Sukhumvit Spotlight Issue 2: BBQ in BKK by Spotlight Guy

[Editor’s Note: A special thanks to ROFL for his comment in Issue 1 about Thong Lo/Ekkamai. You can read the comment here]

This week’s volume of Sukhumvit Spotlight focuses on getting your teeth into some delicious barbeque.  Along with pizza and breakfast, barbeque is a food that divides opinions when it comes to deciding what makes a good barbeque, a bad barbeque or a great barbeque. Rather than engage in the debate, the Spotlight will simply try to feature a half dozen or so places around Bangkok that offer something special in the way of barbeque, then invite you to try them all and decide for yourself which one is the best.

Silom Area
The Roadhouse Barbeque Smokehouse and Grill
Located in a large and prominent free standing location at the intersection of Surawong Road and Rama 4 Road not far from the Patpong nightlife district, the Roadhouse has been dishing up barbequed meat and cold beer for many years. Open from mid-morning until past midnight, the restaurant features ribs, chicken and pulled pork served with North Carolina cole slaw along with steak, seafood, pasta and a wide selection of cold draft beer and an extensive wine list. There’s live entertainment almost every night downstairs and on the third floor is Roadhouse’s version of a sports bar with plenty of TV screens and lots of games to play including foosball, video golf & soccer and pool.  The Roadhouse tends to be a meeting place for expat businessmen, but, whoever you are with, it is one of the best places in Bangkok to enjoy great American barbeque.

Sukhumvit Area
The Great American Rib Company
For more great American barbeque, try the Great American Rib Company on Sukhumvit Soi 36.  This is primarily an outdoor restaurant with large wooden tables and benches that is very comfortable for several hours of eating and drinking with friends on a balmy Bangkok evening.  There’s an all-you-can-eat buffet every Wednesday from 6 to 9 pm priced at 450 baht, but anytime you come you can enjoy a wide ranging menu.  Our favorite menu item is the Great American Feast, which serves 4 to 5 people, and includes a full rack of ribs, a whole Chicken, a mound of pulled pork, pepper coated pastramied pork tenderloin, BBQ beans, coleslaw, curly fries, potato salad, corn on the cob, and jalapeno corn bread for 1,195 baht.  (Note: while it is accurate to say 4 to 5 people, I have, at times, seen a couple of large Americans destroy a feast by themselves in a single sitting).  With its casual outdoor atmosphere and relaxed pace, the Great American Rib Company is a good place to go on a date, with a group of friends or even with your wife and kids.

Korea Town in Sukhumvit
Korean Barbeque
Well, Americans may have one idea of what constitutes barbeque, but Koreans have a different and somewhat unique idea about grilling meat.  Koreans takes small slices of meat, add a bit of garlic, chili, kim chee and some spicy and salty sauce and wrap it all in a green lettuce leaf which can then be eaten delicately or sloppily, depending on your personal habits.  There are hundreds of places around Bangkok to enjoy Korean barbeque, but we figure that you probably won’t do any better than Korea town, located next to Sukhumvit Soi 12.  Built in a shape similar to Nana Entertainment Plaza, Koreatown is a 3 storey complex in an open U-shape, and, while it contains travel agents, a spa and several other shops, it features a half dozen or so good quality Korean restaurants, with most of them specializing in Korean Barbeque.  A load of blazing hot coals are set into the middle of your specially designed table, topped with a metal grilling surface, and your order of meat and vegetables is brought to you.   You can do all the work yourself, or, if it’s your first time, one of the staff will assist you in grilling your meat, and even show you the right way to eat it.  Thai girls tend to love the Korean barbeques, and it is also a suitable place for a party or a business meeting.

Ratchadapisek Road
Thai Barbeque (Moo Kataa)
The Thai version of Korean Barbeque is called Moo Kataa, and in Bangkok it is available for a much lower price and in a much more casual environment than its Korean counterpart.  If you get in the center of the business districts of Bangkok, Moo Kataa can be hard (impossible) to find.  But if you travel outside those areas, especially by car, you will see hundreds of moo kataa restaurants, always easy to spot because they advertise prices that end in -9 (89, 99, 109) and usually have a picture of a pig or a some kind of shellfish next to the price.  Head out towards Sri Nakharina Road and prices will generally be below 100 baht.  For a combination of convenience and quality, we recommend Ratchadapisek Road, near the Huay Kwang MRT station, where you can find three Thai Barbeque Restaurants.  They are all priced at more than 100 baht, but these are all-you-can-eat buffets with a wide selection of meat, seafood and other items.  For the small difference in price, it’s probably not worth making the trip to the suburbs unless that’s where you live.  The price covers as much food as you can eat, but you pay for your drinks separately. Moo Kataa restaurants usually open around 5 pm and stay open till midnight or later.  You eat at stone or wooden tables with hard benches, and the setup is designed to accommodate large groups in relative comfort, but with no air conditioning and hundreds of buckets of red-hot coals under a pavilion roof, be prepared to sweat and drink lots of water, whiskey or beer.  If you keep the drinks flowing the final bill may not be quite the bargain you expected at the beginning of the night, but if you go with a group of friends and you’re not in a hurry, you’re almost certain to have a great time.

