Bangkok and Siem Riep Recommendations, Please
In 2008, my husband and I were planning a trip to Thailand and Angkor Wat so I did what any devoted Hound would do and I checked out restaurant recommendations. I don't think we even got to the booking-a-flight stage with that trip, but I saved the restaurant research I did then. In less than a week, we're finally taking a trip to Thailand and Angkor Wat.
How many of the restaurants listed below are still worthwhile? Can anyone offer new recommendations for mid- and high-end restaurants?
LEK Seafood (Bangkok),
Cook Rai (Ko Lanta).
Sara Jane's, Wittayu/Wireless Road opposite US Embassy, consular section,
Food court at MBK mall.
Khrua Rommai, 16 Sukhumvit Soi 36 (Skytrain Thong Lo)
Spice Market in the Four Seasons
Wyndham Thai, 41 Sukhumvit Soi 16
Cafe Chili, Siam Paragon Mall (Ground Floor)
Ember, 99/11-12 Soi Lang Suan
Tai Thai at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, 100 Ratchadamri Road
Pandanus, 50 Soi Nantha Sathorn Road
Madame Butterfly (Short ride west on No. 6, airport rd)
I haven't been to Somboom and LEK Seafood for years but I still heard good comments on them. Alternatively for the similar cuisine, my family prefer Baan Klang Nam (Rama 3 rd). It could be noicy (so do somboon and lek) but this restaurant is by the river.
Sara Jane's moved to Narathiwas Rd (500 m walk from skytrain Chongnonsi)
Food court at MBK mall- I would rate it as low end. It offers great varieties and would be fun to explore around.
Chote Chitr (Thx to Curt, I didn't know it closed.)- I think similar food could be tasted at Saeree located near by
Ember- I think it closed too. But the same chef is now at Water Library at 2nd fl Chamchuri Square (MRT Samyan). 3-course lunch is about 890++. Dinner could be 3x of lunch w/o alcohol. As for WL, I haven't met anyone who said the food wasn't great. A fun/painfully pricey factor is they serve only mineral water- imported from around the world- and you could do "water tasting" ;)
Tai Thai at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, 100 Ratchadamri Road- royal sports club is member only place. I haven't been there and not sure if you could go in without a member accompanying.
Pandanus, 50 Soi Nantha Sathorn Road- just another good Thai/ Thai fusion restaurant. I don't think there is anything special there. I personally don't think it offers good value of money.
For Siem Reap, here is my Cambodia report from a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, for the two days we spent touring the temples, we didn't have good food during the temple part. The places inside the temple area were very touristy. We tried to insist to the guide and to the restaurant servers, that we wanted what the guide was eating. But no one believed us. The guide did have a better sense when I told him the other places we had eating when we were on our own, but it was a hard sell. We did have some delicious food in SR but they were usually away from where other tourists ate.
Have a great trip.
Thanks. We've already had an analogous situation with our hotel accommodations. We wanted to go to Sukhothai which necessitated an overnight stay there. Our travel agent gave us lots of pushback saying that the hotels in that town weren't up to his typical client's standards. When I got him to acknowledge that the hotels were clean, I insisted on a visit there.
With respect to the food, my husband and I are probably in a small sub-category. We want the typical complexity of Thai food -- the layering of contrasting flavors -- but we can't deal with Thai-strength heat. I certainly don't want the typical sweetness of Thai food in the US; I want all the tamarind and lime and fish sauce and basil and... However, when it comes to the sriracha and the bird's eye chile peppers, please dial it down!!
Beetlebug, that outdoor bbq before the bridge sound intriguing. Were there any names or actual buildings attached, or was this more of a street/field vendor affair? It sounds so much better than most of the other restaurants in the area. Great ingredients + fire: how can you go wrong? We'll be there for 3 evenings -- I think Arun, BBQ, and maybe one other place for dinner. For lunches, we'll try our luck convincing the temple restaurants that we want what they (or our driver) like to eat. Morning glory -- my favorite vegetable!
Also, a restaurant called Touich Restaurant is #1 on Tripadvisor.. anyone tried this place and want to report?
There were buildings attached with tables inside and out. There weren't any doors to the indoor part of the building so it was more like shelter. There were a string of them all next to each other. We just randomly chose one. I suspect that they are all fairly similar and it was just spread out. Here is the info - (looking at my old post, I realized it wasn't clear that this was the name of the place). It's such a short walking distance from town.
Watdamnak Village Salakomrouk
855 12 93 63 64
I also love morning glories and really adore fish amok. I also really loved Arun so I hope you make it there. You may get some eyebrows raised bc it's not a tourist place, but a local family place. If you go, please report back so I can live vicariously through you.
I lived in Cambodia for 6 yrs in the 90s and whenever I went to Siem Reap I would eat at the sort of middle class Khmer places on the outskirts of town. You would never see a foreigner in any of them and the food was always great and ridiculously cheap.
Tell your guide you want "samlor m'choo", "yam trey cha-a" and "trey r'oa cha k'ney". That will get his attention and he should be able to take you to a local place where you can get those dishes. (sour tamarind soup, smoked fish salad and a tasty river fish cooked with a huge amount of caramelized ginger.)
I stayed at the Golden Banana (fantastic hotel), which is across the river from Old Town. After scouring Chowhound for local food recs, beetlebug's hit it out of the park. From Golden Banana, I walked down the road towards the bridge, and checked out the three local bbq restaurants on the left hand side of the road. Since none of them have English signs, I picked the largest one with a big screen tv (its the last restaurant at the end of the road). It was packed at 8pm.
A young waiter came over with an English menu titled "Watdomnak II". He walked me through different items on the menu (grilled beef, fried noodles, fried oysters, grilled squid, frogs legs), and suggested his favorite, Lok Luk Steak ($3.50) with fried egg, onions, tomatoes, rice, and a side dish of salt/pepper and limes. Squeeze the lime juice into the salt/pepper and mix it together, then either dip the meat into the mixture and eat with veggies, or pour the mixture on top of the meat. Absolutely delicious. Much more flavorful than my lunch at Khmer Kitchen (fried noodles and a watered down iced coffee w/ condensed milk).
Prices are the same as Khmer restaurants in Old Town ($1-3.50). Bring small bills. You'll receive change in a mix of $1 USD and riels.
Thanks again to beetlebug for the rec!