We’re looking forward to adding more products to our collection–from across the world–but right now we’re not in a major rush, as quality curation and community-building is our focus. You organise events. Can you tell us about past and upcoming projects? In collaboration with Arcadia Fine Foods, Simone Sabaini, Sicilian chocolate-maker and proprietor of the highly-regarded SABADÌ organic Modica chocolate brand, made a very special appearance at About Eatery last December. He gave a lecture on the centuries-old history and process of chocolate-making in Modica, Sicily–and how he set out to revive the tradition with his own modern twist. Giulio Saverino, sommelier and manager of About Eatery, then introduced some carefully selected organic wine pairings–which participants subsequently had the chance to experience. Participants bangkok101.com


my bangkok | CITY PULSE

Arcadia’s “Best Kept Secrets” Private Tasting Event then had the opportunity to discuss their tasting experience with Simone and Giulio. For the second edition of Arcadia Private Tastings in May, we were delighted to collaborate with the wonderful team at Mighty Private Dining (MPD)–a very special new venue giving their unique twist on the dining experience. Indeed, it’s currently one of the city’s ‘best-kept secrets’–but not for long! Surrounded by mysterious antiques from around the world, on this occasion, guests had the chance to discover an exclusive curation of our very own best-kept secrets: some beautiful ‘hidden gem’ biodynamic and organic wines. We also welcomed a very special guest speaker for this evening: Mr. Mirco Caretti of Bellavista Winery, producer of the finest biodynamic Franciacorta–and partner to the reknowned Italian opera house Teatro alla Scala in Milan. On the 13 June, Arcadia brought together a seemingly unlikely marriage of tastes. There was Baladin, one of Italy’s leading craft beers, originating in Piedmont–and Sabadì, a unique natural chocolate produced in Sicily, with a history extending back to the Aztecs. The session began with an introduction to Baladin and its role in shaping the craft beer industry of Italy–and also bangkok101.com

to Sabadi and the unique history and properties of its Modica Chocolates. Guests were invited to participate in an interactive tasting of 5 pairings of Baladin beers and Sabadi Modica Chocolates–whereby each beer and chocolate was carefully selected to bring the best out of the other. Where are your favourite places in Bangkok to find organic produce and ingredients? Gourmet Market for a diverse and interesting selection of local and international products; the Bangkok Farmers’ Markets for local produce; Amantée for organic breads, and Radiance wholefoods for specialist ingredients. I’m also happy to see that Tesco and Tops Market now even have dedicated shelves for organic produce. This is encouraging to see, finally. The only frustrating thing is that it’s kind of hard to find truly delicious fine foods and wines that are also organic. Arcadia tries to bring it all together– for ourselves, and you! That’s the company’s goal. What does the future in Thailand look like for organic? I think it’s bright–although there may be a long road ahead. There’s a lot of energy and innovation around organic agriculture in Thailand, but obstacles too. There appears to

Rosalind Yunibandhu be a prevailing lack of trust in local organic certifications–as well as small producers lacking the wherewithal to go through a certification process in the first place. However, I personally think all that’s a bit beside the point, actually. In my view, the point is for all of us to just take a step in the right direction by taking our own responsibility for who we buy from, and what we eat. Over time, we need to better educate ourselves in what we purchase and from where. Thailand–and Bangkok in particular–does appear to be moving in the right direction and as more outlets stock and promote organic, then the more the message will begin to sink in. As individuals, we should be getting curious, connecting with others, asking the right questions, doing our own research, and getting to know our producers–personally, if possible. And, indeed, that’s what Arcadia and its community is all about. By researching and sourcing the very finest organic and sustainable products, we hope to not only educate customers, but to offer them delicious produce–whether wine, chocolate or other delicious treats– introducing the consumer to organic foods and products, each with their own unique story to tell. interview by David J. Constable www.arcadia-fine-foods.com J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 1 3


CITY PULSE | best of bkk

Keepin’ It Real

Bangkok is undergoing an organic onslaught (and it’s about time)

T

he term “organic” often gets used unscrupulously Ekkamai (976/9 Sukhumvit Rd), which occurs on the second by businesses who see it merely as a marketing weekend of the month. gimmick to lure in conscientious, but gullible, A shopping option that incorporates more than shoppers. By definition, that which is organic belongs to a just food is Ectopia, located on the 4th floor of Siam large class of chemical compounds in which one or more Discovery (989 Rama I Rd), which offers a vast selection of atoms of carbon are covalently linked to atoms of other environmental-friendly products from around the kingdom elements, most commonly hydrogen, oxygen, or nitrogen. and elsewhere—from organic clothes and cosmetics to Which is to say, you could call most things on this planet stationery items and green gadgets, as well as chemical“organic”, and kind of get away with it. free merchandise. But organics as a “movement”, for lack of a better It’s also nice to know that going organic does not term, refers to the organizations and individuals involved mean you have to forego fine dining. In fact, there are so worldwide in the promotion of organic farming and other many restaurants in Bangkok incorporating organic and organic products. Organic farmers utilize fertilizers such as sustainable products into their menus that it would take compost manure, green manure, and bone meal, but they too much space to name them all. But perhaps the one also eschew chemical pesticides and place an emphasis on restaurant making the biggest strides in going “local” is techniques such as crop rotation and companion planting. Haoma (231/3 Sukhumvit Soi 31), where the aim is to Similarly, organic livestock producers humanely raise their have as much as possible on the menu grown right on the animals, with feed that is not a toxic mix of antibiotics and premises in the huge back garden (supplemented by fresh steroids. produce sourced from farmers, breeders, and fishermen In Bangkok, edible organics are everywhere—all you in the vicinity of Bangkok). What Chef Deepanker Khosla have to do is look for them. If you’re looking for has done here is quite amazing, and well worth a traditional organic grocery store, Lemon a look—whether you’re a fervent foodie Farm (who’s flagship store is at 169 Pradit seeking a delicious meal, or an eco-warrior Manutham Road, Lat Phrao) have interested to see one of the lowest long been servicing the city’s clean carbon footprint operations in town. eaters with fresh organic fruits and Even wine lovers can vegetables. They have five branches go green, and at About Eatery all over Bangkok, including Be (Ocean Tower II, Sukhumvit Organic by Lemon Farm (31, The 21, Soi 3)—which specializes in Portico, Langsuan Rd), which also natural, organic, and bio-dynamic incorporates a restaurant. wines—both the selection, and the Farmer’s Markets also take place expertise of owner Guilio Saverino, on a fairly regular basis in the city, is vast. Or, if you prefer home and two of the most well-known are delivery, FIN Wines (www.fin-wine. the Thailand Farmers Market held every com) is a local distributor focused on second weekend of the month at K Village boutique producers that utilize sustainable, (Sukhumvit Soi 26), and the Bangkok Farmers organic, and bio-dynamic production Artful organics Market outside the Gateway Shopping Center in methods. Cheers to that! at Haoma

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bangkok101.com


best of bkk | CITY PULSE

The Last Straw

In Thailand, the war against single-use plastics has finally begun By Bruce Scott

W

service is now giving customers the option of specifying “no hen a 4.5 metre long pilot whale was found plastic cutlery” when ordering their meals. beached on the shore in Thailand’s Songkhla Hotels are also hopping on the no straw bandwagon— province on May 29th—spitting out the plastic which is good, as they are a major waste contributor—and bags it had ingested—veterinarians and volunteers tried for it was recently announced that Anantara are banning several days to save the poor beast. But it was too late, and plastic straws at all their hotels, bars, and restaurants. The an autopsy found another 80 bags and other plastic items, Sukhothai also announced they now have paper straws “on weighing a total of 8 kg, in the whale’s stomach. demand”, which is a small step but a step none-the-less, The story went viral, both locally and abroad, and and the recently launched Akyra TAS Sukhumvit Bangkok although it’s hardly the first incidence of a marine creature will be the first new hotel in Asia to launch without singlekilled by ocean plastics, it does seem to be the proverbial use plastic in its rooms or food and beverage outlets. Even “straw that broke the camel’s back”, causing uproar on the über-luxe out-of-town resorts are joining in, with both social media and bringing to the forefront the fact that the Soneva Kiri in Koh Kood and the Trisara resort in Phuket Thailand remains one of the world’s worst polluters. having switched to biodegradable paper straws. Government initiatives to convince people to use less plastic But why are plastic straws getting all the attention? have been largely ineffective, while the policing of illegal Dana Garber, co-owner of The Smokin’ Pug restaurant, ocean dumping is about as strictly enforced as motorcycle added her two satang to the online conversation by stating: helmet laws. “I always find this amusing, as we, as a restaurant, use According to the United Nations Environment very little plastic, and spend a lot on bamboo for our to-go Programme, 8 million tonnes of plastic, including bottles, packaging, and use recycled napkins. We don’t sell water, packaging, and other waste, are discarded into the ocean we give free water in glass bottles. But why all the rage every year, killing marine life and entering the human about straws?! I find to-go packaging and plastic cutlery the food chain. And according to Ocean Conservancy, a worst. Am I missing something?” Washington-based non-profit, Indonesia, China, the Well Dana, no you’re not missing anything. Straws may Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam dump more plastic into be the cause célèbre, but they are not the only “cause” of the oceans than the rest of the world combined. It’s a sad plastic pollution. Plastic water bottles and plastic bags are state of affairs, and one that the respective governments huge contributors—and 7-11 stores are often cited as the of these nations do not seem to be taking overly seriously, worst offenders—but all superfluous plastic packaging adds although in Thailand the martyred pilot whale has definitely to the mountains of waste being thrown into landfills and increased public pressure. our oceans. Perhaps because we are “grasping at straws” As is almost always the case in situations like these, real to solve this problem, that’s why straws have become the change is coming at a grassroots level and, in an odd quirk rallying point when it comes to starting the discussion on of fate, the plastic drinking straw has become the unwitting plastic waste. And since straws really are a super villain in the epic battle against single-use plastics. In luxury, and not a necessity, they make for recent months, a huge number of bars and restaurants in an easy target. However, all plastic waste is Bangkok (and beyond) have begun doing away with plastic to blame. straws altogether, replacing them with straws made of The recently opened Refill Station, near glass, metal, paper, bamboo, and even pasta (Bucatini, On Nut BTS station, is a bulk store (and café) a thick spaghetti-shaped pasta that is hollow in the where you can refill your empty shampoo, center, is perfect for the task). shower gel, and detergent containers—which An informal social media survey revealed means less plastic packaging in the trash bin. They some—but by no means all—the Bangkok F&B also sell eco-friendly products, including bamboo venues that have eliminated plastic straws. They straws and toothbrushes, wheat straw utensils, and include: Charley Brown’s Mexicana; Broccoli reusable pads. It’s yet another tiny foot forward on Revolution; Tacos & Salsa; ERR Urban Rustic the long road to recovery, but all journeys begin Thai; Bo.lan; Pink Flamingo Bar by Prelude; The with a single step. Missing Burro; Toby’s; Lan Din Café; Plern Plern Café; El Mercado; Cafe Tartine; JUA; Tropic City; Talad Nath; Blue Parrot; Eats Payao; and The 88 NOTE: If you want to find out more about which on Surawong Rd, who have also done away with businesses are limiting their plastic waste, visit Zero Eco-friendy paper napkins. In addition, Food Panda delivery Waste Thailand (www.facebook.com/th.zerowaste). bamboo straw bangkok101.com

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CITY PULSE | best of bkk

City Organic Dining

As the trend in sustainable, organic and farm-to-table restaurants spreads across Asia, here are some of the best and healthiest bites to find in Bangkok By Jim Algie

Sustaina

Sustaina must be one of the few restaurants that stocks organic fruits and vegetables from its own rural farm; located a few hours away near Khao Yai National Park. The menu here is heavy on Japanese favorites and Thai dishes given a Japanese twist, like the papaya salad served with wakkame seaweed. No beef or pork is served, and the chicken is free-range from Thailand. For seafood, they have a direct connection to a fishing trawler off the east-coast, ensuring they serve only the freshest catches. Many of the teas and tonics come from the factory on the farm, set up by founder and president, Sho Oga. As a knowledgeable advocate for all things organic, he is deeply concerned about the plunging nutritional values of agricultural products farmed with heavy amounts of chemicals. “In the last 10 years the level of enzymes, vitamins and minerals in fruit and vegetables has dropped by 50 per cent,” he said. One reason, perhaps, why he has developed such innovative products as the Enzyme Drink, now the company’s second most popular product abroad; and its bestseller, Moroheiya Noodles, made from an Egyptian green known as the “Pharoah’s Vegetable.” After the parent company, Harmony Life, became an international success, distributing its products in more than 10 countries and in some 300 branches of Whole Foods in the US, he set up the Bangkok restaurant in 2009, which contains a shop and a supermarket and also hosts workshops on organic food and farming. To pass on his knowledge about this kind of farming to other farmers, Sho Oga and his colleagues organize two-day workshops every month on the company farm for an average of 500 farmers from around Southeast Asia. Tel: 02 258 7573 | www.harmonylife.co.th 1 6 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

Bo.lan The restaurant’s founders are a Thai-Australian couple, Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava and Dylan Jones, who met while working in the kitchen of London’s Nahm—the first Thai restaurant to ever receive a Michelin star—under Chef David Thompson. After relocating to Thailand they became local purveyors of the Slow Food movement and started Bo.lan, the name based on an amalgamation of their names. Bo.lan’s tagline is “essentially Thai.” This means that the menu is stuffed with different dishes from all over the kingdom, based on ancient recipes culled from yellowing cookbooks with contemporary flourishes. The menu changes with the seasons, as Dylan said, “We have to be adaptable. So if it’s sustainable, it’s also seasonal, which means you can’t sell something all year round. To understand sustainability you have to look at the bigger picture, which is nature itself.”

One of the essentials of the farm-to-table and organic movement is sourcing foods locally so they’re fresher and do not enlarge the restaurant’s carbon footprint. When Bo.lan began some six years ago, the only chemical-free staple they could easily get was rice from Raithong Organics. “If you wanted organic lemongrass or Thai basil you had to buy a huge amount, like 50 kilos,” reflects Bo, who did a Masters Degree in Gastronomy in Australia and won the first award for Asia’s Best Female Chef at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards in 2013. “These days it’s easier as many smaller farms have grouped together. So we can call the farmers directly to see what’s available rather than scouring local markets.” The restaurant also serves as a nexus for the Slow Food, organic and sustainability movements, as the staff pass on bangkok101.com


best of bkk | CITY PULSE their accrued wisdom through cooking classes and also serve as grocers for homemade organic products. Tel: 02 260 2962 | www.bolan.co.th

The Oyster Bar Bangkok Having studied marine biology and worked in the seafood business for much of his life, Billy Narinelli (pictured), the owner of The Oyster Bar Bangkok and a shellfish exporter, understands the high and low tides of this industry better than most. He has a preacher’s zeal for all things organic and sustainable and that means no endangered species and no farmed salmon, only organic produce and healthy GABA rice on the menu. It also means that all of the dressings are fresh: no MSG or other chemical additives to fret over. Known as the “Oyster King,” Billy’s restaurant has an appetizing array delivered fresh from the US and Japan twice a week. For those new to this taste, the Kumamoto, a small oyster with a light flavour from Japan, is highly recommended. The restaurant also has a good selection of Atlantic specimens, from Blue Point, Duck Island, Delaware Bay, and Southampton in Long Island. The latter have been farmed by the Shinnicock Indians in what is the world’s first solar-powered oyster hatchery. High-rollers with expensive tastes may wish to sample the Rolls Royce of oysters: the Iwagaki. These big beauties are from 10 to 20 years old. At B3,000 (US$100) per dozen, and are reserved for diners with deeper pockets. That said, the Oyster Bar Bangkok has plenty of mid-range fish dishes and reasonably priced Alaskan king crab, plus tasty ravioli served with healthy algae called spirulina. Tel: 02 212 4809 | www.theoysterbarbangkok.com

Eat Me A hybrid of restaurant-cum-gallery that is part architectural marvel and part glitzy cocktail bar, Eat Me is one of Bangkok’s top restaurants with a cuisine that’s described as “modern, international, regional.” Executive chef Tim Butler, originally from Maine in the US, has designed an ever-shifting menu where diners can often see at first glance where their food comes from and in the case of the fish, how it’s been caught. He and his team source whatever they can from around the country, whether that’s produce from wet markets, night markets or rabbits from the Royal Project. In Thailand, it’s not the consumers who are pushing this movement towards healthier fare, as they do in many Western countries, it’s mostly been the Western chefs like bangkok101.com

Tim who have taken it upon themselves to find the best produce possible. “It’s unthinkable for me to source the cheapest products out there,” say Tim. “I wouldn’t serve them in my home to my family or friends so I wouldn’t serve them in the restaurant.” For that reason, he wonders whether this movement should be called “ethical restaurants” or even “socially responsibly restaurants.” As he continues, “Calling them “organic” is not a promise that any restaurateur could completely guarantee.” Tel: 02 238 0931 | www.eatmerestaurant.com

May Veggie Another obstacle facing this whole revolution in healthy food is the price. How many of us working stiffs and desk jockeys can afford to shop for organic produce at the supermarket or go out for regular meals at such eateries? That’s one of the selling points at May Veggie, an economical vegan restaurant within strolling distance of the Asok BTS station. It’s a cozy and unpretentious place, simply furnished with wooden chairs and tables and floral motifs on the walls and ceilings. At first glance, the menu yields a bounty of delightfully different surprises, like “vegetarian bacon,” fried rice that comes in a sawn-off pineapple, and a version of the savory Isaan staple nam dtok with mushrooms subbing in for meat. My favorite though, is the vegetarian chicken steak with pepper and basil leaves, which comes with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables. To boost the mineral and nutrient count, I’d recommend washing it down with some fresh carrot or beetroot juice. The friendly staff add to the serene vibe of this musicfree restaurant, which has a small selection of organic products for sale, such as coconut oil and rice. Tel: 02 118 2967 | www.mayveggiehome.com J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 1 7


CITY PULSE | best of bkk

Good Gut Feeling

An enterprising duo brings the first ever Probiotic Chef ’s Table to Bangkok By Bruce Scott

Takashi Hirasawa (left) and Chef Bunn ‘Ik’ Borriboon

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e’ve all come to accept the fact that “organic” produce—free of chemical additives and harmful pesticides—is much better for our health than processed foods and/or those harvested on an industrial scale, but it’s hardly the last step on the road to full dietary recovery. Lately there’s been a major buzz around probiotics, described essentially as “microorganisms that are claimed to provide health benefits when consumed”. And earlier this year, Bangkok welcomed its first Probiotic Chef Table restaurant, proving that super-healthy food can also be super-tasty. The primary pair behind this operation are Chef Bunn ‘Ik’ Borriboon, a familiar presence on Thai TV cooking shows (Master Chef, Iron Chef Thailand, Independent Kitchen, etc), and Japanese native Takashi Hirasawa, founder of Bangkok health-food supplier Lacto-Life. They’re both firm believers in the power of probiotics, and as a team Chef Ik handles the cooking while Takashi, the project leader, describes his role as “fermentation master”, since almost all probiotic food items involve fermentation of some kind. Fermenting is a fairly universal concept, with examples as diverse as kimchi from Korea, sauerkraut from Germany, pungent fish sauce from Thailand, yoghurt from all over Central Europe, and both miso soup and sake from Japan. For Takashi, the techniques he uses are mainly based on traditional Japanese fermentation—which farmers there have been practicing for centuries—but in

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his Bangkok kitchen laboratory the ability to experiment allows him to attempt to ferment almost anything, using a special slow heat dehydration process. “Fermentation can be applied to any food,” he says, “but it doesn’t always mean it will be tasty.” To properly understand the dietary role of probiotics and fermentation you have to be willing to take a bit of a science lesson, and Takashi is an excellent teacher; explaining not only the concept of probiotics, but also prebiotics and biogenics (the biomolecule), and how they all work together in our digestive system. “In probiotics,” Takashi begins, “we are always talking about microorganisms. Probiotics includes the bacteria and other microorganisms, and prebiotics is food for these microbes—as certain vegetables, for instance, contain things that feed certain microorganisms. The third component is called biogenics, which is something created by probiotics. When the bacteria die they release a lot of beneficial things, such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and DNA and RNA. “The food that we serve contains live beneficial microorganisms; bacteria, mold, and yeast—we use all of them, but mainly lactobacillus.” Also known as lactic acid bacteria, lactobacillus is good for gut health, and has been said to improve intestinal flow and benefit the entire digestive system. Many overall immunity issues are also related to having bangkok101.com


best of bkk | CITY PULSE good bacteria in your gut, and it was a fanatical interest in health improvement that led the principal investor behind the chef’s table project to seek out Takashi and his probiotic prowess. This very wealthy investor also happens to be a high-ranking executive at Isuzu Thailand, which is why the probiotic Chef’s Table dinners are held in a stately modernist mansion that is located directly beside the Isuzu dealership on Wattana Tham Road (just south of the Thailand Cultural Centre). Set well back from the busy street, and hidden behind a grove of leafy trees, this lavish abode is the executive’s actual home. However, the spacious kitchen—as well as a high-ceilinged, circular room overlooking the swimming pool, dominated by a large, ornate dining table— is the probiotic playground of Takashi and Chef Ik, and the setting for their chef’s table lunches and dinners.

But what’s the food here actually like? Upon visiting the pair, one blazing hot afternoon—on a day when no chef’s lunch or dinner was scheduled—I am greeted with a refreshing cool glass of pink lemonade made with plum enzyme fermented syrup and sweetened with organic brown sugar. It’s the same soothing refresher that starts off the 5-course lunch (B1,900) or dinner (B3,000) set menu. As we discuss the science of fermentation, Chef Ik brings out a wooden platter with two large slices of hearty homemade sourdough bread, both topped with vegan cashew nut cheese and surrounded by an assortment of pickled items—eggplant, cucumber, red radish, and daikon. On one bread slice lies and array of marinated cherry tomatoes with fragrant basil, and on the other slice cured salmon, lightly torched before serving to give it a smoky essence, sits atop thin slices of boiled egg. Everything on the platter is probiotic in some way. Even the bread dough is made using the pair’s own lacto premium fermentation liquid solution instead of water. Next up I sample a leafy green salad with tofu—all deliciously fresh and drizzled with black sesame dressing—while for beverages I’ve moved on to a glass of the satisfying mixed fruit punch, slow fermented for about three days. There are seven different fruits in the drink, but it’s hard to tell where one flavour begins and another ends as they’ve virtually fused together into one spectacular citric synthesis. bangkok101.com

As I scan some of the other items available on the sample printed menu lists—sous vide chicken with umami vegetable sauce, germinated brown rice, sauerkraut salad, short fermented Australian rib eye—I savour a small glass of the slightly alcoholic home-brewed organic plum cider (which ferments for about two to three months). Chef Ik also informs me that organic wine is available during the regular chef’s table meals, priced at B250 a glass. Before our discussion wraps up, a colourful dessert platter is prepared containing three probiotic treats. The bright green matcha tofu pudding is light and pleasant, the dark chocolate ball filled with fermented cashew nuts and coconut oil is predictably sweet (but not drastically so), but it’s the tart and tangy fermented plum soy yoghurt sorbet with pickled fruits that would make me ask for seconds. “Fermented soy milk is one of the best probiotic ingredients,” Takashi adds, “so we make soy yoghurt from it.” Having sampled just a small portion of what this kitchen is capable of producing, I still leave the table feeling well fed, but thankfully not heavy or bloated. The fare is all quite light, in fact, and much of it is vegetarian so I feel extra healthy too. Like the organic food revolution, the fermentation revival proves once again that the ways of the past can show us a lot about what’s best for our future. In generational terms fermenting only fell out of fashion recently, when refrigeration became universally widespread, so the ancient wisdom has not yet disappeared entirely. “To do fermentation at home is nothing special for Japanese people,” Takashi points out. “In my grandma’s generation, everybody did it.”

