The twitter folk went bananas last week with excitement of Bangkok’s first true bagel shop, the creatively named BKK Bagel Bakery. We’re talking real bagels here. Not Au Bon Pain’s pale imitation of a bagel, or a bagel you buy at Tops chalked full of preservatives and lackluster taste, but a real bagel – a donut with rigor mortis. So naturally, given the buzz and our insatiable love for bagels we headed over to the BKK Bagel Bakery for their Grand Opening on March 1.
The bagel has been around for a long time. The gastronomic folk-lore pegs the development of the bagel as the product of the 1683 Battle of Vienna in Krakow, Poland when the monarch, King Jan Sobiesky, saved Austria from Turkish invaders. Legend has it that a baker made a roll in the shape of the king’s stirrup as thanks and called it a beugel (the Austrian word for stirrup). Soon thereafter, the Jewish community in Krakow really took ownership of bagel production and consumption. It started as a tradition for Jewish families to make bagels at the conclusion of the Sabbath for its quick and easy production time to cope with mild hunger pangs. Since then, the bagel has enveloped itself in Jewish culture and cuisine as a regular food product and has followed their historical migration world-wide, gaining particular perfection in the late 19th century in New York City. And now, after all these years and journeys its finally made it to Bangkok.
An interesting history for a roll with a hole in it.
Its pretty much fact that NYC has the best bagels in the world. Most argue that its impossible to replicate the delicious NYC bagel taste as the hard water of NYC is what gives the bagel’s their hard crusts and chewy insides, but considering Bangkok’s water is pretty hard in itself, we figured BKK Bagel Bakery might have some advantage amongst other cities (pretty ridiculous logic, we know).
So off KohSpot trotted to the grand opening of BKK Bagel Bakery yesterday. The tiny strip mall location was jam-packed with farang, and to our surprise even chefs from the Hyatt walked over for a nosh in their smocks.
The bagels were stellar.
Crispy on the outside, chewy in the inside. Not sure how BKK Bagel Bakery pulled it off, but they really hit a high note with their bagels. Unfortunately, we couldn’t say the same for their cream cheese which was extraordinarily bland. It had some very minor hints of flavor, but its not rich and just sits there in your mouth, manifesting itself as subtle displacement from its purpose to compliment the bagel. We want to give BKK Bagel Shop the benefit of the doubt here and trust that they’ll make some quick adjustments with their cream cheese producer/supplier.
The bakery has a handful sandwiches so that may be the way to go for the time being. The Showstopper (225 baht) has oven-roasted turkey, havarti, bacon, avocado spread and whole-grain mustard on a plain bagel. BKK Bagel also makes it own lox, another solid option with cream cheese, tomato and red onion on a bagel of your choice (175 baht).
Bagels come in poppy seed, sesame seed, cinnamon raisin, wheat and plain for 35 baht each, while cream cheese comes in plain, olive, garlic and dill or lebaneh for 30 baht each.
They have basic coffee options, including cappuccino for 55 baht and an espresso for 45 baht. There’s even plans for a red velvet cupcake in the near future.
Definitely worth a visit, but really curious as to why a bagel shop would be closed on Sundays. One would expect this to be one of their most profitable days.
Location: Ground floor of Maneeya Center, right next to Haagen Dazs outlet.
Mass transit: Maneeya Center is exit 2 at Chit Lom BTS
Hours: 8:30 am-6 pm Monday-Saturday. Closed Sundays
Phone: 02-254-8157, but sometimes they have it switched to their fax machine.
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