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Japanese dining in Thailand

Japanese dining in Thailand

I know, I know. I am in Bangkok and Thai food stalls are just everywhere, most of the time on your way to anywhere and a lot of times in your way blocking the side walk. And yes, all Bangkok malls do serve delish local food at massive food corners. And yes again, for there are plenty of street side and aircon restaurants with Thai food.

See, the thing is that I really really like Thai food and up till March this year it was amongst my favourite feeds, it’s still very highly ranked but…. I have been to Japan. And Japanese cooking will turn anyone with at least one taste bud around. Japanese eats are so good, more like rock bottom awesome, making it the formidable crème de la crème of all cuisines in the world. I am writing this after having travelled and eaten in renowned France and Italy and most European countries.

Japanese dining is hard to come by when it is a choice. And Bangkok, which turned into a bustling metropolis of consumer dreams gives you plenty of tempting Japanese dining options. When going out, even Tomek’s work colleagues in Bangkok will ask ‘Thai or Japanese’. It’s not my fault.

So here is a list of some of my Japanese front runner restaurants, in case you happen to be in Bangkok and would like to get to Japan without boarding an aircraft, which I highly recommend to visit after Thailand anyway. So here’s the skinny:

Coco Ichibanya. A very popular Japanese curry restaurant and the second best I have tasted so far, coming right after the superlative curry relish I consumed endlessly in Rajasthan/India, the motherland of all curries. Choose any topping and spice level, try the delicious salads. Best bite: the vegetarian spinach aubergine curry. Unfortunately they do not have mango milkshake like in Japan. Prices: not expensive at all.

Coco Ichibanya Japanese restaurant Bangkok

 

All true.

Coco Ichibanya Bangkok

 

Contrary to popular belief, vegetarians eat more than just salad. But this one’s going to cut it. Promise.

Coco Ichibanya Bangkok

 

Tastes better than it looks.

Coco Ichibanya Bangkok

 

Choose one of seven spice levels and Coco Ichibanya’s cutlery.

Coco Ichibanya Bangkok Coco Ichibanya Bangkok

 

I really like that little extra pot with sugar syrup. Adjust your personal sugar dose in your drink. That’s just neat.

Coco Ichibanya Bangkok

 

Yayoi. Super friendly and a very good value for money deal – it is the only Japanese restaurant I have come across so far that has no ++ charges. Nice interior and matching waiter’s aprons. Best bite: any fish set with miso soup and kimchi and to drink, the hot green tea pots. All the sushi is super. Prices: super cheap with no compromise on quality and service. We even got coupon vouchers for our next visit. And got them again on our next visit.

The set meal.

Yayoi Japanese Restaurant Bangkok

 

Everything at Yayoi is just perfect.

Yayoi Japanese Restaurant Bangkok Yayoi Japanese Restaurant Bangkok

 

Yum, cold soba noodles with soya sauce and wasabi.

Yayoi Japanese Restaurant Bangkok

 

Nippon Kai. Offers very good Japanese dishes with a wide sushi variety. Best bite: avocado salad and plain cold tofu which is very rare (and much sought after by me). Prices: on the expensive side.

Fresh squeezed watermelon juice, avocado salad and a little surimi treat.

Nippon Kai Japanese restaurant Bangkok Nippon Kai Japanese restaurant Bangkok

 

Japanese raw tofu tastes amazing.

Nippon Kai Japanese restaurant Bangkok

 

A set choice. It is so much more fun to eat when food comes in little boxes and bowls.

Nippon Kai Japanese restaurant Bangkok

 

Bonus city view.

Nippon Kai Japanese restaurant Bangkok

 

Fish fillet cubes nicely arranged in what was left of the fish, that includes head and teeth. To drink: the always bitter green tea. It better be as healthy as they say.

Nippon Kai Japanese restaurant Bangkok Nippon Kai Japanese restaurant Bangkok

 

Logo and table accessories.

Nippon Kai Japanese restaurant Bangkok Nippon Kai Japanese restaurant Bangkok

 

Fuji. The chain has recently arrived with two restaurants on Koh Samui (hurray!) and has been frequented a lot by us during our stay. Sort of similar to Nippon Kai. Prices: rather pricey.

One filling row of sushi rolls.

Fuji restaurant Bangkok

 

Inspecting sushi. There is a shrimp inside!

Fuji restaurant Bangkok

 

Ootoya. Has a more limited choice than the previous mentioned restaurants, especially for vegetarians, at some malls showing a fast food setting (but not the McDullnessDonald’s type fast food!). Best bite: rice with one of their toppings. Prices: cheap.

Ootoya Japanese restaurant Bangkok

 

It is soooo great to see the meals as plastic displays before you order.

Ootoya Japanese restaurant Bangkok Ootoya restaurant Bangkok

 

Hokkaido ice cream. Best bite: Macha (green tea) soft cone ice cream. Funny: Our Japanese friend said that this ice cream parlour does not exist in Japan. It still is very tasty. Prices: reasonable for a cone.