For those interested in making their own probiotics at home, these fermenting fellows also conduct informative four-day workshops each month. And there are plans afoot to set up a delivery system for people who want this kind of healthy food on demand, plus separate projects involving probiotic cosmetics and skin care items, as well as hydroponics and aqua-culture (fish farming). NOTE: The next public Probiotic Chef Table takes place on July 14th, although private lunches and dinners for groups up to 12 persons can also be arranged. Call 063 954 9942 for more information. www.facebook.com/probioticcheftable J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 1 9


CITY PULSE | made in thailand

A New Era of Pineapple Power

How one US businessman living in Thailand cracked nature’s code and discovered a remarkably effective natural cleaning agent By William Jangles

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ntuitively, it makes sense once you know the solution. Who hasn’t eaten one too many pieces of pineapple and thought to themselves: that has bite! The tangy, acidic tropical fruit, it turns out, offers more than just a sweet, refreshing taste. It can also act, if harnessed correctly, as a potent natural cleaning agent, working equally well in products as diverse as laundry detergent, baby bottle cleaner, and liquid hand soap. Peter Wainman, a US businessman who has lived and worked in Thailand for more than a decade, first tapped into this hidden potential in 2010, when his company Equator Pure Nature—the manufacturer of Pipper Standard-branded products—began searching for new ways to create natural cleaning agents. A lifelong sufferer of allergies, Wainman had recently endured an extreme allergic outbreak that left painful, burning rashes on his skin. The cause, he discovered, was the chemical residue from his fabric softener. “At the time, there was hardly any information about the link between chemicals used for cleaning in the home and serious allergies. I didn’t even consider the possibility it was something on my clothing,” he recalled.

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“In my research, I learned that the chemical residue from this fabric softener essentially would never fully wash out, so every piece of clothing I owned was a potential health risk,” he added. Startled by the discovery, Wainman threw out all of his clothes, and he and his wife purged their house of chemical cleaners. But they ran into problems when they tried to find alternatives. They realized there were no professional, effective natural cleaning products widely available in Thailand. “I turned to my wife and said, ‘Let’s just make these ourselves.’” Wainman, who had studied engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and had previously worked in research and development, oversaw the R&D process in Bangkok, hiring a microbiologist, a chemist, and lab assistants to help conduct the tests. Four years and thousands of experiments later—they tested many fruits and herbs, including lime, roselle, banana, and others—they hit upon their perfect solution: a fermentation process that required only water, sugar, and pineapple, each of which was abundantly available in Thailand. bangkok101.com


made in thailand | CITY PULSE The sugar-fruit solution was fermented with lactic acid bacteria, the same probiotic bacteria used to create yogurt, and the result was a natural cleaning fluid full of biosurfactants, organic acids, and powerful enzymes. Most importantly, Wainman said, the solution cleaned comparably to chemical cleaners “without adding any harmful chemicals.” Pipper Standard’s products, which have since launched in 12 markets across Asia, are all nonirritation and hypoallergenic-certified, and free of known allergens, he said.

“There was, and still is, a rising trend in the US and Europe toward using natural products,” Wainman said. “That trend is still new in Asia. But as consumers learn about the potential health risks posed by their household cleaning products, it’s easy for them to switch to natural products. A lot of what we do is education because, like me, many people don’t know about the association between their health issues and the chemicals in their homes,” he added. When he was battling his allergies, the American clean-tech entrepreneur wasn’t alone. Allergy and asthma rates are skyrocketing around the world—and particularly in Asia. In Thailand, 49 per cent of children in greater Bangkok now suffer from allergies, an increase of 33 per cent from just two decades ago. In China, one-third of the country’s population (around 460 million people) has allergies, according to the World Allergy Organization. The sharp increase, doctors say, is driven in large part by the rapid urbanization that’s occurring in the region, as industrial pollution and vehicle fumes heighten people’s sensitivities to common allergy and asthma triggers. Earlier this year, the environmentalist group Greenpeace declared that Bangkok was experiencing “the worst air pollution in its history,” citing the global-standard Air Quality Index, which spiked to “very unhealthy” levels, the second-worst level, just below “hazardous.” A less well-known factor causing allergy rates to surge, along with a host of other health problems, is overexposure to everyday chemicals. But doctors—and consumers—are quickly connecting the dots. “The question for me has always been: What can I control in my environment?” said Kamolthip bangkok101.com

Jirasetpatana, a Thai mother who embraced natural products after the birth of her son, who is now ninemonths-old. “I can’t do anything about the air pollution or traffic, but I can choose what I bring into my house,” the Bangkok resident said. “After I switched from chemicals products to natural ones, I felt better personally, and I also think it was the right thing to do for my child’s health.” In the US, household-cleaning brands like Seventh Generation, Method, and Honest Company are part of a booming industry that’s upended the traditional chemicalcleaner market in recent years, as consumers increasingly seek out natural product alternatives. These shifting winds mirror other consumer movements that already swept through the food and cosmetics industries, prompting a widespread drive toward organic, fresh food—the huge popularity of farmers’ markets is a perfect illustration—and toward all-natural cosmetics, skincare and makeup.

“We are beginning to see a definite shift in consumer mindset in Asia toward awareness about the chemicals people are being exposed to in their everyday lives,” Wainman said. His company is at the forefront of these changes in Asia. In May, the European Patent Office awarded Pipper Standard three patents for its fermented fruit technology. In June, China’s state intellectual property office granted them a patent, too. These followed multiple other patents previously awarded in the US, Singapore, and Taiwan. “To our knowledge, we are the only natural cleaning brand in the world with patented technology,” Wainman said. Pipper Standard is also the only massmarketed brand wholly produced in Southeast Asia, and it has emerged as a market leader in natural household cleaning products in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Wainman said his company aims to be the market leader in greater China by 2020. “After my allergic reaction, I was more careful about what I used in my home, but I also wanted to find a way to ensure other people didn’t suffer as I did,” he said. “I had a terrible allergic reaction, and I would prefer that other people not have that kind of thing happen to them.” J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 2 1


Try a Lavender Orchid Calming Retreat at the Okura Spa


| LIVING IN STYLE

LIVING IN STYLE lovin’ that lavender From July 1st till September 30th, the OKURA SPA, located on the 25th floor of THE OKURA PRESTIGE BANGKOK hotel, is offering a wonderful Lavender Orchid Calming Retreat therapy that encompasses a 30-minute body scrub, followed by a 60-minute aromatherapy massage that can be extended by another half an hour—because you can’t have too much of a good thing! Administered by trained therapists in tranquil private confines, the treatment begins with a half-hour organic sugar scrub with lavender and orchid extract, designed to encourage cell turnover and generate younger-looking skin. The second part is an aromatherapy massage with essential orchid and lavender oils. It eases stress, revives tired muscles, and awakens the senses, leaving you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. This package is available daily from 10am till 10pm, priced at B3,800++ for 90 minutes, and B4,200++ for 120 minutes. www.okurabangkok.com

ginormous java In late May American-based coffee overlords STARBUCKS opened what is being called their “secondlargest” store in the world right here in Bangkok—the largest being in Shanghai. Located on the first floor of the CENTRALWORLD mall (999/9 Rama I Rd) this newly opened cavernous coffee complex takes up 2,694 sq.m, and features a co-working space as well as two meeting rooms. It’s also the first branch in Thailand to feature STARBUCKS DRAFT, where select coffees and tea—including Nitro Flat White, Nitro Cold Brew, Nitro Peach Tea, and Nitro Latte—are served on tap, like beer at a bar. The interior, meanwhile, features decorative murals from various Thai artists. www.starbucks.co.th

go organic and go wild Located in the Sathorn/Silom area, the recently launched WILD CLINIC & ORGANIC TREAT clinic (44/6, Sathorn Soi 8) takes a natural approach to skin care and body beautiful treatments. Alongside facials, skin lasers, waxing, and Botox, you can opt for the aptly named Fountain of Youth, which uses water pressure to renew your skin. Other intriguing treatments include: Facial Pilates, which incorporates Japanese sake rice yeast; the Marine Facial Pilates, which uses live plankton; and the Body Contouring Program that combines fat vibration, pulsatile vacuum, and radiofrequency emission to reduce cellulites and smoothen skin. Open daily from 11am till 8pm. www.facebook.com/wildclinic

another swede deal If you haven’t made the pilgrimage out to the new IKEA outlet in BANG YAI—the second outlet in Thailand of this internationally renowned Swedish furniture retailer—then set aside a full day for it, as it is reputed to be the largest IKEA store in Southeast Asia. Clocking in at 50,278 sq.m of floor space, and displaying more than 8,000 household items, it’s also home to two restaurants. Furthermore, the eatery on the mezzanine level, overlooking the furniture showroom, is IKEA’s first restaurant designated specifically to serve Swedish-style “healthy” food. In addition, the store is the first in Thailand to be certified at the highest level for Green Building standards by LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. www.ikea.com/th

bangkok101.com

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LIVING IN STYLE | health watch

A Bright Idea

Futuristic red light therapy treatments at Skintopia By Bruce Scott

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sing light alone to alleviate everything from stretch marks to muscle pain may seem like a far-fetched, futuristic fantasy, but the science behind the Red Light Therapy treatments at Skintopia is real—in fact, it was developed by NASA many decades ago. “The astronauts were using red lights to help grow the plants in space,” explains Roy Thomas Conder, Managing Director of Skintopia. “Then they noticed that working around them so much they were getting a reaction as well. That’s when NASA started researching red light therapy.” Red light exists at the far end of the visible light 2 4 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

spectrum, closer to infrared light and far removed from UV light. As a beauty treatment it’s great for hair, and it has a rejuvenating and firming effect on skin; reducing wrinkles, blemishes, large pores, and other signs of ageing. The light penetrates about 15 ml. into the skin—creams only go down 2 or 3 ml. by comparison—and each individual session lasts a mere quarter of an hour. “Because of the way collagen works you only need 15 minutes, so it can be part of people’s daily routine, or they can do it two or three times a week,” Roy goes on to say, noting that the effects are more noticeable over time with multiple treatments.

Red light therapy naturally stimulates the production of collagen and elastin in the body, and increases circulation by forming new capillaries, which speeds up the healing process in damaged skin. Increased collagen—the most abundant protein in the body—has a long list of health benefits, including eradicating rosacea, repairing sun damage, and making bones and joints stronger, as well as improving digestion, sleep patterns, natural hormone balance, and moisture levels in the skin overall. And while many people use red light therapy to look younger and more beautiful, athletes also use it to build muscles, optimize performance, and treat sports injuries. “The Premier League in the UK have just started using it,” Roy points out. “When a player pulls a muscle they can be off for 6 to 8 weeks. bangkok101.com


health watch | LIVING IN STYLE

One of three red light machines at Skintopia Using this red light therapy, along with regular physio, they can be back on the pitch two or three weeks quicker.” The first Skintopia in Thailand was opened in Lad Krabang (out by the airport), but relocating in September of 2017 to the 3rd floor of the busy Times Square Mall, just outside the Asoke BTS station, has proven to be a wise move. The current location offers a choice of three red light machines— each housed in its own private room—and a single treatment is priced at B2,500. However, purchasing a multiple treatment package lessens the overall cost (for instance, buying a 24-session package works out to just B1,350 per visit). So what’s it like to undergo such high-tech healing? My initial visit begins with a brief explanation of the procedure, after which I choose my treatment room of preference. Two of the available machines are upright, like a cylindrical shower stall, while the third is more like a conventional lie-down tanning bed. I choose the bed, and once in the room am instructed to disrobe—underwear or au natural is your choice—and apply certain creams; one for under my eyes and one for the rest of my face. I’m also instructed to apply a special micro bangkok101.com

mist spray over the rest of my body before starting the procedure. These skin products are specially designed to work with red light, enhancing its penetration into the body. Alone in the room you have about five minutes to prep, after which the procedure begins. I’ve never used a tanning bed before, so to describe this type of device I’d say it looks a bit like a human-sized sandwich grill. The lower half, where you lie down, has a concave sheet of thick glass, behind which are rows of what look like long fluorescent tubes. The upper half is much the same, and after settling in you pull the lid down over you (a small gap remains so you don’t feel trapped or anything). When the red lights come on they are blindingly bright so keep your eyes closed, and if you have sensitive eyes request to use the goggles or eyelid protectors. The colour of the light itself is more pinkish than red, and while the tubes do give off heat, each machine has a cooling fan to regulate the temperature during your treatment. To pass the time you can listen to music from your smartphone, or just indulge in some quiet meditation. The 15 minutes pass swiftly, and the lights shut off automatically when

Roy Thomas Conder the time is up. After rising from the machine you apply a third cream all over your body, and then get dressed and return to the reception area while the glass surfaces of the bed is disinfected with an alcohol spray before the next client arrives. Out of curiosity ask Roy if there is a difference between the lie-down machine and the upright booths? “They’re essentially the same,” he says. “But some of the girls, the ones that go to the gym a lot, they like to stand up, put the music on full blast, and just dance away while they’re in there.” After just one visit it’s unlikely that you’ll notice a profound difference, which is why multiple treatments are recommended. However, I do have to admit that the next day I happily slept in late (a rarity), and later that same evening I was telling someone about how I’ve recently been trying to lead a healthier lifestyle and they actually said, “Well, your skin looks great!”

Skintopia

3F, Unit 314, Times Square Bldg. 246 Sukhumvit Rd (Asoke BTS) Tel: 092 256 0230 www.skintopia.asia J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 2 5


LIVING IN STYLE | health watch

BDMS Wellness Clinic A specialist clinic for the best preventative care opens in Bangkok “A wise man ought to realize that health is his most valuable possession.” - Hippocrates -

The new BDMS Wellness Clinic, located on Wireless Road, offers comprehensive health check-ups and preventative care along with a host of professional and state-of-the-art facilities and services.

Acquiring the Park Nai Lert Hotel space, formerly owned by his excellency, 2 6 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

Phraya Bhakdi Noraset, Dr. Prasert, President & Group Chief Executive Officer of Bangkok Dusit Medical Services PLC (BDMS), wishes to base the Clinic on the same founding principles as his excellency—famed for curating fine-goods from around the world—by bringing the most advanced technology in preventative care to Bangkok. The BDMS Wellness Clinic—set within the lush greenery of Nai Lert Park— is the largest operator of private hospitals in Thailand and has grown its network to over 45 hospitals in Thailand and Southeast Asia, with a network of over 10,000 physicians as well as partnerships with globally-renown institutions. Their interdisciplinary team of world-class

physicians work under the belief that prevention is always better than cure and that some of the biggest health risks we face can be prevented if the body is kept at optimal health. With its distinguished reputation in medicine, health care and preventative bangkok101.com


health watch | LIVING IN STYLE rehabilitation (and “prevention”) after surgery in bones, muscles and joints. At the Musculoskeletal & Sports Clinic, guests and members are given a personal gym card to use DAVID Health Solution exercise machines. Through the use of the card, they can store and monitor their tests, results and achievements on the DAVID machines, recording workout plans and progress without having to keep a journal. The machines also help therapists in making better treatment choices and motivate clients in their recovery journey. The BDMS Wellness Clinic is the only fullyserviced DAVID gym and clinic in Asia.

science, the BDMS Wellness Clinic continues to be the market leader, forming a collection of leading medical experts, state-of-the-art technology and advanced medical practices almost unrivalled anywhere in the world.

Medical staff collaborate on bespoke programs, working face-to-face with clients and focusing on each individual’s health journey to develop personalised health optimisation programs, enabling the peoples and communities they serve to enjoy good health and long lives. With the advancements in regenerative medicine today, medical specialists are able to examine the body right down to the molecular level.

Digestive Wellness Clinics. It’s safe to say, that with some of the most qualified and experienced medical practitioners in the world, each visitor to the BDMS Wellness Clinic will find themselves in expert care, with access to doctors from across the breadth of the medical profession. The Musculoskeletal & Sports Clinic is the first facility to open within the Clinic, with phased enhancements due to open throughout the year. The Sports Clinic offers a full-service facility, focusing on physical and muscle strengthening, physiotherapy, pre-operative training and rehabilitation. Led by Dr Jiri Dvorak, staff are on-hand to create bespoke programs set around each individual’s needs, with a focus on core exercises. Incorporating the use of DAVID Health Solution exercise machines, programs cater to all symptoms; the DAVID machines offering comprehensive evaluations and treatment concepts for

As part of the Musculoskeletal & Sports Clinic, 3D motion analysis is offered, mapping movement in a particular sport and seeking to optimize it. This science is now commonplace in many professional sports such as tennis, golf and cricket, but is not widely available to the public… until now. For dietary advice, a team of nutritionists and dietitians are on-hand to help design and customise dietary programs. The Wellness Supermarket on the ground floor carries a range of specialist products including organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, and diabetic-friendly products. The new BDMS Wellness Clinic offers comprehensive health check-ups and expert advice from the world’s best medical professionals, enabling customers to live longer, healthier and happier. In doing so, they spread the message that “Prevention is the key” offering consultations and revolutionary faciliites that ensure a full quality of life is maximised.

Consisting of several clinics under one roof, a full spectrum of care is available from the Musculoskeletal & Sports Clinic to Regenerative, Neuroscience, Cardioscience, Dental, Fertility, and

BDMS Wellness Clinic 2/4 Wireless Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 | Tel:+66 2 826 9999 |

www.bdmswellness.com

bangkok101.com

bdmswellnessclinic

J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 2 7


SNAPSHOTS | insight

Jarupatcha Achavasmit: Material Immaterial 2 8 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

bangkok101.com


insight | SNAPSHOTS

Jarupatcha Achavasmit B uddhist teachings emphasize on impermanence and immaterialism. However, when one lives in a ‘Material World,’ it’s difficult to detach oneself from the various kinds of materials out there. Jarupatcha 'Pook' Achavasmit is a material designer and has delved deep into the realm of matters, discovering the essence of social fabrics and moral fibres. Always curious and with a passion for textiles, textures, and construction since her childhood, Pook recalls, “My maternal grandmother imported Singer sewing machines and taught me how to use them. Other techniques such as stitching, knitting, cross-stitching, and embroidery followed. I would gaze at the weave structures of my handkerchief through the microscope and was in awe of its warp and weft and twisted yarns.” She thus decided to study Textile Design at King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang. Later, Pook was awarded a scholarship at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, learning Fashion and Textiles with Prof. Sherri Smith, who mentored her into conceptualizing and designing textiles into art.

NOW NEW NEXT Join Bangkok-born but internationally bred aesthete Dr. Tom Vitayakul as he meets with creative minds and artistic souls from both Thailand and overseas. From traditional, to contemporary and avant-garde, he finds out about the visions, inspirations, and creations of these talented individuals. bangkok101.com

Pook recollects, “My flat world of textiles suddenly became threedimensional sculptures with the loom of 32 harnesses and various weaving methods. It’s where art and science entwine.” She furthered her postgraduate studies in Sustainable Textile Design by combining traditions with technology at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art & Design, University of The Arts London. Upon returning to Thailand, Pook began lecturing Textile Design at her alma mater and consults for many companies and organizations, as well as using her experience within the role as Fabric Director at Mae Fah Luang Foundation. Inspired by hill tribe textiles, her complex weaves with new materials and colours, were incorporated into the fashion show for the brand at Bangkok Fashion Week in 2005. For Tai Ping, a well-known carpet and rug manufacturer, she spun 100 tonnes of leftover carpet fibres worth 40 million baht into wall-to-wall rugs, helping to up-cycle carpet waste into art and adding value to industrial waste. As Pook explains, “My pivoting point came when Dr. Sumet Tantivejkul from King Rama IX’s Chaipattana Foundation asked me to help the Vetiver Make-over Project. After reading Richard Grimshaw’s book, King Bhumibol envisioned to have vetiver planted all over Thailand. While covering the soil surface, vetiver’s useful leaves can be fed to cattle and used for roof thatching.” Armed with new materials, Pook founded Kiddi Project at Kredtrakarn Shelter, where underage females rescued from human trafficking learn craft-making. As a healing process, the project teaches and empowers girls with new skills for supporting a source of income, helping them to overcome suffering and trauma. “I poured my energy to help them. These teenagers learn how to make hats, bags, and other products from vetiver and other materials. I learned about giving without thinking about return benefits. They show me that there’s still hope.”

Pook continues, “I integrate these projects into the educational programme with my students. They learn how to grow, collect, dry, and spin vetiver leaves. They involve village craftsmakers, design product prototypes, and create look books and presentations. The products with potential are sold at Patpat shops and even distributed to Japan and Italy.” After dealing with many textiles and working with manufacturers, engineers, designers, and marketeers, Pook innovated with new challenges—metals. In 2016, she co-founded Ausara Surface with her friend, Shoson Tatawakorn, specializing in the niche category of vertical textiles for walls, panels, blinds, room dividers, and hanging sculptures. The metallic creations have sparkled through new interior spaces like the Sun, the meaning of Ausara. “I like recycling industrial wastes into higher values," says Pook. "I found and designed car safety belts in wrong colours into wall panels. It’s now exhibited at Pure Gold: Upcycled Upgraded for German International Foreign Affairs at TCDC and will travel globally. PTT have asked us to recycle PET bottles and bags from the garbage around Koh Samed, Rayong. So these plastic bottles and bags are cleaned, grounded, stripped into fibres for knitting. With Prapakas Angsusingha, Hook’s fashion designer, he applied the fabric and other materials into a huge chada, a headdress, in Remake, Recycle, Reborn at Bangkok Design Week 2018. So the garbage lowly form was transformed into the highest form of adornment.” Through her art and design, working with textiles and up-cycling, Pook is finding a calming balance. “The cycle of life, everything is in constant decay—at its core, its molecule, its atom. Things keep constructing, deconstructing, and transforming all the time. Through Buddhist teachings and meditations, I’ve finally found happiness within and peace of mind. By giving, I help improve education, do charitable works and have a satisfying business. My life is in balance.” J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 2 9


SNAPSHOTS | bizarre thailand

Edible Insects

Bug farming makes both ecological and economical sense

By Jim Algie

F

or travelers visiting Thailand, insect vendors on the streets of Bangkok and Chiang Mai make for fantastic photo ops and drunken dares. Long an alternative source of protein in the country’s rural regions, insects have shed some of their stigma as the most repugnant snack among Western consumers. Indeed, research has shown that caterpillars have more protein than red meats or chicken and they come with much less saturated fat. They are also packed with vitamins and minerals. “Eating a few insects is like taking a multivitamin,” Patrick B. Durst, a senior FAO official who coauthored a study on Thailand’s edible

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insect industry, told the New York Daily News in 2014. Insect farms are easy on the environment too. The water and food used to nurture them is but a drop in the bucket when compared to cattle farms, which are one of the biggest causes of deforestation. To produce a pound of beef takes 25 pounds of feed, 2,900 gallons of water and plenty of room for bovines to roam. To produce a pound of crickets, conversely, takes a mere two pounds of feed, one gallon of water and a cubicle. None of the most contentious supplements like growth hormones

or antibiotics are needed. Nor do insects produce bursts of methane gases from either end like cows do. For farmers in Thailand’s northeast, who are used to reaping only one rice harvest per year, crickets can be harvested every two months. They are also more resistant to periods of drought (a common occurrence in the northeast) and with around 200 different species for sale in Thailand, offer plenty of diversity. Now that “food security” has become a buzzword with the most ominous overtones, insects are winging their way into the diets of many health bangkok101.com


bizarre thailand | SNAPSHOTS

buffs and the higher realms of environmentally correct foodstuffs. With some 20,000 small-scale farms operating in Thailand, according to the FAO, the kingdom produces around 7,500 tons of edible insects per year, making it the world leader. In 2013 the UN agency released a book called Six-legged Livestock: Edible Insect Farming, Collecting

Bizarre

Thailand

Bizarre Thailand's columnist Jim Algie has parlayed his experiences living in Thailand into books like the collection of short stories entitled The Phantom Lover and Other Thrilling Tales of Thailand (2014), and Bizarre Thailand: Tales of Crime, Sex, and Black Magic. Check out www.jimalgie.club for more. bangkok101.com

and Marketing in Thailand that chronicles the kingdom’s success story in opening a new chapter in health food, as what was once unpalatable to Western palates has turned into something of a delicacy, with energy bars that consist of ground-up crickets turning up on the shelves of health stores in the US and the first American cricket farm opening in 2014.

Meanwhile, in Bangkok, there’s even a fine dining restaurant— appropriately named Insects in the Backyard— dedicated to using bugs as an integral part of their gourmet fare. Opened in mid-2017, as part of the popular ChangChui Art Night Market, it’s been getting a lot of attention from ecology experts and fervent foodies alike. Talk about your “gourmet grub”.

FROM THE SOURCE: Published by Editions Didier Millet (EDM Books) in late 2015, Thailand’s Sustainable Development Sourcebook provides an incredible array of information, ideas and inspiration through more than 60 succinct articles, written by experts in the field, on subjects as various as energy and income inequality to education, corruption, organic restaurants, culture, Buddhism and climate change. The handsome hardcover edition, brimming with photos and infographics, retails for B1,800. The book was edited by, and features contributions, from Nick Grossman, Apiradee Treerutkuarkul and Jim Algie. Portions of this excerpt came from the chapter on agriculture.

