Why Andrew Zimmern Calls Bangkok One Of His Favorite Food Cities

Thailand is known as a land with a hot, tropical climate, delicious mangoes, and hospitable and kind people, with Bangkok being a very crowded city with eclectic scenery of both beautiful ancient Buddhist temples and modern structures. The country's renown can also extend to its food, as many regional dishes are popular with tourists, locals, and in Thai restaurants around the world. 

American chef, restaurateur, and food critic Andrew Zimmern is particularly in love with the city. He wrote in his newsletter Spilled Milk that he loves Southern Asia, and Bangkok is one of his favorite food cities. His description of it as an exciting, sensual city with sultry heat can also describe the food.

"Sour, salty, bitter, sweet, and SPICY all combine into something that thrills me in terms of what winds up on the plate on any given day," says Zimmern. "I never tire of the people, the food, the history, and what surprises lie down every alley or jungle road."

An explosion of flavor

As Zimmern describes, Thai food displays a wide variety and explosive combination of flavors, prepared in everything from upscale restaurants to humble, but impressive street stalls. 

If you're looking to try out the Thai flavors Zimmern describes, there are a host of must-try Thai dishes that offer complex flavor profiles — from spicy to sweet, and salty to sour — at once (via Culture Trip and Flight Centre). Take papaya salad or som tum, for example. This salad is made of a mix of shredded green papaya, carrots, chilies, peanuts, tomatoes, and rice seasoned with garlic, sugar, fish sauce, lime, and tamarind juice. There are always savory pad thai fried noodles or a variety of curries for a spicy option. Slow-cooked pork or khao kha moo is a popular street food item you can smell around the city. The dish encompasses savory, sweet, and sour flavors, with pork that has been slowly boiled in soy sauce and cinnamon for hours until it's fall-off-the-bone tender, and then is chopped and served with pickled vegetables and rice. For sweetness try mango sticky rice, a delightful serving of glutinous rice topped with sweet, cooked coconut milk and topped with fresh mango.

With so many flavor combinations and sensations on every plate, it's easy to see why Zimmern holds Bangkok and its food close to his heart. It's making us want to travel there to experience it all — or at least visit a good Thai restaurant in the meantime.