Bangkok’s street food is renowned the world over for its incredible quality and great value. But there is also magnificent cuisine to be found inside, particularly in the Thai capital's myriad 5-star hotels.
To compete with each other for the attention of food lovers, many of these high-end hotels have lavish buffets based around a particular theme. Here are four of Bangkok’s most mouth-watering hotel buffets.
Chocolate Buffet – The Sukhothai Bangkok
I’ve had a dream like this many, many times. For those of us with a sweet tooth, nothing is more exciting than the idea of standing before a table of 16 types of chocolate, with permission to consume as much as you want.
“Which should I eat first?” I think to myself, weighing the merits of the bitter, 100 per cent cocoa version against the creamier, sweet Swiss offerings. The Sukhothai Hotel’s executive pastry chef Laurent Ganguillet is on hand and advises me to consider starting with the savoury snacks included in the hotel’s famous Chocolate Buffet – fresh sushi, handmade spring rolls and delicate sandwiches.
But I can think of nothing but cocoa-based treats. So Mr Ganguillet mixes me up a hot chocolate based on three different varieties and gives me some samples of four more types. Then I’m off to pile my plate with other forms of chocolatey goodness – rich eclairs, sticky puddings, smooth ice creams, and an outrageous assortment of cakes. This, ladies and gentleman, is my idea of heaven.
Seafood Buffet – Grand Sukhumvit Hotel Bangkok
“But you don’t like seafood,” my wife remarks with surprise as I devour yet another freshly cooked prawn. She is right, I didn’t like seafood. But that was more of a childhood hangover than a considered opinion and now, faced with mounds of enticing products of the ocean, I’ve had a serious change of mind.
The Grand Sukhumvit Hotel has made a specialty of seafood, dedicating an entire buffet to the cuisine. For seafood fans, like my wife, there are almost too many dishes to be able to savour them all – delectable crab, fresh salmon, delicious paella, amazing sushi, plus oysters, clams, New Zealand mussels and several varieties of prawn.
The buffet also caters for guests who don’t like seafood, such as my former self. Steak and lamb chops are cooked to order, while old favourites like pizza, pasta, roast pork, soups and salad are also included in the buffet. But, whatever you do, try the tiger prawns.
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Dim Sum Buffet – Millennium Hilton Bangkok
Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei and Beijing are widely considered to have the world’s best dim sum. But Bangkok is not far behind them, thanks to its huge population of ethnically Chinese residents and one of the world’s largest Chinatowns.
Overlooking the Chao Phraya river, the Millenium Hilton’s chic Yuan Chinese restaurant offers all-you-can-eat dim sum, cooked by Hong Kong chef Cheung Chin Choi. Rather than a traditional buffet, with food stocked in bain marie trays, guests order from a menu as they go, so that the dim sum comes out fresh from the kitchen.
Diners can select from more than 40 Cantonese dishes, including Shanghai-style steamed buns, wok-fried prawns, and steamed pork dumplings. To help you wade through this enormous menu, the knowledgeable wait staff make recommendations based on your tastes. You can then end your meal with gorgeous Chinese desserts like cantaloupe melon in coconut milk or chilled sago.
Saturday Brunch – SO Sofitel Bangkok
Before you even set eyes on its seemingly endless array of food, the Sofitel So’s Saturday brunch leaves you speechless with its extraordinary setting. The Red Oven restaurant has towering, floor-to-ceiling windows that exploit the hotel’s enviable location, providing expansive views across the tree tops of Lumphini Park to the skyscrapers of the Pathum Wan district.
Even by the standards of 5-star hotel buffets, the variety of cuisine offered during the Saturday Brunch is astounding. I was able to eat only about 10 per cent of the dishes I wanted to try before my stomach was full.
I cooed over the freshly made spaghetti carbonara, oohed about the succulent roast beef, and aahed from the spicy Thai green curry. There was an entire bench dedicated to seafood, an array of fine cheeses from across the globe, Thai dishes of almost every variety, and Italian food made to order.
All the while, I struggled to keep my eyes off the massive dessert section, with its more than a dozen different types of cake, and almost the same number of ice cream and gelato flavours, together with exotic Thai sweets. This, right here, is a truly epic buffet.