Try and think of a word to describe the city you live in; “artistic”, “dirty”, “trendy”, “touristy”, etc. Typically a city covers a specific niche but when it comes to Bangkok nearly any adjective used to describe the city would be appropriate. Roughly double the size of New York City with close to the same population, the only cosmopolitan city in Thailand has the space to facilitate the needs of every city lover. While in the country I have spent almost a full month’s worth of time in Bangkok and have experienced everything from the tourist highlights to the hipster markets visited by only the locals. To celebrate my one year anniversary from when I first set foot in Thailand (and Bangkok) I will be spotlighting some of the city’s strongest gems throughout the month of April.
Silom’s American Barbecue Hotspot
Welcome to The Smokin’ Pug, Bangkok’s go-to spot for smoked meats. Opened by a couple of expats from Milwaukee and Chicago, The Smokin’ Pug offers an unparalleled dining experience in one of the largest cities in the world. I know what you are thinking. “What do two midwesterners know about authentic barbecue?” It turns out Dana and Danny, the curators of this fine establishment, spent time in Texas honing their craft. Props must be given to these students who have become masters because the food is some of the tastiest I have had in quite awhile. They even have smokers (a rarity in Thailand) to ensure the meat is properly taken care of.
I decided to go with the pulled pork sandwich (classic North Carolinian) and the bark of the meat was some of the most savory I have ever had. If pork is not your thing they also have chicken and beef options to satisfy all barbecue lovers. Still on edge? How about the three different sauce offerings such as Carolina (more SC than NC but hey, it’s still good), Kansas City, and ginger. Their sides run the gamut but I suggest sticking with a salad as the homemade ranch dressing is the real star of the “sideshow”. The price is similar to midrange barbecue restaurants in the States but with a sandwich piled inches high, The Smokin’ Pug ensures you are getting more than your money’s worth.
A rustic dining room, the candlelit aura, and soft blues playing in the background create an atmosphere that would feel at home on Bourbon Street or downtown Atlanta, GA. Everything about the restaurant screams “this is a true American barbecue joint.” In case the visuals were not enough to show this establishment breaks the Thailand norm you will not be able to find a single Chang or Sinha in the building. The beer options hail from such top name breweries as Hitachino, Rogue, and Stone and they are masters of the cocktail as well. If you are lucky enough to visit this culinary hotspot be sure to take everything in from the soothing music to the wonderful wall art of pugs performing antics of all sorts.
There is a reason that they are ranked #2 on TripAdvisor and in the Top 30 by BK Magazine. You owe it to your tongue to find out why. Space is not abundant as you will need to call ahead and book a table for a great dinner in Thailand’s sprawling metropolis.
*Header image courtesy of The Smokin’ Pug Facebook page. All other photos are my own.
**No compensation was received for this review.
Thai, Korean, and Japanese barbecues are all too abundant in Thailand but the North Carolinian in me will always favor the smoked meats of the southern United States. Luckily The Smokin’ Pug pulled through. Are you an expat or traveler missing a food from home? Let me know what it is and how you satisfy that craving in the comments below.
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