It’s commonly understood that the best way to explore a new place is to go straight to the locals. Each week in the Urbanist, we take that wisdom one step further by seeking out not just locals but local experts — those who are especially well versed in their cities’ newest and most noteworthy scenes — to give us insider recommendations. This week, we asked Rydo Anton, former head chef of Gaggan and the upcoming Gaggan Anand Restaurant, for his picks in Thailand’s capital city.
“Bangkok has always been known internationally for its street-food culture. Traditional Thai cuisine is packed with sweet, sour, salty, fermented, and spicy flavor combinations. You can literally find mouthwatering dishes everywhere and anywhere. The best spot for me is Silom, Bangkok’s main financial district, or Nay Lek Uan’s very delicious noodle soup in Chinatown. But as more international tourists continue to flood into Bangkok, we’ve seen the food scene grow at a rapid pace with many more street-food vendors, restaurants, and even fine-dining restaurants opening up. There are many more cuisines to choose from: You can start your day with a street food dish moo-ping (grilled pork on a stick) with sticky rice and a side of freshly squeezed O.J. and end the night with a bowl of the hardiest Japanese ramen accompanied with ice-cold Japanese beers.”
His Other Musts
“Khao Yai National Park was the first national park to be established in Thailand. It’s to the east of Bangkok, not too far away from the regional city of Nakhon Ratchasima (also known as Korat). It’s about two hours away in a taxi, but you can also take a three-hour bus ride from the Mo Chit Bus Station. These days, it is the second-largest national park in Thailand, with amazing scenery and wildlife. The animal collection includes gibbons, barking deer, hornbills, Asian-fairy bluebirds, reticulated pythons, crocodiles, and crested lizards, to name just a few. Of course, it is also home to the largest elephant sanctuary in Thailand. Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam, is also an incredible day trip. You can take an hourlong train from Bangkok’s Hualamphong Station. When you get there, rent a bicycle. Roam around and take loads of photos. The Ayutthaya Historical Park is full of ruins of ancient temples and palaces. Also, treat yourself to some delicious freshwater river prawn dishes, available in many local restaurants.”