Travel 5 minutes 08 May 2024

Chalee Kader's Bangkok: Street and Fancy Eats, Wine Bars, Sneaker Shops, and More

In our 'One Chef, One City' series, the MICHELIN Guide invites you to explore Bangkok through the perspective and tastes of Chef Chalee Kader, a homeboy of the Thai capital.

Chalee Kader takes you on a journey through his beloved Bangkok, a city that never sleeps, in a day, from a casual meal to a swanky dinner, including a visit to the chef's favourite spots for a drink…or three. Take a look at where the frontman of Wana Yook restaurant leads us to discover his favourite spots in Bangkok.

(© Chalee Kader)
(© Chalee Kader)

Born and raised in Thailand, Chalee Kader, a Thai-Indian chef, embarked on his culinary journey while studying in the United States. Upon his return, he served as head chef at the French embassy in Bangkok for over six years before realising his dream of opening his own restaurant. Today, he stands at the forefront of Thailand's culinary scene, occasionally making cameos in the fashion scene as well. Both his restaurants, 100 Mahaseth (Bib Gourmand) and Wana Yook (one MICHELIN Star), are featured in the MICHELIN Guide Thailand 2024. Kader's narrative mirrors Bangkok's vibrant dining landscape, seamlessly blending tradition and innovation to showcase the city's rich culinary heritage through his unwavering dedication and unmistakable flair.

Below, the chef breaks down his favourite spots in the Big Mango.

For a morning cuppa joe: City Boy Coffee Stand
"Morning caffeine is crucial for me. Luckily, there is a cafe near by my place, and I'm lucky enough to be able to have a great cup of coffee. It opens at 7 a.m., so I can have a sip as soon as I wake up or before any urgent appointments."

The coffee culture in Thailand has become more serious and meticulous than ever. In the rush of the morning, whether it's to get to work on time or attend important meetings, a cup of coffee often replaces a traditional breakfast. City Boy Coffee Stand is another option that meets these needs, offering classic Americano or a refreshing iced coffee to wake you right up. For those with a little more time, there are also special blends and beans to choose from.

140 Kaulin Building, Thonglor Soi 4, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok.

(© City Boy Coffee Stand)
(© City Boy Coffee Stand)

For a swanky meal: Côte by Mauro Colagreco
"If budget weren't a concern, I'd have lunch at Côte by Mauro Colagreco every day (laughs). It's a fine dining experience where I always feel satisfied. There's no need to dress up extravagantly, and it's not overly formal. I can enjoy my meal without worry, even if they change the menu. However, due to my work schedule, I don't have much time for lunch as I need to prepare ingredients for the evening service, so I usually opt for the lunch set menu and sometimes add a dessert to complete the meal."

This contemporary French restaurant of Chef Mauro Colagreco of the award-winning Mirazur restaurant, which holds three MICHELIN Stars in France. Chef Colagreco is dedicated to bringing the impressive flavours of French Riviera cuisine to the Chao Phraya River basin, with Head Chef David Garavaglia overseeing the delicious creations on every plate.

Capella Bangkok, 300/2 Charoen Krung Road, Yan Nawa, Sathon, Bangkok.

(© Côte by Mauro Colagreco)
(© Côte by Mauro Colagreco)

For the best barbeque in town: Shirokane Tori-Tama
"My life revolves around the Thonglor and Ekamai areas as my home is not far from here. 100 Mahaseth also has another branch in Ekamai. If it's a day off and not too late, I always stop by here. Just watching the chicken being grilled makes me happy."

For those who love to indulge in yakitori, this is the place for you. With the techniques and expertise of the team from Tokyo, you can rest assured of its delicacy. Don't forget to look for a seat at the counter to enjoy the chef as he prepares to grill chicken skewers over sizzling charcoal, along with the irresistible appetising aroma. Whether it's the meat or the intestines, you won't be disappointed here.

Park Lane, 18 Soi Sukhumvit 63, Khlong Tan Nuea, Vadhana, Bangkok.

(© Anuwat Senivansa Na Ayudhya/ MICHELIN Guide Thailand)
(© Anuwat Senivansa Na Ayudhya/ MICHELIN Guide Thailand)

For a sip or more: Dry Wave Cocktail Studio
"I usually drink whiskey or bourbon, sometimes a highball, sometimes a cocktail, depending on my mood. The vibe and the people around me are also important factors that can make the drink taste better, or worse. Dry/Wave Cocktail Studio gives me something that I can't find from drinking whiskey at home. That's the vibrant yet warm, friendly, and genuine atmosphere."

Though it has only recently opened, for cocktail enthusiasts, this place is considered the one to watch. The cocktail bar is the new home of the city's leading bartenders, guaranteeing world-class skill. Here, flavours are twisted and turned using seasonal ingredients, much like Kader. It invites cocktail lovers to explore the world through bold and unique interpretations, unveiling hidden flavours in contrary of two famous cocktails that transform into a new and exciting tasting profile.

