Big Easy, big taste
New Orleans, the Big Easy, is famed for many things – its music, its nightlife and, of course, its distinctive Cajun food. There are bits and pieces borrowed from western Europe, particularly France and Spain, mixed up in a giant gumbo pot with Creole – itself a mixture of European and African-American influences – and infused with the brassy flavours of the American south.
For the uninitiated, it’s a baffling cuisine, partly because it hasn’t been exported wholesale from Louisiana to the rest of the world. That said, washed down with a couple of particularly zingy margaritas at Bourbon Street in Ekkamai, it starts to make a whole lot of sense.
The menu is vast, so fortunately the proprietor, Doug, who has been preaching the Cajun gospel in Bangkok for 30-odd years, is on-hand to offer his recommendations. No Cajun banquet is complete without a gumbo, which, on first appearance, looks like a simple working man’s stew – in Cajun cuisine, gumbo is a versatile dish that can contain more or less whatever the chef fancies. Here, it’s chicken and sausage (B140) in a rich broth – whatever spices or thickeners are being expertly employed at Bourbon Street, the flavour jumps off the spoon. An early highlight, undoubtedly.
But they come thick and fast thereafter. The buffalo wings (B160) and the barbecue ribs (B370) are perfect for those with big appetites who aren’t afraid to get stuck in.
The spinach and artichoke dip (B225) – again, it sounds simple – is one of the most addictive sides you’ll find in Bangkok. Likewise, the Italian cheese sausage (B310) is a serious portion but the quality of the sausage, mixed with the cheesy goodness buried within, means you’ll be fighting over the final mouthfuls.
There’s no shortage of other Cajun staples on offer, like popcorn shrimp (B180), red beans, rice and andouille sausage (B210) or jambalaya with blackened fish and shrimp (B255). It’s a heady mix but make sure you leave room for dessert, as the bread pudding with whiskey sauce (B120) is spectacular, particularly when followed by one of Bourbon Street’s trademark Hurricane cocktails to send you out into the night with a zydeco shimmy in your heart and the taste of New Orleans on your tongue.
9/39-40 Soi Tana Arcade, Sukhumvit 63, Ekamai | 02 381 6801 | bourbonstbkk.com | Daily 7am-1am