As has become de rigueur on Southeast Asian vacations, I ate at a German restaurant in Bangkok. Indulging in a little pork shank and sauerkraut doesn't make me feel guilty in and of itself, but I shudder at being pegged as a homesick tourist (that's what Sizzler is for). German food isn't any less foreign than Thai food to me; it’s the double-foreignness that makes it perversely fun. The sickest thing about German fare in the tropics is how heavy it is for the climate. On our stop early into this trip, I couldn't bear to sit in the front beer garden (we sat inside). By my last night in Thailand, two weeks later, I was drinking outside in the elements (at a Thai bar, thank you) like a pro.
These pretzel rolls were amazing. Why have I not encountered this warm, chewy bread before? They were also the first non-airline food I'd eaten in over 22 hours so my judgment could've been clouded.
Welcome to the pork shank. From this angle, the porcine hunk almost resembles a beige heart. Some of my favorite crispy pork preparations are Thai, so I knew they would get the tender-crusty contrast right. The dense, spongy potatoes had to have been instant (I have a fondness for instant potatoes but realize this isn’t a selling point for most). Luckily, they were the only dud and this meal was about the meat anyway.
I don't generally recommend eating non-local food unless you're going to be in a country for at least two weeks. I couldn’t resist seeing how double-foreign food will turn out. There were no obvious Thai twists, the cuisine was very traditional. If I had more time to spare, I would've gone to Tawandeng, a brewery/entertainment center outside the city center that is more of a hybrid. They serve their deep-fried pork knuckle with a chile dipping sauce (and the requisite mashed potatoes and sauerkraut). I like my fatty meats cut with hot, sharp condiments like this. Now that I think about it, Bei Otto probably had sriracha sitting around—it’s not as if they don’t get Thai clientele.
Bei Otto * 1 Sukhumvit Soi 20, Bangkok, Thailand