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Bangkok Magazine

  • Jok Kitchen

    Bangkok's Best Hidden Restaurant


    Jok Kitchen is without a doubt the best hidden restaurant in Bangkok, except for the fact that almost everyone in Bangkok has heard of it. But has everyone been there? probably not.

    Despite its most unlikely location, it requires reservations weeks in advance; this is because Jok's Chinatown spot is also one on the smallest, most unusual and most talked about small restaurants in Bangkok: it can only accommodate 10 to 16 guests. To add to the mystery, you don’t even get to choose the menu. All you need to know is that it's Thai-Chinese seafood and the Chef decides what's for dinner tonight. So there.... what is all the fuss about?

  • To get to Jok Kitchen, you better know how to get there - and once you actually find the street where the map took you somewhere in Chinatown, you still have to walk down a rather dark alley that smells of cat pee. At least four cats were sitting on now empty market stalls staring at us walking by. The narrow alley is a market at day and looks really abandoned at night. Further down, a sign, all in Thai, indicates an even smaller alley. I can imagine how a tourists coming to Bangkok for the first time would feel about this place... probably turn around and run for the closest KFC.

    Once you've found it, the restaurant is not exactly impressive; small, white and brightly lit with neon lights with two large round tables so typical of Chinese restaurants. The whole set makes it pretty clear that you are here to enjoy food with friends and family, not the decorum.

    The first dish soon arrives and all doubts are suddenly dissipated. The food is Thai-Chinese, simple and just like the restaurant, presented without unnecessary frills. First we were served a delicious light appetizer made of Ginko nuts with fried shallots on top, but the slices of abalone in a light wasabi sauce that followed was a real eye opener. The fried rice with crab meat with a smoky taste to it was the most simple yet hugely popular among my Thai friends. Fresh shrimp dumplings with deep fried garlic, one of the best snow fish I ever had (Gindara) on top of iceberg lettuce, big claws of four huge steamed crabs were the most expensive (6,000 baht). The weirdest dish if you are not yet familiar with is made of goose feet in glass noodle. Supposedly full of collagens. 

    Chef Jok is a humble and very friendly guy but you won’t see him much unless you walk into his kitchen, which is as modest as his restaurant. Jok Kitchen without a doubt deserves his mysterious reputation of Bangkok's best hidden restaurant, reinforcing the fact the some of the best food ever served doesn’t have to come with a cozy atmosphere and a convoluted plate decoration… it doesn’t even have to be expensive!

    Note that Chef Jok hinted us about a restaurant relocation. We suppose the place would be easier to find but if it were the case it might lose a bit of its ‘hidden charm’. Whatever happens, we will go back as long as the food remains the same.

    Jok Kitchen

    • Opening Hours: daily 11:30am - 2:30pm, 5:30 - 10pm
    • Location: Chinatown
    • Remarks: Reservation necessary
    • Address: 23 Soi Isara Nuphap, Phlab Phla Chai Road
    • Tel: 02-221-4075, 081-919-9468
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