There’s a new kid on the block in the growing plant-based food industry in Bangkok, and it’s worth adding to the top of your list of places to go if you enjoy eating vegan.
Located within eyeshot of Chong Nonsi BTS Station (about 300 meters), the diner itself looks and feels very much like a diner in the American midwest, minus the dusty corners and classic rock playing in the background. The fluorescent pink-ish red sign, set on reflective black tiles, illuminates the storefront so you really can’t miss it, day or night.
Consistent with having a diner experience in other places in the world, Bangkok City Diner has fresh, booth-style seating.
Considering that it is — intentionally or not — emulating a western-style diner in a Southeast Asian country, I wasn’t sure about how the ambiance would (or could) match to what I have experienced in other places. However, the management nailed it- they’ve opted for the more ambient but upbeat instrumental music you might expect to find in the Sala Daeng district, otherwise known to some people for its gallery spaces and Bangkok’s queer bar scene. In other words, it looks and feels cool to be in their space.
The branding and style of the diner are consistent throughout the entire experience- starting with the storefront, to the interior, and also with the menu. It looks and feels classic. The menu itself is fairly small in offerings at the moment, but I expect that it’ll grow with time.
One thing that the diner prides itself on is its homemade vegan “egg yolk,” which is a crucial ingredient in their ramen. For an extra 20 THB, why not?
Though ramen is not something I’d typically expect to see in a diner, it qualifies as comfort food and one that is not easily or often made vegan. I’ve been vegetarian (and somewhat vegan) for 20 years myself, and this is the first time I’ve experienced an imitation egg yolk.
The yoke itself is not runny, and it doesn’t taste like an actual egg. However, I’d argue that it tastes better, and at the end of the day, it just feels better to be eating plant-based anything. The “stock” or soup itself tastes very rich and isn’t spicy at all. The noodles are thick and a bit chewy, which is just how I enjoy them.
In addition to the ramen, I gave the comfort food a shot, as well. I ordered the Mac & Cheese tom yum style, per the recommendation of the owner. The idea of vegan cheese in addition to tom yum spice is not something I envisioned enjoying, but when I asked her what her preference would be (of traditional or tom yum style), she insisted that the tom yum is the winner- and she wasn’t wrong.
I can say definitively that if I go back and have the Mac & Cheese again, I’d always have it tom yum style. The flavors do not disappoint, and the presentation complements the delicious taste. I am not sure what this vegan cheese consists of, but it has characteristics of other nut cheese and is surprisingly creamy- something that many other local vegan cheese options lack.
All in all, the total for this meal was 440 THB (approximately 14 USD) and 100% worth it. The Bangkok City Diner was a great place to have brunch, and I can also see it being a sweet spot to eat after a night out at the neighboring bars.
You can keep up with Bangkok City Diner’s menu, open hours and delivery options on their Facebook page, here: https://www.facebook.com/bangkokcitydiner/