Thai Cuisine

Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list is out, and nine Thai restaurants are on the list!

The 50 Best Restaurants in Asia 2023 list was officially unveiled at Resorts World Sentosa Singapore on March 28. Nine restaurants from Thailand made the list, showcasing the authentic Thai flavor and the diversity of Thai restaurant development. Outstanding Thai restaurants and culinary talents were honored.

Thai food is everything from high-end, luxury, star-rated restaurants to bustling street fare. Good Taste Thailand, you can always leave the most unforgettable “food” light here. So, what are the highlights of this year’s list?

Le Du

Bangkok

What makes it different? Le Du has been at the top of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants rankings since 2017, culminating in 2023. The brainchild of chef-owner Thitid ‘Ton’ Tassanakajohn, the restaurant showcases exquisite modern Thai cuisine based on Thailand’s extraordinary agricultural heritage and centuries-old cooking techniques, with a unique style of food that has wowled critics and diners across the continent.

What’s in a name? Though it may sound French, Le Du is derived from the Thai word for “season” and reflects the restaurant’s focus on seasonal produce.

Chef Thitid Ton Tassanakajohn developed a passion for cooking after growing up with the delicious home cooking of his mother and grandmother. He completed a degree in economics in Thailand before attending the Culinary Institute of America. While in New York, he worked at top restaurants, including Eleven Madison Park, formerly the world’s best restaurant. He also holds a sommelier qualification, which helps influence Le Du’s global wine list.

Choose from a four – or six-course tasting menu, which showcases seasonal dishes such as crab with mushrooms and homemade chia Racha gochujang, or three different types of seaweed and algae with shrimp and fish sauce. An ever-present signature is river shrimp with brown rice risotto with shrimp sauce.

Nusara

Bangkok

Following in the footsteps of its sister restaurant Le Du, Nusara has been hugely popular since it opened in 2020. It serves traditional Thai cuisine that reflects a modern update of the chef’s family recipes and culinary traditions.

Nusara’s 12-course tasting includes complex snacks such as mackerel with coconut and cucumber, Hokkaido scallops with sweet corn and pickled egg yolk, tom kla soup, plus a signature crab curry served with crispy penang leaves and horseshoe crab roe. There are also home-cooked dishes – such as Bumbai Neua, a rich Mumbai-style curry with a tender beef face of pickled cucumbers. Each dish is as colorful as the amazing pottery on which it is served.

While many of Nusara’s recipes come from the royal kitchens of King Rama V, they also contain many typical Indian spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom, reflecting the inclusive diversity of Thai cuisine.

Head chef Ton runs Nusara with his brother Tam, a sommelier and chef. The brothers started the restaurant in memory of their grandmother – whom they credit for cooking them delicious food that inspired their love of Thai cuisine and who they consider a top chef. Nusara, a 10-seat restaurant overlooking the Temple of Reclining Buddha complex, offers an intimate and welcoming environment where modern ambience and old-town charm clash. Below the restaurant are Mayrai Pad Thai and Wine Bar, also run by the Tassanakajohn brothers.

Gaggan Anand

Bangkok

Gaggan Anand has made a name for himself with his unconventional, creative and slightly eccentric menus — which at one point were written only in emojis, and which continue to evolve. Classic dishes such as Lick It Up – a multicolor Holi gulal made with vegetable dyes – have evolved to see each element see the impact of flavor on taste receptors. There are often new classics, such as the recent Flower Power (featuring goat’s Brain mousse) and Brain Freeze, an ice cream dish that requires guests to guess the meaning.

Gaggan Anand’s mission is to change the way guests think about food and make them eat more. Molecular gastronomy, cutting-edge equipment, sophisticated technology and global influence from an international kitchen team all play a part in the creation of the menu, which is dedicated to two meals per night for 28 diners.

Gaggan Anand can only book online, and diners are sent a questionnaire to fill out a few days before booking. Questions included requests for guests’ favorite bands and locations chosen from the Book of Karma. It’s also a very interesting experience.

Sorn

Bangkok

Sorn chef Supaksorn ‘Ice’ Jongsiri grew up with the flavors of southern cooking with her grandmother. That’s why Ice not only cooks southern Thai food, but also translates his understanding of various southern Thai cultures into one-of-a-kind innovative cuisine. His thought process is mind-bending and his condiments are explosive, uncompromising in chilli heat and spice.

The impeccable service is one of the reasons Sorn is said to be the most difficult restaurant to book in Thailand. Its front-of-house team is trained to effectively convey the stories and memories the chef tells in each dish. With each bite, you will be inspired by Ice’s love and passion for the South.

Everything Sorn serves is highly temperature-sensitive. This is something Ice pays special attention to, and his kitchen brigade serves each dish at incredible speed — so don’t spend too long filming them. By controlling the temperature of the dishes, Ice is able to create a sequence of gusts that subtly adds an unexpected dimension to Thai cuisine.

Kan Chu Piang (Jewel on a crab stick) is Sorn’s version of Kan Chiang Pu (blue crab legs), arguably the most hotly contested crab part of the Thai table. In Thai families, the crab leg part is reserved for the oldest or most beloved member of the family. In Sorn, you become the favored child.

