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Bangkok’s 80/20: where the beauty of Thailand is shared through an innovative and sustainable amalgamation of food

Open your mind and your tastebuds at 80/20. Savour the intensely delicious fabrication of Thailand-wide ingredients that convene and concoct at this chic Bangkok restaurant.

Dark woods, jet black beams and Thai-themed decor provide the comfortable and friendly setting for a taste of Thailand at 80/20. Situated in one of Bangkok’s old riverfront districts, the restaurant is dark and dusky, yet spacious and with an open kitchen allowing guests to catch a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes. Tucked inside an old town shop-house on Charoen Krung Road, food at 80/20 is innovative and fresh, it’s menu playful and exciting. Open since 2015, 80/20 has been serving guests wholesome yet funky food for several years. Kitchen bar stools, clever cocktails and a thorough wine list, additions to the restaurant in 2019 after a refurb, have added an elegant and voguish vibe. A standout feature – the fermentation room – brimming with tubs and sealed pots like an experimental, foodie science lab, adds a unique and unorthodox element to the mix. 80/20 presents as an upscale hipster hangout with an artsy approach to traditional Thai cuisine.

Different to other dine-dining locations, 80/20 is infamous for its unique approach to food. Chefs Jo and Saki have both throughout their lives traveled across Thailand in search of the right ingredients for their own spirited cuisine. Local suppliers and organic produce are favoured, hence the very name of the innovative Bangkok restaurant; eighty percent of produce is sourced locally. Resultantly, local Thai produce comes together at the restaurant, to create an atypically Thai menu packed with big bold flavours that are loved by locals. French cooking methods are added to the process, which shine through within the 9-course menu that truly steals the show. At 80/20, Thai food is fabricated through the use of a European formula. As a result, at 80/20 you might find yourself indulging in fermented duck sausage, or perhaps smoked river fish with banana blossom, as part of the gorgeous fine-dining menu.

Efforts in creating something spectacular at 80/20 have rightfully been recognised, with the restaurant earning a Michelin Star as well as places in Asia’s Best 50 Restaurants, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and BK Magazine’s Top Tables 2019, amongst numerous others. Yet at the heart of the restaurant and its immense efforts in innovative food creation, lies a beautiful symbol of sustainability and dedication to organic Thai produce that cannot be ignored. Whether produced in-house, picked from organic farms across Thailand, or bought from local Bangkok markets, 80/20 has an emphasis on the local. A great deal of produce is bought from a local farmers market in Khon Kaen, meanwhile seafood is sourced sustainably from local fisherman. The co-owning couple of 80/20 also own a farm of their own, on which they grow some produce themselves.

Of note, and particularly unique to 80/20 is the way in which the chefs interlace the concepts of fermentation (already extensively used in Thai cuisine), preservation and the sustainable sourcing of food. Thailand as a whole is overflowing with wonderful fruits and vegetables, however a great deal of these become overripe and are wasted. At 80/20, by learning more and more about fermentation and preservation, the chefs are able to collect these cheaper, overripe products and make something delectable out of them. Producing jams, sorbets, pastes and much more – all of which taste better with the use of produce on their last legs – the Bangkok restaurant thrives on reducing the waste products of local markets.

Making use of what is available locally, seems to be the worthwhile message shared via the plates of 80/20 that are presented to diners. During your visit to Bangkok, drop into 80/20 to taste unconventional Thai cuisine. More importantly, visit the restaurant to allow your eyes to be opened to a new way of cooking that is (ironically) built upon old-fashioned, simplistic and traditional methods of sourcing. Local produce, sourced opportunistically, makes for inspiring efforts in sustainability at 80/20. 

Practical information

Address: 1052-1054, 26 Charoen Krung Rd, Bang Rak
Website: https://www.8020bkk.com/

Jessica Beaumont
Noticing the footprints left behind by travellers in the countries she has lived in and loved, Jessica found her calling in the sustainable travel niche. Aside from writing, Jessica is found exploring the Adelaide Hills for good views and delectable wines, dancing, taking leisurely walks on the beach and trying to make friends with dogs.