J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 3 1


SNAPSHOTS | joe's bangkok

Khruangbin Flying under the influence Words by Joe Cummings/CPA Media Photos by Charles Dharapak

T

he band Khruangbin came together over a common love of 60s and 70s Thai funk, electric molam, and ‘Shadow music’, Thai bands influenced by British instrumental band The Shadows. Sounds plausible, except the trio hail from Houston, Texas, and no one in the band is Thai. Guitarist Mark Speer met bassist Laura Lee in 2007, and after performing together as a guitarand-bass duo for a while, they were invited to join British music producer/ DJ Bonobo on his 2010 tour of the States, along with Ninja Tune’s Yppah. Inspired by the Bonobo tour, Speer and Lee brought in drummer Donald ‘DJ’ Johnson and formed Khruangbin. Lee came up with the band’s name, which means “airplane” in Thai, while she was trying to learn Thai from Rosetta Stone lessons. “I just liked the sound of it,” she says in interviews. Khruangbin crafted its bass-heavy, psychedelic, surf-meets-world-music sound profile in a drafty barn in the small town of Burton, Texas, population 300. Their first recording, “A Calf Born in Winter”, ended up on Bonobo’s 2013 Late Night Tales compilation. 3 2 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

If the Thai connection weren’t unlikely enough, Speer and Johnson first met while serving as paid members of Rudy Rasmus’ famed R&B/hiphop/gospel band at St. John’s Methodist Church, the same Houston church scene associated with Beyoncé and Solange Knowles. Their debut album, The Universe Smiles Upon You (2014), gathered a devoted following, including such prominent figures as punk godfather Iggy Pop and K-pop superstar Lee Hyori. They’ve since toured with Father John Misty, Tycho, Massive Attack, and Chicano Batman, and played festivals like Glastonbury, Bonnaroo, SXSW, and Thailand’s own Wonderfruit. The trio has now performed in Thailand twice, first at the Wonderfruit Festival outside Pattaya in December 2017, and again in May 2018 at the Helix Garden, EmQuariter, in Bangkok. The latter concert came in support of their second album, Con Todo El Mundo, released at the beginning of this year. Boasting Middle Eastern and Latin as well as Southeast Asian flavour profiles, the album—along with extensive touring around the world— has given the group a hugely devoted

following among fans and music critics the world over. The title, which means “With All the World” in Spanish, is a tribute to Laura Lee’s MexicanAmerican grandfather, as well as the band’s crate-digging, open-armed approach to global music sources. The band’s success is all the more remarkable given the genre-defying music they play. A YouTube user commenting on a live performance summarized the ambience by writing “This feels like you’re dropping acid on a Mediterranean 1970s porn set.” I had a chance to interview the band members just before their recent Bangkok concert, a sold-out show organized and promoted by BAMM. Thai bands The Photo Sticker Machine and Summer Dress provided solid opening support. Asked about the band’s Thai roots, Speer said “Years ago, we stumbled on a music blog called Monrakplengthai and dived headfirst into this amazing music, stuff we'd never heard before. We instantly fell in love with Dao Bandon, Sutrak Aksonthong, Don Sornrabeab, Chantana Kittiyapan, Man City Lion, Onuma Singsiri, Phimpha Phonsuri and especially The Impossibles. It was bangkok101.com


joe's bangkok | SNAPSHOTS

inspiring to hear this music that was both immediately familiar but also so different.” “We had an incredible time at Wonderfruit,” adds Lee. “Mark and I had been to Thailand before, but it was DJ’s first time. Everyone was so appreciative and also curious about what we’re doing with our music. For us, it was a real moment to perform in the country whose music has had such an impact on us.”

Joe’s Bangkok Award-winning writer Joe Cummings was born in New Orleans but became one of Lonely Planet’s first guidebook authors, creating the seminal Lonely Planet Thailand guide, as well as several other titles and updates for the region. Each month, he picks out his favourite cultural gems throughout Bangkok. bangkok101.com

Asked about the Middle Eastern influences on the new album, Speers says the band is always on the hunt to uncover new music around the world. “It just happened we found a few pockets of music from that region. Googoosh was on repeat for a long while. Some others we love are Kourosh Yaghmei from Iran, The Rahbani Brothers from Lebanon, Al Massireen from Egypt, and Sezen Aksu from Turkey.” In other interviews, drummer Johnson has pointed out that regardless what country it’s from, the music they’re drawn to the most is funk-oriented, lo-fi tracks that popped up all over the world

between the 60s and the 80s. At the Bangkok concert last month, the trio showed how effortlessly they’ve incorporated global motifs, whether Thai, Latin, or Arabic, into a sound that is exclusively their own. Weaving a powerful spell over a rapt audience of Thais and foreigners, the band delivered more of a state of mind than a stylistic pastiche. Asked about the YouTube comment, Speers told me “Maybe it’s the inclusion of strong feminine energy in the band. It’s not just a bunch of dudes playing rock. There’s a seductive gentleness to the music. It never hits you over the head or screams at you.” J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 3 3


SNAPSHOTS | very thai

Drink in a Bag

Quenching thirst with coffee, tea, soda, juice, and herbal tinctures

W

aiter, there’s salt in my drink!” No mistake, salt is often added to drinks in Thailand, especially fruit juice. One gulp from freshly squeezed and salted OJ and many a foreigner sputters. Some, though, find they like the heady mix of citrus and sodium chloride. Many other drinks in Thailand have distinct character, whether coffee filtered through a sock, water tinted with herbs, syrups spritzed through a rocketshaped soda fountain, or cold beverages served in a bag, and dangled from an elastic band. Just as in Thai cooking, where condiments balance out the principal flavours— sweet vs sour, salty vs bitter—so too with drinks. Salt softens water, and so counteracts tartness from the lime. In this climate, minerals need replenishment, so Thais take all they need (glucose, salt, water, vitamin C) in one go. Or they reach for nature’s all-in-one rehydration pack: the coconut. The outer husk is hacked off with a machete to leave a pentagon shape with a ‘lid’, so you can scoop out the coconut lining with a spoon. Most other drinks get the sugar treatment (and how!). No drink is deemed too sweet, thanks to lashings of palm water, sugar granules, or condensed milk. Instead of by the spoonful or lump, you could measure the sugar by its depth: “One centimetre or two?” Though Thai tea is brick red, the sock filter is stained black with many inundations of powdered tea, brewed earlier in a tin. Most tea vendors also have apparatus for coffee. Same drill, whether sweet black Chinese oliang or sweet brown gafae. Ordered hot, it comes in a cup. Decanted over ice, it can be taken away in a bag with handles or in a cup dangled from loops on a plastic sleeve. Shaved ice gets shovelled into the bag, the hot tea or coffee is then poured on top, plus a further slick of sweetened milk from a can. The resulting swirl of white on orange adds an essential touch of beauty. Stick in a straw—plus another for your friend—and you’re off. Same goes for juices, shakes, Coke and saccharine soft drinks

> Very Thai

River Books by Philip Cornwel-Smith with photos by John Goss and Philip Cornwel-Smith B995 3 4 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

flavoured red or green. Unlike spill-prone plastic cups, the pendulous bag makes a steady mobile vessel. Just don’t try to sit it down... look for a hook! Since the 1997 economic crash rekindled fashion for things traditional, herbal drinks have joined the plastic bag parade. They’re ladled from enormous glass jars, or more authentically from unvarnished, decoratively scored Mon pottery in the shape of a lotus bud. Lift the pointed lid and use the coconut shell scoop to retrieve the herbal nectar. It may be the diluted, sweetened residue of boiling ambrosially smooth bael fruit, lemongrass stalks, chrysanthemum flowers, or roselle buds, which resemble currants in taste and colour. Each herbal drink harbours medicinal goodness, though the sugar negates that, and diuretic herbs like lemongrass pose a problem since herbal drinks have become common at marathon festival shows. Similar lidded jars and ladles still sit in pairs under shelters in front of some Northern houses. They offer water (naturally chilled by the pottery’s porous properties) to the thirsty passing traveller. In bygone days, when these jars were universal up north, water may have been less polluted, but was not always pure. Drawn from wells, scooped from streams, or from rain jars of roof run-off, water took on tastes and textures from organic matter, suspended particles and the clammy confines of storage. Hence the appeal of water tinctures. Just as the unwashed douse with perfume, unfiltered water improves when scented. Nam yaa uthai emits a pungent floral aroma, evoking a feminine cologne such as rosewater, even when a water jug contains just a drop. It is made from blossoms like jasmine, pikul, dafflower, and several kinds of lotus, plus over 30 kinds of herb. These include saffron, Vietnamese cinnamon, and two ingredients that make it pink: jan daeng and sappanwood. Boiled sappanwood produces daeng luead nok (red bird blood), a tonic for enriching human blood. Not all the flowers used impart scent, but apparently heals the heart.

Now in its expanded, updated 2nd edition, “Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture” is a virtual bible on Thai pop culture, and an influential must-read among foreigners and many Thais. Its 70 chapters and 590 photographs guide you on an unconventional Technicolor tour of the quirky things that make Thailand truly Thai. This column is based on different chapter every month. Prepare yourself for the sideways logic in what seems exotic, and buy a copy of the new edition at any good bookshop. bangkok101.com


sala lanna

Chiang Mai

Luxury in the heart of the Lanna Kingdom Located along the east bank of the famous Ping River in the heart of Chiang Mai, sala lanna occupies an area that was once the centre of the Lanna Kingdom. The former Kingdom bordered the Shan states of what is now eastern Myanmar and to this day, the rich traditions of Thai and Burmese culture continues. This celebration of history and culture is evident throughout the sala lanna property, a charming boutique resort with 15 stylish guest rooms set within intimate surroundings. Easily accessible from Chiang Mai International Airport (20 minutes by car), sala lanna makes stylish use of its Ping River positioning with their all-day dining restaurant On the Ping riverfront eatery and bar. The restaurant serves Thai, Western and Italian dishes while allowing guests to relax in comfort with a cocktail and cooling river breeze. Guests can perch at the counter with a glass of

wine or recline on beanbags in front of the live band, whose performances can also be enjoyed from the adjacent restaurant and Roof Top Bar; offering an alternative view of the city and a romantic place to spend the evening with fantastic views across the Ping River. Of the 15 guest rooms, styles vary from Standard (2) to Deluxe Suite (4), Riverview Superior Balcony (4) to Riverview Deluxe Balcony (5), all with complimentary WIFI, which is also available throughout the resort as well as in-room dining available from the restaurant and bar. Guests can take advantage of at screen televisions

and dvd player/sound system, minibar, and king or twin size beds in all room types except standard room. One of the strengths of sala lanna is it’s positioning, well placed to help guests book a variety of excursions and activities; from elephant trekking and river rafting to mountain biking, golf lessons and day-trips to temples and historical sites. There is also the option of a night visit to the Chiang Mai night market, famous for its handicrafts and portrait paintings. The knowledgable staff are able to arrange excursions and help answer any questions guests might have.

sala lanna Chiang Mai, 49 Charoenrat Road, Wat Gate, Mueang, Chiang Mai 50000 Thailand Tel: 66 (0)53 242 588 | email: stay@salalanna.com

www.salalanna.com


SNAPSHOTS | heritage

On the Move... Again

As Alliance Français prepares to relocate one more time, we examine the history of one of the oldest European institutions and cultural centres in Thailand By Luc Citrinot

I

n 2012, the Alliance Française celebrated its 100th anniversary with the inauguration of a new building. It was actually an emotional move: after standing for over 85 years on Sathorn Road, the Alliance was due to move to a brand-new premises: across to Lumpini Park, in the so-called "Embassy Row". With the imposing structures of both Japanese and Australian diplomatic missions in Thailand, the Alliance Française of Bangkok became the proud flagship of French cultural presence in Bangkok. 3 6 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

If we go back in history, the structure was then the sixth location of the Alliance Française. Going back in time, the Bangkok Times of September 6, 1912 was indeed announcing the establishment of a ‘Comité de l’Alliance Française’ in premises at the Oriental Hotel. The article at that time talked about some 50 members for the Committee occupying three rooms of the hotel, including Bangkok's only French library. Honorific presidents at that time included two French personalities—French Plenipotentiary

Minister M. Lefèvre-Pontalis and Rev. Bishop Perros, and two prestigious members of the Siam Royal family: Prince Chakabongse Buvanath and Prince Charunsakdi Kritakara. However, lacking funds, the association would have to relocate three more times before settling down in April 1926. The Alliance finally moved to a house which belonged to the government of French Indochina. The charming mansion on stilts was set on an idyllic street linking the river to bangkok101.com


heritage | SNAPSHOTS

mango and rice plantations: Sathorn Alley. This is where the Alliance Française would be for the next 89 years. The charming mansion became too small over time and in 1962, the French government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, provided funds to build a modern looking structure. Inaugurated in 1966, the modern structure had two buildings: one, used as a welcome reception and administration offices and later an auditorium and cafeteria, while

Historic

Bangkok

Paris native Luc Citrinot has lived in Southeast Asia for the past 12 years, first in Kuala Lumpur and more recently in Bangkok. A seasoned traveller, he writes about tourism, culture, and architecture. He was instrumental on a recent EU-endorsed project to establish the European Heritage Map of Bangkok and subsequent app covering all of Thailand. Luc still travels extensively in Southeast Asia, looking particularly for new architectural gems related to colonial and European history. bangkok101.com

the second building looked more like Then, 18 months later, the building a school, built in tropical modernwas ready to take the administration style. Over the decades, growing and welcome its first visitors. The old frangipani trees and plants gave structure is now closing on July 23 while a leafy atmosphere to the centre the first students will be welcomed in which became a prominent cultural the new building on July 27. institution in Bangkok. “We started to move material and However, the Alliance once again equipment in early June," says Pascale. suffered from congestion and was "We first dismantled the auditorium, under pressure to move out of Sathorn, then the library will follow. The which since the 1990s had become one offices will be last to move. We are of the most prestigious –and expensive- heading for a soft opening in August addresses in the capital. and a full opening in October. We will The Alliance was due to move by then organise an opening festival to the end of 2012 but it took another celebrate." year as the new building near Lumpini The question is, with so many was not finished. It was finally relocations, will the new Alliance completed in October 2013 when be to the satisfaction of its future the centre integrated the structure users? “The building is beautiful and conceived by French architecture team it will bring more space for people to of ADPI. In Sathorn, the old empty gather together. We will have a true Alliance is still there and visible from atrium with a monumentail staircase outside, waiting for demolition. where people actually will be able “Things are changing fast in to seat and chat around a drink. The Bangkok," said Pascale Favre, the library benefits of superb facilities Alliance Française Director. "My such as the auditorium. It will have predecessor heard that a major 214 seats and a layout reminiscent project was taking place where the of the glamourous movie theatres of Alliance was standing. One Bangkok is the 1950s with their high ceilings. The an extremely ambitious development acoustics are marvellous!” says an district with luxury condominiums, enthusiastic Pascale. A cafeteria will be a mall, offices, hotels and elegant available with an open-air terrace. streets. The One Bangkok real estate The current building certainly company probably started to negotiate furthers the history of the Alliance with the Alliance for a move. I was not Française. Not for its architectural there but I know that the MoU with quality but as the Alliance Française the Alliance was done in early 2017 for centre with the shortest lifespan: less the transfer of the centre." than five years! “With One Bangkok Pascale continues, “The offer was we will be at the heart of a district with generous. One Bangkok promoters some 40,000 to 50,000 people passing were to build a bigger structure, all for every day. That is a great opportunity," free,” she says. says Pascale. No regrets then! J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 3 7


Photo by Bruce Scott

Stay in style at the newly opened Rosewood Phuket resort Wat Sri Suphan: The Silver Temple


CHIANG MAI 101 I

t’s no secret that CHIANG MAI is currently one of the most visited cities in Thailand. In the past several decades it has transformed from a sleepy Northern town into a bustling mini-metropolis. The original two sq.km city plan forms a near-perfect square, bounded on all sides by a moat and towering brick walls (of which only the corner bastions remain for the most part). Within these walls a charming network of narrow lanes, bisected by four broader avenues, lead to 33 historic temples and a legion of guesthouses, cafés, shops, and restaurants. To get a feel for the pulse of the city, take a walk along THA PHAE ROAD, between the Old City’s Eastern gate and the banks of the Ping River, which reveals a conglomeration of fascinating side streets as well as the ever popular CHIANG MAI NIGHT BAZAAR. For famous historic landmarks, with deep spiritual significance, visit WAT PHRA SINGH, which is considered Chiang Mai’s most revered temple, WAT CHEDI LUANG, the glorious, towering ruins of a Lanna-style chedi (built in 1441), and WAT KETKARAM, a monastery located in one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods that’s built around the Phra That Ketkaew Chulamani stupa (circa 1578-81). But more modern temples exist too, and just outside the old city walls sits WAT SRI SUPHAN, an ornate, Lanna-style structure originally built in 1502, although little remains of the original temple. What visitors are treated to instead is a recently constructed, eye-popping temple where the walls and roof—inside and out— are covered in embossed silver, nickel, and aluminum panels which are, in turn, covered with incredibly detailed carvings that portray a fantastical mix of ancient and modern iconography. It’s a fitting centerpiece for the surrounding village of silversmiths, where visitors can also watch these master craftsmen at work. On the other hand, for a glimpse into a more hip and sophisticated Chiang Mai, make your way to NIMMANHAEMIN ROAD. For many it’s the “coolest” neighbourhood in Chiang Mai, and the district’s main road and multiple side streets are lined with an abundance of cafés, restaurants, bars, shops, galleries, and boutique hotels. Chiang Mai is also a centre for the arts in Northern Thailand, and boasts two major fine art facilities—the MAIIAM CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM, and the recently re-opened CHIANG MAI NATIONAL MUSEUM, which underwent an extensive four-year renovation. But this region of Thailand also offers visitors plenty to see and do outside the city environs, with WAT PHRA THAT—a gilded 14th-century cloister perched 1,676 metres above the city on the side of the mountain known as DOI SUTHEP—being one of the most visited attractions. Finally, visitors looking for upscale accommodations have a wealth of options to choose from. The Ping River flows through the heart of Chiang Mai and the NA NIRAND BOUTIQUE RESORT, the ANANTARA CHIANG MAI RESORT, and the recently opened X2 CHIANG MAI RIVERSIDE RESORT are located right on its banks. Meanwhile, exquisite properties such as the LE MERIDIEN CHIANG MAI and the TAMARIND VILLAGE HOTEL CHIANG MAI are situated closer to the bustling street life of the city and its markets. Or, for a luxurious stay slightly outside the city environs altogether, check into the lavish FOUR SEASONS RESORT CHIANG MAI.


TRAVEL | see & do chiang mai

What to See, What to Do Amazing attractions, both in and out of the city

Wat Phra Singh

WAT PHRA SINGH: Considered Chiang Mai’s most revered temple, the lavish monastic buildings and immaculately trimmed grounds are testament to the prosperity of this religious landmark. Devotees come to worship Phra Singh (Lion Buddha), housed in Wihan Lai Kham, a small chapel immediately south of the chedi to the rear of the temple grounds. The idol is reputed to have arrived in Thailand from Sri Lanka, and was enshrined in 1367. WAT CHEDI LUANG: The glorious, towering ruins of a Lanna-style chedi (built in 1441) are what draws so many sightseers, so don’t be surprised to find this landmark crowded at all hours of the day. You can also view a jade replica of the famed Emerald Buddha (currently held in Bangkok’s Wat Phra Kaew), which originally resided in the temple’s eastern niche until 1475. The temple’s other claim to fame is the Làk Meuang (city pillar), allegedly raised by King Mengrai himself when Chiang Mai was founded in 1296. DOI SUTHEP: Of many well-known temples in Chiang Mai, Wat Phra That—a gilded 14th-century cloister perched 1,676 metres above the city on the side of the mountain known as Doi Suthep— should not be missed. You can drive most of the way up the mountain, but you still have to climb the 306-step naga-lined staircase to reach the summit—where you can admire the amazing views overlooking the city (open daily 7am-7pm). 4 0 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

Wat Chedi Luang

Wat Phra That bangkok101.com


see & do chiang mai | TRAVEL

Serious java junkies at Ristr8to

NIMMANHAEMIN ROAD: Located a little bit to the north and to the west of the main walled downtown city core that most visitors are familiar with, Chiang Mai’s increasingly popular Nimmanhaemin Road district is a thriving hub of hipster activity—definitely the place to see and be seen. The main drag itself, that lies between Huay Kaew Rd and Chiang Rai Rd, can be walked in less than 15 minutes, but within this compact quadrant there exists a mind-boggling concentration of bars, restaurants, bakeries, hotels, art galleries, and specialty stores. And if you’re at all a java junkie, there are some amazing cafés to choose from—many using coffee beans grown in the Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai regions.

garden atmosphere (28/1, Soi 11), as well as the recently opened Simple Simple, and The Lost Garden, which uses coffee from farmer in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

Join the party at Beer Lab

Cafés galore in Nimman

If you take your coffee seriously, and you know the difference between a long black and a flat white, then consider Ristr8to (15/3 Nimmanhaemin Rd) ground zero when it comes to finding the best brew in the ’hood. Owner and head barista Arnon ‘Tong’ Thitiprasert is a veritable encyclopedia on the subject of coffee, and his passion for his product shows through in every cup. And in the wake of the success of this neighbourhood favourite, a second branch, called Ristr8o Lab, has opened on Soi 3. Coffee lovers should also seek out Impresso Espresso Bar, a funky and spacious indoor/outdoor coffee venue with a relaxed bangkok101.com

Once the sun goes down, a seemingly infinite number of drink spots pop out of the woodwork along the main road and on every side street. Two well established anchor points—for beer lovers anyway— are Beer Lab, located on the main road at the corner of Soi 12, and Beer Republic, on Soi 11. Both specialize in premium suds—import draught and craft—and both are pretty much packed every night of the week. And, located right next door to Beer Republic, is El Patio Wine & Pintxos, a fun and funky wine bistro—with indoor and outdoor seating— serving up Spanish tapas, as well as Mediterranean and other Euro-fare. El Patio Wine & Pintxos J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 4 1


TRAVEL | see & do chiang mai MAIIAM: For two full years now, Chiang Mai’s status as Thailand’s culture capital of the North has been underscored by the amazing displays of modern art at the MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, located 20 minutes from the centre of Chiang Mai in the Sankamphaneg district. This 3,000 sq.m state-of-theart museum facility’s permanent collection is known as the ‘Pipitmaya Collection of Thai and Southeast Asian Contemporary Art’, and is an amalgamation of the collections of Jean-Michel Beurdeley (pictured bottom left), Patsri Bunnag and Eric Bunnag Booth (the museum was opened in memory of co-founder Eric’s great, grand aunt Jao Jom Iam—a royal consort to King Rama V). Along with the family’s desire to share their private art collection with the general public, there are also temporary exhibitions here of visual art, design, and fashion on display, and the museum also stages performances, film screenings, lectures, and workshops. Even the building’s exterior is a marvel, with thin mirrored rectangles covering the front façade. The building, which also contains a restaurant and museum gift shop, is open every day except Tuesdays, from 10am-6pm, and admission for adult/student is B150/B100. www.maiiam.com

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see & do chiang mai | TRAVEL

Mountain scenery and waterfalls

Agricultural endeavours

Traditional handicrafts

Ornamental flower cultivation bangkok101.com

ROYAL PROJECTS: Part of the Himalayan mountain range, Doi Inthanon is Thailand’s tallest peak (reaching 2,565 metres above the sea level). There are many sights to see here, such as beautiful waterfalls, spectacular caves, nature trails, and Phra Mahathat Napha Methanidon and Phra Mahathat Naphaphon Bhumisiri, twin pagodas that offer spectacular mountain views. But for those interested in seeing first-hand the lasting legacy of the late King Rama IX’s Royal Projects, a good place to start is the Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon, established in 1979 and located in the village of Khun Klang (a 2.5 hour drive from the city). It’s one of four such stations in Thailand, and was part of His Majesty’s vision to promote farming sustainably as well as diminish poverty and deforestation in Thailand by giving the hilltribes living in these Northern regions knowledge of farming and sharing the latest innovations and technologies with these farmers. The station now consists of gardens, ponds, nurseries, greenhouses, all of which are places of work as well as a busy tourist attraction. The focus here is on growing mainly temperate vegetables, ornamental flowers, and fruits, as well as farming fish. For the most part the farmers working at the station are members of hilltribe communities, either of Hmong or White Karen ethnicity. One of the main focuses of the Royal Project in Chiang Mai was the cultivation of the coffee bean—a viable alternative to the lucrative opium crops that were originally being farmed in Northern Thailand, especially along the borderlands with neighbouring Laos and Myanmar. Today, Thailand has become a burgeoning producer of coffee on the global market, presently ranked in third place among Asia’s top coffee producers. The Royal Project now encompasses 22 areas that produce Royal Project coffee. In all they produce about 500 tons annually. The coffee is bought from the farmers and sold to roasting companies, but the Royal Project also roasts its own coffee—around 50 tons a year. J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 4 3


TRAVEL | focus on chiang mai

Eat Well, Live Well

Restaurants in Chiang Mai offering healthy organic fare—that also happens to be delicious! ANCHAN VEGETARIAN: Vegetarians will find their bliss at Anchan Vegetarian Restaurant (Nimmanhaemin Soi 10), a simple upstairs dining room decked out with wooden tables adorned with fresh flowers; a humble setting for Chiang Mai’s most highly praised meat-free fare. The menu items are all Thai dishes—all made to order—and although the food is mostly vegan (even the desserts), there are a few dishes that contain eggs. They also have a good selection of healthy drinks, including juice made from anchan, the purple flower from which the restaurant takes its name. Open daily from 11am till 8:30pm. www.facebook.com/anchanvegetarianrestaurant PUN PUN ORGANIC RESTAURANT: With the aim of supporting local organic farmers, farmer networks, and propagating biodiversity, Pun Pun Organic Restaurant is a project that sets out some impressive round rules. The food served here is organic (as much as possible), diverse (containing various rare or indigenous herbs and plants), and healthy (no MSG, GMOs, or preservatives). They also don’t use white refined sugar, they use unrefined whole grains such as brown rice and whole wheat flour, and they only use free-range humanely-raised meat. They have two restaurant outlets—one near the airport and one near the Suan Dok temple grounds. www.punpunthailand.org

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OH KA JHU: There are two locations of the very popular Oh Ka Jhu restaurant in Chiang Mai (and one in Bangkok as well, at Siam Paragon). The original location is a bit off the beaten track—121 Outer Ring Road, Sansai—but the second outlet is located in a community mall near the airport, making it much easy to get to. Either way, a visit to this cheery farm-to-table restaurant ensures you’ll be treated to fresh, organic fare—that’s also highly Instagram-worthy— as all the veggies are grown organically in the huge green garden just behind the Sansai branch. The leafy salads, served with a variety of homemade dressings, are delightful, but carnivores can still tuck into the barbeque Flintstone-sized pork spareribs smothered in homemade BBQ sauce, the German style sausage platter, or the tender salmon steak. www.ohkajhuorganic.com bangkok101.com


Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai

A beautiful oasis retreat, paying homage to the Lanna culture

Nestled across 60 acres of paddy fields and tropical landscapes, The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai is a stunning escape and a virtual kingdom in its own right. Laid out according to the plans of ancient Thai cities of the past, a series of moats, fortified walls, gateways, and thoroughfares provide the backdrop for an assortment of handcrafted buildings that draw inspiration from the architecture of the Greater Lanna region. Unique in concept and design and built on an unprecedented scale, the hotel opened in 2006, consisting of 123 villas and suites. The overall design and layout pays homage to Lanna’s rich melting pot of culture and showcases the beauty of its art, architecture, craftsmanship, and design traditions. This unrivalled design in such an exceptional setting makes The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai much more than a luxurious five-star property; it is a living museum born from a simple wish of the founder to preserve the beauty of Lanna culture and to create a space that nourishes the traditions and intangible charms of its people.