Rama III Road in Bang Phongphang
Gyu Gyu Tei Japanese Barbeque
Yakiniku restaurants, the Japanese-style DIY barbecue targeting hardcore beef lovers, are spreading all over the city.  Gyu Gyu Tei has three outlets: two in Huay Kwang area (near the Thai Moo Kataa restaurants) and one on Rama III Road in Bang Phongphang. The Rama III branch opened just over a year ago and boasts a distinctive setting. From the parking lot it looks as if it’s in a small unit of a building in an unassuming office park, but in fact it offers a pleasant view of the Chao Phraya River, and isn’t at all small.  The ground floor of this 170-seat restaurant has a contemporary urban look and the highlight is its lovely, riverside al fresco terrace that allows diners to chill and grill amidst the river breeze.  Gyu Gyu Tei’s menu is small and simple but comprehensive. It features approximately 20 choices of local and imported beef, pork, chicken, seafood and vegetables for the tabletop BBQ. There’s also a decent selection of salad and soup items as well as other items such as kim chi and rice.  Located in the JSP office estate on Rama III Soi 33, the restaurant is open from 5pm to midnight Monday to Friday and from 11 am to midnight on weekends.  With prices for main dishes ranging from 300 baht to 1,500 baht per dish, this restaurant isn’t for the budget-conscious and is suitable for business dinners, special dates or family get-togethers.

Barbeque ribs for the budget-conscious in Sukhumvit
Dubliner Pub
One of the better-known and very successful Irish pubs in Bangkok is the Dubliner Pub, located at the entrance to Washington Square on Sukhumvit Road, across from the Londoner Pub and Soi 33.  While it is known for its excellent food menu, the Dubliner is moderately priced, and not generally regarded as a place for budget conscious diners to eat.  One item, though, stands out on the large food menu. Among the appetizers you will find a plate of barbeque pork ribs priced at 195 baht. Order it, and when it arrives at your table you will get what amounts to a half-rack of delicious ribs smothered in a salty-sweet barbeque sauce.  The portion, in spite of being listed as an appetizer, will serve as a full meal for almost anyone.  Combine it with a happy hour drink and even if you leave a generous tip you are likely to go home with a full stomach and change from your 500 baht note.

Everywhere
Garlic, Chili and Sesame Short Ribs
If you like pork ribs and garlic, Thailand has a great dish that you will certainly enjoy; a plate of ribs cut into 1-inch lengths, then seared in a wok with garlic, Thai chili and sesame seeds.  This dish is available at a wide variety of Thai restaurants all around the country, usually priced between 100 and 200 baht, and it’s difficult to recommend a single restaurant in Bangkok that stands above the rest.  The best plate of Thai short ribs we ever sampled was in a small outdoor beer garden in Chaing Rai.  In Bangkok we have eaten them at dozens of restaurants and pubs with generally good results.  They’re a great snack with a cold beer, or can be ordered as the appetizer -or even a main course – if you’re eating dinner.  Perfect for sharing with friends, you can order plateful after plateful in most good sports bars as you sit and watch the football.  Delicious!

17 thoughts on “Sukhumvit Spotlight Issue 2: BBQ in BKK by Spotlight Guy”

  1. BBQ Sandwich King (Through ChefsXP – 02 204 2001 or ChefsXP.Com)
    They’re new and the best I’ve eaten in BKK so far

  2. Thx Spotlight Guy for the cred, I should actually share my knowledge on the nightlife scene before too many braincells gets blown away… Love great rib on soi 36 btw, all the best. I would def recommend the full rack, so worth it!

