Jok's Kitchen – Bangkok, Thailand - Gastro Obscura

There’s no need to worry about a language barrier when ordering from this hidden seafood spot. At Jok’s Kitchen, there’s no menu. Rather, make a reservation a month or two in advance, and Mr. Jok himself will decide what you’ll eat for dinner.

While Jok’s backstory is a bit of a mystery, rumor has it that he grew up in a family of successful Thai-Chinese seafood exporters, giving him access to the greatest seafood restaurants in Bangkok. He picked up bits and pieces of culinary expertise from chefs until, as an adult, he’d attained somewhat of a mastery over Thai-Chinese seafood.

After the crowds have cleared the wet market in Bangkok’s Chinatown, one light stays on: Jok’s original family shophouse, where he curates nightly meals for a small batch of lucky gourmands. Warning: The food does come out fast, so make sure your whole party is on time. Again, you won’t need to order anything, but you may need to ask directions when winding through the often unmarked streets of Bangkok’s Chinatown.

While no two nights repeat themselves at Jok’s, fried gingko nuts, pickled mustard greens, or Cantonese wontons often commence the meal. Smoked duck, prawn-topped spicy lemongrass salad, prawn dumplings, or Thai-curried sea-crab may greet you as the meal gains momentum. The evening frequently climaxes with a larger main of grouper and plum soup, deep-fried cod, stir-fried kale with salted halibut, or, the crowd favorite, shelled giant crab with a selection of East Asian dipping sauces. 

Whatever hits the table, it’s important to know that indulging in this level of clandestine culinary finesse doesn’t come cheap. An evening at Jok Kitchen will run you no fewer than 1,000 THB (about $33).

Know Before You Go

Make reservations weeks, if not months, in advance by calling +66 (0)2 221 4075. Bring cash.