Just-launched Made in Bangkok is sure to fire up your appetite for Thai
Bangkok is back—or I’m back in Bangkok, at least on my mind and on my palate.
Truth to tell, I haven’t really thought about Bangkok in these past two travel-deprived years. It just never once crossed my mind, even as I was hankering for Paris or Berlin or Amsterdam or even Hong Kong.
And then a food courier comes knocking on my door, bearing hefty bags of Thai treats from Made in Bangkok, nicknamed MBKK (@madeinbkkph on Instagram), by The Raspberry Kitchen Group.
I have yet to open the package, but from the smell alone, I am back in the frenzy of Bangkok, in the din of its night market streets, its riot of colors, its labyrinth of temples and art galleries, not to mention the aromas wafting out of its old-school restaurants and its street food stalls to infuse the air with its incredible range of spices.
And so I remember—Bangkok has always been about gastronomic pleasures and adventures, in recognition of which the city has its own Michelin guide.
And so there I am, but here at home, in Manila, where no such spirit-dampening events as the pre-pandemic efforts of the Thai government to return order to the capital by clearing away the food stalls on the sidewalks that made Bangkok a paradise for foodies.
But forget all that! Right now, there’s food on the table and it’s all screaming crazy, noisy, colorful Bangkok!
A new brand, just launched mid-August, by The Raspberry Kitchen Group, the group behind the highly successful Ginza Gyu and Mama Cha, Made in Bangkok brings to Manila the revered traditional way of Thai cooking, but combined with the modern Asian cooking techniques of seasoned chef Francis Lim, or Fran, as I am now privileged to call him, whose creds include stints at Dusit Thani and People’s Palace, as well as incredible conceptual contributions to Spiral at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Del Monte, and Nutriasia. Also among the feathers on his chef’s cap are Nav Modern Thai and other Asian-inspired concepts like Chow Fun and Sup, even though he is into other things like Tipple & Slaw and fast cars and biking.
“I started out my culinary journey heavily influenced by Asian cuisine,” says Fran, extolling Thai food in particular as the chili that spices up his desire to create such food concepts as a chef. “My love for Asian cuisine, especially Thai food, has evolved into creating concepts for those who want to experience a different side from what’s being served to us here in Manila.”
Made in Bangkok, or MBKK, opened on Aug. 17 with three initial dishes on its menu, which no less than 12 tastemakers in The Raspberry Kitchen Group’s core team headed by seasoned F&B entrepreneur Rich Sanz of FoodAsia Group and his fiancee, F&B marketing star Maxine Marcelino, former marketing head of Shanghai-based F&B giant, the Muse Group.
Everyone’s favorite seems to be the Tom Yum. It’s a party of flavors and textures, inspired by BKK streets bustling with all sorts of street food. —Chef Fran Lim
Let me take you through these three #takemeback dishes in case you are in the mood for Thai, but if you are, why not all three, plus the dessert drinks to round out the meal.
The Thai Crispy Chicken Curry is a boneless fried chicken, moist and tender and currylicious! Doused in housemade curry sauce, it is served on fragrant coconut rice with a crispy Shimeji mushroom salad on the side.
Then there’s the MBKK Wagyu Steak Box to unbox, with the pan-seared Australian Wagyu topped over Thai steak rice and green curry salt and generously drizzled with tamarind steak sauce inside.
One bite of the Tom Yum Puff-Noods with its whole jumbo prawns mixed with puffed crispy noodles and Tom Yum sauce and, for sure, you will have visions of Wat Arun, Bangkok’s most iconic temple, by the Chao Praya River.
To end the meal, try the Mango Sticky Rice Drink, or the Tropic Thunder, with mango, passionfruit, and coconut in its mix that is quite as vibrant and versatile as Bangkok.
MBKK is described by the team behind it as “your whip-smart partner in lime, thyme, and Thai chow sublime.” And it’s true. Its dishes, particularly the Tom Yum Puff-Noods, my personal favorite, are sure to chase away the pandemic blues.
After all, The Raspberry Kitchen Group, Inc. was formed in 2020 as a pivot in response to the pandemic. Rich and Maxine partnered with powerhouse then-Shanghai-based and now-Manila-based couple Mikael Jiang and his fiancee Queenzyleen Lee to work on the newfound need to focus on delivery.
Among their initial strategic moves is to champion the most talented Filipino chefs not only in the Philippines but also in the world, collaborating with the likes of Kevin Villarica, who now heads the kitchen at Ginza Gyu, and Fran, who is doing Made in Bangkok.
I can’t wait for more collabs in the future, just as I can’t wait for the next batch of dishes we can enjoy at MBKK. In the meantime I think I’ll never get enough of these puff noods, to think that I’m allergic to shrimp, but antihistamines to the rescue! They’re that good.
Order at @madeinbkkph on Instagram. There’s a two-hour lead time for same-day orders. www.madeinbangkok.ph