Good afternoon from one of my favorite cities in the world, Bangkok. Why do I like it so much, hard to say exactly, but it has something to do with the controlled chaos, excellent food and friendly people, not to mention the warm weather. Perhaps this edition of Wineweek in pictures will give you a small taster of my Bangkok.
This weeks edition should rather be called Lack-of-wine-week. Thailand is not a country for wine. Not because they don’t have any, but rather because the prices are not reasonable. As I read up, it seems that wine is very heavily taxed to support a thriving local beer industry. Also, my experience with Asian countries is that the taste of the locals for both food and drinks is just different. So would a local enjoy a nice California Pinot Noir? They might prefer the taste of the local whiskey. We have come across numerous wine-bars, but none of them are really inviting to the winecurious. Yes they can look nice, but the knowledge on wines is at the level of a ten year old and you pay closer to 10 Euros for a glass of cheap Chardonnay. A waste of money at least for me. This is why we have kept to mainly beer and coffee to satisfy our tasting needs.
The benefit about being passionate about something is that it gives you that extra motivation to go to great lengths to satisfy your curiosity. The concept of travelling changed for me when I met M. I was well traveled even before, but I did not venture that much outside of the tourist areas. Not really. Of course, young and smug, I made a big deal about seeing the world, but I did not have any real agenda. What was I there to see? Now we travel for a purpose and not only to fill the passport with stamps, the purpose being wine, coffee and food (and I don’t object to warm weather). Most of the week here in Bangkok, we have ventured to cafes and eaten street food. We have navigated through small neighborhoods to find the hidden gems populated by the Thais and expats alike. Specialty coffee is surprisingly popular and we have found many places that make fantastic pour overs, aeropresses and cold brew (that’s coffee geek language for filter coffee). M has been ecstatic and he has already written closer to ten reviews he wants to publish on coffee places. Perhaps we should start calling this blog the Coffeecurious. Many of the best coffees we have had have been made with Ethiopian or Guatemalan beans, but Thai coffee is also taking a step up and there are many local roasters who do single origin coffees from Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai (Northern Thailand).
The other topic that is close to my heart is the food here in Bangkok and I am not talking only about curries and friend rice. We have had great traditional Thai street food: skewers, spiced sausages and banana pancakes and also a lot of other Asian food. There is a large population of Japanese expats contributing to a great deal of izakayas, sushi and ramen places. We also had some fantastic Korean barbecue. Most of the food we have had has cost between 1 and 5 euros per meal. We have spent much more on coffee. Tomorrow we will try some local fine dining at Nahm and Issaya Siamese Club which are both on the list of Asias 50 best restaurants. Even though we labelled this trip as a street food festival, the prices for tasting menus were so tempting that we couldn’t resist. Comparing to London and especially Sweden a tasting menu at a top restaurant costs one third of that of Europe and the US. I am not expecting the wine list to be as tempting, but who knows, I will not judge before I see it. The downside here is that the restaurants do not display much prices on their website, so we have no idea what to expect of drinks.
The journey continues in Bangkok for a few more days and after that we will retreat to Ko Samui for some well deserved beach time. I have been there once around ten years ago, so I am sure it has changed (to even more touristy). However, I have some great memories from beach restaurants having fantastic curries (and sipping on buckets of drinks, but no more about that in this blog), so some food posts are imminent.