#50 If you have only half a day to enjoy Bangkok
I was there for four days and nights, actually. But the best meals we had you can relish in just one day. Lunch, cocktails and dinner.
People travel for different reasons. Most of my colleagues travel for work, for instance. Some people visit places to tick off their bucket lists. I travel to eat.
The Bangkok trip between Christmas and New Year was booked way back in June. You plan a December trip that early and you get the best prices. We stayed at Silq Hotel & Residences where our one-bedroom suite came with twin beds, a large bathroom, a coffee machine, a full kitchen and washer/dryer. All that for 19,000 Thai Baht (554 USD) for four nights because we booked in June. By the time we were sipping cocktails in Bangkok on December 27, my friend, Kat, checked the prices again (just out of curiosity) and it had gone up to 300+ USD per night. Holiday rates.
We’d done that before, Kat and I. When we went to Japan pre-COVID, we booked our end-of-November trip six months early and got a really good deal on our Swissotel accommodation. Just like Bangkok, by the time we were devouring Matsusaka beef in Osaka, the price of the room had quadrupled. It was a long holiday weekend for the Japanese and winter had officially arrived. Definitely holiday rates.
Ahhh… But all that is just an aside. Information you might find useful if, like me, you’re not comfortable in backpacker hostels and have genuine appreciation for a clean private bath in a quiet room with a nice bed covered with clean sheets. Breakfast is not a must for me but if it’s included in the package, I won’t say no.
Now, the three places where the food (and drinks) are simply superb. If you decide to go to all three in one day, I suggest doing some shopping between lunch and dinner. Walking will help you digest your lunch so you can appreciate cocktails and dinner better.
One last note before the list. These three places are not near one another. You’ll need to get Grab (or a taxi) and make allowances for the horrible rush hour traffic.
Lunch at Nara
I hear there’s a branch in Metro Manila but I’ve never been there. I hear too that the food there is nowhere as good as what they serve in Nara Bangkok. I’m not in a position to compare but let me just say that it is useless to try to find fault with the food in Nara Bangkok. Except that it wasn’t easy getting a table even at 1.30 p.m. But that’s not the restaurant’s fault, is it? Just another proof that food at Nara is indeed good. I am not sure if they take reservations. We chose to have lunch there because we planned on shopping at CentralWorld until late afternoon.
So what did I have?
Fried dumplings (you wrap them in the veggies and herbs, dip in the sauce and pop into your mouth) and a smoothie to get started.
For the main course, I had grilled pork neck and sticky rice. That pork was divine. Tender and moist and tasty with a hint of smokiness.
Kat had yellow chicken curry and a salad. She loved them!
Nara Thai Cuisine is located at CentralWorld, Ratchadamri Rd, Khwaeng Pathum Wan, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330
Cocktails at Yao
I had been following Yao’s Instagram account for months and I promised myself I’d have my Yao experience. Heck, it was marvelous!
Okay, for Yao, you have to get a reservation. When I booked, I chose 5.30 p.m. so that we’d be there in time for the sunset.
That was how the sky looked when we were ushered to our table.
We ordered drinks (Sparkling Sonata: Jim Beam, Laphroaig 10 Yrs., Martini Roso, Campari, Sparkling Wine) and dim sum (Peking Duck Roll with Wasabi Hoisin Sauce, and Taro and Roasted Duck Dumpling), and… Oh, next time, I will dine properly there. The dim sum was so good but we were full and we already made dinner plans.
Yao is on the 32nd floor of Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse, 262 Surawong Road, Si Phraya, Bangrak Bangkok 10500
Dinner at Blue Elephant
Our December trip was Kat’s third to Bangkok in 2023 alone but, during her previous trips, she had been unable to book dinner at Blue Elephant. But then I’m her lucky travel pal (we’ve managed to get good rates on our accommodations, right?), she was able to book about two months before our flight, and dinner at Blue Elephant happened on December 27.
We chose the tasting menu with wine pairing and it was deliriously good. I wish I can describe each dish, we were each given a souvenir menu but I can’t locate it in my luggage. Some dishes, I can remember the names; the rest, alas, I can’t. But if you’d like to get an idea about what you can expect in a Blue Elephant tasting menu, see the list on their website. Meanwhile, here are some photos from our dinner.
Blue Elephant is on 41 South Sathorn Road, BTS Surasak, Bangkok 10120.