Suhring

Bangkok

What makes it stand out? When twins Thomas and Mathias Suhring debuted their eponymous restaurant in 2016 – a fresh take on traditional German cuisine with a sophisticated, light tapas menu – the launch was an instant hit. At Suhring, the duo takes local seasonal products and luxury ingredients and pairs them with a minimalist aesthetic.

Suhring’s design looks like a house. Located in a quiet neighborhood in central Bangkok, the restaurant features four different dining Spaces, including a glass house overlooking a lush garden and an open kitchen where diners can watch the chef cook. The menu, which changes every two to three months, mixes traditional German cuisine with top Thai local produce to create one of the world’s truly unique culinary ideas.

Ms. Maria & Mr. Singh

Bangkok

Ms. Maria & Mr. Singh, which debuted in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2023 after opening in 2020, is a vibrant, casual Indian and Mexican restaurant from chef-owner Gaggan Anand of the only restaurant of the same name. The restaurant topped the list from 2015 to 2018. Ms. Maria & Mr. Singh relocated to its new location in March 2023, with chef’s table space and a lively open kitchen run by Anand’s right-handed chef Rydo Anton.

India meets Mexico in the best possible way in this vibrant restaurant decorated in pale blue and neon pink. The U-shaped booth is decorated with Mexican Day of the Dead skeletons, while the neon sign reads “Love should never be gentle”, reflecting Anand’s unparalleled thirst for life.

Chefs Hernan Crispin Villalva and Roshan Kumar present classic homey dishes inspired by food from Oaxaca, Mexico, and Jodhpur, India, paired with natural wines and cocktails such as Tepache, a homemade corn tea served with pineapple and rum.

On the A la carte menu, which is divided into music – and pop-culture-inspired sections, Love First Bites snacks include Ceviche and guacamole, while the fusion tortilla menu includes la pork Vendalou in flour tortillas. “Wedding and Maybe Funeral” features chicken tikka masala, British Indian style, as well as Gaggan’s crab curry and “Mama’s Spinach and cheese” guacamole. Dessert includes churros and snow balls with mango and grapefruit.

Potong

Bangkok

At Potong, an award-winning fine-dining restaurant that has been open since 2021 in a cramped multi-storey building in the heart of Bangkok’s Chinatown, chef Pichaya ‘Pam’ Soontornyanakij offers a 20-course tasting menu of innovative Thai-Chinese cuisine.

Potong’s food focuses on five elements: salt, acid, spice, texture and the Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction that reduces sugar and brings distinctive flavour. The tasting starts with homemade charcuterie and symbolic citrus, followed by oysters with black squid and black pearls, and Taizhong duck legs with Sichuan pepper. Tasting allows diners to understand Chef Pam’s culinary memories and emotions.

Potong is located on the second floor of a five-storey building that has been passed down through generations and has been home to the family’s Chinese herbal medicine business since 1910. The main dining room is located on the second floor.

Utharntharm, of Thai, Australian and Chinese descent, grew up in Bangkok before moving to the United States, where she honed her skills at Jean-Georges. She went on to win several awards and was a judge for Thailand’s top chefs. Since returning home with Potong, she has quickly become one of the country’s most influential chefs and is the first person ever to win the Michelin Thailand Opening of the Year award.

Raan Jay Fai

Bangkok

Located on Maha Chai Road, Raan Jay Fai has become a culinary establishment in Bangkok. The seven-table restaurant (and takeaway) may have started out as a hawker stall (and retains its super-casual Formica table format to this day), but it has become a can ‘t-miss destination for food lovers. The chef constant over the years: the legendary Supinya ‘Jay Fai’ Junsuta, who can still be seen in the kitchen wearing her trademark insulated goggles.

On the menu, you’ll find Thai street food like you’ve never seen before. Don’t miss the pad kee mao talay — seafood with drunken noodles, dry fried and extra-crispy — or the one everyone will try: khai jiao poo, Jay Fai’s famous interpretation of crab omelette, which contains 600g of giant, top-quality fresh white crab meat. While prices may be higher than those of contemporary hawkers, Raan Jay Fai’s luxurious ingredients guarantee an unforgettable food experience on the streets of Bangkok.

Baan Tepa

Bangkok

Chain-owner Tam Chudaree Debhakam, influenced by her American big-name Blue Hill at Stone Barns, has created a restaurant and garden experience in Bangkok that champions local produce and Thai biodiversity.

Opened in 2020, Baan Tepa features an open kitchen restaurant, a chef’s table and an organic cooking garden where guests can learn about local herbs and spices before sitting down to eat.

Baan Tepa’s nine-course tasting menu takes diners on a culinary journey across the country inspired by Tam’s travels. Starting with snacks from northern, southern and central Thailand, it includes classes such as black cuttlefish ink with lemongrass, soft shell crab with fish roe and curried lamb with pickled condiments.

Baan Tepa is the former home of Chef Tam’s grandmother, Madam Suwaree Debhakam, and has been passed down in the family for three generations. The compound has been converted into an urban dining space containing a garden and kitchen, and the home retains many of its original features, including elegant hardwood floors, high natural ceilings and walls made from the materials of the original house.

 

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