Having taken his palate around Thailand, and in and out of numerous prestigious kitchens across countries, it goes without saying that fermentation-fanatic Chef Phanuphon “Black” Bulsuwan has an inexhaustible appetite for hyper-local and hyper-seasonal produce. The self-taught cook is the mastermind behind Blackitch Artisan Kitchen, a Chiang Mai-based restaurant with a cuisine that he describes in his own words as ‘Holistic Localised Artisan Cuisine’. Artisanal, from-scratch techniques, and locality are what matters in his cooking.
Given these prerequisites, his food is often – if not always – educational. Every dish is rooted deep in what is grown sustainably around him, woven together by both traditionally Thai and modern culinary heritages.
Yet apart from his time spent foraging for wild vegetables or experimenting in his kitchen slash lab in Chiang Mai, Chef Black is often found here in the city, collaborating with many of Bangkok’s celebrated chefs in countless exhilarating pop-ups.
We recently asked the chef where he likes to go for guilty pleasure food in the city, on the days where calorie counting is completely ignored or forgotten (not that he cares much). Here, Chef Black unveiled to us all his favourite off-the-beaten-track restaurants, and the dishes he usually gets. Read on for his list of guilty pleasure foods he likes to devour on a cheat day in Bangkok.
Holy Moly Bangkok
“I prefer sweet over savoury treats” Chef Black states, so when that cheat meal craving hits, you can expect to see him chomping down on sugary delicacies. Holy Yolky, the good ol’ butter-enriched pie stuffed with salted egg custard lava by Holy Moly, a pie-focused bakery at the COMMONS, is his front runner for a cheat day meal. Something about the flakey crust that oozes out an ooey-gooey deliciousness with thrilling sweet-salty tangs just totally satisfies his tastebuds.
Holy Moly Bangkok, 335 (Thonglor, 17) 55 Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, +6689 000 6659; Open: Mon-Sun, 9 am-9 pm.
Kiew Leaw Ning
Eating his weight in dim sum is Chef Black’s ultimate goal for a cheat day. Kiew Leaw Ning, a staple Chinese restaurant in Silom serves up his favourite golden-crisp Lamb Gyoza with a perfect brown-bottom crust. Delightful.
Kiew Leaw Ning, 152/7, Silom Road, Bangkok, +662 635 6536; Open: Mon-Sun, 11-4:30 am.
Lao Lao on Phaholyothin Road is famed for its Thai-Chinese seafood delights and what Chef Black likes to get is the Pickled Egg Crab slathered in fish sauce marinade and studded with sliced bird’s eye chilli. It’s an intense bomb of seafood-y flavours which pair fairly well with other stir-fries and rice dishes the venue has to offer.
Lao Lao, 1271/4-7 Phahonyothin Road, Bangkok, +662 271 4260; Open: Mon-Sun, 4 pm-4 am.
As cliché as this one may sound, Chef Black’s order at chain ramen haunt Hachiban won’t bore you. His go-to meal here is the Cold Noodle showered in lemon sauce and bejewelled with shrimp, roasted pork, ham and egg. What makes it a cheat day meal is the chef’s request for extra noodles to go with the bright, tangy sauce and its array of toppings.
Hachiban Ramen (Silom), 91 Si Lom, Bang Rak, Bangkok; Open: 10:30 am-9:30 pm.
Although the must-try item here at Phan Fa, a Thai-Chinese restaurant on Phra Sumen Road, is the Steamed Crab Claw and Hainanese Chicken Rice, Chef Black’s usual is always the Chinese-style Stir-fried Mixed Vegetables. It’s a dish that commingles many essential Chinese veggies all together in one dish.
Phan Fa, 550-554 Phra Sumen Road, Bangkok, +662 281 6890; Open: Mon-Sun, 10 am-8 pm.