Located only 15 minutes drive from Chiang Mai International Airport, the hotel includes a 3,100 square metre Dheva Spa and Wellness Centre, an amphitheatre for cultural events, two swimming pools, seven restaurants and bars, a cooking school, a health club, library, Lanna Kids Club, craft village, grand ballroom and private meeting areas. There is also a traditional shopping village and a bakery and delicatessen with home-made cakes, sandwiches, and pastries available throughout the day. Rooms range from luxurious villas converted from authentic Northern Thai rice barns to Grand Deluxe two-storey villas. The Penthouses Residences and palatial Royal Residence, consisting of six private Lanna-style pavilions, take relaxing to a whole new level. These properties offer the ultimate in luxury and privacy; set on the edge of the compound’s own free-form lotus pond and surrounded by towering rain trees, fragrant frangipanis, and a wall of life-sized elephant sculptures drawn from Chiang Mai’s oldest temple, Wat Chiang Man.

51/4 Moo 1, Chiang Mai-Sankampaeng Road | Tel:(66) 53 888 888 | enquiry@dharadhevi.com

www.dharadhevi.com


TRAVEL | focus on chiang mai OXYGEN DINING ROOM: Like all the X2 (cross-to) resorts in Thailand, the recently opened X2 Chiang Mai Riverside Resort offers holiday makers a chic retreat with style to spare. However, this newest addition to the Chiang Mai hotel scene also tempts local gourmands with the Oxygen Dining Room, the resort’s glass-walled,

all-day riverside restaurant venue. Here, Executive Chef Alexandre Demard—a recent winner in the Iron Chef Thailand Challenge—oversees a kitchen where the fresh salads and vegetables are 90 percent organic, as they’re all sourced from the organic Urawai Farm, located just outside of Chiang Mai. In addition, their free-range organic chicken supplier is Prosun Farm, in Sukhothai province. Try the visually entrancing signature ‘Vegetable Symphony’ dish… you can’t get much more organic than that! www.x2resorts.com/resorts/chiangmai-riverside

KHAO: Located to the north of Chiang Mai Old Town, at the foothills of Doi Suthep mountain, the lavish Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai is home to the recently opened restaurant Khao, where dishes are inspired by local recipes, handed down from generation to generation, but the ingredients are taken to another level. In fact, Head Chef Anchalee Luadkham works with organic farms all over Thailand, including those of the Royal Projects, in order to find the best produce possible—although sometimes it’s just around the corner, in the resort’s very own herb garden. Each dish has its own story, whether that revolves around the Northern villages from where the produce came, the method in which it’s cooked, or the historical context. Even the cocktail menu is remarkable, with a few concoctions that utilize a locally distilled high-end rice wine. www.fourseasons.com/chiangmai MEENA RICED BASED CUISINE: A unique dining destination worth seeking out, Meena Riced Based Cuisine is a restaurant set in a refurbished Lanna-style rice barn— surrounded by tall trees, greenery, and overlooking a small pond—that is located about 5 km to the east of the city centre. Inspired by the traditional ways of Thailand’s rice farmers, the menu offers diners dishes that deliver authentic recipe food and beverages, most of which have rice as an ingredient. Be sure to order the house specialty, a multi-coloured, pie-shaped block of rice that combines brown, jasmine, saffron, and butterfly pea rice with super dark riceberry (accompanied by colourful edible herbs and flowers). They even farm their own fish and seafood on the premises. www.facebook.com/meena.rice.based

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137 Pillars House

Chiang Mai’s stunning boutique hotel boasts a rich colonial past Centrally located, the award-winning 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai is a beautiful boutique hotel with a rich colonial past that dates back to the late 1800’s. Architectural historians and conservationists worked meticulously to reinforce the integrity of the original structure and guests can expect the same nostalgic ambiance in all 30 suites here, along with the latest modern comforts and conveniences. The room categories range from the 70 sq.m Rajah Brooke Suites, to the 135 sq.m Louis Leonowens Pool Suites which offer generous living rooms, a sunken bath overlooking tropical foliage, and a private 5.5 x 2.5 metre swimming pool. All the hotel’s luxurious and spacious suites are exquisitely appointed, and all come with butler service, high ceilings, large walk-in wardrobes, free standing Victorian bath tubs, dual washbasins, separate indoor and outdoor showers, ultra-comfortable four poster beds, and vintage tiled verandahs with daybeds. Meanwhile,

modern conveniences include: free high-speed Wi-Fi; air conditioning; ceiling fan; 400 thread count bed linen; in-room music system with iPod connectivity; flatscreen LCD TVs with satellite/cable channels; in-room safe; mini-bar; and more. F&B outlets include The Dining Room, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and Palette, an intimate restaurant that seats up to 24 diners and features artwork by local artists. And for libations, head to Jack Bain’s Bar where the historical atmosphere harkens back to the golden age of cocktails and gentlemen’s clubs. Recreational amenities include The Spa, which offers a contemporary treatment menu featuring unique signature ceremonies, sophisticated, face and body therapies and traditional therapeutic massages. Meanwhile guests can also get fit in the 24-hour gymnasium, or unwind in the 25 x 5.5 metre swimming pool. Enjoy cocktails, fresh juices, and light refreshments while soaking up some rays. With all this history and sophistication, it’s no surprise that 137 Pillars House has also become a popular venue for bespoke weddings and other special occasions. The hotel’s experienced events team can no doubt meet your exact needs.

2 Soi 1, Nawatgate Road, Chiang Mai | Email: info@137pillarshouse.com | Tel: +66 (0) 5324 7788

www.137pillarschiangmai.com


Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai New website allows for tailor-made journeys of wellbeing

Nestled in a verdant valley of rice fields overlooking a mountainous terrain, the Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai is a haven of peace and tranquility. Guided by two decades of local knowledge and folk wisdom, the resort’s expert teams bring their insights into providing fulfilling experiences for travelers—be it active, leisure, or immersive. And now there is a new website dedicated to helping guests design the perfect stay, offering a range of activities. In addition, the Director of Experiences works with each guest to curate a personalized journey towards renewal. Visit mychiangmai.fourseasons.com to discover more about the art of experiential travel. Infused with the vibrant spirit of the region, the activities range from active to meditative, social to solo. Explore the hidden heritage and emerging bohemia of Northern Thailand by taking a guided tour deep into local culture, seeing firsthand Chiang Mai’s ancient spirituality, flavorful cuisine,

and flourishing art scene. Or practice the warrior art of Muay Thai, and indulge in ancient wellness rituals at the Spa, where a team of experts help provide the most authentic experience. Glorious Green Season: Between now and the end of September 2018, guests can experience the beautiful “green season” in the Resort’s soothing sanctuary. Stay for three nights to enjoy indulgences and activities designed to help relax, immerse in the stunning scenery. Slip on traditional Thai clothing and learn rice farming first hand; on the sensory Nature Trail, discover exotic plants and flowers through touch, taste and smell. The offer includes daily breakfast and a resort credit. As Four Seasons works its magic, guests leave relaxed and recharged – with a renewed sense of purpose and joy. www.fourseasons.com/chiangmai/offers/glorious-green-season

Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai

502 Moo 1, Mae Rim-Samoeng Old Road, Chiang Mai Phone: 05 329 8181 • Reservation Office: 02 207 8900 www.fourseasons.com/chiangmai


Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle Special one-night package offers travelers a “Glimpse of Paradise”

Escape to an unforgettable forest oasis in the mystical mountain jungles of Chiang Rai at the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle. This overnight getaway deal transports visitors to the era of 19th Century explorers, while providing the ultimate “glamping” experience. Upon landing at the airport, a Four Seasons guide escorts guests through rice fields and quaint villages before embarking on a river journey in a traditional long tail boat. After arriving at the resort, check in to your luxurious tent, each complete with a handcrafted tub and an outdoor deck with a panoramic view. Indulge in decadent meals (including house wines and spirits), and partake in sundowners at the Burma Bar and a wine and cheese tasting at the Wine Cellar. Also included in the package: round-trip airport transfers from Chiang

Rai International Airport; full access to in-room refrigerated private bar; internet access in tents and public areas; and 20% off a second tent for children ages 10 to 18.* At the outdoor Spa you’ll enjoy a 90-minute treatment as part of the package. Surrounded by natural beauty, and in-tune with the sounds of nature, the spa’s traditional Thai massages and innovative rituals are enhanced by the healing power of mountain botanicals, local warming spices, and jungle-sourced products including bamboo. For those seeking a little more adventure and interaction with nature, the resort’s Two-Night Adventure Package includes a wonderfully engaging elephant experience, where guests can take a journey with the majestic gentle giants. In addition, immerse yourself an insightful excursion that offers a glimpse into local life within the Golden Triangle region of Thailand.

Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle

499 Moo 1 T. Vieng, Chiang Rai, Chiang Saen District Phone: 053 910 200 • Reservation Office: 02 207 8900 www.fourseasons.com/goldentriangle *This offer is not available between July 1 and August 31, 2018.


Photos by Bruce Scott

TRAVEL |

Wat Rong Khun: The White Temple 5 0 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

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| TRAVEL

CHIANG RAI 101 W

hile the south of Thailand is blessed with many beautiful beaches, the north of Thailand—and in particular the province of CHIANG RAI—is blessed with beautiful hills and mountains, making it something of a trekking paradise, and many journeys even offer the chance to spend a night in an Akha or Lisu hilltribe village. Chiang Rai is located about a three hour’s drive northeast of Chiang Mai—its exceedingly popular neighbour—and many visitors use it as a base from which to explore the surrounding hills and jungles. But it’s not all about trekking, and the beautiful mountain village of MAE SALONG makes for a fascinating day trip. Settled by Kuomintang Chinese soldiers fleeing the advancing Communists in the late 1940s, Mae Salong is now renowned for its tea production, and the village is not surprisingly loaded with charming cafes and guesthouses. Meanwhile, tourist hotspots closer to the city of Chiang Rai itself include WAT RONG KHUN, a dazzlingly detailed, totally eye-popping all-white temple designed and constructed by well-known Thai artist CHALERMCHAI KOSITPIPAT. Or, if you prefer something more natural, SINGHA PARK—also known as BOON RAWD FARM—is agro-tourism destination that encompasses over 12.8 sq.km of fertile land, growing everything from tea to ornamental flowers. Of course, no foray to this part region would be complete without a visit to the infamous GOLDEN TRIANGLE—the part of the Kingdom where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar all meet. The term was coined by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to describe the rampant, and exceedingly lucrative, opium production that was once common to this area in all three countries. It’s about a 70 km drive northeast of Chiang Rai city to the little village of SOP RUAK, the former epicentre of all this illicit action. There’s even an OPIUM MUSEUM in the town (not to be confused with the much more impressive three-storey state of the art multimedia HALL OF OPIUM museum in Chiang Saen district). The beauty of the natural surroundings in Chiang Rai is matched by the beauty of the many upscale accommodations, including THE LEGEND, a superbly landscaped riverside hotel with stunning views and endless charm. Other options include THE MANTRINI, which offers a funky, boutique vibe and even boasts a Lanna fusion restaurant, the LE MERIDIEN, a riverside option whose tranquil grounds contain both a man-made lake and a pair of rain trees that are over 100-years-old, and LE PATTA, a city hotel with a boutique feel, a lovely peaceful pool area, a garden, and well-appointed rooms with balconies. Or, an hour’s drive north of the city, stay amidst stunning mountain scenery at the beautiful KATILIYA MOUNTAIN RESORT & SPA (in the region known as Si Kham). ANIMAL ADVENTURES: If you want a vacation property that is truly unique, check in to either the ANANTARA GOLDEN TRIANGLE ELEPHANT CAMP & RESORT, or the FOUR SEASONS TENTED CAMP GOLDEN TRIANGLE—two of the most unforgettable—not to mention exceedingly luxurious—getaway options in Chiang Rai province. The resorts are both located well north of the city and they both support and incorporate the GOLDEN TRIANGLE ASIAN ELEPHANT FOUNDATION (GTAEF) as part of the guest experience. In fact, interactions with this shared pool of playful pachyderms is one of the main attractions for holiday makers staying at either resort.

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TRAVEL | see & do chiang rai

Organic Adventures

Explore the beauty of Chiang Rai’s nature-related attractions

Mae Fah Luang Botanical Garden

Hall of Inspiration

DOI TUNG: Located just north of Doi Mae Salong, Doi Tung is a 1,389-meterhigh mountain where the late Queen Mother set up both a centre for agricultural research, and the impressive and beautifully landscaped Mae Fah Luang Botanical Garden. The decorative flowers in the garden are grown and nurtured by local villagers, hundreds of whom are now earning a sustainable livelihood. Royal Projects initiatives like this have led to radical change in the North of Thailand, and in a few decades this region of the province went from a dangerous opium producing hotspot, to a profitable collection of local farmers raising fruits, vegetables, and cash crops such as coffee. For hungry visitors, the Doi Tung Development Project’s restaurants can be found both on Doi Tung mountain and at the Greater Mekong Lodge, Golden Triangle Park. Their special menus serve traditional Northern dishes, ethnic specialties, and toxin-free fresh vegetables from the Project’s vegetable farm and local farms in the area. Locally recruited cooks constantly create new menus, and the service staff is comprised of people from different ethnic minority villages who take pride in their work and welcome customers as guests to their hometown. www.doitung.org HALL OF INSPIRATION: A popular attraction within the Doi Tung Royal Projects area is the Hall of Inspiration, a well-curated museum that traces the region’s social and agricultural transformation. It’s an interactive exhibition space that shows the characters, philosophies, and working principles of the Mahidol Royal Family, as well as their efforts to find ways to improve the lives and livelihoods of the Thai people in all corners of the Kingdom through simple, practical but effective means. Open daily from 8am to 5pm. www.maefahluang.org

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DOI TUNG TREE TOP WALK: Energetic explorers, who aren’t afraid of heights, can journey safely along a 295-meter walkway snaking through the dense foliage of the jungle trees at the Mae Fah Luang Garden—30 meters above the ground—at the Doi Tung Tree Top Walk. It’s open daily from 8:30am till 5pm, and admission is B150 per person. www.treetopadventurepark.com/doitung bangkok101.com


see & do chiang rai | TRAVEL

Appetizing organic fare

LOCUS NATIVE FOOD LAB: Located a bit north of Chiang Rai City, somewhat near the airport, Locus Native Food Lab is a private restaurant that showcases chef Kongwuth Chaiwongkachon’s take on familiar Thai dishes, all made with a dedication to using local produce and local wisdom when it comes to cultivation and preparation. Each evening only a single group of diners—up to 20 people— are served. The chef relates the intricate story behind each dish in the 10-course tasting menu, where the spotlight is firmly on Northern Thailand’s abundant produce. Open daily from 6pm till 11pm. facebook.com/locusnativefoodlab

CHOUI FONG TEA PLANTATION: For half a century, Chiang Rai’s Choui Fong Tea has been cultivating high quality traditional teas—Assum, Green, Oolong, and Black Tea—at an altitude of around 1,200 meters above sea level, in a plantation area of over 1,000 rai. In terms of production capacity, Choui Fong is the largest in the province. The plantation is situated in a really beautiful area and the grounds and tea plant terraces are immaculately kept, making it well worth a day-trip visit. There is a really nice shop selling all sorts of tea related products, but the real icing on the cake is the ultra-modern café—designed by IDIN Architects—with a terrace overlooking the beautiful expanse of greenery. Open daily from 8am till 6pm (call 05 377 1563).

Green terraced fields

Tea with a view bangkok101.com

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TRAVEL | see & do chiang rai

Elderly resident makes the climb

Chilly morning

PHU CHI FA: Often described as “the most spectacular sunrise spot in all of Thailand”, Phu Chi Fa is a 1,442-metre-high mountain viewpoint overlooking the Laos border, located about 100 km from Chiang Rai City. You can only drive so far up the mountain, after which you need to walk uphill about 20-30 minutes to reach the summit viewpoint. In the cool of the morning, as the first rays of dawn approach, photographers are already busy themselves preparing to get the best shot. Looking out over the expanse, as the mist and clouds give way to pastoral valley greenery, it’s a magical moment indeed. Add to that the sight of hilltribe villagers wearing traditional costumes, and you have an unforgettable slice of Northern Thailand life. With the mix of clean mountain air, rolling green hillsides, and friendly villagers, it’s amazing more non-Thai tourists don’t venture here, but for those who do there are modest guesthouses as well as camping spots available. However, if you require accommodation with more amenities, Huen Chan Thip (053 712 087) offers clean and modern rooms, breakfast, and even a swimming pool. You can also book a trip to Phu Chi Fa leaving directly from Chiang Rai City, but you’ll have to depart at about 3:30am in order to make it to the summit in time for sunrise.

Hilltribe toddlers

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Photos by Bruce Scott

Sunrise at the clifftop lookout point

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upcountry now | TRAVEL

CAPE PANWA PHUKET RACEWEEK July 18-22

The annual Cape Panwa Phuket Raceweek is returning for its 15th year (held at the Cape Panwa Hotel and Kantary Bay Hotel). It’s an event that continues to strengthen Phuket’s regional position as the yachting hub of Southeast Asia, and it’s also one of the leading annual social events on the island, with over 40 sailing teams expected to take part. Entries and national representation are particularly strong from Asia Pacific, including teams hailing from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, and Japan, but Germany, UK, USA, and more are also present. For more information, visit: www.phuketraceweek.com.

UBON RATCHATHANI CANDLE FESTIVAL July 27-28

Held annually on Asanha Bucha Day, a Buddhist holiday that commemorates the first sermon of Lord Buddha, and on Wan Kao Pansa (the following day) which marks the start of Buddhist Lent, the Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival is a huge celebration. The highlight is the parade of giant candles that travels through the city, each float representing a local temple, district or institution. The sculpting of the statues begins months in advance, and they are truly something to behold. On the first day, candles gather at the Thung Si Mueang park, and on the next morning the procession starts.

LAD CHADO CANDLE FLOATING FESTIVAL July 28

Visitors to Ayutthaya province this month should coincide their trip with the one-day Lad Chado Candle Floating Festival, which takes place at the Lad Chado Canal, Phak Hai District. Enjoy the beautifully decorated candles as they are paraded on the water in an age-old celebration. Aside from the waterway wax displays there will also be a Baan Suan Rim Klong beauty pageant, various local sporting games, a special photography exhibition showcasing the Lad Chado people’s traditional way of life, and a simulation of a vintage floating market. There’s even a contest for the best decorated house along canal.