263 Thong Lo 13 Alley, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok.

(© Dry Wave Cocktail Studio)
(© Dry Wave Cocktail Studio)

For a homey meal: Samrub Samrub Thai
"A meal at Samrub Samrub Thai is always comforting, whether in its old location on Mahaseth Road or in the present day with a larger kitchen. The warmth remains the same. You can feel the sincerity of the chef and his team through their seasonal flavours in every dish.”

From a casual chef hangout spot to influencing chefs worldwide, it's now one of Bangkok’s hottest destinations for foodies. Chef Prin Polsuk's wisdom and sharp interpretation skills have made picking up any cookbook to create a new seasonal menu a common practice.

39/11 Soi Yommarat, Si Lom, Bang Rak, Bangkok.

(© Akkapat Inthuprapa/ MICHELIN Guide Thailand)
(© Akkapat Inthuprapa/ MICHELIN Guide Thailand)

For delicious Southern Thai food: Beer Hima (Prachachuen)
"When it comes to seafood in Bangkok, there aren't too many options unless you're willing to drive out to areas like Bang Khun Thian or Ayutthaya. At first, I thought of seafood restaurants like those that serve seafood towers, but then Beer Hima came to mind. I remember taking the team there for a meal once. The bamboo shoot curry and southern Thai pork belly with shrimp paste were truly outstanding."

Just the name of the restaurant says it all, as it translates to "Frosty Beer." Known for its seafood and spicy Southern Thai cuisine, Beer Hima has been serving delicious seafood-based dishes for over 30 years. Its bold and spicy flavours, characteristic of Southern Thai cuisine, ensure that this place is never quiet and remains a destination for lovers of Southern Thai cuisine and seafood.

12/21, 99/231 Thetsaban Songkhro Road, Lat Yao, Chatuchak, Bangkok.

(© Michelin)
(© Michelin)

For a romantic meal: Terroir
"I once took my partner to dine here, and we loved the chef's counter atmosphere surrounded by an open kitchen. The attention to ingredients, wine pairings, and the small, subtle details in the chef's corner impressed me so much. I was impressed by how they managed to bring out the tastes of the ingredients so perfectly and subtly, a technique that requires repetition and long practice. The presentation was simple, easy to understand, and of course, so delicious that we both still remember till today."

Terroir's concept is rooted in the land, climate, and agriculture, the three factors that influence the produce and are the essence of the restaurant's name. With a culinary philosophy influenced by French cuisine and blending Japanese techniques with a deep understanding of ingredients, akin to the context of wine, each dish here is thoughtful, presenting flavours that impress with every bite.

Acmen Complex, 13-15 Ekkamai Road, Khlong Tan Nuea, Vadhana, Bangkok.

(© Terrior)
(© Terrior)

For wine and endless conversations: Mod Kaew Wine Bar
"Sometimes, it's not about the appetite or the lovely weather that it calls for a drink... For whatever reason, I often find myself at Mod Kaew Wine Bar. It offers one of the most diverse wine selections in Bangkok. If you have a preferred grape type or wine profile you like, this is like a playground. If you're not sure, just ask their friendly sommelier. Sometimes, they even invite chef friends from other restaurants to do a pop-up here for fun."

If you’re after a laid-back spot for some grub and a few drinks, this place is perfect for you. It’s where you can grab a quick bite at the bar, maybe a few snacks, along with a glass of wine or a couple of your to-go cocktails with a friend. And once everyone’s together, the party keeps going into the night. 

142 Soi Sueksa Wittaya, Sathon Soi 12 Alley, Bang Rak, Bangkok.

(© Mod Kaew Wine Bar)
(© Mod Kaew Wine Bar)

For your new kicks: 24 Kilates
"Besides food, I'm also a shoe fanatict and collector. From classic models to special editions collaborating with other brands, I often visit 24 Kilates to find my new kicks, always keeping an eye out for the ones that I like. Sometimes, I even ask the store to find models that aren't available in Thailand or look for streetwear clothing. Convenience-wise, the Thong Lo branch is probably my favourite since it's not far from home."

From the collaboration between 24 Kilates, a leading streetwear shop from Spain, and Jazzbah Records, a Bangkok-based music and lifestyle hub, emerged the first 24 Kilates sneaker shop in Thailand. Originating as a sneaker shop, 24 Kilates brings together a wide array of renowned streetwear brands and limited-edition shoes. In addition to the Thong Lo branch, you can also shop at their second branch located at CentralWorld Mall in Chidlom.

125 19 Thong Lo, Thonglor Klongton Watthana, Bangkok.

(© 24 Kilates)
(© 24 Kilates)

READ FURTHER: The Nose, the Tail, and Everything in Between with Chalee Kader

Illustration image © Anuwat Senivansa Na Ayudhya/ MICHELIN Guide Thailand

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