Happy Sunday, reader. “Happy” may be an exaggeration, considering the current pharma-police state. Content Sunday to you, reader. The bars and gogos remain shut. Nearly all good restaurants have moved to Foodpanda. You can’t even go to the gym (full disclosure, I didn’t go when it was open).
At the moment, I’m low on pics of gogo girls, so unfortunately I don’t have a photo album for you today. If you want an eyeful of Thai pole kitties, swing by BKKNites.com around lunchtime today. Speaking of lunch, the subject of this post is food.
A few months back, I posted a series for BKKNites called “Eurocompensating,” highlighting the various restaurants around town where a foreigner can get a belly full of traditional fare from the UK, France, Spain, Germany, and Greece. This week, I’m continuing that idea here on my blog, focusing on a different country. Today, I’ll be covering a handful of BKK joints that will satisfy your urge for American food—real food, not fast food. That’s a topic for a separate blog. This week we’re taking a look at legit restaurants that serve burgers, fries, hot dogs, and barbecue (that aren’t too painfully far from my doorstep).
And since there are currently more choices available via Grab and Foodpanda, we need to cover the top row of burger joints on those delivery sites as well. So let’s take a look, shall we?
But first, a quick word about “smash” burgers: I’ve been out of the US for over a decade so maybe things’ve changed, but when I lived there, there was no such thing as a smash burger. Smash burgers appear to be a non-American stab at what we in the US would just call a “burger” from places like In-n-Out, Shake Shack, Whataburger, etc. They hover in a kind of culinary limbo in between fast food and restaurant-style burgers. So here in BKK, smash burgers are a kind of Frankenstein monster version of a casual American-style burger. Now that we’ve established a definition, let’s move forward.
The sheer number of burger places in Bangkok makes this subject impossible to cover in a single post. In fact, you really need an entire website dedicated to just the topic of Bangkok Burgers. A “Bangkok burger blog,” if you will. And this humble monger can’t do that. I can only tell you the ones I order on a regular basis that remain available during this quasi-shutdown:
Arno’s—Arno’s (above left) is everywhere these days. They just opened another location in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency. Their popularity is well-deserved as their burgers are awesome. I’ve been to both Naradiwas locations as well as Silom Soi 3, but it’s much easier to just get it delivered. And there’s no need to go fancy. Their regular ole burger is outstanding.
25 Degrees—Maybe it’s because their original restaurant is in my home town of L.A. but I really love this burger. I especially love the wide range of toppings you can get—from mushrooms to avocado. The one in the photo above right has an onion ring, brie cheese, mushrooms, and blue cheese spread.
Red Lion—Yes, this joint is an English pub. But they also have a hot dog menu and a smash burger menu. I’ve tried the Swiss Room (above right), the Moody Blues (top photo in this post), and the Totally Square (above left), and they’re all great.
Garage Burger—Pictured above left is the only burger of theirs that I’ve had—the Juicy Lucy. It’s…..so-so. Believe it or not, the burger is not my favorite thing on the menu here. I much prefer their buffalo wings. It comes with onion rings and your choice of potato wedges or regular fries.
Bun Meat & Cheese—From the famous Homeburg to a small joint inside The Commons Saladaeng, theirs is the priciest burger of the bunch, and to be honest, I don’t know what all the hoopla is about. The bun is soft—is that the only gimmick? I mean, it’s OK I guess. And I would’ve probably made them a weekly habit but today, when I ordered a burger and fries off of Foodpanda, the restaurant called to say they sold out of burgers and I can’t cancel my order so get ready to receive a bag of fries in 20 minutes. I was livid. With so many burger choices, I can’t see myself ever ordering from this place again.
Daniel Thaiger—These guys park their burger truck in Sathorn Square on Wednesdays. For years, I’ve only ordered one thing from their menu: The Mr Steve burger. It’s simply fantastic. It reminds me of an In-N-Out burger from Los Angeles, with hints of the old Bob’s Big Boy burger. Every bite transports me back to my teenage years in Southern California. The only drawback is, Thaiger’s truck is only in my neighborhood one day per week, and I can’t see myself schlepping down to Sukhumvit Soi 24 or wherever he parks the other six days.
Hot dogs are an American staple that had until recently been hard to find in Bangkok. Today, though, there are a few devoted dog makers whose fare comes pretty close to the real thing.
Red Lion—As mentioned earlier, The Red Lion does more than make mince pies and Sunday roasts. They have a full menu of Wally’s World of Hot Dogs. I’ve tried the All-American Hero and the Texas Chili Dog (above left). I prefer the latter. The chili, cheese, peppers and sour cream are a superb combo. However, more important than your choice of toppings is the type of dog. A frankfurter or bratwurst won’t do. The only choice in Wally’s is the Double Dog.
House of Hotdogs—Foodpanda menu for this place is extensive. There are many different choices for toppings. I got a chili cheese dog and a build-your-own (above right), with ketchup, sweet pickle relish and mustard like I used to eat when I was a kid. The buns were a bit dry, but other than that—the dogs were terrific.
Arno’s—Every once in a blue moon I get an urge for something other than a burger from Arno’s. Luckily they offer some other great items, like a nice brat and a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich. Neither is what I’d call authentically American, but they’re both quite tasty and I wind up ordering them time and again.
And that’s the burger/hot dog scoop, from this home-bound whoremonger’s POV. Next week, I’ll share what I’ve found in my search for other foods from my native land. In the meantime, keep your balls warm, your beer cold, and cheers to another boring week above ground in this shut-down adult playground. Let’s hope the fun resumes soon. Peace.