DOK KRACHIAO BLOOMING FESTIVAL Until September 30

Travellers to Chaiyaphum visiting the Pa Hin Ngam National Park in Thep Sathit district, and/or the Sai Thong National Park in Nong Bua Ra Haew district, will get an eyeful during the 4-month long Dok Krachiao Blooming Festival 2018. The “Siam Tulip”, or Dok Krachiao, is a flower that comes in to full bloom in the early part of the rainy season (from June to August). During these months, the fields of the national parks are blanketed with the exceptional beauty of these pinkish-purple flowers. Special sightseeing tours will be organized, as well as other fun-filled activities. bangkok101.com

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TRAVEL | over the border

Kitchens of KL

The Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur is a bustling city, a melting pot where cultures and cuisines converge in happy coexistence By David J. Constable

The Petronas Twin Towers and the beautiful Kuala Lumpur skyline

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very account I’d read about Kuala Lumpur encouraged visits to the Petronas Twin Towers; those erupting paired skyscrapers that shoot skywards into a dusty haze. Here I’d find the tourist cluster and gurning Brits with their iPhones, and anyway, I was here for cultural immersion, and the best way to achieve this was to eat. And so, I went about my two days in “KL”, as it’s affectionately known by locals, with a nomadic intrigue and a ravenous appetite, keen to explore the city at ground level in the restaurants, kitchens and street stalls of this fast-paced and chaotic capital. As the cultural, financial and economic centre of Malaysia, KL is a sultry place with a vibrant mix of cultures. In recent weeks, it’s been a turbulent time for politics too with the euphoria over the change of government and the reappointment of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, whose political comeback, at age 92, led opposition parties to their first election victory in six decades. I found the Indian, Arab and Chinese communities here particularly appealing given the time I’ve spent within 5 6 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

the mostly Buddhist Bangkok. The city screams capital status, choked with people; a teeming, steaming great masterpiece of humanity. I discovered the colourfully adorned mosques and temples were some of the city’s most striking additions, adding layers of religious architecture and mixed cultures to a true melting pot of a metropolis. Like Bangkok, I see the incense-wreathed temples and multicoloured ribbons wrapped around trees; and traffic is equally as frustrating with impatient drivers and all-toofrequent traffic jams. Much like life in “The Big Mango”, this is a city with a reverence for ancient cultures, not only demonstrated in the many religious temples but found within local art and cuisine too, all the while, driving to be plugged into the contemporary world. Staying at the five-star St. Regis Kuala Lumpur, it began with a tray of sweet-meringue macaroons on arrival. Hardly Malay, but consumed all the same. From there, I roamed the neon-lit stretch of Jalan Alor street, devouring several buttered prawns on skewers and vast bangkok101.com


over the border | TRAVEL

Bold and colourful plating at Dewakan

Chef Darren Teoh

amounts of hokkien mee (lard-fried noodles), steering clear of noodles with frogs’ legs. By happy accident, I discovered Wong Ah Wah on Wai Sek Kai (“Gluttons Road”), where they serve what is firmly believed to be the best barbecue chicken wings in Malaysia. I’ll be the judge of that. Heavy with meat and with a tang of smokiness, they were indeed right up there with the very best. That same evening I took a taxi to KDU University College and to Dewakan, a restaurant located within the Shah Alam City campus and one with an increasing reputation for contemporary, well-researched, thoroughly-considered, modern Malaysian cuisine. It was opened in March 2015 by Darren Teoh, a local chef with experience in both national and international kitchens; from Breizh and Le Bouchon, which were among Kuala Lumpur’s top French restaurants, to Les Amis and Au Jardin in Singapore. The menu at Dewakan is a geographical journey through the biodiverse layers of Malaysian habitats, with ingredients from the seas, farms, mountains, and jungles of this wide-ranging country. For me, it’s a catalogue of new and interesting ingredients, a foreign inventory of tendons, giblets, curries and snapper. “This is modern Malaysian cuisine,” Chef Teoh tell me, “but then what does that mean? I grew up eating many different cuisines, and this is a country built upon many different influences. I try to work with history and traditions, presenting plates in a modern way.” The use of local produce—Bidor duck breast, Bario rice porridge and grilled lowland vegetables—is applied in a celebration of Malay culture and heritage, plated with bangkok101.com

The Aston Bar at the St. Regis Kuala Lumpur

Spoilt for choice with “KL” street food

a knowing nod to the molecular styles and techniques of contemporary fine dining. “The whole restaurant began with a simple idea,” Chef Teoh goes on to say. “The premise was to use local ingredients, but then, just stopping with ingredients revealed a missing piece in our vocabulary. We needed to apply local technique, as well. A lot of chefs here were trained in the European style, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but you sometimes need to step back and look at how best to use native ingredients to their full potential.” Speaking to Chef Teoh, I learn that there’s a new appreciation for modern-Malay cuisine. So many young chefs have pursued their ambition and gone out into the world, but are now returning home with international experience and applying it to their culture while sourcing native ingredients. J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 5 7


TRAVEL | over the border

Kuala Lumpur‘s iconic Masjid Jamek Mosque

“The previous government suppressed the livelihoods of many people,” says Chef Teoh, “especially those Malaysians in the countryside and forests. The government robbed them of their ancestral lands, forcing them to live in poverty with little access to schools. We can’t talk about sourcing these products from such places for a fancy restaurant, without talking about these people. Dewakan is a celebration of the people and everything that’s great about our land.” Back at the St. Regis, I had cocktails in the wood and leather-clad Astor Bar, with its brass-trimmed panelled entrance and hammered-brass door knobs—a place you could very quickly lose an entire evening in—and drank with some ease, I’m not embarrassed to admit, the hotel’s signature Bloody Mary. I hit my pillow content that evening, with a swollen, aching belly and the taste of spiced tomato juice still on my lips. The following morning I walked to Masjid Jamek Mosque, at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak River. It’s a mesmerizing attraction for a visitor, full of magnificent splendour, and a place of great importance in the daily lives of Muslins. Built in 1909, it was designed by the British architect Arthur Benison Hubback and paid for by Sultan Alauddin Sulaiman Shah, the Malays and fractions of the British government. It sits on the site of an old Malay burial place and remains one of the most important mosques in the city, officially declared as the National Mosque in 1965. Across the river from the Jamek mosque, I met up with Chef Teoh again and together we walked the busy streets 5 8 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

where vendors were grilling satay skewers and deep-frying yams. Down a labyrinth of village-like lanes, we arrived on Lebuh Ampang Road with its cluster of native Indian restaurants and silk saree shops, eventually deciding on Restoran Kader for lunch. Inside the restaurant, the setup is stark and simplistic. There are battered tables and stalled seating; and men cooking food in their pyjamas. If you want to learn about the plastic reduction in restaurants, then Restoran Kader could teach you a thing or two. For starters, there are no starters, people just order and food arrives; dolloped in great, gloopy masses onto banana leaves. There’s mutton masala, lamb varuval, palak paneer, and mountains of rice, all for around MYR50 (B400). There are no plates or cutlery; everything is eaten using fingers and hands. Anything left— looking around, no one is leaving food—is rolled up in the leaf and cast off. No hassle. No washing up. On the other end of the dining and financial scale is Taka by Sushi Saito, the only other outpost of Tokyo’s acclaimed three-Michelin-starred restaurant Sushi Saito, and Malaysia’s first restaurant opened by a three-Michelin starred chef. Hailed as “the best sushi restaurant in the world” by Joel Robuchon, it’s a place of austere luxury, and therefore, I approached with a nervous anticipation. My high expectations were met when Chef Masashi Kubota—who trained under Chef Takashi Saito and was personally selected by Saito to front the Malaysian outpost—offered me a plump morsel of otoro (fatty tuna) on rice, handed across a 300-year old Hinoki wood counter; followed by shinko (baby sardine); hamaguri bangkok101.com


over the border | TRAVEL

Chef Takashi Saito

(Japanese clam); bafun uni gunkan (seaweed-wrapped uni); and grilled nodogruo (rockfish). The bill though was eye-popping, like bum-clenchingly so; high in the hundreds of dollars bracket. But, if you’re prepared to remortgage the house, hawk your mother’s jewellery, and sell one of your children into slavery, then you too could reserve a seat at the counter. On my final morning, I lay in. Perhaps not the most time-effective activity given my limited time in Kuala Lumpur, but on a St. Regis Tempur Sealy mattress I’m not shifting for anything less than the burning down of the property. And anyway, there’s a butler service included with my Deluxe Room, so coffee, fresh orange juice and toast are brought directly to me, like some self-indulgent, cotton-robbed tyrant barking orders.

brilliant brunch I have ever eaten. There was live jazz with a hip dude playing Duke Ellington on a saxophone; and mussels, oysters, razor clams, crab legs, and lobster claws piled on troughs of ice. There’s a beef cheek stew and creamy burrata; homemade pasta and smoked salmon; imported cheeses and fluffy marshmallows. And a decadent, luscious foie gras crème brûlée. When I’m on my deathbed, it’ll be this I’m thinking about; not that I never went to Timbuktu or didn’t have enough sex, but that I didn’t consume enough foie gras crème brûlée. The champagne is free-flow, and espressos are thick, potent and perfect for mid-morning hangovers. Chef Rion informs me that the Brasserie restaurant has ambitions of being voted ‘The Best Sunday Brunch in Kuala Lumpur’ by local guides, including Time Out. I can’t see why they wouldn’t achieve this, as a veteran hotelhopper who’s dipped a finger into many a brunch and buffet spread, this was all superb. Food plays a vital role in this city. People seem to plan their days around meals and who they’re meeting where. It’s a fusion of influences and a delicious advert for the multiculturalism of KL, lending very much to my overall happiness while visiting and experiencing a breadth of styles from street food staples to modern-Malay, three-star sushi and a buffet spread of first-rate international fare. Having a local guide like Chef Teoh helps, but then the chicken at Wong Ah Wah was an accidental solo discovery. There are finds around every corner and just like the mosques and temples, you can trace the history and influences on Kuala Lumpur through its food, as well as architecture. With a newly installed government, things are shifting again for this highly developing city. Next time though, I should probably visit the Petronas Twin Towers for that famous photograph. Perhaps I’ll even try the noodles with frogs’ legs, too? Note: David stayed at the St. Regis Kuala Lumpur as a guest of the hotel. www.stregiskualalumpur.com

Deluxe Room, St. Regis Kuala Lumpur

TRAVELLER INFORMATION: Tea with a view at the St. Regis Kuala Lumpur

Sunday Brunch was at the hotel’s Brasserie restaurant, under the design and execution of Chef de Cuisine, Alain Rion. It was, and I say this wholeheartedly, the most bangkok101.com

Return flights with Air Asia from Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport to Kuala Lumpur International Airport are available from around B1,499, depending on the season and availability. www.airasia.com

J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 5 9


ART

| ART & CULTURE

Package Deal

Australian artist Ben Frost’s Pop Art mash ups

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ustralian artist BEN FROST is known for his kaleidoscopic Pop Art, mash-up paintings that take inspiration from areas as diverse as graffiti, collage, photo-realism and sign-writing. By subverting mainstream iconography from the worlds of advertising, entertainment and politics, he creates a visual framework that is bold, confronting and often controversial. He has been exhibiting throughout Australia and internationally over the last 15 years, including solo shows in London, New York, Sydney, Toronto, Singapore, Miami, Torino and San Francisco, as well as group shows in Beijing, Mongolia, Amsterdam, Berlin and throughout the USA. His work has been featured on the BBC, Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and countless newspaper and magazine articles. His first solo exhibition in Bangkok is entitled PACKAGE DEAL and it explores the relation packaging plays in our daily lives—which are so filled with modern day addictions. Taking inspiration from the packages he sees and collects on his travels, Frost juxtaposes them with bold, colourful and romanticized imagery such as corporate mascots, cartoon characters and emotionally charged ladies. These creative combinations create a dialogue about our obsessive relationship with the things that keep us happy in our life, whether anti-depressants, high-end fashion, or endless entertainment on our big-screen TVs. The artist sees his work as a form of visual and physical recycling, not only does he work on canvas, but he also finds discarded boxes and packages that he paints directly onto. Founded in 2017, CHIN’S GALLERY focuses on urban contemporary art pieces from both local and overseas artists. The two individuals behind the gallery are passionate about art, fashion, design, and contemporary lifestyle—with one heavily involved in the urban contemporary art movement, while the other is more of an appreciator and collector. Both are inspired to bring forward visions of cutting edge art by world renowned and emerging national and international talent. PACKAGE DEAL runs until JULY 22 at CHIN’S GALLERY (Arden Rama 3, 33/58 Yannawa Rd). Viewing hours are Wednesday to Sunday, from 11am to 7pm. For more information, call 086 371 6009. www.chinsgallery.com

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J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 6 1


ART & CULTURE | exhibitions

7 JULY-28 JULY Life Along the River

Number1Gallery 19 Silom 21 Bangrak 19 Silom Rd, Soi 21 | 02 630 2523 | Mon-Sat, 11am-7pm | number1gallery.com

“Life Along the River” is the first exhibition of Vorasan Supap with Number 1 Gallery. The picture of the Eiam Jun boat that floats on top of the Chao Phraya River show stories of the past in which Thai people had a deep and meaningful relationship with the river. This particular image is reflective of Supap’s work and demonstrates the close bond Thai people had, and in many ways, continue to have, with rivers. Many of the things people and families who live on the river do, can be seen through this picture, from fishing to dining, showering and relaxing; all on the water. These are the inspirations of the artist, who began his career over 30 years ago.

UNTIL 7 JULY 2018 Coal: The Dirty Business WTF Cafe & Gallery

7, Sukhumvit Soi 51 I 02 662 6246 | Tue-Sun, 3pm-8pm | wtfbangkok.com

"Coal: The Dirty Business" is an exhibition co-ordinated by the Community Art Project after a group of seven artists and photographers came together last year, researching materials and information in Krabi from locals and activists who oppose the construction of the coal-fired power plant by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand. Research shows the areas where EGAT intends to build the plant and the route of coal transport from Indonesia lie at the heart of the southern Andaman sea’s marine ecosystem. Artists involved in the exhibition believe it vital to continue raising awareness and keep the debate alive. Artworks include video, painting, photography and live performance.

JULY 12-AUGUST 18 Place.Love

ARDEL’s Third Place Gallery (Thonglor Soi 10) The Third Place, Thonglor Soi 10, Soi 55 Sukhumvit Rd | 02 714 7929 | Mon-Sat, 10am6pm | thirdplacebangkok.com/gallery

The exhibition PLACE.LOVE presents a photography collaboration between Nitikorn Kraivixien, a professional photographer (the father), and Nitipen Kraivixien (the daughter). With the exhibition’s concept focusing on love and the impressions of places the father-daughter pairing have visited, as well as the people they have travelled with and encountered on their jounreys, the exhibition reveals a beautiful relationship of family through the exquisite views of other countries, including England, Norway, Italy, Iceland, and many other breathtaking locations. 6 2 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

bangkok101.com


exhibitions | ART & CULTURE

JUNE 23-AUGUST 10 Brushwork and True Feeling Tang Contemporary Art Bangkok

3F, Golden Place Plaza, 153 Rajdamri Rd 02 652 2732 | Tue-Sat, 11am-7pm (Closed on Public Holidays) | tangcontemporary.com

"Brushwork and True Feeling" is curated by mainland Chinese curator Dai Zhuoqun. The exhibition features works by eight Chinese contemporary painters: Chen Yujun, Tang Yongxiang, Ma Ke, Qin Qi, Xu Xiaoguo, Xue Feng, Yin Chaoyu, and Zhang Yexing and presents recent Chinese contemporary painting to Southeast Asia. The distinctive quality of every painting is the immediate reflection of the painter’s understanding of art and their physical and mental state in a specific time and place. The exhibition paintings are delivered to the viewer so the viewer is able to enter the painter’s creation, glimpsing the artist’s vision.

JUNE 30-JULY 31 Life’s Stories La Lanta Fine Art

2198/10-11 Narathiwas Rajanakarin Road Soi 22 | 02 260 5381 | Tue-Sat, 10am-7pm, Sun by appointment | lalanta.com

In conjunction with the gallery’s move to a new space at N22 Art Warehouse, La Lanta Fine Art is pleased to announce a group exhibition by three talented Thai artists: Pairoj Pichetmetakul, Wattanapon Kitburin, and Natthiwut Phuangphi in the exhibition titled “Life’s Stories”. The exhibition presents a collective depiction of genuine people from all walks of life, from a fisherman to a Nepali Sherpa to portraits of New York’s subway commuters. The exhibition examines peoples from across the globe from various walks of life, capturing their expressions and different backgrounds. SEA URCHIN RICE trout roe + yuzu + wasabi

LOCATION Conveniently located just 20 metres off Convent Rd (on Soi Pipat 2), in Bangkok’s Silom District OPENING HOURS 3pm–1am Every Day Full Kitchen & Bar until 1am CONTACT T: 02 238 0931 E: reservations@eatmerestaurant.com @eatmerestaurant @eatmerestaurant @eatmerestaurant

www.eatmerestaurant.com bangkok101.com

J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 6 3


ART & CULTURE | art event

Bangkok Biennal

Grassroots art event takes over the downtown core (and beyond) By Bruce Scott

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s a precursor to the “official” Bangkok Art Biennale, set to begin in October of this year, the Bangkok Biennal is scheduled to take place from July 1st to September 30th, 2018, and promises to be a very different art event altogether.

Rapat Bunduwanich Conceived and put together by a conglomerate of local artists (Thai and foreign), the folk behind this “unofficial” Biennal have chosen to remain anonymous, for the most part. In fact, this Biennal has no actual curators at all, but the names of the artists, pavilions, and artistic concepts are explained in great detail on the website, which lists around 150 artists and almost 70 staging pavilions. On display this month, and over the course of the following two months, will be many unique pavilions with some rather arresting concepts, Angkrit Ajchariyasophon including: the American Pavilion, the Charoen Pavilion, the Bangkok Sky Pavilion, and the Supernatural Pavilion. Overall the event will showcase artists covering many different genres, including installation, video, sound, and performance. 6 4 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

Well-known names to look out for include Angkrit Ajchariyasophon, Mit Jai Inn, Unchalee Anantawat, as well as street artists TRK and Hideyuki Katsumata, and the Bangkok Underground Film Festival team of Sam Freeman and Dhyan Ho, as well as many others. Meanwhile, Rapat Bunduwanich and the Guerrilla Boys represent some of the fresh young talent taking part. Finally, local galleries involved include Speedy Grandma, Jam Café, WTF, the N22 galleries of Artist + Run, and Cartel Artspace. There will also be some foreign artists making their mark, such as Shinya Akutagawa from Japan, Abhijan Gupta from India, Sarah Azpeitia from the USA, Yu Cheng Ta from Taiwan, Alfred Banze and Christine Falk from Germany, and a host of others. It was also recently confirmed that a pavilion hosted at the National Gallery, called MEX4: Preservation of the Occult, will bring to Bangkok the work of four artists from Mexico: Héctor de Anda, Maribel Portela, Sylvana Burns, and Adolfo Pérez Buitrón. It’s been organized in cooperation with the Mexican Hideyuki Katsumata Embassy. According to the organizers the pavilions will be seen in public spaces all around Bangkok—from sky walks and at the railway station, to parks, gardens, malls, etc. In addition, sister events will be staged in other Thai locales, such as Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Pattani, Narathiwat, and Chachoengsao, and there will even be some interesting ‘Cross Over’ projects scheduled to be staged in Germany, France, and The Netherlands. As for budget, it’s a self-organized and self-funded enterprise, with artists and organizers working together in a collaborative environment. And while many have called it an “underground” or “guerrilla” art event, the team behind it all prefer to simply call it a “grassroots” event. www.bangkokbiennial.com bangkok101.com


cinema scope | ART & CULTURE

Film News & Screenings By Bruce Scott

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Hard Paint

Signature Move

The Wound

Tom of Finland

White Sun

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ne of the biggest film events this month is the inaugural LGBT+ Film Festival Bangkok, which takes over the Bangkok Screening Room (Sala Daeng Soi 1) from July 3rd to the 8th. The festival will explore the diverse facets of the LGBT community through films, special events, talks, and live performances, and a special art exhibition. John Badalu will be acting as guest film festival programmer, and as a whole this six-day event will be a safe place for discussions about important issues, such as marriage equality and equal opportunity. The films to be shown vary widely—from old favourites like the Australian camp classic The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994), to Hard Paint (2018), a Brazilian film about a socially withdrawn young man who finds a virtual-world escape as a seductive gay chatroom performer. Another new film of note is Signature Move (2017), a romance set in Chicago involving two women—one Pakistani and the other a MexicanAmerican. Other films being screened include: Tale of the Lost Boys (2017); The Wound (2017); Queen of Ireland (2015); Tom of Finland (2017); and 120 Beats Per Minute (2017). For up-to-date listings and information visit the website. www.bkksr.com/lgbtff Another film event to make note of takes place on Sunday July 8th at TK Park, when White Sun, an awardwinning film from Nepal, will be shown. Directed by Deepak Rauniyar, this 2016 drama/biography tells the bangkok101.com

Queen of Ireland story of an anti-regime partisan who confronts physical, social, and political obstacles after returning to his remote mountain village for his father’s funeral. His search for a solution takes him to neighbouring mountain villages and encounters with the police and rebel guerrillas alike. The film is supported by the Embassy of Nepal, with post-screening snacks and drinks, and the Ambassador of Nepal, HE K. N. Adhikari, will introduce film. The Thailand Knowledge (TK) Park is located on the 8th floor of CentralWorld (999/9 Rama 1 Rd), the screenings begin at 4pm, and tickets are only B20 each. www.tkpark.or.th. Finally, over at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Thailand (518/5 Ploenchit Rd, Maneeya Center, Penthouse), the ongoing Monday night FCCT documentary series continues, led off this month by Surfwise, on July 2nd. This 2008 American doc tells the story of Dorian ‘Doc’ Paskowitz, his wife, and their nine children. Forsaking anything resembling a traditional home life, the family lives instead in a 24-foot camper and spends their time surfing. All FCCT documentary series films are shown with Thai subtitles, and a lively panel discussion follows each screening. The films begin at 7pm, and admission is free for FCCT members (B150 for non-members). There’s also an optional buffet for B250. www.fccthai.com J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 6 5


The Petch-Siam Cinema in Sukhothai province, abandoned for over 30 years


Art & Culture

Photo Feature

Abandonia Chronicling Thailand’s derelict and decaying spaces

Despite the current construction boom that is erecting a shiny new condo, mall, or hotel on every available plot of land in Bangkok—and in many other parts of the Kingdom— there are, at the same time, a multitude of abandoned structures and spaces spread like blemishes across the face of Thailand. These eerie enclaves are usually covered with cobwebs, graffiti, encroaching jungle, or a combination of all three. And while they’re hardly the stuff of picture postcards, their crumbling beauty is a definite attraction for American-born photographer Dax Ward, who has been shooting abandoned places throughout Thailand, South Africa, and the USA for several years now. A number of his haunting images, depicting such sites as Thailand’s airplane graveyard, have been published by The Guardian, The Daily Mail, CNN Style, and even The Weather Channel. His photo series Abandonia, which was on display last month at Bangkok’s JAM Café, profiles structures that have been “abandoned” as well as constructions projects whose completion was prematurely halted… and never resumed. Although not a full-time photographer—he has a regular day job—Ward does enjoy having his photos exhibited and published. “The idea is just to get my pictures out there, not get rich and famous,”

he explains. “I’m interested in urban exploration and abandoned sites probably for the same reasons as a lot of other people. I enjoy knowing the history of derelict sites; what they used to be, and why they became abandoned. Each location had its own unique purpose within a community when in operation, and likewise had its own reason or reasons for closing down and becoming forgotten. I think it’s really fascinating to walk through these special places and try to imagine what they were like when operating. I especially like seeing places that have a colourful, odd or even creepy history, as those tend to make for the most captivating images. “I’m sometimes alone when I explore these sites, but usually I’m with my wife Mook. She helps me to bargain and also models for me. Sometimes the sites are recommended to me by friends or acquaintances on social media, other times I’ll drive by them on my bike or in my car, and I drop a map pin and return later. Other times I’ll do some research before I visit a particular city, and make a sort of checklist of places to try and shoot. “I think these places can serve as a reminder that nothing lasts forever. No matter how important or big and shiny something is at any point in time, it’s not permanent.” www.daxward.com


The Batman Club, Pattaya

The Train Graveyard in Bang Sue, Bangkok


The Oscar Cinema, Bangkok

The New World Mall in Dusit, Bangkok


The Bhirasri Institute of Modern Art in Sathorn, Bangkok

Abandoned apartments in Samut Prakarn


The Hotel Grand Ayudhaya in Huay Kwang, Bangkok

The Thai Fa Tower in Bang Na, Bangkok (site of multiple suicides and murders)


Wagyu beef pad kaprao (top) and carrot cake at The Fork Eatery


| FOOD & DRINK

AROY casual charm

Yes, Bangkok is currently awash in glamorous fine dining restaurants, with star chefs who concoct mindboggling degustation menus that require paragraph-long explanations of the minutiae involved… but sometimes ya just want a cozy, casual, bistro café where you can tuck into some yummy comfort food. Filling that gap is THE FORK EATERY (365/9 Soi Phaya Nak), which opened its doors in May in the Ratchatewi area. The clean modern design sets the stage for a variety of menu items—both Thai and international—all of which get a few modern twists. Try the spicy Wagyu beef pad kaprao with onsen egg, or go Middle-Eastern with shakshuka, a breakfasty egg and tomato dish made here with ham. And don’t miss out on desserts such as the deliciously moist carrot cake with walnut and pistachio (one of Bangkok’s best), and drinks such as their super thick mango smoothies. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9am till 7:30pm. www.facebook.com/theforkeatery

turning the tables One of the most exciting additions to Bangkok’s gourmand gallery is the opening of TABLE 38 (8, Sukhumvit Soi 38), an intimate fine dining restaurant where Head Chef ANDY YANG—the former holder of a Michelin star in New York—presents his extraordinary take on modern Thai cuisine. The location is somewhat odd, on the ground floor of the Ideo Ashton Morph condo, and there is but one singular table where all diners converge, but all doubts dissolve once you begin the incredible tasting menu journey. Stand out items include: foie gras with sriracha honey; scallop with piquant pineapple; beef green curry; lamb cutlet with massaman; and burratta on a betel leaf. The restaurant is closed Mondays, and there are only two seatings, at 6pm and 9pm. For reservations call 083 399 9888.

the splendour of siam The recently opened R.HAAN restaurant (131, Sukhumvit Soi 53) is a gorgeously designed fine dining establishment serving authentic Thai cuisine—often the kind you won’t find on many other menus in town. Attention has been paid to every detail here, and the meals are served on hand-painted ceramics (reproductions of the traditional tableware once used in the Royal Palace). There are three expertly curated set menus to choose from, with intriguing selections such as: Coconut cream rice pancakes infused with galangal and topped with Inthanon caviar; Khao Yai Hill ant’s eggs and minced Kurobuta pork spicy salad with herbs coated with pounded unripe rice and Hom-mali rice foam; Korat Wagyu beef with red sweet basil, Jinda chilli, and Srisaket garlic; and Stir-fried spicy wild boar with red curry paste and Chantaboon amomum villosum (similar to cardamom). Open daily from 6pm till 11pm. www.r-haan.com

restos new and noted New restaurants of note on the Bangkok foodie scene include the long-awaited appearance of AESOP’S (120 Sala Daeng 1/1), a Greek restaurant that serves up all the classics we love—spanakopita, moussaka, souvlaki, saganaki, dolmades, etc—and even offers a selection of Greek wines on the bar menu. On a much different note, the PRAYA KITCHEN at the recently opened BANGKOK MARRIOTT HOTEL SURAWONGSE (262 Surawong Rd) has local chef ATTAPOL ‘X’ NAITO THANGTHONG enticing diners with a collection of old family recipes—inherited from his grandmother—as well as kitsch classics such as ‘Chicken Volcano’, in which a whole spit-roasted chicken gets doused in Mekhong whiskey and set alight tableside. www.aesopsbangkok.com • www.marriott.com bangkok101.com

J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 7 3


FOOD & DRINK | meal deals

Celebrate End of the Month at Bangkok Trading Post

137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok | 59/1 Soi Sukhumvit 39 Tel: 063 187 6209 | 137pillarsbangkok.com Why not celebrate the end of the month with an almighty feast at Bangkok Trading Post who are offering a free-flow of bubbles and wine from Australia’s world-famous Yalumba winery, together with sumptuous food of the highest quality. A live band will also perform to add to the fun and family-friendly ambiance. Brunch will take place on 27 May, 24 June, 22 July, 26 August, 30 September, 28 October, 25 November and 2, 9 and 16 December between noon and 3pm (B2,900++). 50% discount offered for children aged between 6 and 12. Those under 6 years can enjoy brunch with their parents free of charge.

