The Highs & COVID-era Lows of Bangkok‘s Restaurant Scene, with Jarrett Wrisley
Play • 34 min

Having studied Chinese in Beijing, and worked as a restaurant critic in Shanghai, Jarrett Wrisley worked on a TV shoot in Chengdu with Anthony Bourdain. Shortly after, he moved to Bangkok and opened his own restaurant. Soul Food Mahanakorn quickly developed a local and global following, and became a crucible of contemporary Thai cooking with American accents. This week, Gary chats with Jarrett - who is a former colleague in Shanghai - about the 2010s era of inspiring culinary creativity in Bangkok. At the height of Soul Food Mahanakorn's powers - and having opened other restaurants in Bangkok and a spin-off in Hong Kong - COVID-19 intervened. Tourists were locked out, and local dining preferences changed. The subsequent months saw the collapse of a once thriving and dynamic dining scene, and resulted in Jarrett closing his beloved restaurant. Frustrated by the situation in Thailand, he decide to leave. Having written a culinary road trip book in Italy, he pondered his next move. Jarrett is currently living in Montana, in the US - but says he'll be back in Asia some time in future.

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