This here is the second installment of a series on burgers near red light districts in Bangkok. The first one was for Patpong and you can find it in the website archive. The following is a list of burgers that are on offer near Nana Plaza. Putting this review together wasn’t nearly as fun as the last one. Given how many restaurants are packed into the area, you’d think the choice would be numerous, the burgers fantastic. You’d think that, but you’d be wrong. As with the previous list, garbage food like McDonald’s, Carl’s, and Burger King will not be considered. That leaves only a few locations worth noting, so let’s get started, and again burgers will be rated on a 10-point scale and listed not in order of goodness but instead by how close they are in proximity to Nana Plaza. And as before, all photos are of the actual burgers I ate:
- Nana Burger. Distance from the RLD: 2 meters. (110b for the cheeseburger) This is a tiny food truck parked right at the entrance to Nana Plaza. It typically opens around 10:00 pm when party patrons are drunk and craving meat. I’ve had around a half a dozen Nana burgers, and while the accompanying photo isn’t great, I can paint one for you. Generic, store-bought buns, small paddy, dry and uninspiring. It’s better if you get bacon (+10b) and a fried egg (+10b) on top, but even then people don’t really eat it for the flavor. It’s just something hot to put in your gut at the end of the night to sop up all the booze you drank. The best part about this burger is the low price and ease of access. Seven gives it a 5
- Stumble Inn. Distance from RLD: 15 feet. This joint is right around the corner of Soi 4 and Nana Plaza toward Sukhumvit. It’s one of the bars where you can sit right above the pavement and watch the human traffic jam come and go along the street. The music is loud, the hostesses are cordial, and the food is surprisingly good. I got the bacon burger (240b) with blue cheese added (30b). It was good. The kind of good you get when the flavors of all the ingredients come together well and your brain says “Mmmmmmmm.” Not much else to say about it. I wasn’t disappointed. On the Seven scale it gets a 7.5
- Hooter’s. Distance from the RLD: 30 meters. On the opposite end of the price spectrum from Nana Burger is Hooter’s, the most overpriced chain in all of Asia. It’s got all the bells and whistles, but the truth is, it’s just a burger. Nothing makes it outstanding. You pay out the wazoo (410b for the base burger plus 70 for each added topping!!! Extortion!) to sit and eat a standard meal at Hooter’s. Seven gives it a 6.
- Hanrahan’s. Distance from the RLD: 60 meters. Hanrahan’s is on Soi 4, a few doors down from Hooter’s. It’s been there forever, and I’ve only ever seen it when going to or leaving from Nana Plaza, but I finally stopped in so I could eat their burger for this review. The price is OK (290b) if you don’t want cheese (+40) or bacon (+60), but really, who wants that? This burger comes 4th in the list because of its distance from Nana, but it’s actually the last one I ate for this article, and I have to say that, by the time I was choking this one down, I’d grown bored and tired of generic burgers. Which is what this one was. Also like many others, it looked better than it tasted. Problem number one was the consistency of the meat. I remember burgers in the UK and Europe having a “minced” rather than ground beef quality, like you’re eating a mound of liver pate instead of a burger. And like many, many burgers I’ve had in Europe (and now Bangkok, thanks to this terrible idea of reviewing burgers), Hanrahan’s offering was tasteless and uninspired. The best thing about it was the bun. And to make matters worse, the place was jammed with Thai, Japanese, and effeminate hipster douchebag tourists, which made an already mediocre experience almost unbearable. Seven gives it a 3.
- Bully’s. Distance from the RLD: 100 meters. On Sukhumvit Road between Nana and Soi 2 is Bully’s Pub. They have billiards, darts, wide screen TVs with sports…..they’re a typical American-style restaurant. I got a burger with cheddar, bacon, and avocado, (295b plus 30 for each extra topping) and here’s where everything went awry. When my burger appeared, it had not avocado but guacamole on it. Dark green guacamole. But I ate it anyway, chocking it up to a mistake in translation. The burger itself wasn’t bad. The paddy was huge, and although it was a tad dry, I could taste black pepper in the meat, so some effort went into adding spices. It was very messy and hard to eat, though that’s my fault for getting avoca—I mean guacamole on it. I also committed the rookie error of eating the coleslaw. So I can’t be sure, but it was either the off-color guacamole or the coleslaw that had me racing for the toilet 5 minutes later. Now, I realize it probably wasn’t the burger itself that made me sick, but it’s hard to forget this experience when rating it. Apologies to Bully’s but Seven gives it a 4.
- American Bar & Grill. Distance from the RLD: 550 meters. 215b for the basic, plus 30 for cheese and 40 for bacon. This little place is quiet and unassuming. Adorned with vinyl LP covers from the 70s, it has a muted character that is both benign and appealing. But let’s get to the burger. For Thailand, it’s a great meal. The burger is big, juicy, delicious, and fun. The only downside is, everyone who sees you going to eat it thinks you’re going to get a bj at Lolita’s. Seven gives it a 7.
- Kiwi Bar. Distance from RLD: 600 meters. 299b plus 45 for cheese and 45 for bacon. The downside of Kiwi is, it’s jammed with idiot farang. The upside is, the burger’s pretty good. It’s the biggest patty I’ve seen so far, the bun is soft, and as far as burgers go, it’s a no-frills, straightforward good tasting one. Seven gives it a 7.
And that’s it for nearby Nana burgers. I mean, there are probably a dozen more, (eg. The Game, the Landmark) but the above sample is pretty indicative of what you’re going to get everywhere else, and the last two were already a bit too far from the RLD to be of use. The point is to stick close to the Plaza, right? So there you go.
Overall, none of the burgers I tried for this review really stood out. If I had to pick a favorite, I suppose it would be Stumble Inn, both for its location and its appealing taste. And because they had a blue cheese option. So many burger joints think you can throw any old, bland slice of cheese on there and it’s acceptable. It ain’t. It’s boring. Most of the burgers around Nana are boring. None of them could hold a candle to 25 Degrees, or Mash, or The Roadhouse (all Patpong proximal).
Sigh, I’ve got one more of these to do—burgers near Soi Cowboy. Don’t hold your breath for it, folks. I’m about burgered out so it’ll be some time before I can muster the courage to brave the beef and busty babes down Cowboy way. Just warning you.
In the meantime, follow me on Twitter for nightly photos from the red-lights @BangkokSeven and browse the whole photo archive on my Facebook page.