Hokkaido Japanese ice cream Bangkok

 

Now, this one claims to be from Shibuya, the entertainment area in Tokyo. The Macha flavoured cone was decent.

Japanese ice cream Bangkok

 

Waraku. Specialising in mega bowls of thick udon noodles. And mega sushi portions. Best bite: the oyster noodle mega bowl dish. Prices: slightly above average.

The huge bowl comes with a huge spoon! The sushi is huge but comes with regular sized chop sticks.

Waraku Japanese restaurant Bangkok Waraku Japanese restaurant Bangkok

 

Choose from ready made dishes with no expiry date.

Waraku Japanese restaurant Bangkok

 

Yamagoya Ramen. Focuses on noodle soups and tempura, which are fried or battered seafood and vegetables. Best bite: I really liked their cold noodles dish. Prices: cheap.

Handy, they have incorporated Hokkaido Soft. Guess what ice cream flavour I got.

Bangkok's 'Harajuku' Japanese restaurant

 

Shrimp tempura.

Japanese restaurant Bangkok

 

Cold noodles salad.

Japanese restaurant Bangkok

 

And noodle soup.

Bangkok's 'Harajuku' Japanese restaurant

 

On the table, Tokyo Cafe. Unfortunately I have no pictures of this sweet garden parlour setting restaurant designed with a lot of love for detail (like all Japanese restaurants) which we have visited repeatedly, my main motivation being that it has a variety of pasta dishes among many other very original meals. Best bite: one of the seafood pastas and baked tofu. Prices: with the tourist advantage card, that you can get at the info counter at Central World Mall, there is a 5% discount on average mall restaurant prices.

 

Bake a wish. Japanese bakery with cakes and deserts,which are seriously to stab-someone-in-the-eye for. Best bite: the cup desert concoctions. Prices: up scale.

Japanese Cafe in Bangkok

 

Overestimated my capabilities and had to take the cup desert home (by that I mean hotel – I am a nomad, as you know).

Japanese Cafe in Bangkok Japanese Bakery Bangkok

 

The sterile restaurant :) Agglomerations of Japanese restaurants brought top of the notch hygiene standards. In many restaurants you can see the food being prepared under laboratory conditions.

Japanese restaurant hygiene measures in Bangkok

 

What in the world am I going to eat when I am back in Germany or Poland – the lands of monstrous calorie dishes?!

Bear in mind that these eateries are only an absolute micro tiny extract of all the remaining Japanese restaurants and cafés, I have not visited in Bangkok (yet). Not to mention the sheer overwhelming amount of other restaurants and cuisines from around the world that Thailand’s capital provides for hungry stomachs. Adding to that, these places are mostly part of multiple chain outlets. I didn’t add specific locations because (those and other) Japanese restaurants are just everywhere. Price descriptions are only vague estimates if compared to Thai standards.

Oishi drink. We were given Oishi drink freebies at their promotion event next to prestigious Siam Paragon Mall. It is being promoted as a Japanese drink, however the idea and product are Thai. I wonder whether the writing is actually Japanese. Our Japanese acquaintance mentioned a lot of pseudo Japanese products on the Thai market which sell well but don’t make sense and are a reliable source of amusement for Japanese natives.

Japanese fizzy drink promotion Bangkok Japanese fizzy drink promotion Bangkok

 

The fizzy drink. Meh. How can people seriously like fizzy drinks? It still tastes better than coke.

Oishi Japanese fizzy drink promotion Bangkok

 

Takogen. Very special octopus balls. You will either like it or hate it.  It is said to be Japanese so I had to try it :)  I didn’t come across those in Japan.

Japanese octopus balls Bangkok

 

A mouth expanding portion and rather chewy.

Japanese octopus balls Bangkok Japanese octopus balls Bangkok

 

Pocky chocolate sticks. A 7eleven treat. Read on the price strip: product from Japan. Must be good then :)

Japanese chocolate sticks Bangkok

 

Harajuku Café Crêpe. There actually is a mouthwatering- endless-variety crêperie at Harajuku in Tokyo, which bears little similarity to this one – a perfect sweet treat nevertheless.

Harajuku crepes cafe Bangkok

 

Japanese bananas. I think this is the essence of what Japanese food is in Thailand, amusingly summarizing the symbiotic relationship of Japanese quality ethics and consumer expectation, which generated the best eatable combination product ;)
Japanese quality bananas Bangkok

 

With major Japanese investors pumping money into Bangkok, Japanese best-sellers are not limited to restaurants but dominate the market in the clothing, cosmetics and print media sector. I even found an exclusively Japanese second hand bookshop.

 

[Note: Since I am usually weeks behind with my blog, articles are written in retrospect. Sorry! For accurate dates of mentioned locations (as in cities not restaurant visits) – please check the travel map.]

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