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The Toughest Tables in Thailand

Reservations were once unheard of in ultra–ad hoc Bangkok. But a trio of new restaurants are changing that, says Chawadee “Chow” Nualkhair, who blogs at

At Nahm (Metropolitan Bangkok hotel, 27 S. Sathorn Rd.; 66-2625-3388), whose sister restaurant in London was the first Thai spot to earn a Michelin star, many of chef David Thompson’s dishes are inspired by so-called funeral books. “When a hi-so person passes away,” says Chow, “the family publishes a book of their favorite recipes,” preserving unique formulas for dishes like nam prik pla rah song krueang, an old-style chile dip.

“Thai people like to complain that Thai food shouldn’t be served in courses,” Chow says, but at Bo.lan (42 Soi Pichai Ranarong, Sukhumvit Soi 26; 66-2260-2961), chefs Dylan Jones and Duangporn Songvisava, who met while working at Nahm in London, are making converts with their popular degustation menu. “It’s good Thai lite. Their massaman beef is excellent. It’s got this beefy, thick, really satisfying oomph to it.”

Not as high-end but very crowded is Soul Food Mahanakorn (56/10 Sukhumvit Soi Thonglor; 66-2714-7708), owned by food writer Jarrett Wrisley. The concept, says Chow, is “street food with great cocktails, or Thai izakaya. The fried chicken with watermelon pickles is out of this world.”


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