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    Lifestyle Curators for Thailand + Southeast Asia

    Getting Trendy – Thong Lor

      /  DESTINATIONS   /  Getting Trendy – Thong Lor

    Some of the hippest places in town all have one thing in common: they are in Thong Lor.

    by Dave Stamboulis

    When it comes to food and drink, no guide to Bangkok is complete without extensive mention of Thong Lor, which remains Bangkok’s trendiest and most innovative eating and drinking area. It is home to an exhaustive list of possibilities, from food trucks and traditional restaurants to the finest sashimi and the most intricate cocktail mixes. Here are a few of the leading places to get you started.

    Soul Food Mahanakorn
    Serves authentic regional Thai food, has a fine cocktail bar, and is located in a charming shophouse setting. It is part of Atlantic Monthly food critic Jarrett Wrisley’s award-winning healthy take on Thai street food that has become a Thong Lor staple over the past few years. From chicken wings to duck salads and Lycheegrass Collins on the innovative drink menu, this is a great spot to impress a date and tickle your taste buds.
    Supanniga Eating Room


    Restaurateur Thanaruek Laoraowirodge, who has several successful eateries here in Bangkok as well as a northeastern Isaan Thai restaurant in New York, has gone back to his roots here, offering up his grandmother’s hard-to-find recipes that come from Trat in Eastern Thailand. The quaint shophouse has become another Thong Lor trendsetter, with authentic dishes like “moo chamuang,” a spicy and sour pork simmered in chamuang leaves dish that uses the most succulent stewed pork that has been cooked for several days to give it a mouthwatering flavor. A great place to experience real Thai cooking and find dishes you’ve probably never even heard of.

    The Water Library
    While the Water Library does get accolades for its fine gourmet food restaurant, we came here to drink. Bartender Mirko Gardelliano has been mixing drinks for decades, winning titles such as Bartender of the Year in Germany several times, and is a master craftsman concocting wonders such as gummy bear infused tipples and Belgian chocolate mojitos that delight. With a 400-bottle wine cellar surrounded by plush leather sofas, it’s a pretty snazzy spot to relax in as well. Just make sure you bring a credit card.
    While Thong Lor is the epicenter of the Japanese expat community with hundreds of restaurants to choose from, Mugendai sets the bar high as far as fine sushi and sashimi go. From the signature Aburi 7, which features fatty bluefin tuna, giant scallops, snapper, halibut fin, salmon, Alaskan king crab, and Matsuzaka beef, to the unagi foie gras, in which wild freshwater eel is made in an inside-out roll stuffed with foie gras. The fish here is flown in from Tokyo’s Tsukuji Fish Market several times a week, ensuring maximum freshness, and while the prices here are as high as the real estate, they are well worth the splurge.
    Orn the Road
    The Thai-Western couple behind this Thong Lor hamburger truck (located opposite Grass) ran a bar and grill for 28 years in Bangkok, and they know their burgers well. Orn’s (and yes, the name is inspired by Kerouac’s travel classic) grills over charcoal and features different grades of patties topped with signature dressings, and is one of several mobile food trucks to be taking the town by storm.


    Chavayos Rattakul, the foodie restaurateur who runs the outstanding Tenyuu Grand in Sathorn, not only serves up fresh sashimi at this stellar Nippon eatery, but sets himself apart from other Japanese restaurants in this neck of the woods by having a young hip vibe. It serves up some outstanding cocktails and other drinks made from a range of Japanese liquors from sake to umeshu plum wine and various infused whiskeys. Try a Blushing Geisha (Gekkeikan Nigori sake and green tea) to wash down some blowtorched Matsuzaka beef wrapped around fresh sashimi and it might be enough to make you decide to purchase a condo around the block.

    Iron Fairies & Fat Gutz
    (●IF: 02-084-520-2301;
    ●FG: 02-714-9832,
    No mention of Thong Lor nightlife would be complete without paying homage to Ashley Sutton, an Australian nightlife designer and creator of Iron Fairies & Fat Gutz. His empire of avant-garde cutting edge bars has ensured he is now a legend in the industry, but it was here that the first few took hold. Iron Fairies features a Gothic Victorian fantasy appearance where a blacksmith’s forge meets a bar that meets a gallery. Fat Gutz is, as he put it, “a fish and chips saloon for sexy people.” There is a mariner’s saloon vibe here, and the food and drink menu lays tribute to sunken ships. At Iron Fairies, renowned mixologist Joseph Borowski’s creations blow your mind from the likes of blow-torched marshmallows and absinthe fairy-potion cocktails.
    mangoes and other tropical fruit for sale at roadside market in Bangkok Thailand

    mangoes and other tropical fruit for sale at roadside market in Bangkok Thailand

    This simple open street shop is actually the ultimate seller of mangoes and sticky rice in the entire nation, something that might dawn on you when you see the price per kilo. Maevaree sells the most perfect mangoes to go with “khao niaow moon” sticky rice from Chiang Rai, along with ultra-high grade coconut milk. This wonderful dessert, along with their sticky rice and durian, ensures there is a constant line and cements it as a prime spot atop the Bangkok dessert elite.

    Phuket Town
    Phuket town

    Phuket town

    You don’t have to go to Phuket to enjoy some pungent southern cooking. This atmospheric little eatery has great artwork and has set up the shop to look like a typical corner cafe that one would find down south. They do great plates of “kanom jeen” noodles and curry, plus other fiery southern stalwarts like “sataw” (string beans in chili paste) and “kua kling” chicken or beef saturated with spices. Make sure to bring a hanky, you will be sweating after a tasty spicy meal here.

    Wagyu beef burgers and corn fritters.

    Wagyu beef burgers and corn fritters.

    While sky bars used to be confined to Sathorn and the river area, the east side now has some of the best views in town. Not on soi 55 proper, but located one block over, this rooftop venue (45th floor) at the Marriott Sukhumvit Hotel offers views down Sukhumvit Road, the skytrain line, and an incredible 360 degree open air panorama, which could only be rivaled by a private helicopter flight. Enjoy a refreshing Bangkok 57 (champagne with saffron infused vodka) and remember that the buzz you feel up here won’t be simply from the drinks.