Into the Blue at a Place with a View

Blue Sky Bar at Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok | 1695 Phahonyothin Rd. Tel: 02 541 1234 | www.centarahotelsresorts.com Enjoy dining on the roof at Blue Sky Bar & Modern French Bistro and indulge with delectable sharing platters, starting from now until 31 July. Executive Chef Christian Werdenberg has created a special sharing platter that includes steamed live Boston lobster, king crab legs, Fin de Claire oysters and seared sashimi grade tuna. Try also Australian grain fed 150-day beef tomahawk and Blue Sky Paella with Spanish saffron rice cooked in mussel broth with Boston lobster, mussels, Spanish chorizo, chicken and roasted peppers. Prices subject to 10% service charge and 7% government tax.

Crab Carnival at Atelier Restaurant

Pullman Bangkok Grande Sukhumvit | 30, Soi Sukhumvit 21 Tel: 02 204 4161 | www.atelierbangkok.com The new all-you-can-eat dinner buffet at Crab Carnival runs till the end of July, and includes three varieties of crab: blue crabs, snow crabs and king crabs. Other buffet features include: seafood on ice with shrimp, New Zealand mussels and even more crab! Grill stations serve up prawns, salmon and, you guessed it, even more crab! The buffet promotion is available until 31 July 2018 on every Sunday to Thursday from 6pm to 10:30pm. Priced at B1,399++ per person for food and soft drinks. Be sure to book a table direct at www.atelierbangkok.com to enjoy up to 50% discount on food bill.

Silver Waves Restaurant Presents a Pork Spare Rib Promotion

Chatrium Hotel | 28 Charoenkrung Rd. Tel: 02 307 8888 | www.chatrium.com High above the river on the 36th Floor, the July attraction at Silver Waves Restaurant is a special Pork Spare Rib (B499) dish. Plus, the in-house Chinese chef has come up with four other delectable pork rib recipes: Baked Pork Spare Ribs with Champagne Sauce, Braised Pork Spare Ribs Cantonese Style, Deep-Fried Pork Spare Ribs with Minced Garlic Sauce and Stewed Pork Spare Ribs and Lotus Root in Black Bean Sauce. If you’re into pork then you’re not going to want to miss this delicious opportunity. This special meaty menu is available from now until the end of August. Get ready to pig out!.

A Limited Time Offering at Wine Connection

The Groove @ CentralWorld, Rama 4 Rd.Pathumwa www.wineconnection.co.th/restaurant/the-groove Wine Connection have launched a brand new menu, serving now until the end of August. Highlights include: Sea Bass en “Papillote” in which sea bass is oven-baked with lemon (cooked in traditional French-style) and served with potatoes, cherry tomatoes and asparagus. Other standout dishes are Grilled Calamari with salsa sauce, and Fettuccine Tossed with Duck and Red Wine Sauce. For pork lovers, we suggest the Apple Glazed Pork Tenderloin, a delicious pork loin that will melt in your mouth, cooked with a secret herbal sauce and a special apple sauce. All of this and more are waiting for you at Wine Connection.

Celebrate Friday and Saturday at CiTi Bistro

Pathumwan Princess Hotel, 444 MBK Center, Phayathai Rd Tel: 02 216 3700 | www.pprincess.com Every Friday and Saturday, from 1 July to the end of August, CiTi BiSTRo at Pathumwan Princess Hotel is inviting guests to a Jazz Night Buffet offering the finest French and Creole cuisine. The tempting menu showcases a live creole stir-fry station, Lobster Thermidor, Tiger Prawn Flambé, Oyster Rockefeller and much, much more! The all-you-can-eat buffet plus live jazz entertainment is available for just B1,800 net. Entry for children is half-price, making this a steal-deal and the perfect spot for weekend brunches with the family or having a celebratory meal with friends.

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bangkok101.com


chew on this | FOOD & DRINK

Monsoon Lunches

As the rainy season begins, this city unfairly limits you in your lunch options, in a will-it/won’t-it rainy day conundrum

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here is something in the pursuit of lunch— something special, unique, therapeutic. It’s key in the balance of the working day, the splinter between morning and afternoon, and we all await for its arrival with ravenous anticipation. Especially in Bangkok. Lunch in this city is an event. People’s days are built around it; the pleasure, the decisions, the business, the mechanics of street food that soothes and calms. As I mentioned in last month’s column, lunch in the seething masses of a street food market in Bangkok is a life-anddeath drama, something I’m struggling to adjust to. All of the choices and elbow-to-elbow ordering, the rude reserving of tables with nondescript lanyards. But I can’t ignore it. I can’t cancel lunch. In Thailand the rainy season (May till October) unfairly limits you, forcing you to narrow your dining options in one of the world’s great food cities. The strident, violent, monsoonal weather could strike anytime. I’ve discovered that I can’t venture out too far for fear of a downpour or being struck by lightning. There’s no warning or build-up either, the weather going from 38-degrees to sodden linen trousers in a matter of seconds.

David J. Constable is a British writer currently residing in Bangkok, where he is the Food Editor of Bangkok 101 magazine. He has written for a wide range of publications, including Condé Nast Traveller, Tatler, and Jamie Oliver magazine. He is currently working on his first book, a collection of travel assignments. www.davidjconstable.com bangkok101.com

Only last week, I had my grilled pork skewers in a little plastic carrier bag, a side order of diced mango too, and the heavens opened—lightning tearing through the sky. So many of my culinary adventures have been across the river, or in the village-like lanes throughout Sathorn and Sukhumvit, but with such temperamental, sub-tropical weather, I’m forced to run for cover, scrutinizing my surroundings for dining options. It’s not as though I’m never prepared. How can you be? What good is an umbrella or packet-poncho when the pelting rain—sharp and excruciating—hammers against my exposed cheeks like diamond daggers. But still, amongst all of the temperamental weather, the city sparkles. Like Hooters waitresses, Bangkok looks best when wet. The pavements shimmer and are empty of people. The minor dip in temperature is a welcome relief, too. Garbage isn’t cooking in the mid-afternoon melt, causing a wave of stench and rotting meats to drift through windows, discarded fish bones and rotting chicken feet mingling with days-old trash. I still see the rats though. Locally, I’m discovering new culinary finds. There’s the excellent black coffee and Korean chicken wings (in a GaJa Black marinade) at GaJa & Ga Beans on Naradhiwas Soi 4, and the Khao Kaa Moo (pork trotters with rice) from a stall in Naradhiwas Soi 6. Otherwise, it’s packet-noodle soups from the market around the corner, standing within a sheltered crowd with other dripping wet diners, a soggy farang trapped in the wrong place. I can’t change the weather so I must embrace it. The rain has helped me discover new, closer-to-home street stalls. In fact, I find myself rather enjoying an unexpected downpour, splashing in the puddles. Not in a let’s-dance Gene Kelly kind of way, but it has awoken a latent, childlike sense of wonder in me, one in which food plays a vital role and lunch remains the most important marker of my day. J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 7 5


FOOD & DRINK | special report

Natural Selection The remarkable farm-to-table gourmet fare at Trisara resort’s PRU restaurant makes it a star in Phuket’s fine dining constellation By Bruce Scott

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ven before the arrival in 2017 of the first Michelin Guide in Thailand, foodies have been ardently following the global rise in prominence of the fine dining scene in Bangkok. But what about the rest of the country? Well, the upcoming 2018 edition of the notorious “little red book” will now include laudable dining destinations in Phuket—and neighbouring Phang Nga province— and one of the prime contenders for this ultimate culinary accolade is PRU, the farm-to-table dining experience

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restaurant located within the gorgeous Trisara resort. Having dined at PRU shortly after its opening, back in November of 2016, I was pleased to make a return visit recently and witness the progression. The intimate and elegantly designed, high-ceilinged, low-lit interior has not changed noticeably, but the menu itself has undergone considerable revision, which is not too surprising considering that Dutch-born Head Chef Jimmy Orphost makes it a point to use only fresh, seasonal ingredients and produce. He notes Chef Jimmy Orphost that the majority of the ingredients used are also certified organic, and for sure it’s totally organic,” remarks he should know because they’re from Chef Jimmy. “For the other half we the restaurant’s own 16,000 sq.m cannot say it’s 100 per cent certifiably organic farm, Pru Jampa, located in organic, but we know where we buy northeastern Phuket (from whence it from and we know, and trust, the the restaurant derives its name). producers and suppliers. But the menu “Fifty per cent of our menu—what ingredients themselves are all from we produce on the farm—we know Thailand… except the olive oil.” bangkok101.com


special report | FOOD & DRINK

Elegant interior The four set dinner menus—all available with separate wine pairing—range from an introductory 4-course menu, all the way up to an exploratory 9-course feast. Choosing to straddle the middle-ground, I select the 6-course menu (B4,500++) accompanied by the wine pairing (B2,500++). In truth the meal consisted of 13 separate tasting experiences when you factor in the gloriously plated amuse bouche courses, the extra dessert (a hand-roasted marshmallow), and the freshly baked whole wheat sourdough bread—still warm enough to melt the lovely seaweed butter accompaniment. The meal began in earnest with the first course arrival of a pickled and marinated wild sea bass reclining in a cold broth of cucumber and green mango, paired with a dollop of buttermilk sorbet topped with Hua Hin caviar. And while this combo sounds implausible, it works astoundingly well here. You’ll be doing a culinary double take as your mind says, “fish with ice cream?” while your awakened palate says, “this is heavenly”. Next up, a pinkish tube constructed of thinly sliced radish, filled with succulent Phang Nga black crab and served with a vinaigrette of butter head lettuce. The oohs and ahhs continue when the burned leek arrives, sprinkled with house-cured Kurobuta ham, served alongside a small mound of feather-lite, meticulously sliced local mushrooms. The meal continues with a dish comprised simply of carrots—a signature item (pictured opposite) that bangkok101.com

has remained on the menu since the restaurant’s inception. Cooked utilizing the actual soil they were grown in, tasty baked carrot chunks are served resting in a bed of salty and tangy carrot purée. “The carrot is one of the first dishes I created for the restaurant,” Chef Jimmy explains, “and this is the dish that best represents what we are trying to do—using simple ingredients to create something new. And 95 per cent of the guests say they’ve never had a carrot like this before!” It’s also worth noting that vegetables get a star treatment in many of the chef’s dishes, and there is even a very tempting 6-course vegetarian set menu available.

Burned leek The final main is the aged duck. Cooked over an open fire, the wonderfully tender, smoky strip of meat is paired with braised persimmon and sweet potato. Speaking of pairing, the wine for this course is a satisfying 2013 Odfjell Amador Carménère from Chile’s Maule Valley. It’s also an organic wine, as are two others out of

the five excellent red and white wines sampled during the course of the evening. And in the coming months the revamped selection will feature natural, organic, and bio-dynamic wines exclusively. Dinner ends on a sweet—but not too sweet—note with organic beetroot and sourdough ice cream, garnished with almonds from Isaan, and marinated mulberries. The very idea of flavouring ice cream with sourdough bread is eccentric enough, but pairing it with beetroot seems risky indeed. However, once again it’s a flavour match that just seems so right. Giving an inventive chef like Orphost free reign to flex his gastronomic wings is a bold move on the part of Trisara, but it’s gambles like these that will transform Phuket into a truly world-class dining destination. NOTE: Although Trisara is somewhat secluded, situated just north of Bang Tao Beach, the resort offers diners at PRU pick-up and drop-off service (within a defined area). Call for more information.

PRU @ Trsiara

60/1 Moo 6, Srisoonthorn Rd. Open: Mon-Sat, 6pm-10:30pm Tel: 07 631 0100 www.prurestaurant.com

TRISARA RESORT The 39 hillside villas at this exclave tropical hideaway are all beautifully designed, oceanfacing, and come with their own private pool. Relax at the beach, enjoy a dip in the salt-water beachfront swimming pool, or pay a visit to the soothing on-site Jara Spa where a 90-minute Thai Thermal Massage should leave you feeling royally rejuvenated. Meanwhile, dining options include PRU farm-to-table restaurant, The Deck (serving tasty Thai and international fare), and Seafood, which specializes in locally caught oceanic edibles and presents a splendid oceanfront Jazz Brunch every Sunday (starting from B2,600++). www.trisara.com

J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 7 7


FOOD & DRINK | review

La Scala

A new Spring menu for this much-revered temple of Italian fine dining

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here is one dish on the menu at La Scala, the much-revered temple of Italian fine dining at The Sukhothai Bangkok, which sums up the creative application by Chef David Tamburini. It is listed under the Tasting Menu as “pomodoro e mozzarella”. Yes, tomato and mozzarella… urgh, yawn! Seemingly dull and repetitive of trattorias and ristorantes across the world, right. But all is not what it seems. First of all, options. There is a lot to choose from here in a flexible menu presented in typical Italian course structure; Antipasti, Zuppe, Primi Piatti, Secondi, Secondi di Carne, Dolchi and Formaggi. You could come for a starter of tuna belly tartare (B1,350) or dive straight into the Secondi di Carne course with an eye-watering stuffed whole pigeon (B2,800). Or you could come for a bowl of pasta (B880). Better still, the Tasting Menu (B2,900) is good value and far more of an

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exciting journey through the kitchen’s extensive repertoire. For years, the broad, low-lit space of La Scala slipped from the public’s consciousness as new restaurants opened across the city at a rapid rate. They fought to be relevant and in November last year renovated the restaurant and kitchen, adding seductive interiors and dressing themselves up in Italian glitz. The walls were stripped, and a large wood-fired oven installed. The gastronomic centre shifted from catch-all Italian to a more honed-in, nostalgic leaning. Titled “Naturally”, the new Spring tasting menu is Chef Tamburini’s second menu overhaul and is based on what the seasons suggest to him. What you get is a listing of unmistakable Italian ingredients, and a tribute to his heritage; paying homage to all of the recognised staples of nonna’s kitchen table: mozzarella,

octopus, zucchini, ravioli. It kicks off with the aforementioned “pomodoro e mozzarella” - a plate visible on the restaurant’s advertising board as you approach from North Sathorn Road. It’s a fresh, milky Campania buffalo mozzarella ball encased within a thin-skinned, glowing red tomato. It looks beautiful, tastes even better, and is created with craft and precision. Then, there’s a dish with bite: a crispy potato skin filled with potato foam, griddled Mediterranean octopus and green olive sauce. Very heel-ofthe-boot Italy. A plate with balance and texture. Pan-fried sweetbreads may not be to everyone’s taste, but I consumed with gusto, the plump morsels of veal heart served with a toasted pine nut milk. Ravioli follows, encasing braised black pork carob with beautiful results. As I glide effortlessly through the menu, wines arrive. A glass of Rosso di Montalcino pairing particularity well with steamed John Dory fillet in saffron butter sauce. Then the kitchen ups-the-anti with a hearty serving of grilled European black Angus (dry-aged) ribeye. I begin to feel my belt buckle pushing against my belly, but not before I sign-off with “ranuncoli” dessert and mascarpone with carob mousse and Sambucainfused beetroots and granola. Another standout, perhaps as good as the opener and undoubtedly set to become one of La Scala’s signatures plates. Every new edit to the restaurant’s menu rewards the diner. Throw in a few glasses of good red, and it’s an authentic Italiano experience from a menu and a chef who feel right at home in the cosy surroundings of La Scala’s long and distinguished history. By David J. Constable

La Scala

The Sukhothai Bangkok, 13/3 Sathorn Rd Open: Daily 12:00-3pm, 6pm-11:30pm Tel: 02 344 8888, ext 8654 www.sukhothai.com bangkok101.com


review | FOOD & DRINK

Canvas

Creative Tasting Menu offers first-rate, expertly handled, local produce

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ith so much lively activity along Thong Lor’s Sukhumvit Soi 55, it’s easy to walk right past Canvas, and that would be a mistake. The restaurant’s disguised appearance as a modern furniture store or one of those overflowing nurseries, bulging with greenery and choice shrubbery, is illsuited. A small “Canvas” sign advertising the restaurant is easily missed. But spot it, and you’ll have discovered one of Bangkok’s most exciting restaurants. I had been hearing whispers of Chef Riley Sanders’ creations for a while, whispers that seem to be increasing in volume. Chef Riley has a familiar story; falling in love with Southeast Asia during his travels in 2013, he decided to lay down roots in Bangkok and went about the creation of Canvas in 2016. Originally from Texas, the young chef—he’s still under 30 years-old—is fast becoming one of the culinary driving forces in the city. Yet a quick scan of the online menu and I found it difficult to pinpoint the cuisine. An eclectic mix of ingredients, styles and applied techniques is evident; reflective, perhaps, of the chef’s experience under three Michelinbangkok101.com

starred Chef Laurent Grass and his work as a chef on luxury yachts. The restrained, monochrome interior of the restaurant allows Chef Riley’s creativity to shine where it belongs: on the plates. That said, an open kitchen reveals all of the shiny, modern appliances of a contemporary cooking lab. From the nine-course Tasting Menu (B2,600/wine pairing add B2,000), the crayfish is the standout dish, both in its presentation and taste; a beefy specimen, the innards mixed with dala, som jeed (kumquat), and lemongrass, then reattached to the head, and plated with artistic flair. It’s paired very nicely with an “un-oaked” Chardonnay from Chile. But hang on, another standout: toasted rice bread is served as a disk-shaped biscuit of rice with brown butter, salted egg and yellow chilli, a creation which straddles classification. Blue swimmer crab with sticky rice is exceptional, and when I needed it, there’s a meaty dose of pig in the form of pork belly with jicama (Mexican yam), coriander and soybean. The only bum-note was the grouper, served with a wild almond and ma kwan pepper sauce that tasted too sweet

for me, masking the quality of the fish. This was soon forgotten, however, with the delivery of a perfectly-pink duck breast with Marian plum followed by a Thai Wagyu tenderloin. Ingredients, sourcing, and presentation are all of the highest standard, a perfect balance of sea and farm, and a series of desserts—lychee with orchid and Roselle, and jackfruit with lime and toasted milk—just on the right side of gluttonous. I left properly, lovingly, and unforgettably gobsmacked. This is, to-date, the best meal I’ve eaten in Bangkok. I’m getting tired writing such gushing hyperbole, but the city’s new brigade of young chefs are producing food of breathtaking quality, much of it rooted in the traditions of Thai cooking, then applied using modern-European techniques. Canvas is firmly in that mix and Chef Riley someone to watch with interest. By David J. Constable

Canvas

113 / 9-10, Sukhumvit Soi 55 Open daily: Sun-Thur, 6pm-midnight / Fri-Sat 6pm-12.30am Tel: 099 614 1158 www.canvasbangkok.com J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 7 9


FOOD & DRINK | spotlight

A new opening on the Patpong neon-strip raises the bar for bovine in Bangkok

Call 06 – 109 Steak (78325)

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angkok is no stranger to the waves of gentrification that have swept through the likes of Brooklyn, London’s Soho and Kings Cross in Sydney. Carefully-crafted beards and flannel lumberjack shirts are a common sight across much of the city now and you’ll find coffee shops in every mall and on every street corner, from Ari to Bangrak. The epicentre for hipster activity, however, remains uncertain with numerous neighbourhoods and neonsoaked side-streets claiming to have formed the genesis of the city’s existing transition from seething, heaving sweatpit to cool-vibe, air-conditioned barbers and roof-top bars. None though yet can 8 0 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

produce proof, but it’s one business owner’s ambition to start, or at the very least continue and promote, the upwards urban-renewal of the naughty, neon-lit strip of Patpong Soi 2. With the opening of The Steakhouse Co., there is now a restaurant of repute to punctuate the Go-Go bars and nightclubs that dot the Strip. And, while the restaurant has chosen to remain cloaked in red neon-strip lighting, it may very well be the first step in the gentrification of one of Bangkok’s most infamous Red Light Districts; offering Australian Wagyu Ribeye and Lobster Thermidor while outside bikini-clad temptresses strut up and down the Strip.

At the stove is local chef Krittin ‘Moo’ Kerdnaimongkul from Chanthaburi, who has extensive experience across many city hotels - Marriott, Le Merideien, Anantara, Delta Grand and Dusit Thani - and spent time in the restaurants of New York as well as cooking on cruise ships around Miami and the Caribbean. With his experience comes knowledge across a variety of cuisines and Chef Moo is at pains to note that this isn’t just any run-of-the-mill chophouse. “Of course, we source and serve high-quality products; steaks from Australia, the US, and Argentina, but the menu appeals to many types of diners, so there are the bangkok101.com


spotlight | FOOD & DRINK

likes of crab cakes, lamb chops and salmon fillet, too.” He goes on to describe his vision for the menu and his ambition to offer guests something exciting. “I want people to experience something different. I’m not a rockstar chef but my ambition if to make guests happy and that’s why I focus so much on balance and technique,” says Chef Moo. “Right now I’m working on marinating beef in bourbon. I think after 120 days it’s going to be something very special indeed,” he says, almost licking his lips. Inside the restaurant, a wellstocked bar is lined with bottles, and a blackboard advertises local craft beers and ciders from England. At the back of the room is a bright-light horizontal fridge revealing a line-up of the various cuts of meat on offer from plump sirloins to a gargantuan 1.8 kg bangkok101.com

tomahawk; displayed like something prehistoric and enough to floor even a ravenous Fred Flintstone. There is also a vertical fridge with three large, ageing rumps of bovine; pink Himalayan salt bricks have been added beneath to help preserve and dry-age the beef. They dry and age over time, waiting to one day be ordered and consumed. In keeping with the neighborhood, the menu reveals a considered and well-researched litany of marbled fatty buttocks and a thorough run through of different cuts to get even the most ardent steak aficionado’s blood running. “I used to watch my parents cook and prepare food,” recalls Chef Moo. “I learnt to respect food and take care when preparing ingredients. Everything they did was perfect, and I approach my cooking the same way.”

Chef Moo indeed appears to have the experience and energy to drive this restaurant forward and working closely with the owner, both see this as the beginning of a new era in restaurants and casual fine dining on the Patpong Soi 2 Strip; during a time of great boom beef eating in Bangkok. Timing and location is vital, and The Steakhouse Co. have opened their doors with pinpoint accuracy, just as the hipster winds of change are blowing in. Offering the city first-rate cuts of meat, they’re surely on to a winner. By David J. Constable

The Steakhouse Co. 9/8 Thanon Patpong 2 Open daily: 5pm-3am Tel: 06 109 Steak (78325) www.thesteakhouseco.com

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FOOD & DRINK | review

Rossini & Cigar Lounge The favourite of gourmands and godfathers alike in Pattaya

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he mammoth Royal Cliff Hotel in Pattaya has over 1,000 rooms, so it stands to reason that it would have almost a dozen F&B outlets. But amongst these many drink and dine spots, Rossini & Cigar Lounge is definitely the place to go for authentic Italian. Offering seating for 78 persons in the spacious air-conditioned interior, and room for 40 on the alfresco terrace, the signposts that signify this restaurant’s Italian-ness are everywhere—including a tagline under the red, white, and green logo that reads ‘The Godfather’s Favourite’. But truthfully, the recipes that Head Chef Massimo Gullota brings to his compact but comprehensive menu are all that are needed to transport one to Italy for the evening. The fresh focaccia bread—with an amazing, rich pesto dip—was the evening’s first taste experience, followed by the Mediterranean Salad (B370), in which lettuce, pear, avocado, walnuts, tomato, and salty chunks of gorgonzola cheese arrive wrapped in a protective belt of thinly sliced zucchini strips. Delicious! I then asked to taste the chef’s Lasagna Della Nonna (B420), and

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it definitely did not disappoint. As the name suggests, the recipe is his grandmother’s (Nonna’s) own, and it’s no surprise why he’s kept it. As a counterpoint I selected a glass of 2016 Moda Talamonti Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (B240), one of six reds available by the glass. Next up was the show-stopping Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms (B590), a dish that is usually only available during high season. I’ve never been one to fawn over risotto but this one was exceptional—perfectly cooked rice with a dreamy and creamy black truffle and Parmesan sauce coupled with fat, flavourful porcini mushrooms. The chef’s love of formaggio continued to shine through in the Homemade Mushroom Ravioli (B490), with a scrumptious four-cheese sauce that blends smoked scamorza, gorgonzola, taleggio, and Parmesan. It’s decadent and divine in equal proportions. By this time I was on my second red, a 2015 San Patrignano Ino Rosso Toscana (B320), which was as appropriate to the evening as the operatic soundtrack in the background (interspersed with appearances by the in-house guitar and vocal duo providing several sets of live music).

