I’ve lived in Bangkok for many years and it’s been exciting to observe over time the changes in the food landscape. I can recall a time when if you wanted a good burger, a New York-style pizza, or really legit Mexican it was slim pickings. Then seemingly overnight places began to crop up all over town where you could satisfy those cravings. The latest crave-worthy cuisine that’s started to blossom in what was once a desert foodscape is the US, UK, and Australian influenced Chinese food. Wok Star Express (official Facebook page) is the newest contender to hit the Bangkok food scene and one look at their expansive menu had me and my gal pretty excited to give them a try.
For our visit, we assembled 5 of their popular dishes for a little feast. It really is just the tip of the iceberg of what they offer…and though there were tons of other dishes we’d have loved to try we can only fit so much food in our bellies and leftovers in our fridge.
But let me show you just a taste of what these “Wok Stars” are cooking up…
Off to a good start…
To kick off the meal we opted to try Wok Star Express’s Sesame Prawn Toast (140 baht). Each serving comes with 4 pieces (2 sandwich-sized bread slices cut in half), so it’s a pretty well-portioned appetizer.
The minced shrimp thickly covers the bread and the perfectly fried sesame seed coating provides a nice crunch. Make sure to dip it in some sweet n’ sour sauce!
Bring on the “itis”!
Raise your hands if you’ve ever suffered from postprandial somnolence. Okay, I imagine not a lot of hands were raised. But what if I said, raise your hands if you’ve ever suffered from the itis? I bet there’d be more hands up and heads nodding. Postprandial somnolence, better known colloquially as “itis” is that super drowsy feeling you get when you eat too much.
A sure fire way to kick off an itis inducing meal is with ribs. Fun fact: An all you can eat rib buffet will result in what’s called “ribitis“!
We ordered the Black Pepper Ribs (220 baht) but other pork spareribs offered are Sweet & Sour Hong Style Ribs (220 baht) with that pink sauce that’s so familiar with American Chinese grub, and Sticky Honey Sesame Ribs (220 baht) that I’d bet sticks to your ribs as much as your fingers.
Kung Pao? More like Kung POW!
One of my favorite American Chinese dishes is Kung Pao Chicken (220 baht). Wok Star Express serves it exactly the way I like it. The key to making a Kung Pao into a Kung POW! is the sauce, and their homemade sauce of black vinegar and soy stir-fried with garlic, spring onions, cashew nuts, and roasted chili sticks to the crispy batter-fried chicken perfectly.
The above picture looks messy, but it accurately captures that sticky sauciness.
For a more aesthetically pleasing picture here’s something a little more Instagram worthy!
Just for S’s and G’s we also took several action pictures of me eating the Kung Pao Chicken. I nearly finished half the box during this particular shoot. Did I mention that Kung Pao Chicken is one of my favorite dishes?
Curry and Chinese?
I spent a couple of years living in the UK and I’m no stranger to their unique Chinese takeaway offerings (I can’t tell you how many late nights I’d return to my dorm room with a bag of eggrolls I’d planned to suppress the many pints in my belly with). Yet somehow I missed this heavy-hitting dish here, the Singapore Noodles (single 240/family 300 baht).
Made with roasted pork, chicken, shrimp, cashews, and sesame this noodle dish is seasoned with Singaporean chili paste and a mild curry (that reminds me of the Japanese style curry sauces). For extra oomph, I recommend mixing in some of Wok Star Express’s homemade Szechuan Chilli sauce as well.
Chowing down on Chow Mein…
No Chinese feast would be complete without some Chow Mein. Wok Star Express offers Chow Mein dishes with chicken, roast duck, BBQ red pork, beef, and vegetarian options. We’d already sampled most of their other proteins so we opted for the Roast Duck Chow Mein (single 220/family 240 baht).
We were not disappointed. This is a very filling stir fry dish. The egg noodles are thick and well coated with oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil. It’s loaded with cabbage, carrots, bamboo water chestnuts, baby corn, and mushrooms. They were also very generous with their sliced roasted duck!
A chat with the owners…
Wok Star Express origin story began with “3 Loose Dudes who met in Samui and opened a Chinese Restaurant.” Actually there’s it’s a little more complex as to how they ended up in Bangkok. The loose dudes are Shaun (from South Africa and not pictured above), Jono (from the UK), and Kirk (from the US).
Together they formed a Chinese Restaurant in Koh Samui which also had a booming catering business for weddings. They were doing so well that they decided in January 2020 to expand their business to Vietnam and were in the process of researching real estate and connections with local sources when COVID-19 changed through a giant wrench in their plans.
COVID-19 decimated tourism to Koh Samui and all of their wedding catering gigs were canceled. With Thailand closing its borders it was also too risky for them to consider branching out overseas. They didn’t want to be stranded outside of the country.
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I’m hungry. Where is it?
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I want to hear from you!
Should you decide to experience Wok Star Express I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below, directly to me, or via message on either the Chow Traveller Facebook page or Chow Traveller Instagram. However you choose, I’d love to hear from you!