An in­spir­ing taste of Bangkok

Life In­spired’s Taste Bangkok takes view­ers on an amaz­ing 22- restau­rant trail.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TASTE - By SHArMILA NAIr star2@ thes­tar. com. my

THE first thing you need to for­get when in Bangkok is count­ing calo­ries. It is one city in the world where pig­ging out is ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary. Bangkok is, and al­ways has been, a strong con­tender in the in­ter­na­tional culi­nary scene. So, it’s bet­ter to give in and just get big­ger pants when you’re on a food trail there.

Giv­ing a glimpse of the amaz­ing food scene in the Thai cap­i­tal is Taste

Bangkok, a Life In­spired Orig­i­nal Se­ries that fo­cuses on the vi­brant flavours and di­verse cuisines in one of Asia’s lead­ing culi­nary hub.

“Bangkok is ge­o­graph­i­cally and cul­tur­ally blessed, giv­ing it a nice mix of all of South- East Asia and a lit­tle bit of Western in­flu­ences. Peo­ple mis­tak­enly think that Thai cui­sine is gen­er­ally made up of street food and Tom Yum Goong – which it is and an­other mil­lion things,” said Taste Bangkok host Ananda Ever­ing­ham in an email in­ter­view.

“But I do love Bangkok’s street food and all I can say is, don’t miss it. I grew up in Bangkok so street food is in my DNA. But there’s more to Thai food than just street food.”

The two- episode trav­el­ogue fol­lows ac­tor Ananda as he em­barks on a epic restau­rant trail in the city he calls home. From tra­di­tional Thai cui­sine at Bangkok’s top restau­rants like Nahm, to pro­gres­sive Thai cui­sine at Is­saya Si­amese Club, Ananda visits 22 top restau­rants in the city.

The host speaks to the re­spec­tive restau­ra­teurs/ award- win­ning chefs about their culi­nary as­pi­ra­tions and in­spi­ra­tions in Bangkok.

“I am a foodie, but I don’t cook – un­less cooking eggs count be­cause I do make a mean scram­bled eggs. So speak­ing to the chefs and peo­ple be­hind the restau­rants was a real eye- opener.

“I find David Thomp­son of Nahm to be a re­ally fas­ci­nat­ing per­son, be­side be­ing a top Miche­lin- starred chef. He’s in­cred­i­bly well- versed and in­sight­ful when talk­ing about Thai food. But what sur­prised me the most was how Thai he is ... we spent most of the in­ter­view speak­ing in Thai,” said Ananda.

The show at­tempts to chart the evo­lu­tion of Thai cui­sine from its tra­di­tional and re­gional roots to the mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tions that will in­flu­ence fu­ture trends.

“Thai food is so di­verse that it’s hard to find one place that best rep­re­sents it as a whole,” he said.

“If you’ve been here long enough, you’ll have your favourite noo­dle stall, favourite grilled chicken, som tam and sticky rice places, favourite North­ern dish, favourite South­ern dish, and so on,” he said.

“The best place to visit when you’re in­de­ci­sive is one of the nu­mer­ous “khao tom” ( lit­er­ally trans­lates to ‘ boiled rice’) joints around town. They usu­ally open into the wee hours and serve just about any­thing you de­sire.”

Ananda also trails Bangkok’s grow­ing trend of in­ter­na­tional cui­sine from world- ac­claimed chefs choos­ing to live and cook in Bangkok, re­sult­ing in truly unique hy­brid restau­rants that are re­defin­ing the din­ing cul­ture.

“There has al­ways been an eclec­tic mix of in­ter­na­tional cuisines in Thai­land but re­cently there has def­i­nitely been an in­flux of trendier and higher- end places in Bangkok,” said Ananda.

The host speaks to the culi­nary mae­stros be­hind award- win­ning fine din­ing restau­rants like L’Ate­lier de Joel Robu­chon and Gag­gan, which won Asia’s Best Restau­rant award for two con­sec­u­tive years.

Ananda said that he cher­ishes the op­por­tu­nity to min­gle with the top chefs in Bangkok, un­der­stand­ing their meth­ods, back­ground and in­spi­ra­tion that brought them into the in­dus­try.

“You’ll be sur­prised to hear some of the crazy sto­ries they have from their time in the kitchen.”

Ananda hopes that Taste Bangkok will give its view­ers a chance to see Bangkok’s pas­sion for food through a well- crafted and en­ter­tain­ing show.

Even the host picked up new things about Thai cui­sine when film­ing the trav­el­ogue.

“I learned about how di­verse Thai food is and how lit­tle I know about it. There is so much more to ex­plore. As of now, there is so much to try in town that I at­tempt to eat at a new place ev­ery week. With the In­ter­net it’s be­come easy to find all the rec­om­mended places,” he said.

“So I tell you to fly in to Bangkok, make a friend and see where you end up for a meal. You never know, it may turn out to be the most mem­o­rable meal you’ll ever have.”

Chef Olivier Li­mousin ( left) of L’Ate­lier de Joel robu­chon shar­ing a few in­sight­ful tips with Ananda. ( right) Ananda Ever­ing­ham goes on an epic restau­rant trail in Bangkok to chart the evo­lu­tion of Thai cui­sine. — pho­tos: Life In­spired

Nahm’s Co­conut and Turmeric Blue swim­mer Crab Curry. — Nahm

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