5 Great Halal Restaurants on Sukhumvit
Arabic and Indian Restaurants on Sukhumvit Soi 3/1
Sukhumvit Road Soi 3/1 is the largest enclave of Arabic, Middle Eastern and Indian restaurants in Bangkok and is the place to go for authentic, regional halal cuisine. This narrow street on the edge of the popular Nana district is known to some as Soi Arab and really comes alive from early evening until late at night. The unique smells of schawarma kebab and shisha smoke and the promise of genuine curried dishes draw a diverse crowd, ranging from tourists looking for their native cuisine, local Thais attracted by the cheap and exotic food on offer and a noticeable number of inquisitive Westerners. If you are in the Nana area of Sukhumvit, you should definitely visit the restaurants and cafes on this intriguing and atmospheric street in the centre of Bangkok.
Always busy, Al-Hussain serves up delicious Indian and pan-Arabic dishes with a friendly, English speaking host who all the staff call “Pappa”. Naan breads come fresh from the oven, and the fragrant seekh kebabs straight off the coals, made with minced lamb and plenty of herbs and tingling spice (150 baht). Butter chicken curry is another popular dish, served with large chunks of chicken breast in a thick and creamy sauce (200 baht). Big screen TVs are usually showing the latest cricket match, both inside and on the more atmospheric terrace. Located 30 metres down Soi 3/1 on the left hand side – look out for the gleaming stainless steel handrails – this is a great spot for watching the captivating nightlife spectacle of this most unique of Bangkok streets.
2Nefertiti Restaurant - Egyptian, pan-Arabic
- Open: 18:00 - late
- Telephone: +66 (0) 2252 0240
Nefertiti is the biggest, brightest and most noticeable restaurant on the street. It’s practically unmissable with large LEDs flashing their menu below a row of Egyptian flags and jovial staff enticing you inside. Particular favourites here include baba ganoush – hummus-like dish made of mashed eggplant – (80 baht) and deep-fried, crispy falafel (100 baht) making it a popular restaurant for vegetarians in Bangkok. The ancient queen Nefertiti was famed for her beauty, but this can’t be said of this restaurant; it is, however, a really fun place to hang out with a shisha pipe and simply check out the action. Just across an alley from Al-Hussain’s near the entrance to Sukhumvit Road.
3Nine Ball Cafe and Restaurant - Shisha and Arabic Tea
- Open: 18:00 – late
- Telephone: 02-655-30434
The outdoor area of this cool corner location is often filled with men lazing back in their chairs with a shisha pipe in one hand and glass of sweet tea or coffee in the other. It might seem a bit daunting to some, but everyone is actually very friendly and all are welcome. Their shisha is great value at around 200 baht with a range of flavours available, including several fruit flavours, mint and rose. Their fruit shakes are also a definite draw. Like many restaurants on Soi 3/1, only basic English is spoken but it is never an insurmountable problem. Located in the far corner of Soi 3/1 before the road hooks left to join Soi Nana.4Bawarchi Indian Restaurant - Mughali Indian
Bawarchi – also known as Alif Laila – is a great option for curry lovers with everything from a creamy masala with an overriding coconut flavour, to a fiery vindaloo to give your taste buds a real experience. The menu here has plenty of widely-known dishes so customers with even the most basic of knowledge of Indian cuisine will find plenty of tasty options to choose from. Curries can be prepared with fish, meat or vegetables and there is also a sizeable collection of tandoori meats, prepared traditionally in a clay oven. There are actually four branches of Bawarchi in Bangkok with several more in India; a sign that the food on offer here is authentic Indian fare. Expect to pay around 500 baht per person – give or take – which is a little more than at neighbouring restaurants, although it is still great value. Bawarchi is at the end of a sub-soi which cuts off Soi 3/1 onto Soi Nana.
5Delicious Shawarma on the corner - Turkish Kebab
- Open: 11:00 – 24:00
- Telephone: 086 835 9537
This tiny kebab shop on the corner Soi Nana at the very end of the street has been slicing succulent cuts of lamb and chicken off the spit for many years, and even though many pretenders have set up nearby, this one is still the king. For only 60 baht you can choose either filling which is wrapped in flat bread and garnished with fresh tomato, onion and cucumber. It makes a great snack, although most people need more than one to fill their belly. Customers have the choice to sit down at their one table but most choose to take-away and eat on the fly. This restaurant has no English signage, but is easy to find on the corner with a bright yellow sign written in Arabic.
- Open: evening - late