We were disappointed by the food in Bangkok. Not that the food was bad. In reality it was consistently the best Thai food that we’ve ever had. It’s just that Thai food is simple. Properly prepared with the best ingredients it can and will be good anywhere. The gap between the best Thai food in Bangkok and the best Thai food in any major metropolitan city is not enormous, at least for the standard dishes.
When we arrived in Thailand we were expecting an experience like we had in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong labor intensive foods are fresh and expertly prepared. This level of perfected effort is not practical unless there is a high volume of customers. A business employing a half dozen people to make handmade Shanghai-style soup dumplings to be immediately served requires an endless stream of patrons to be profitable. The business model does not transfer to places where there are fewer customers. An unfortunate consequence of our visit to Hong Kong is that after we returned home we have had a hard time enjoying our local Chinese restaurants. Once you have a faultless freshly made pot sticker in Macau or the expertly made fresh lye noodles in Hong Kong it is hard to have the recently thawed and cooked versions more commonly available internationally. We feared that the same thing would occur when we ate in Bangkok. It didn’t happen. We can still enjoy our local Thai restaurants. Eating in Bangkok did not ruin our affection for Thai food made in the States. Perhaps this is a good thing but some how this realism disappointed us.
To be fair, we didn’t try all of the exotic food options available in Bangkok. We saw the “usual” cooked bugs on offer but they didn’t look fresh. At least that was our excuse for not trying them the first time we saw them. We made a pact that we’d try the insects, larvae, and arachnids the next time we found them being sold. The next time never happened. Eating bugs will have to wait for a future visit.
I guess we were expecting too much. Really, how can we be disappointed by consistently the best Thai food that we’ve ever had?
More pictures from Bangkok: