Disclaimer—there’s no rhyme or reason to this list; the common thread is that these are all small local establishments that we personally love and have been supporting long before the pandemic, but especially so during this period.
While staying at home, we’ve been trying to order our morning caffeine and snacks from local businesses that might have been hit harder with the third wave than larger establishments with dozens of branches scattered around Bangkok malls. We hope this list will help push these places to the front of your mind for the next time you’re ordering in coffee or a midday snack.
Ba Hao Tian Mi
After finding success in Bangkok’s nightlife scene, Ba Hao, a popular bar in Chinatown’s Soi Nana, has expanded to desserts with the opening of three Ba Hao Tian Mi branches in Yaowarat, Thonglor and Bangna. Like the bar, Ba Hao Tian Mi boasts a Chinese-inspired menu, which includes the beloved ‘original pudding,’ along with other small bites and sweet treats to be enjoyed in the morning and all hours of the day.
Brainwake opens just past the crack of dawn at 7AM every day, making it the perfect spot for early risers to fuel up at. With an extensive selection of Asian and Western comfort food, it’s pretty much a foolproof pick. Not looking for a heavy morning meal? Pick up their daily made Japanese baked goods instead with a cup of coffee—or fresh OJ—to go. More often than not, the restaurant also offers promotions like ‘buy one get one free’ deals on food delivery apps.
Counting Sheep Corner
Coffee shop by day, hangout spot by night. Located in Ekkamai’s Soi Sukhumvit 61, a quieter, residential soi, Counting Sheep Corner has been the go-to neighborhood café for all hours of the day since it opened eight years ago. In the morning, along with the typical breakfast foods—think acai bowls and waffles—you’ll also find a noodle stall out front. Though there’s nothing fancy or exciting about Counting Sheep Corner, it’s this feeling of familiarity that makes us return time and time again, even ordering it to our homes during the pandemic.
Tucked inside an old building on Lan Luang road, Eden’s was founded by Niram Watthanasit as a passion project for him to share his delicious homemade cooking with the rest of Bangkok. While the beauty of Eden’s is best experienced in person—Parisian facade, rustic interior, fresh flowers—Watthanasit’s rotating house-baked goods and specials-of-the-day can still be ordered for takeaway to be enjoyed in the comfort of your home. Visit his Instagram account to see what’s available each week.
Opas Chantkam opened FV, short for fruits and vegetables, to highlight the delicious taste and unique qualities of Thai produce that often gets overshadowed by imported goods. Working with natural farms and research groups, the menu here is one of a kind. Expect to find less conventional produce like ivy gourd and sleeping grass in your drinks. If you’re looking for Iced Americano or boba milk tea, this place is not for you. However, if you’re looking for drinks that don’t only taste good but also make you feel good (who isn’t up for supporting the local economy/agriculture?!), then quench your thirst with Thai drinks and treats here.
In the past year, Ari has undergone a renaissance. Its small alleys are now dotted with cafés and Instagram backdrops (groans). In a highly concentrated sea of coffee shops, Laliart manages to come out on top, thanks to its offerings of light and easy homemade goodness that range from carrot cake and tiramisu to banoffee and granola—all of which pair perfectly with your caffeine.
At Nangloeng Shophouse, the menu may be limited and sparse (much like the interior itself), but there’s a strong focus on quality and ingredients. Our favorite things to munch on from here are the sausage and sourdough bread with homemade ricotta and tomato jam. Since the pandemic, Nangloeng Shophouse has also expanded their takeaway menu with new items like Sourdough Focaccia, Lassi Gularb and an assorted local cheese box.
From the people behind One Ounce for Onion comes OOObkk. Modeled after new-age Korean cafés, OOObkk uses brutalist architecture coupled with vintage chairs and furniture to complete a look that is modern yet traditional all at once. The open floor plan was designed to encourage interactions between the barista, chef and customers. The coffee shop is located right next to its collaborator, Espressoman, so customers not only can enjoy coffee at the shop, but can also purchase from the selection offered there to bring home.
Sometimes I Feel
The quintessential artisanal coffee shop of Soi Sukhumvit 31, Sometimes I Feel is a melting pot of the four owners’ artistic preferences (hand selected artworks are often displayed here as exhibitions). But don’t fret, they’re just as serious about the coffee as they are about the art here. Each of the coffee grounds are processed using a special method that brings out the defining flavors of the region it was harvested. For example, the nuttiness found in Chumphon’s coffee grounds and the banana flavors from those of Chiang Rai’s have become a fan favorite. During this period, Sometimes I Feel have opened a ‘walk-in window’ for customers to safely pick up their drinks.
Though Thonglor’s Tiny Cup has a cult following of its own, we feel it often gets overshadowed by the larger and flashier establishments found along Sukhumvit 55 Road. This place—along with its Sathorn branch, (Not Just) Another Cup—whips up hearty breakfast meals (we’re salivating thinking about the generous proportions of the English breakfast meal) that’s just what we need to start the day with. Pick it up or order it to be delivered with an iced coffee or breakfast smoothie on the side.