A visit to the Khao San area of Bangkok is always a bit of an adventure. Khao San Rd is well known for its laid back style and cheap booze, “open containers” and it has cemented itself as the undisputed hub for back packers in Bangkok. It’s an eclectic mix of cheap hotels, bars, sidewalk cafes, and souvenirs shops; where you can find anything from roasted bugs on a stick to fake ID’s, pirated DVD’s, tattoo parlors and tailors who will make you a suit in less than 24 hours. Amazingly enough, not many Bangkok residents know that Khao San is also home to one of the only places to find kosher food in Bangkok. The Kosher Restaurant & Bakery is located at 96 Ram Buttri Rd in the Chabad House which is on the quieter soi that runs parallel to Khao San Rd. The building is a one stop shop for their patrons; as it has a community center, a synagogue, and the Kosher Restaurant & Bakery located on the premises.
The restaurant is definitely more functional than fashionable. It was a bit disappointing that they did not have bakery items on display, but baked items could be ordered from the menu. Obviously you won’t find any pork on the menu, but the prices are very reasonable with nothing over 200Baht. The menu is not over whelming and features kosher Thai cuisine as well as more standard Middle Eastern and Western kosher meals. Recommended dishes include the Moroccan Fish (90Baht) which is understated yet delectable. It consists of 3 “mostly boneless” fish fillets, swimming in a perfectly balanced sea of tomatoes, onions, peppers, saffron, lemmon grass, and other spices. It was light and refreshing and perfectly seasoned. Another highlight was the Meat Kebab (110Baht) which is a memorable combination of juicy chopped beef, lamb and herbs that are wrapped around a whole cinnamon stick and lightly grilled. This dish is complex in flavor and the cinnamon imparts a woodsy and spicy sweetness which is truly unique. The Honey Rice (55Baht) is simply steamed white rice with honey drizzled on top and garnished with raisins and cashew nuts, but it is the perfect accompaniment to the Moroccan Fish. The Scalloped Rosemary Potatoes (55Baht) are basically the same potatoes you find on any budget buffet in Bangkok. They are nothing to write home about, but the Baba Ghanoush (45Baht) was superior. The grilled eggplants were mashed into an incredibly creamy dip and the seasoning used tasted bright and fresh, with just the right amount of acid and an unexpected hint of sweetness. The Pita bread (15Baht) and the Challah Roll (15Baht) were fantastic and perfect for the dips. The only dish that was not up to par was the Hummus (55Baht) which was a bit too thick and gummy and had a strange chalky after taste. Other popular dishes include the Grilled Salmon (178Baht), the Goulash (135Baht) and the Chocolate Rugalach (15Baht) which is similar to a very dense chocolate croissant.
The Kosher Restaurant & Bakery has some very interesting menu items and seems to be focused on serving wholesome food without any fan fare or frills. Frankly speaking, the service at the restaurant could be much, much better. It’s not warm, cozy or particularly friendly, but the food tastes good and they have some unique offerings. The restaurant is always busy and brimming with activity with the constant hustle and bustle of people moving about. It may not be the type of restaurant that you go out of your way to visit, but if you happen to be near Khao San, it is definitely worth checking out.