Food has long been a major component of Bangkok’s appeal to tourists and locals alike, but for many years this meant the dizzying variety of eats available from street stalls and humble shop houses throughout the city. The flash and sizzle of the wok, the pungent hit of chilli and shallot, were as much a part of the Bangkok experience as Chang T-shirts and traffic jams. These days it’s possible to pick up a decent pad krapow or tom yam in most major cities in the world but few would argue that they can beat what you get in Thailand.
Of course there were a few good formal restaurants as well, with Le Normandie and Blue Elephant as stand-outs, but when it came to a critical mass of fine dining, the capital was something of an also-ran, unable to match the quality of regional competitors such as Hong Kong and Singapore. There was good food but relatively little truly great food. Availability of high-quality ingredients, even native Thai products, was patchy, as was the standard of service staff. Then, around the end of the Noughties, something started to change.