I attended University in the United States from 2004 – 2008.
During that time I started watching TV with my roommates and friends, and one of the shows that we would not only watch, but we’d anticipate and wait for each week was Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.
I’ve been a food lover all my life…
But I would have never guessed that I would have the opportunity to not only meet Andrew Zimmern in person, but to also share a meal with him at one of my favorite restaurants in Bangkok.
In this blog post, I’ll share with you what happened, and also share the places and foods we ate.
But first, if you have a few minutes, click play below to watch the full video of eating in Bangkok with Andrew Zimmern!
(Or you can watch the video on YouTube here)
At the end of 2014, Ying (my wife) and I were eating our way around Saigon.
One day, when we were hanging out with Kyle Le, who by the way makes fantastic videos about life and culture in Vietnam, was contacted by the Bizarre Foods production team.
They were in Saigon, and wanted to film with Kyle.
For the first scene of the show (before Andrew even arrived in Vietnam), Patrick the producer, wanted a few of Kyle’s friends to join in eating some street food for some extra video shots, and Kyle invited my wife and I to go hang out and eat.
That’s where I originally met Patrick, one of the producers of Bizarre Foods (so big thanks to Kyle).
Almost exactly one year later, Patrick contacted me, saying Andrew and the team were coming to Bangkok to film a brand new TV show (the name of the show is still unknown at this time), and wanted to film a couple scenes of me taking Andrew around and eating.
I was thrilled.
And when Patrick mentioned I could vlog while hanging out with Andrew, I was even more excited.
Riding in a Tuk Tuk
The day came, and I headed over to the Dusit area of Bangkok to meet up with the entire production crew.
For the first scene, we met up with P’Weera, a local tuk tuk driver, and the plan was for myself and Andrew to cruise around, do some chit-chatting in the back of the tuk tuk, and make our way over to our first meal.
What I immediately loved about Andrew Zimmern and the entire crew was that they (while they did make some decisions about filming and how to go about doing things), they really wanted to be as natural as possible and just roll with what happened naturally and un-staged.
Soei Restaurant (ร้านเส่ย)
I’ve already written about Soei (ร้านเส่ย) many many times and proclaimed my love for the restaurant, the food, and the chef.
We arrived at Soei (ร้านเส่ย), and after just a little bit of camera coordination and deciding where to sit, P’Weera, Andrew, and I, sat down and ordered a couple of dishes – 6 to be exact.
Here’s what we ate:
- Kaem pla too tod (แก้มปลาทูทอด) – deep fried mackerel heads
- Neau boo pad pongari (เนื้อปูผัดผงกะหรี่) – Crab meat (shell-less) in Thai yellow egg curry
- Pla goong pao (พล่ากุ้งเผา) – Roasted freshwater shrimp salad
- Tom yum pla too (ต้มยำปลาทู) – Tom yum with mackerel
- Yam kai dao (ยำไข่ดาว) – Fried egg salad
- Ka prao moo saab (กะเพราหมูสับ) – Minced pork fried with holy basil (similar recipe here)
Kaem pla too (แก้มปลาทูทอด), which are deep fried mackerel faces, are one of the signature dishes at Soei, and they are always incredibly delicious – one of the absolute best snacks to begin with when you eat there.
Andrew, pulled a pretty awesome move by putting a crispy mackerel head on a Go Pro, and eating it off the camera – that should be a cool shot.
I could go on and on about the deliciousness of the food at Soei (ร้านเส่ย), but this time I’ll just share a quote from Andrew Zimmern in the video:
We’ve eaten six dishes, five of which have been the best dishes of their types that I’ve ever eaten. And the sixth one is the first time I’ve eaten anything like it, and the quality of the cooking here, and the skill, and precision, a lot of great technique… this is an amazing, amazing place.
It was another wonderful meal at Soei (ร้านเส่ย) restaurant. P’Soei (the owner and chef) is truly one of my food heroes.
Ratchawat Market (ตลาดราชวัตร)
For many years now, Ratchawat Market has been one of my favorite markets in Bangkok.
Not only is there so much good food around the area and around the market, but also because it’s tucked away in the quiet and green Dusit area, and although it can get busy at peak meal times, it has a sense of peace and friendliness to it.
From Soei, we jumped back in the tuk tuk, and drove to Ratchawat Market (ตลาดราชวัตร).
P’Weera, our tuk tuk driver, was in charge of leading us to our next food destination. Right inside the main part of the market is a Thai bakery, and one of their specialities is hot dogs (yes, you read that right).
We ordered a couple different versions, one that was basically a pig in the blanket, and one that looked like a hot dog filled hot cross bun.
I think Andrew and I agreed, the hot dogs weren’t the best things we’d ever tried, but we acknowledged how and why they were so popular – mainly because they were very different from Thai food, and P’Weera mentioned that they reminded him of his childhood – so they were comforting.
After doing some snacking through the market at a couple of fruits stalls, and enjoying some delicious sweet tamarind and a pomelo, we moved on to the front of the market where we made an impromptu stop at an all things fried and greasy meat stall.
We ordered a couple bags of meat, including some sai ooah (northern Thai herb sausage) and a nice big bag of moo krob (fried pork belly). There’s no denying how greasy it was, but wow it was good.
Another one of my standard restaurant stops at Ratchawat Market is One Star Bet Yang Ratchawat (ร้านวันสตาร์ เป็ดย่าง ราชวัตร), a glorious and very popular roast duck restaurant.
During the actual show we arrived a bit late and they had nearly sold out of all the roast duck (note that the photo above is from a different time I ate there).
However, they still had a few portions of roast duck (เป็ดย่าง), and they had a bunch of one of the best parts of the duck: the neck.
We got a couple bags of roast duck necks, and standing on the sidewalk, Andrew and I devoured all the crispy and delicious skin off the necks. There were fantastic!
One Star Roast Duck (ร้านวันสตาร์ เป็ดย่าง ราชวัตร)
Address: 955/6 Thanon Nakhon Chaisi, Dusit, Bangkok (ที่อยู่ 955/6 ถนน นครไชยศรี เขตดุสิต ราชวัตร กรุงเทพ)
Open Hours: 9 am – 4 pm daily
The afternoon went by extremely fast, and after filming a few extra scenes (including a drone shot from above, of us arriving to the market in the tuk tuk), we completed the shoot, and said goodbye to Andrew, Patrick, and the team.
Andrew Zimmern is someone who, since I first remember watching his TV show, I felt a connection with because of his love for food, his willingness to try nearly everything, and his respect for other cultures (through food).
I’ve been a lover of food and travel since way before I can remember, and the reason I started traveling after graduating from University in 2008, was to eat.
At that time I decided to start a travel blog (this one here), and eventually I made a commitment to start posting food videos on YouTube, and learning as much as I could along the way.
I had no idea what it would lead to and what would happen, and I didn’t even have an interest in being on camera at first. But I decided to try something new. Without ever trying, I never would have known how much I enjoyed filming, making, and sharing food videos.
It was a real honor to have the opportunity to hang out with Andrew Zimmern in Bangkok, and I want to say a big thank you to Andrew, Patrick, Erin, and the entire crew.
As a final word:
One of the main points of writing this article is because I want to encourage you.
If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, or something you’ve been scared to do, or something you’ve been putting off… do it now!
You never know what you’ll learn, discover, find, or the many opportunities that can arise as a result of you doing things and trying new things.
One more quote:
One more quick quote from Andrew Zimmern, right as he stole, literally right off my spoon, my bite of crab curry (watch it on the video)…
“Practice your eyebrow raises, food geeks!”
[eyebrow raises are one of Andrew’s signature delicious expressions]