Shopping Guide - Fastfood Outlets, Coffee Shops and Bakeries
Fast food, bread and the like :
McDonald's can be found all around town. Other burger fast food restaurants have not fully developed, so you will have to stick to this one. Prices are in our opinion quite low. Example, one hamburger + one cheeseburger + medium French fries goes for about 100 baht. There are many Pizza outlets around town, the two most available being Pizza Hut and the Pizza Company. Their wares are very similar, and when compared to McDonald's their prizes are much higher.
The Thai diet is based on rice. Bakeries are not easily found. As far as we know there are few bakeries where one can purchase standard 'usual' fresh bread. Most bread is industrial-made and tastes as such. Furthermore, standard bread bought in supermarkets is usually sweetened, sometimes with honey, and salty.
Possibly the best choice for your daily shopping for bread and rolls, is the Central Food Hall at Central Chitlom. Likely the Food Hall way up at Central World PLaza (Ratchaprasong Intersection), offers a similar variety of rolls, croissants, bagels, bread etc. Bagels are slightly sweetened. Specialty bread items like Foccacia are a bit salty.
Bakery outlets at Tops supermarkets offer a reasonable selection. Although mostly junk Danish (with often mayonnaise on top) is sold, you can find fresh bread products, bagels and rolls.
Some branches of Villa Market (like the original one opposite Emporium Shopping Complex) also have fresh bakery products.
The Gourmet Markets both at Emporium and Siam Paragon sadly have very little to offer. Granted, a lot of 'bread' products are sold outside Gourmet Market at Siam Paragon, but most of it belongs in the junk food category.
Almost by accident we found a reasonably good bakery in Sukhumvit Soi 19. It is called Grottino, and located in the first small soi to the left when entering soi 19. Basically the soi behind Robinson Department Store. This soi is a bit crowded and less than appealing, but you will find Grottino on the left after just 100 meters. Just go into the restaurant, and ask for the breadlist. They have a fair selection of rye bread, multigrain bread, and various rols. Basically they supply pubs and hotels, but will be happy to sell you their wares. It is not what they call a 'warm bakery' in Europe, where the bread is made overnight and fresh in the morning, and the bread invariably comes out of the refrigerator. Anyway, it is quite good.
Good bagels can be found at Au Bon Pain outlets. Au Bon Pain nowadays has many locations around Bangkok.
Cookies and the pastries at Au Bon Pain do not contain trans fatty acids, and thus are healthier than what is available at other bakeries. However, you still have to beware of the fat contained in the generous sandwich toppings. Au Bon Pain has an ABP Privilege Card, which is actually good value if you are a regular customer. You have to pay 200 baht to get it, but afterwards you are entitled to a discount of 10% on what you buy (and there are some added small discounts or promotions from time to time).
Coffee at Au Bon Pain is quite good, though not as cheap as it once was.
Reasonable, somewhat sweetened bagels can be found at Villa Market (close to Phromphong skytrain station). They can last for up to five days (if your lucky), likely they contain additives to prevent early spoiling.
Danish rolls and baked goods (except at outlets of Au Bon Pain) are a bit of a disaster. Just looking at the contraptions will make you loose your appetite. Somehow though, they seem to be popular with Thai people. You will find Danish with mayonnaise spread out on top. One of the few times we got a stomach upset in Bangkok, was after eating some pastry with custard inside, so just beware a bit. We understand heart disease is on the rise in Thailand. Some bakery shop owners are accumulating bad karma by providing less than wholesome products.
Subway has a few outlets in Bangkok. There is one at Siam Paragon, one at the entrance of Sukhumvit road Soi 23, one at the lower end of Sukhumvit Road.
Sandwiches with meat, turkey, chicken, and with a choice of fresh vegetables. Variety of egg sandwiches for breakfast. Not too bad cheap coffee. Daily promotions. Weak point is the soft bread sandwich bread, 5 varieties, but with similar textures and taste. Salads (without the bread) are a bit more expensive, but a better option. Some menu items have been developed that contain less than 6 grams of fat.
Actually good fresh bread can be found at certain Indian and Arab restaurants. If you are not islamophobic we can recommend one restaurant where you can buy freshly baked flat Arab bread made in front of your eyes. It is located in soi 3/1 (a small soi in between soi 3, which is the wide road at Nana intersection, and soi 5 Sukhumvit Road, where Foodland is located). Just walk into the soi, and after about 50 meters on the left you will find Petra Restaurant. It looks like a back entrance to the restaurant, but as far as we know, it is the front entrance. Order a few flat breads, it will be done in a few minutes. Then get one or two portions of hummus, and you will have a very decent healthy meal (maybe you can ask not to put olive oil on top, and use your own oil at home, just to avoid spilling the oil while going home).