Top: From left to right, the Chicken and Tamarind Burger (305 baht), Mama’s Spicy Chicken Wings (260 baht), and Chicken with Salted Egg and Cheese Burger (340 baht).
Photos by Tappanai Boonbandit
In Bangkok’s tumultuous dining scene, even the most-hyped bars can shut within a year. But Chunky has been serving up Thai-style burgers for four years.
Think chicken burgers with sauces like tamarind or salted egg, and a pulled pork bun flavored like five-spice palo soup. If that sounds good, head down to Soi Sukhumvit 23 in Asok.
Our favorite burger when we visited was the Chicken with Salted Egg and Cheese (340 baht). A signature sauce made from salted egg yolks sourced in Chai Ya town in Surat Thani coats the fried crispiness – but those opposed to cheese sauces may not love it.
Of course, food purists won’t like Chunky’s creations. But the more curious among us – those who wonder ‘how Thai can a hipster burger get?’ – should try our second-fave, the Palo Pulled Pork Burger (280 baht). Cottony-soft, delicate strings of pulled pork immediately conjure the five-spice soup. An equally soft brioche-potato bun hybrid, layered with sauces made from prunes and mulberries, create a savory-sweet burger experience.
To Thai tongues, none of the burgers we tried were lian or overly buttery or creamy. There were always zesty contrasts like pickled shallots, cucumbers, or rocket leaves.
In the Chunky’s Wife Burger (270 baht for pork, 330 baht for beef), locally sourced meat is tucked between a fried egg and jam made from bacon and naam prik ong (pork and tomato chilli dip) – think a Thai-ized BBQ sauce. The most controversial burger we ate was the Chicken and Tamarind Burger (305 baht), a fried chicken burger drizzled with tamarind sauce – the sweetness is sure to be divisive.
Although the burgers are Sukhumvit-priced, they pack a surprisingly filling punch.
The Mama’s Spicy Chicken Wings (260 baht) are not painfully spicy, but full of zapp Thai spices. If you really need some greens, try the Caesar Salad (230 baht). Don’t worry about sad dressing or dry croutons. Here, there’s a crumble made from bacon and Songkhla-sourced mackerel.
Vegetarians can opt for the Chunky Veggie Burger (270 baht), which has a Thai curry puff patty.
Aekkachai “Belt” Saengkardsanee, 27, one of four co-owners, says 90 percent of the ingredients used at Chunky are local. The Songkhla native’s the one bringing a southern influence to the dishes, which comes out in the menu’s sole dessert: the Vanilla and Yolk Ice Cream with Brulee Bun (180 baht).
“In Songkhla, there’s i-tim oang (bowl ice cream), where coconut ice cream is mixed with raw egg yolks and served in an oang. For this dessert, I decided to change coconut to vanilla,” Belt said.
The restaurant is full of exposed concrete, hanging ceiling lamps, and white neon lettering. A solid burger meetup for foodie friends, even if the Top 40 and EDM playlist may distract.
Chunky is open 11am to 10pm every day and is located in Sukhumvit Soi 23, about a 10 minute walk from either BTS Asok or MRT Sukhumvit.
This review was based on a hosted visit.