At the chef’s suggestion I finished off the meal with a carnivorous feast they call the Rossini Skewer (B790). Here, hearty chunks of Italian sausage, roast chicken, and Thai pork arrive impaled on the plate, accompanied by roasted garlic, baked potato, grilled vegetables, and a choice of mustard or red wine gravy dipping sauces. It’s another dish that’s only on the menu in high season, although it occasionally appears as one of the chef’s three rotating daily specials. And, if you still have room, the colourful Vanilla Panna Cotta (B320) is an artfully plated light dessert. As the name implies, the restaurant is also home to a luxurious Cigar Lounge—a separate, glassed-in room, with plush leather couches— and a small humidor at the entrance has cigars for sale. The Godfather definitely approves! by Bruce Scott

Rossini & Cigar Lounge Royal Cliff Hotel (Grand Hotel) 353 Phra Tamnuk Rd, Pattaya Open: Thu-Tue, 6:30 pm-11pm Tel: 03 825 0421, ext. 2037 www.royalcliff.com

bangkok101.com


Freshest Catch in Bangkok Freshest Catch in Bangkok To celebrate a summer of fun and exciting flavours, To celebrate a summer of fun and exciting flavours, we’re introducing Riedel’s Ultimate Seafood Tower, a masterful we’re introducing Riedel’s Ultimate Seafood Tower, a masterful assortment of the freshest catches from around the world. assortment of the freshest catches from around the world. Bountiful Irish rock oysters, Almonds Sea, Bouchot Mussels, Bountiful Irish rock oysters, Almonds of of thethe Sea, Bouchot Mussels, Spanner crab, langoustines, Carabineros shrimp, Spanner crab, langoustines, Carabineros shrimp, Scottish smoked salmon, Crawfish, and Canadian lobsters overflow Scottish smoked salmon, Crawfish, and Canadian lobsters overflow freshness a perfect weekend afternoon with friendsand and withwith freshness for for a perfect weekend afternoon with friends family. Whether to bottom bottom top family. Whether it’s it’s toptop to bottom or or bottom to to top (which ever prefer to start), indulge levels upon levels (which ever youyou prefer to start), indulge in in levels upon levels of wonderful seafood delights and explore dynamic of wonderful seafood delights and explore thethe dynamic flavours of our signature sauces bring every bite life! flavours of our signature sauces to to bring every bite toto life!

Seafood Tower

Renowned for for ourour grape-varietal stemware, vast selection Renowned grape-varietal stemware, vast selection of quality wines, delicious food and tapas offerings, of quality wines, delicious food and tapas offerings, thethe Riedel Wine BarBar & Cellar is the hottest wine spot Riedel Wine & Cellar is the hottest wine spot in the heart of the city. in the heart of the city.

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Match made in Heaven Wait, there’s more! With every order, we’re pairing the Ultimate Seafood Tower with light and refreshing sparkling wine, on the house!

Starting at: THB 2,999 (2 complimentary glasses of sparkling wine for 2 persons) THB 4,999 (4 complimentary glasses of sparkling wine for 4 persons) THB 5,999 (1 complimentary bottle of sparkling wine)

Riedel Wine Bar & Cellar 2nd floor, Gaysorn Village Ploenchit, Pathumwan, Bangkok Tel: 02 656 1133 11:00 hrs. - 24:00 hrs.

www.riedelwinebarbkk.com

Ultimate Ultimate Seafood SeafoodTower Tower

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Starting Starting at: at: THB 2,999 (2 complimentary glasses of sparkling wine for 2 persons) THB 2,999 (2 complimentary glasses of sparkling wine for 2 persons) THB 4,999 (4 complimentary glasses of sparkling wine for 4 persons) THB 4,999 (4 complimentary glasses of sparkling wine for 4 persons) THB 5,999 (1 complimentary bottle of sparkling wine) THB 5,999 (1 complimentary bottle of sparkling wine) Riedel Wine Bar & Cellar Riedel Bar & Cellar floor, Gaysorn Village 2nd Wine nd 2 floor, Gaysorn Village Bangkok Ploenchit, Pathumwan, Ploenchit, Bangkok Tel: 02Pathumwan, 656 1133 Tel: 11:00 02 656 hrs.1133 - 24:00 hrs. 11:00 hrs. - 24:00 hrs. www.riedelwinebarbkk.com www.riedelwinebarbkk.com

Weekend just just got got Weekend even better better even Now serve all-day Seafood Tower Now serve all-day Seafood Tower


FOOD & DRINK | breaking bread presented by sanpellegrino

FINE DINING WATER TO ENHANCE GREAT FOOD ACQUA PANNA AND S.PELLEGRINO. THE FINE DINING WATERS. w w w.finedininglovers.com Distributed by Global Food Products Co., Ltd. Tel. +66 26831751

Breaking Bread with Hasan Rizvi

Having just arrived in town from India, Chef Hasan Rizvi is ready to drive things forward at Charcoal

I

visited Charcoal Tandoor Grill & Mixology on a Wednesday evening, just as the doors were opening. Here to interview the new Head Chef, Hasan Rizvi, who recently arrived in the city from India for his first international posting, the restaurant was already beginning to fill. With a reputation as one of Bangkok’s best Indian restaurants, Charcoal has gained plaudits since it opened in 2013, so the appointment of a new Head Chef could be cause for concern. If things are going so well, then why change? 8 4 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

Following the success of Soho Hospitality Group’s rooftop bar, Above Eleven, the group reassembled to launch Charcoal, with the intention of introducing modern tandoor-cooking to Bangkok. What materialized was a restaurant and mixology bar where cocktails play just as an important role as food. SHG’s Managing Director Rohit Sachdev scoured the alleys and antique shops of Old Delhi to find unique and unusual vessels to present Charcoal’s cocktails, which, as I’m informed by the restaurant manager, “Are carefully selected to complement the kebabs.”

I spot Chef Hasan in the kitchen, cooking in tandoor ovens and over flame; giving the food its signature smoky flavour, a style of cooking from India’s Northwestern regions. With an open kitchen, you can peek through the glass and see the cylindrical clay ovens and skewered blackened meats. Take a deep breath, and you smell the marinates and subtle use of spices. Warm poppadoms and multicoloured dips arrive at my table, which is soon laden with condiments. And then Angaar Pasliyan, hot from the tandoor. On-the-bone NZ mutton bangkok101.com


breaking bread presented by sanpellegrino | FOOD & DRINK

chops are marinated overnight with red chilli, cumin, malt vinegar, ginger and garlic. The mutton is lustrous with just the right amount of tandoor crispy casing as not to taste burnt or overpower the spicing. “It’s about balance,” Chef Hasan tells me. “When you’re working with marinades and spices, and different cuts of meat, you look for a balance of flavour.” Born in Agra, India, the city of the Taj Mahal, Chef Hasan studied in Hotel Management before moving full-time to the kitchen, aged 18. Learning the basics—“months and months of peeling onions”—he struggled with discipline and taking orders. Soon, though, he was perfecting the techniques and began buying cookbooks, opening his eyes to international cuisines. He decided to pursue desserts and took roles in various hotel kitchens around India. “I found inspiration all around, and I decided to dedicate my life to cooking.” In the international hotel chains and high-end resorts, he worked across global cuisines, cooking Italian, Chinese and Japanese alongside Indian. “I found myself working with tuna, scallops, prosciutto and truffles,” he recalls, all the while pursuing his love bangkok101.com

of pastry. He chose to work over the long, busy Christmas periods, making festive sweets and cookies for guests. Then, in 2014 he accepted a job at The Oberoi Amarvilas, working with ancient Royal recipes; reworked in a contemporary style. “The experiences with Royal recipes was exciting,” he explains. “It set me up nicely for what we do here [Charcoal] where the focus is on food from the Royal House of Mughals; all of the history and mystery of Indian cuisine from long ago.” Back to dinner, a chicken biryani is cooked with a circular crust of dough that’s been cribbed around the pot lid to keep in the steam. The dough is peeled away and the top removed to reveal a stew of mixed ingredients. Aromas fly out, the saffron-baked rice carrying a wallop of smell and flavour. The chicken, as with all of the meat at Charcoal, has been marinated intensely and tastes succulent. “This is very good,” Chef Hasan tell me, smiling. “I think you’ll enjoy this.” It was recommended that I try the 1947: Independence Cocktail (it’s either their signature tipple, or they’re targeting me because I’m British). I’ve always found this date irksome. India gained independence from the East India Company and the British

Indian Empire in 1947, but not full independence. That was 1961 when they retrieved Goa by force from the Portuguese, after 450 years of colonial rule. Anyway, let’s not squabble over numbers. It was a delightful and refreshing cocktail. The food kept coming; centuriesold recipes reimagined for the modern diner, something that seems to be Chef Hasan’s great skill: mutton chops, chicken biryani, potatoes filled with garam masala, Galauti (little mincedspiced mutton patties), and lashing of warm, drippy butter with bread. Yes, that’s the correct way around, more butter than bread; a Tandoori naan of butter-enriched naughtiness glistened with artery-busting ghee. With Chef Hasan now installed at the helm, and his experience across notable international cuisines and regional and royal Indian recipes, Charcoal will likely go from strengthto-strength, building on an already stellar reputation in a city with a ravenous and increasing appreciation for Indian food. Everything I ate here was brilliant; delicious, well-balanced and served in generous portions. Chef Hasan is in good hands and visa-versa. Interview by David J. Constable

www.charcoalbkk.com J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 8 5


FOOD & DRINK | street eats

Diving into Muslim food at Asheeyah Roddee W hen I am around the Khao San Road area, I always go back to my little oases of hidden corners where great food can be found. In this neighbourhood there are many surprising alleyways dotted with food stalls and other casual dining spots—including Asheeyah Roddee, one of my favorite restaurants here. It’s Muslim food done Indonesian style. This enclave of eateries is smack in the middle of a chaotic stretch of pavement that has multiple shops and stalls on the left and right. Often, when I go back there, I have to wait for a bit until I see a break in the traffic, then I quickly swoop myself into Asheeyah Roddee’s alleyway. The deliciousness begins as you traverse the super narrow entry way. The left side is a hot pot counter where they prepare hot dishes such as noodles or soup, so I make myself as slim as possible to pass this passage then into the massive seating space beyond, which unfolds like a courtyard inside. “How many people?” asks the lady who is preparing vegetables. I answer “two,” and then with a pointed finger

eat like

Nym

Our roving roadside gourmand Nym knows her local grub inside-out and thrives on the stories behind the dishes. Each month, she takes an offbeat tour in search of the city’s next delectable morsel. 8 6 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

she instructs us to share the table with other guests, who I later find out are a family from Indonesia. Oh well, two people is never enough to sample the whole list of food in this menu, but we do it. I file my order to fulfill my own cravings, and for my friend to try the dishes I know so well—oxtail soup, Indonesian style salad kheang (with a crushed peanut sauce), and curry noodle. The curry noodle, or kuey teaw kaeng, has been my favourite since I was young. I remember eating it for the first time when my mother took me around here to buy a school uniform— which this area is famous for—and we ducked in this alley restaurant for this very dish. The taste of curry soup is still as exciting as the first time, and the pleasant aroma comes from fried shallots that sit atop the curry. The texture, meanwhile, lies somewhere between tom kha kai (Thai galangal chicken soup) and a light Masaman curry. Rich in taste but light in texture, it’s filled with sen lek (small noodles), small pieces of soft tofu, peanuts, and slice of boiled egg. It is creamy, slightly spicy from the curry paste, and a little sweet and sour—the flavours blended in perfect balance. I love eating this, and the dots of sweat on my forehead attest to the curry’s heat.

The salad khaeng is more simple in style, and comes with green leaves, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, slices of tofu, bits of boiled egg, and crispy sweet potato chips—all topped with a peanut dressing that harmonizes the taste of crushed peanuts cooked in palm sugar and tamarind juice, with a tiny bit of chilies added. I love the dressing here because it is well balanced taste-wise, with hints of sweet and sour simultaneously. And it helps to reduce the heat in my mouth after the curry. We shared the last dish, an oxtail soup (also available as chicken soup too), in which the oxtail has been slow cooked for seven hours. The look of this soup may not be exciting enough for Instagram, but it’s the taste— especially of the broth—that matters. It is soothing, with accents of fried shallot, lime juice and chili. This dish truly lifts me up.

Address: Asheeyah Roddee is open from 8am until midnight, and usually until 1am on Fridays (Friday comes with special menu). It is located close to the roundabout of Thanon Tani and Thanon Wat Bowan Niwet. It’s 10 meters down from the 7/11 shop of that corner on Thanon Tani. bangkok101.com


FOOD & DRINK | listings

CHINESE Liu

A traditional restaurant that offers all the understated grandeur of Cantonese fine dining while executing food full of contemporary notes. 3F, Conrad Bangkok 87 Wireless Rd. Tel: 02 690 9999 Open daily: 11:30am-2:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm www.conradhotels3.hilton.com

Silver Waves

A stylish and contemporary Cantonese restaurant with a glorious riverside setting. Try the signature Peking duck. 36F, Chatrium Riverside Hotel 18 Charoenkrung Rd. Open daily: 11:30am-2:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm Tel: 023 078 888, ext. 1948 www.chatrium.com

Xin Tian Di

The restaurant is renowned not only for its stylish atmosphere and views, but for its dim sum, set lunches, and à la carte dinners, including what many regard as the best Peking duck in Bangkok.

22F, Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park Tel: 02 632 9000 Open daily: 6pm-10pm, Mon-Sat, 11:30am2:30pm, Sun, 11am-2:30pm www.crowneplazabkk.com

Open daily: 5pm-1am www.louloubangkok.com

INTERNATIONAL Espresso

FRENCH La Vie

French creative cuisine takes centre stage at this elegant restaurant on the 11th floor of VIE Hotel Bangkok. The fine dining venue aims to leverage the hotel’s growing reputation as a top local culinary destination. 11F, VIE Hotel Bangkok, Phaya Thai Rd. Tel: 02 309 3939 Open daily: 6:30pm-10:30pm, Lunch, Mon-Sat, noon-3pm www.viehotelbangkok.com

Loulou Forks & Glasses

This cozy bistro-style spot offers superb savoury selections such as cold cuts and cheeses, as well as market-fresh daily specials and affordably good wines. 459/61, Suan Phlu Soi 8 Tel: 083 041 4351

This popular all day dining venue at The InterContinental Bangkok ensures an innovative take on buffet dining with a host of live cooking stations, each serving delicious à la minute cuisine prepared to order. Choose from Thai, Mediterranean, Chinese and Japanese favorites, and there’s also a carvery serving premium quality meats, and a grill offering succulent barbecued seafood and burgers. The InterContinental Bangkok 973 Phloen Chit Rd. Open daily: noon-2:30, 6pm-10:30 Sunday Brunch: noon-3pm Tel: 02 656 0444, ext. 6430 www.bangkok.intercontinental.com/diningespresso

Latest Recipe

A new upscale brunch offering from the signature restaurant in the Le Méridien

Cooking School & Restaurant

Amy Dabbs SINGAPORE

08/01/2017

Jarinya Thanasoonthonkul Bangkok THAILAND

08/01/2017

BANGKOK : 233 South Sathorn Rd., Sathorn Bangkok 10120 Tel : +66 2 673 9353-8, Fax : +66 2 673 9355 cooking.school@blueelephant.com

PHUKET : 96 Krabi Road, Tambon Talad Neua, Phuket 83000 Tel : +66 (076) 354 355-7, Fax : +66 (076) 354 393 phuket@blueelephant.com

www.blueelephant.com 8 8 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

bangkok101.com


listings | FOOD & DRINK offers a delicious and indulgent approach to wining and dining. The Medittareaninpsired “La Docle Vita” Lifestyle Buffet offers an eclectic mix of cuisines across various stations, with fresh seafood, made-to-order pasta and free-flow wine and champagne options. 1F, Le Méridien Bangkok, 40/5, Surawong Rd. Open daily: Mon-Sat, 12pm-2:30pm, 6:30pm-9:30pm, Sun, 12:30pm-4:30pm Tel: 02 232 8888 www.latestrecipebangkok.com

Tables Grill

Mellow Restaurant and Bar

Upstairs at Mikkeller

This hip restaurant and bar features East-meets-West food with a focus on delicious ingredients with a “Thai twist” and an impressive offering of beverages from cocktails to sake, umeshu to single malt whiskies. Inside you’ll discover art installations and a vibrant scene of modern art and cool neon signage. A great restaurant and bar in Sukhumvti to hang out with friends. 522/3 Thonglor Soi 16, Sukhumvti 55, North Klongtan, Wattana, Bangkok Opening Hour: Daily 11am-2am Tel: 02 382 0065 www.facebook.com/mellowbangkok

The award-winning restaurant features prime-cut steaks and sustainably sourced seafood in an elegantly unique setting that offers a fresh take on à la minute dining. Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel 494 Rajdamri Rd. Tel: 02 254 6250 Open: Mon-Sat, 11:30am-2:30pm, 6:30pm10pm, Sunday Brunch: 11am-3pm www.bangkok.grand.hyatt.com

The second-floor, six table restaurant is simple but effective with an open kitchen and Michelin-star food wowing guests. Expect to be spoilt with a rousing and wide-ranging Tasting Menu, expertly paired with international craft beers. 26, Ekkamai Soi 10, Yaek 2 Tel: 091 713 9034 Open: Wed-Sat, 6pm-10pm www.upstairs-restaurant.com

Seasonal Tastes

The Westin Grande Sukhumvit’s bright and spacious dining venue is a contemporary all day restaurant offering choice international cuisines as well as a unique midweek dining experience with the Sea-To-Table promotion. Metal buckets come full with seafood and guests are encouraged to get stuck in. Live cooking stations include Mediterranean cuisine and an Asian station offering local Thai cuisine and other regional wok-cooked dishes. 7F, Westin Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok 259 Sukhumvit Rd. Open daily: 6am-11pm Sea-To-Table Promotion runs Weds & Thurs, 6pm-19:30p, Tel: 02 207 8000 www.westingrandesukhumvit.com bangkok101.com

Scalini

The casual fine-dining Italian restaurant atmosphere is enhanced by the impressive culinary skills of the resident chef, who blends a heartfelt love of the power of ingredients with expertly executed and innovative culinary techniques and bold flavour combinations. Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok hotel 11, Sukhumvit Soi 24 Open daily: 6am-11am, 12pm-2:30pm, 6pm-11pm Tel: 02 620 6699 www3.hilton.com

THAI Banana House

Park Society

By fusing Eastern flavours with Western techniques, this high-altitude restaurant has become a haven for fine dining in Sathorn. Ask about the chef’s amazing signature tasting menus. 29F, SO Sofitel Bangkok, 2 North Sathorn Rd. Open daily: 6pm-10:30pm Tel: 02 624 0000 www.so-sofitel-bangkok.com

GF, Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao 1693 Phahonyothin Rd. Open: Mon-Sat, 11:30am-2:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm Tel: 02 541 1234, ext. 4169 www.centarahotelsresorts.com

Vertigo Too Bar & Restaurant

Vertigo Too Bar & Restaurant

Neither an open-air rooftop bar, nor the kind of jazz den found in smoky brickwalled basements, the al-fresco Vertigo Too deftly toes the line between the two milieus. 60F, Banyan Tree Bangkok 21/100 South Sathorn Rd. Tel: 02 679 1200 Opem daily: 5pm-1am www.banyantree.com

ITALIAN Don Giovanni

From the big wooden pillars to the villa scenery painted on walls and busts on pedestals, this restaurant transports patrons to a different place and time, with a menu that offers Italian classics and a piano player who tickles the ivories as one dines.

What began with the passion and friendship of three young men, almost 35 years ago, has now become one of the top Thai restaurants on Silom Road. The kitchen delivers original dishes, plus limited seasonal menus which combine complex tastes and authentic recipes. 2F, 68/1 Duangtip Blvd, Silom Rd. Tel: 02 234 9967 Open: Mon-Sat 11am-2pm, 5pm-10pm

Basil

The venue itself is just pure elegance, craftily marrying the pomp and fanfare of hotel chic with the safe comforts of casual fine dining. Meanwhile, the concept behind the set menu is that guests take a journey—in eight courses—discovering the regional tastes of Thailand. 1F, Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit 250 Sukhumvit Rd. Open: Mon-Fri, noon-2:30pm; daily, 6pm-10:30pm Tel: 02 649 8366 www.sheratongrandesukhumvit.com

Blue Elephant

A wildly successful brand since it was first established in 1980, this restaurant (and cooking school) sits in a gorgeous historic mansion. On the menu, Chef Nooror takes a riff on the Thai food of tomorrow, but also shares her heritage with every dish. J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 8 9


FOOD & DRINK | listings 233 South Sathorn Rd. Tel: 02 673 9353 Open daily: 11:30am-2:30pm, 6:30pm10:30pm www.blueelephant.com

Tel: 02 162 9000 www.kempinski.com/bangkok

CAFÉ

Jim Thompson House and Museum

The city’s number-two tourist attraction is ALSO home to a restaurant that pairs a sumptuous setting with surprisingly unusual Thai food. Factor in the generous happy hours, and there’s no reason not to visit. 6, Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama 1 Rd. Tel: 02 612 3601 Open daily: 9am-5pm, 7pm-11pm www.jimthompson.com

Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin

With a menu created by superstar Danish chef Henrik Yde-Andersen, diners at this elegant, innovative one Michelin star eatery can expect—on any given day or evening visit—an incredible culinary adventure. Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok 991/9 Rama 1 Rd. Open daily: 12pm-3pm, 6pm-midnight

9 0 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

Pooch Cafe

Pooch Cafe

There’s a new dog in town with Pooch Cafe opening in Sukhumvit and offering dogs (and their owners) a safe and comfortable space to play, relax and drink cool-looking printable coffee with your pooch’s face on. This dog-friendly outpost serves coffee and cake, plus there are ‘Pooch Treats’ available free or charge, with additional bags available for purchase. 245/14, Sukhumvit Soi 31 Tel: 061 563 4733

Open daily: 11am-9:30pm www.facebook.com/pooch-cafe-bkk

Sift Bakery

Furnished with large floor-to-ceiling windows, and a counter displaying an assortment of desserts and pastries, diners at this café can enjoy their orders in a spacious upstairs and downstairs seating area. GF, Amaranta Hotel Pracharatbumpen Soi 7 Open: Wed-Mon, 11am-10pm Tel: 02 691 1688 www.amarantahotel.com

VEGETARIAN Veganerie Concept

The modern-rustic interior is flooded with natural light, and the fare—from tantalizing dairy-free bakery desserts to vegan appetizers and main courses—is pretty “natural” as well. 35/2 Soi Methiniwet (Sukhumvit Soi 24) Tel: 02 258 8489 Open: Fri-Wed, 10am-10pm www.facebook.com/veganbakerybangkok

bangkok101.com


CUISINE ART

Thank you to all of the customers and friends whose support during our first 11 years has made Ruen Urai one of the best Thai restaurants in Bangkok. Ruen Urai at the Rose Hotel 118 Soi Na Wat Hualumphong, Surawongse Road Tel. (66) 2 266 8268-72 www.ruen-urai.com


