I adore Bangkok’s diverse and devoted eating culture. I like the unpretentious 20 baht noodles I can get down the street from my apartment, and I like that on the same block I can get something entirely pretentious that costs two order of magnitude more, and both will be delicious. I like the fresh fruit, I like the congenial atmosphere of the mid-range Thai restaurants, I like the local versions of Chinese and Japanese and Indian foods that I can get the same-but-different in the US. I like that exotic and morally problematic foods like shark’s fin inspire entire rows of restaurants devoted to their consumption.
The first time I ever set food in the food court at Siam Paragon, I wandered around and read the menu at every single food stall and restaurant, engaging in an odd sort of food voyeurism and strategizing future eating excursions. Afterwards, I compiled a list of ten things that really caught my attention:
- Shark’s fin
- Bird’s nest
- Steak and kidney pie
- Beard papa’s cream puffs
- Marbled horse (raw)
- Squid ink tagliatelli
- Fois gras
- Kentucky fried chicken
When my friend Steve visited for a couple days, I finally had a partner in crime to help me tackle some of the things on that list. Cream puffs fueled a couple hours of shopping (ok browsing), but once it was time for dinner, we decided to aim for the horse and the whale. This brought us to The Grill Tokyo, just a little bit down the hall from the huge food court, for a little “Japanese urban dining” or something like that.
It’s pricey (we spent about 2000 baht, with drinks), the sort of thing I would only do on a special occasion, but honestly, well worth it. The style is modern, but warm, and quiet, and freakin’ luxurious. We stuck to sushi and sashimi, and every thing we ordered was beautifully presented, perfectly fresh, simple, and like, the Platonic ideal of what that thing should be.