  3. Best Pork Ribs I’ve had in bkk by far were at PJ’s when he had a place on Suk Soi 31. It was closed a few years back and he brought the ribs to the Old Dutch on Cowboy. Last I tried them they were still amazing. I also have to say that Cactus John can make some wicked bbq as well. I guess you can add this as the Soi Cowboy BBQ section.

  4. Cactus John is debuting his dry ribs on Thursday. Thanks for the heads up on the Dubliner. My waistline expandeth.

  5. Note: while it is accurate to say 4 to 5 people, I have, at times, seen a couple of large Americans destroy a feast by themselves in a single sitting…

    //flutterbye boy stands, salutes and starts singing “I’m proud to be an American….”

  6. American BBQ in Thailand!
    Sounds like a winner and I will indeed try at least all of these places on my next visit.
    Thanks for the write up.

    BTW, where the fuck is YP?

  7. yeah, I haven’t heard shit from little brock and I’m kinda getting my feelings hurt now!!! Why don’t you call me anymore????
    Another great write up SpLG—maybe time for a Soapy review?

  8. The Great American Rib Company BBQ is fantastic, but the Korean BBK joint is a close 2nd. I’ll need to give the Roadhouse Barbeque Smokehouse a try. As many times as I’ve been around Silom I’ve managed to not notice the place.

    Good write up.

    One thing’s been bugging me…. There’s isn’t a “v” sound in the thai language so why do most people spell it Sukhumvit instead of Sukhumwit? สุขุมวิท วิ = wi sound. Same with the airport, “v” is in there. I know most the street signs say Sukhumvit but check out the Royal_Thai_General_System_of_Transcription on wiki.

    OK, now I feel better.

  9. The Great American Rib Company BBQ sounds great, i will have to try the Bangkok version! i tried their restaurant in Hua Hin a few months ago and would you believe on a Saturday night, no ribs??? Must be good if they ran out that early.

  10. I havent died of AIDS, or been clubbed to death with a pair of stillettos just yet, Ive merely been upcountry, building orphanges, and continuing my endless good work, conforting single teen mothers, and wouldbe transexuals

    As a protein hound and a huge cheapskate, Im a fan of Moo Krataa. The 1 by On Nut BTS is pretty crap, and the ‘Family BBQ’ next to LaBelle & Petchaburi MRT has gone to shit lately aswell

    ‘The Man’ was regailing me with tales of his new BBQ contraption a month or so ago – Now hes had time to break the old girl in (The BBQ, not his latest GF) maybe we can all pile round his to place and give it a whirl? What do you say?

  11. Went to Cactus tonight based on Cabby’s comment. Corn Soup, Deviled Eggs, Mac n Cheese and BBQ Spare Ribs. Very, very tasty. I prefer them to what is on offer at the Old Dutch. I think I might like Roadhouse better for “American” BBQ, but with John’s very fair set price of 200 baht, washed down with a fine Belgian brew, hard to beat. Plus the spicy peanuts rock!

  12. Good good! This is a keeper I put to my places to try list some of these! 🙂 Nice article, thanks.

  13. I had lunch at the Dubliner on Friday and tried the ribs. delicious and filling, and even cheaper than reported at just 150 baht. sorry i missed the cactus BBQ this week.

  14. what is the soi cowboy joint with the (previously) free BBQ buffet (and what night), but now charges? is it still quality – werewolf and others vouched for it many a time.

    another quick question – WTF happened to the werewolf’s lair website?

  15. BBQ Sandwich King in Nonthaburi is quite good, and deserved a mention in the column on the basis of their quality food and now that they’re doing delivery in the Sukhumvit area via ChefsXP… The owner Mark does very good BBQ beans and fresh cole slaw as well.

    The feast and half feast at Great American Rib Co. on Suk Soi 36 are quite good too, and the mid-week dinner buffet is a good deal and bargain, though a couple BBQ items are a relatively smaller part of the broader buffet.

    I’ve eaten at the Roadhouse a couple of times, and never been very impressed with the quality of their food, including their hamburger. But to be fair, I haven’t tried their ribs, so I can’t speak to those.

    For moo krata style BBQ, I like Best Beef just a short walk inward to town from the On Nut BTS station on the same side of Suk Road there as Tesco. It’s a 20-item all you can eat buffet for 200 baht per person along with very reasonably priced beer as an add-on. Unlike other cheaper moo krata joints, I’ve never gotten sick there, and they serve their meats on individual plates that have been kept refrigerated, instead of the cheaper style places where the meats sit out in often uncovered and barely cooled metal bins all night….

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