Smokin' hot drinks (and bar staff) at The Owl Society Gastro Bar


| NIGHTLIFE

NIGHTLIFE calling all night owls The award for this month’s best bar name goes to THE OWL SOCIETY GASTRO BAR (8/1, Sukhumvit Soi 61), a cool neighbourhood tippling spot in Ekkamai. The furniture and décor is heavy on the vintage vibe—imagine an Edwardian hipster gentleman’s club—with lots of owl motifs nested here and there. Formerly the Owl Society Whiskey Saloon, this recently revamped hotspot still has great scotches on offer, but the intricately crafted creative cocktails are now the top draw. The food menu has a bit of everything too (the sun-dried duck with mashed ginger is stellar), and there’s live music Monday and Saturday. Also, check out the Monday night whiskey specials, and Men’s Night on Saturdays with drink specials for the guys. Owl be seeing you there. www.facebook.com/owlsociety

rooftop views with a beer bar vibe Tied for first place in this month’s best bar name awards is FAT COW ON THE ROOF, located on the 8th floor of the METRO PRATUNAM BOUTIQUE HOTEL (Petchaburi Rd, Soi 35). Those familiar with the original Fat Cow bar and restaurant up on Lad Prao Soi 15 will know they have a solid reputation for stocking quality craft beers, and you can now enjoy those fine brews—along with hearty burgers, fries and other great pub grub—on a comfortable and casual greenery-filled terrace rooftop bar that offers pretty exceptional city views to boot. Expect to find lots of local Thai homebrews, as well as Fat Cow's own labels, and plenty more. Open daily from 4pm till midnight. www.facebook.com/thefatcowontheroof

wine whereabouts The 3rd floor above BRASSERIE CORDONNIER (33/30, Sukhumvit Soi 11) has been remodeled and relaunched as THE BAR UPSTAIRS, winning this month’s least inventive bar name award. But despite the dull moniker, this 60-seat wine bar has over 150 labels to choose from, and the greenery-heavy decor is meant to evoke an “abandoned French garden”. Meanwhile, in Bangkok’s Old Town the team behind the secret cocktail spot KU BAR (469 Phra Sumen) have just opened a second bar—on the floor below—this time dedicated to natural wine. The menu at KANGKAO has over two dozen bottles of organic, biodynamic, and natural wines to choose from, with seating for approximately 15 or so. www.facebook.com/TheBarUpstairs

radical russian revisits ancient chinese dance Enjoy the majestic splendour of ancient Chinese dance every Thursday night—till the end of August—at MAGGIE CHOO’S (320 Silom Rd). Entitled CHINESE DELIRIUM THEATRE NIGHT, the show is produced by Russian avant-garde artist DASHA LUKS, and is split into three acts (staged at 9, 10, and 11pm). This provocative performance features amazing costumes and choreography, and draws on traditional themes, but is also laced with empowering feminist overtones. www.facebook.com/maggiechoos bangkok101.com

J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 9 3


NIGHTLIFE | review

Zest Bar & Terrace

Creative spirit and champagne cocktails, plus eye-popping panoramic views

W

ith a city that's rife with bars, we are often faced with the daunting task of choosing one that works for everyone, especially when you’ve convinced your friends to meet for after-work drinks. Most likely you’ll prefer that to be somewhere BTS or MRT-convenient, somewhere not too loud, forcing you to shout over the music. Most importantly, you want a spot with great cocktails at sensible prices. Well, look no further than Zest Bar & Terrace, a downtown joint that checks all of the above points. What’s more, with friendly faces and creative cocktails, it has all the makings to be your favourite watering hole. And we’ll drink to that! The chic bar is perched on the 7th floor of the Westin Grande Sukhumvit Bangkok, overlooking one of the city’s busiest strips. The spacious indoor area is furnished in creamy beige couches and ambient lighting makes it feel less like a hotel bar and more like the swanky living room of a rich friend’s apartment. The wraparound terrace with its intimate seating arrangements is ideal for soaking up fantastic views

9 4 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

over one (or more) of their signature "Crafted at Westin" cocktails. As Nicole Agsten, the Marketing Communications Manager tells me, “The drink menu launched in 2014 at all Westin Hotels worldwide, the "Crafted at Westin" beverage program allows the hotel bar to design 8 artisanal cocktails, drawing inspiration from native flavours." She continues, “At this Westin, our Beverage Manager Khun Puchong Charoentham designed seven cocktails and one mocktail with a focus on local ingredients.” While the menu offers a standard offering of classics, premium liquers and wines, we were eager to sample the delicious cocktails from the Crafted menu. We started with the fruity Emerald Sapphire (B320), comprising of Ketel one, maraschino liqueur, lychee and pineapple juice; swiftly moving to Zest Society (B320) an aptly named, Tanqueray gin-based offering that is just the right concoction of sweet and sour. Luckily for us, we had Nicole there to recommend a few of her favourites from the menu, one of which was the Floating Bubble (B320) with Tres maqueyes tequila, prosecco and

elderflower. On other days, the highly skilled and knowledgeable all-women bartenders and servers, are quick to make suggestions. Another great highlight of Zest is their live in-house band that is on everyday starting at 6:30pm and grooving all the way until midnight. The music is soulful and thankfully at the perfect decibel to make conversations around the settee easier. While we waited for the next round of libations, we nibbled on the Antipasti platter (B380) consisting of grilled zucchini, capsicum, Parma ham with bread sticks, salami, smoked chicken and black olives, as well as on the BBQ Chicken Wings (B290), which was an all-round fiery favourite. Luckily for us, the Botanize (B320) arrived just in time, its sweetness helping to ease and cool our palates. by Reena Karim

Zest Bar & Terrace

7F, The Westin Grande Sukhumvit 259 Sukhumvit Rd. Tel: 02 207 8000 Open daily: 7am-1am www.westingrandesukhumvit.com/ZestBar2016 bangkok101.com


review | NIGHTLIFE

Know Your Bowl

Wine masterclass reveals why the shape of your wine glass matters

Y

ou can detect green bell pepper in your Sauvignon Blanc. You can estimate the vintage of a Cabernet with almost pinpoint precision. But do you know the difference between a rolled rim and cut rim glass, not to mention why it matters? Those are the questions Riedel Wine Bar & Cellar wants wine connoisseurs to consider. This Austrian maker of fine crystal glassware might be best known in Bangkok for its eponymous wine bar and restaurant in Gaysorn Village, which stocks over 200 labels in its cellar, and serves 40 wines by the glass from its showpiece wine dispenser. Operating a successful bar-restaurant is not exactly the end brand’s game, however. The venue doubles as a pulpit for preaching the gospel of premium glassware. In the final week of May, Riedel organized a masterclass to demonstrate the power that glass has over the flavour and aroma of different wines. When a wine glassware brand seeks to validate its products through a masterclass, some scepticism may be warranted. Riedel’s class, however, was truly insightful. Led by Certified Sommelier bangkok101.com

Dirakerit ‘DK’ Kotchawong, and Riedel Brand Manager Walter Giomi, the masterclass featured four wine varieties and glass models: Riedel’s Veritas Riesling, Veritas Oaked Chardonnay, Veritas Old World Pinot Noir, and Veritas Cabernet/Merlot glasses. Starting with a 2016 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s Churton winery, guests were asked to transfer the wine into all four vessels on the table, give them a swirl, and smell. The bouquet popped with full intensity from the wine in the Riesling glass, but was muted in the other three. When tasted in its proper glassware, the Riesling came alive, bursting with tropical fruit and subtle hints of asparagus. When tasted from the other three glasses, however, the wine lacked the same balance in texture, flavour, and finish. As guests moved on to a 2016 Kumeu River Chardonnay, a 2015 Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon (from Chile’s Maipo Valley), and lastly a 2016 Two Paddock Picnic Pinot Noir, the value of the glassware—especially their distinct shapes—became clearer and clearer. “It all has to do with the shape of the bowl and how it directs wine onto

your tongue,” Giomi explained, noting Riedel’s rigorous testing process, in which a panel of 10 tastes wine after wine in different glasses until they reach a consensus on the perfect glass. “A light, fruity wine such as a Riesling should land on the tip of the tongue to de-emphasize the acidity while highlighting the fruit,” he cited as an example. A tannic red, on the other hand, shines when the wine lands on the centre of the tongue, harmonizing its fruit, tannins, and acidity. Wine aficionados will know that champagne should be served in a Joseph Champagne Glass (although it's often served in a flute), and Pinot in a glass with a large bowl and tapered rim, but never question why. Once you have the hands-on experience, though, you may find a new appreciation for your favourite wines. Not to mention your glassware. by Craig Sauers

Riedel Wine Bar & Cellar 2F, 999 Gaysorn Village Open daily: 11am-midnight Tel: 02 656 1133 www.riedelwinebarbkk.com

J U LY 2 0 1 8 | 9 5


NIGHTLIFE | listings

Wine Connection Come for the vino, stay for the vittles

D

Delivering on their promise of great wines at exceedingly affordable prices, the bar and restaurant chain Wine Connection currently has 18 outlets in Bangkok, for a total of 29 nationwide. And a recent visit to Wine Connection The Grill, the branch at The Groove @ CentralWorld reveals that their kitchens are doing a stellar job as of late as well. Located on the ground floor of the Groove complex, the bright and airy front section of this restaurant opens to the mall and shares space with a sizeable wine retail area, while the enclosed back portion is more low-lit. There’s even some outdoor terrace seating available. Although the wine menu offers some great deals on full bottles, such as French Bordeaux in the 600-700 baht range, we order by the glass. Of the four whites available we sample the nicely tart 2015 Trevento Mixtus (B170), a Chardonnay Chenin blend from Argentina, as well as the 2014 Deep Woods Side by Side (B200), a very pleasant French-oaked Australian Chardonnay. With such attractive prices on vino

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this makes for a great spot to heartily imbibe, but to forego sampling the new Specials Menu—available till the end of August—would be a mistake. Start with the Grilled Calamari (B270), a full squid that arrives sizzling on the plate, colourfully accented by a spicy pineapple and red pepper salsa. To keep with the white wine and seafood pairing, move on to the Sea Bass en Papillote (B410). En papillote is a French term meaning “cooked and served in a paper wrapper”, and sure enough this dish arrives in a folded wax-paper housing, which when cut open reveals a steaming succulent fillet, doused in lemon with steamed veggies on the side. As we switch to reds, we move on to the yummy thin-crust Caribbean Jerk Chicken Pizza (B250), topped with pineapple, jalapeño peppers, and chicken chunks prepared in classic Jamaican jerk style. To pair we choose the 2015 Umani Ronchi Podere (B180), a dark Italian Montepulciano with a very strong tannin base, and the mellower 2014 Chateau Haut Canteloup (B220), a Côtes de Blaye French that blends Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. Of the

seven reds on offer these both prove to be excellent choices. The next two courses that arrive are both superb, starting with the Duck Fettuccine in Red Wine Sauce (B270), a generous serving of perfectly prepared pasta tossed with tender duck that’s been marinated for five hours. Equally ample is the divinely tender Apple Glazed Pork Tenderloin (B390), served with mashed potato and roasted vegetables. Beaming with pride, the young Thai chef responsible for these dishes comes to the table to accept our applause for both his fantastic apple chutney topping on the pork, and all the other special menu items as well. Finally, for dessert, the velvety smooth Cappuccino Mousse (B140), topped with roasted coffee beans, makes for a heavenly, chocolate-y nightcap. By Bruce Scott

Wine Connection The Grill 1F, The Groove @ CentralWorld Open daily: 11am-1am Tel: 02 613 1037 www.wineconnection.co.th

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NIGHTLIFE | listings

BAR Bamboo Chic Bar

Explore a selection of signature cocktails, wines, and spirits, while the culinary team prepares a variety of snacks and delicatessen favourites in a contemporary lounge setting. 4F, Le Méridien Bangkok, 40/5 Surawong Rd. Open daily 5:30pm-11:30pm Tel: 02 232 8888 www.lemeridienbangkokpatpong.com

fresh garnishes. Meanwhile, live music by renowned jazz musicians creates a close-knit vibe. GF, 72 Courtyard, Sukhumvit Soi 55 Tel: 02 392 7740 Open: Tue-Sun, 6pm-2am www.facebook.com/EvilManBlues

Duke

Although it’s in a mall, this high-end whisky and cigar lounge—full to bursting with paintings and sculptures—feels more like a SoHo warehouse loft space owned by an eccentric millionaire. 1F, Gaysorn Village, 999 Phloen Chit Rd. Tel: 094 647 8888 Open daily: 11am-midnight facebook.com/pg/duke.gaysorn

Tel: 02 712 6025 Open daily: 7pm-2am www.josephboroski.com

The Living Room

Home to one of the finest live jazz stages in Bangkok, this nightspot is tastefully decorated, and includes a sweeping bar, comfortable armchairs and sofas, and subdued lighting—not to mention fine whiskies, cocktails, and cognacs. Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit 1F, 250 Sukhumvit Rd. Open daily: 9am-midnight Tel: 02 649 8353 www.thelivingroomatbangkok.com

Flava Bar & Lounge The Bar

The Bar

Featuring a black and gold colour theme, and both indoor and outdoor seating, this 10th floor lounge is warm, sophisticated, quiet, and inviting—the archetype of a bar you would belly up to after a long day at work or a long flight into town. 10F, Park Hyatt Bangkok, 88 Wireless Rd. Open daily: 7am-midnight Tel: 02 012 1234 www.bangkok.park.hyatt.com

Evil Man Blues

This retro cocktail bar promises only top-shelf spirits, housemade mixers, and

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Taking its visual cue from the private wet bar of British fashion designer Paul Smith, this fun and funky hangout also boasts Bangkok’s “longest happy hour”, which stretches from 5pm till midnight, every day of the week. 2F, Dream Hotel, 10, Sukhumvit Soi 15 Open daily: 5pm-midnight Tel: 02 254 8500 www.dreamhotels.com/bangkok

J. Boroski Mixology

A secret bar, built by masterful mixologist Joseph Boroski, who creates drinks to reflect a customer’s specifications or, if you’re lucky, according to his own whims. Ask someone “in-the-know” to reveal the exact location. Sukhumvit Soi 55 (secret location)

Riedel Wine Bar & Cellar

Riedel Wine Bar & Cellar

A world-class wine bar that isn’t just all about wine. There’s dozens of vinos to choose from, as well as some exciting options for the non-wine-inclined, while refined, rustic European cuisine is served up tapas-style for social dining. 2F, Gaysorn Plaza, 999 Ploenchit Rd. Tel: 02 656 1133 Open daily: 11am-midnight www.riedelwinebarbkk.com

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Open daily: 5pm-1am www.champagnecru.com

Moon Bar & Vertigo

Scarlett Wine Bar & Restaurant

Scarlett Wine Bar & Restaurant

This sophisticated (and elevated) drink spot and bistro offers tipplers both a novel-sized wine list, and a host of creative cocktails—many of which make use of in-house infused spirits. 37F, Pullman Hotel Bangkok G Open daily: 6pm-late Tel: 096 860 7990 www.randblab.com/scarlett-bkk

TacoChela by Mikkeller

The combination of craft beer, fine spirits, and mouth-watering Mexican fare has made this taqueria an instant hit. Ari Samphan Soi 1 Open: Tue-Thu, 5pm-11pm, Fri-Sat, 5pm-midnight facebook.com/tacochelabkk

ROOFTOP SKY BAR Character Whisky & Cigar Bar

Both outlets of this cozy and comfortable smoker’s lounge—one of which doubles as a skybar—serve some of the rarest and finest single malt whiskies from Scotland (and beyond), as well as housing humidors stocked with premium handmade cigars from Cuba, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, and more. Courtyard at Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel, 155 Rajadamri Rd, Tel: 02 254 4726 32F, Compass Skyview Hotel, 12, Sukhumvit Soi 24, Tel: 02 011 1133 www.facebook.com/characterbar

CRU Champagne Bar

This high altitude hot spot is own by G.H. Mumm Champagne brand and offers tipplers dozens of tables, as well as a circle-shaped showpiece bar. If you’re craving bottles of bubbly with a panoramic view, it doesn’t get any better than this. 59F, Centara Grand at CentralWorld 999/99 Rama 1 Rd. Tel: 02 100 1234

The top floors of the Banyan Tree Hotel offer three iconic rooftop spots: Moon Bar, Vertigo, and the 64th floor Vertigo Too. All are perfect spots for a romantic rendezvous. 61/64F, Banyan Tree Bangkok 21/100 South Sathorn Rd. Tel: 02 679 1200 Open daily: 5pm-1am www.banyantree.com

Octave Rooftop Lounge & Bar

Whether you choose the outdoor lounge on the 45th floor or the alfresco bar on the 49th floor, you have breathtaking views in every direction. And those in search of a sundowner should heed the 5pm-7pm happy hours, when signature cocktails are half-price. 45-49F, Bangkok Hotel Marriott Sukhumvit 2, Sukhumvit Soi 57 Open daily: 5pm-2am Tel: 02 797 0000 www.facebook.com/octavemarriott

Red Sky Bar

One of Bangkok’s most acclaimed rooftop bars—perched dramatically above the heart of the city—offers light bites and signature cocktails. 56F, Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld 999/99 Rama 1 Rd. Tel: 02 100 6255 Open Daily: 4pm-1am (Happy Hours: 4pm-6pm) www.centarahotelsresorts.com

36F, Park Hyatt Bangkok, 88 Wireless Rd. Open daily: 5:30pm-midnight Tel: 02 012 1234 bangkok.park.hyatt.com

CLUB Beam

An honest club with a communal vibe, plus great music and one of the best sound systems. You can be yourself here—dance like you mean it, soak up the vibe, then spread the love. 1F, 72 Courtyard, Sukhumvit Soi 55 Tel: 02 392 7750 Open: Wed-Sat, 8pm-2am www.beamclub.com

Club SX

Club SX

Each section of this ultra-glam 1,000 sq.m club—Diamond Zone, Platinum Zone, Gold Zone, Cowboy Zone, Romantic Zone, Bar Zone, and VIP karaoke rooms—features a different theme and music. Hummer limousine service is also available. 6F, Pullman Bangkok Grande Sukhumvit 30, Sukhumvit Soi 21 (Asoke Rd) Tel: 02 204 4000 Open daily: 9pm-late www.sxdance.club

The Firm

Rooftop Terrace at Penthouse Bar + Grill

Rooftop Terrace at Penthouse Bar + Grill

This dramatic skybar is the perfect spot to drink in Bangkok’s nighttime skyline in an outdoor garden lounge setting. Order anything from a bucket of drinks, to curated cocktails and expertly crafted bites.

Within this upscale five-storey lounge, nightclub, and all-round watering hole, the 1st and 2nd floors are home to a restaurant and bar, offering continental pan-Pacific fare, while the 3rd floor—and the VIP access 4th and 5th floors—are all about the beat, with hip hop DJs performing regularly and mixologists performing their magic behind the bar. 10/4, Sukhumvit 33 Alley Open daily: 9pm-2am Tel: 065 880 0333 www.thefirmbangkok.com

Levels

One of the most reliably busy nightclubs in Bangkok that welcomes a mix of


NIGHTLIFE | listings resident expats, stylish Thai party animals, and wide-eyed holiday-makers who can’t get enough. 6F, 35, Sukhumvit Soi 11 Tel: 082 308 3246 Open daily: 9pm-2am www.facebook.com/levelsclub

of nooks and crannies and a Sunday roast like no other. GF, The Landmark Hotel 138 Sukhumvit Rd. Tel: 02 254 0404 Open daily: 11:30am-2am www.landmarkbangkok.com/huntsman-pub

Bamboo Bar

The Londoner

Black Cabin

Mixx Discotheque

Classier than most of Bangkok’s afterhour dance clubs, the space is a two-room affair—one plays R&B and Hip Hop, the other does Techno & House— decked out with chandeliers, paintings, and billowing sheets. President Tower Arcade, 973 Ploenchit Rd. Tel: 02 656 0382 Open daily: 10pm-late www.mixx-discotheque.com/bangkok

The Londoner

The Australian

It’s the only purpose-built British pub in Bangkok, and it’s also the oldest microbrewery in the city (it first opened in 1997, and was originally located on Sukhumvit Soi 33). In its current location the building itself is new, but once you enter the doors you feel as though you are in an old style ‘local’. 1178 Pattanakarn Rd. Tel: 02 022 8025 Open daily: Mon-Sat, 11am-midnight, Sun, 9am-midnight www.the-londoner.com

The Australian

Mulligan’s Irish Bar

PUBS

A wide and bright Australian import, complete with beer schooners as well as bottles from Coopers and VB, live rugby matches on TV, and rock bands on stage. 37, Sukhumvit Soi 11 Tel: 02 651 0800 Open daily: 9am-late www.theaustralianbkk.com

Beer Republic

The familiar interior welcomes with TV screens running sports highlights and comfy seating all round. The beer selection, meanwhile, reveals a litany of Belgian, German, Danish, and British brews—a selection of over 70 beers in fact, catering to connoisseurs and movies alike. GF, Holiday Inn Bangkok 971 Phloen Chit Rd. Tel: 02 656 0080 Open daily: 11:30am-1am www.beerrepublicbangkok.com

The Huntsman

English-style pub, cool and dark, with lots 1 0 0 | J U LY 2 0 1 8

A Khao San institution that draws hordes of young locals and a more refined foreign crowd than the norm in the neighbourhood, thanks to great live music and day-long happy hour deals. 265 Khao San Rd. Tel: 02 629 4477 Open daily: 24 hours www.mulligansthailand.com

LIVE MUSIC Apoteka

Built to emulate a 19th-century apothecary, this lively spot has a casual old-school feel, indoor and outdoor seating, an awesome line-up of live music almost every day of the week, tasty bar snacks, and a drink selection including beer and custom craft cocktails. No dress code, no cover charge, and no pretention! 33/28, Sukhumvit Soi 11 Tel: 090 626 7655 Open daily: Mon-Thu, 5pm-1am,

Fri, 5pm-2am, Sat-Sun, 3pm-midnight www.apotekabkk.com

A small and busy landmark of the East’s past glories that is, nevertheless, romantic and intimate, thanks to the legendary jazz band that plays each night. Ideal for a boozy night out or a romantic special occasion. The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok 48 Oriental Ave (riverfront) Tel: 02 659 9000 Open daily: Sun-Thu, 11am-1am, Fri-Sat, 11am-2am www.mandarinoriental.com

Half the space at Wild & Co. restaurant is given over to this brick-walled pub which eschews the mainstream Billboard 100, focusing instead on live bands. Before and after the bands play, resident DJ’s spin vinyl, relying on personal collections rather than playlists. Wild & Co, 33/1 Soi Farm Wattana Tel: 061 515 6989 Open daily: 5:30pm-1am www.facebook.com/blackcabinbar

Spasso

Spasso

A favourite among visitors and expats looking to let their hair down. By day, it’s a charming Italian restaurant. After hours, it transforms into a club and cocktail bar with live music every night of the week. 494 Rajadamri Rd. Tel: 02 254 1234 Open daily: 12pm-2.30pm, 6:30pm-2.30am bangkok. grand.hyatt.com

Saxophone

A must-visit live music joint, dishing out stiff drinks and killer blues, ska, and jazz every single night of the week. 3/8 Victory Monument, Phayathai Rd. Tel: 02 246 5472 Open daily: 6pm-2am www.saxophonepub.com bangkok101.com


SIGNING OFF | did you know?

D

id you know that the internationally acclaimed, award-winning photographer Patrick Brown lives right here in Bangkok, working out of a spacious studio that overlooks the Chao Phraya River? And did you also know that in April of this year he took first place in the ‘General News Singles’ category in the World Press Photo 2018 contest? It’s a prestigious award and a wonderful win for this fabulous photographer, although the winning image itself is indicative of the serious nature of Brown’s work—depicting the bodies of drowned Rohingya refugees laid out on shore after the boat in which they were attempting to flee Myanmar capsized about 200 metres off the coast of Bangladesh. Born in England, Brown's family migrated to Australia when he was 13, and for the past 20 years he's worked in Asia. In his ongoing journey of discovery he has documented much of the injustices that exist in this region, both to humans and to animals. Among his many accomplishments, in 2014 he published Trading to Extinction, a book which spans more than 10 years documenting the illegal trade of endangered animals in Asia, exploring the sad truths behind this multi-billion-dollar illicit industry. There’s even a Vice documentary on YouTube profiling Brown and his book project. More recently, this courageous cameraman has been documenting the ongoing Rohingya crisis, in Myanmar and beyond. Currently, a series of his arresting images— including the one show on this page—are on display at River City Bangkok (Si Phraya Pier) in a show entiled Exodus, in the 2nd Floor Gallery 2. Faultless in the portrayal of the human condition, with all its hopes, and disillusionments, Brown instinctively captures both the everyday and the extraordinary. And while his photographs are visually stunning, they also chronicle deeply disturbing events in our time, bearing witness to terrible tragedies that cannot be ignored. This not-to-be missed photo exhibition runs until August 10th, 2018, and the gallery is open from 10am till 8pm daily. www.patrickbrownphoto.com Photo © Patrick Brown Panos/UNICEF

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bangkok101.com


Profile for Talisman Media

Bangkok101 July 2018  

Bangkok's leading travel and leisure city guide magazine. Live Like A Local!

Bangkok101 July 2018  

Bangkok's leading travel and leisure city guide magazine. Live Like A Local!

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