They say that we all want what we cannot have, but I would never stoop to being that silly. I only want what is bad for me. Show me a man who is bad news, and chances are I have attempted to date him in some capacity. Khal Drogo. Ronan the Accuser. Kylo Ren. Dark, broody types who also happen to be very, very bossy are my particular Achilles heel. Extra points if he is manipulative and withholding. I would have taken any man-sized ticket to Painintheass Town, as long as everything he did was completely incompatible with my own happiness.
The standards of American cuisine — hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken wings — are the Darth Vaders of the street food world: the siren call to the Dark Side, the flame to the moth inside of all of us, struggling to dial back the depredations of our youth. And like Darth Vader at the toy store, they are everywhere we turn, impossible to ignore yet almost consistently unfulfilling. In Bangkok, a town that inexplicably sprouts as many hamburger shops and Starbucks as noodle stands, hamburgers are frequently saddled with a mealy, gormless patty of pale beige meat product resembling steamed meatloaf; the wings are a pale, sweetened reflection of their American counterparts; and let’s not even bother discussing the hot dogs. I blame the influence of Mos Burger, a bastardized version of the US fast food model for people without teeth. I mean, I love the Japanese as much as the next Thai, but let’s call a hambagu a hambagu. They have similarly attempted to ruin American steak by breeding all the flavor out of their beef and replacing it with fat.
So when a place like Slider Shack (nee BBQ Sandwich King) shows up on the Bangkok horizon, I get excited … and turn up, years later. It’s not my fault. It’s just that it was so far away. But now that Slider Shack now has set up a culinary outpost at 722 Craft Experience (9/F, Paradise Sukhumvit Hotel, Ekamai Soi 12), I have run out of excuses not to try it, and risk not knowing what I am talking about (which of course never, ever happens).
There is a decent selection of hamburgers, including a couple of vegetarian options, as well as quesadillas and chicken and pork sandwiches. For the inveterate snackers among us, the hamburgers can come slider-sized, so that you can sample as many as you like without destroying the integrity of the bun or your own appetite. There are hot dogs for the more sausage-minded, including an odd iteration topped with raw vegetables in vinaigrette. Everything is made to order, so if you get into your head for some reason (yours truly) that cheese makes you bloated (???) they can make changes on the fly. And of course, there’s the fried stuff: steak fries, onion rings, and bewitchingly fluffy tater tots with everything, including the wings.
Ah yes, the wings. I have a thing for wings, which commonly compete with hamburgers for the title of Worst For You. Bangkok appears to be a magnet for crappy chicken wings: overly sweet, soggy, tasteless meat, insipid flavor. But the wings here are piping hot with a mild crunch, the flavor both tart and a little sweet, slutty and likable all at once. I want to take a bath in that sauce. It goes without saying that they are my new favorite wings in town.