Michelin-Star Fusion-Style Pa Tong Go, Bangkok, Thailand

Michelin-Star Pa Tong Go, or Thai-Chinese Donuts

by Patonggo Café, Bangkok, Thailand 


Thai-Chinese fried dough topped with pandan custard, pork floss, and spicy fish salad doesn't sound like it would work - especially when dipped into a glass of sweetened Thai iced tea... and yet, the owner of Patonggo Cafe, who won a Michelin star in 2019 for his brave fusion dishes, begs to differ.

patonggo cafe, pa tong go and cha yen at a Michelin-starred café in Bangkok, Thailand
pa tong go and cha yen at a Michelin-starred café in Bangkok, Thailand


Pa tong go is made from dough which is left to rise for several hours and deep-fried in a big wok of hot oil. Pa tong go is sometimes called a "Thai donut", though it's more of a fry bread. This dish is most common as an early morning snack or breakfast in Bangkok, but today, I was on the hunt for something a little more exotic.

On a sunny afternoon in Bangkok, I stopped in at the Patonggo Cafe. The restaurant, opened in 1966, has become especially famous in Bangkok recently after winning a coveted Michelin Star in 2019 for the owner's modern artisanal take on a fusion-style pa tong go dish.

pa tong go cafe statues patonggo logo mascot
patonggo cafe bkk thailand restaurant

Pa tong go is usually served hot and fresh, sometimes with a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk on top and a cup of fresh soy milk on the side. To start off, we ordered a very typical tray of pa tong go. What makes the pa tong go here different from normal is how they grill the pa tong for a few moments right out of the fryer. This keeps the dough crispy on the outside, and gets rid of most of the extra oil (which can sometimes make pa tong go a bit soggy).

traditional Thai-style pa tong go served with sweetened condensed milk
traditional Thai-style pa tong go served with sweetened condensed milk

After the traditional-style pa tong go starter, it was time for the crazier stuff, the dishes that won Patonggo Cafe its 2019 Michelin star and put this famous little shophouse restaurant on the Bangkok food map.

Unsure of exactly what exactly to order, we let the restaurant's owner pick for us. He chose the the three dishes that won him his star (with a couple of glasses of Thai iced tea on the side, of course). The shop owner encouraged to enjoy the pa tong go in what he insisted was the "proper" way - by skewering a piece of the fried dough (toppings and all) on a fork, dunking it in the tea, and swishing it around a bit. It wasn't as weird as it might sound, but we enjoyed the three dishes we ordered just fine without that extra step!

First up was a sweet dessert-type dish. A few pieces of pa tong go were drizzled in pandan custard, chocolate sauce, and sweetened condensed milk. The dish was then topped with shredded coconut and foy tong (an old-fashioned Thai dessert made from egg yolk and sugar). It was extremely sweet, and went very well with the mild flavor of the warm soy milk.

pa tong go served with shredded coconut, foy tong, pandan custard, sweet milk, and chocolate
pa tong go served with shredded coconut, foy tong, pandan custard, sweet milk, and chocolate

Next was the shop's most famous dish! This one had the pa tong go topped with shredded red pork (Thai-style barbecue pork) and cilantro, and drizzled in condensed milk.

It might sound odd, but the savory pork and cilantro really complimented the sweet pa tong go and milk. It's hard to explain, but the flavors actually meshed really well. And they ought to, I guess, since this is a Michelin-star dish, after all!

pa tong go topped with barbecue pork, sweet chili sauce, and cilantro
pa tong go topped with barbecue pork, sweet chili sauce, and cilantro

Finally, a spicy fish salad dish made up of veggies, cilantro, a spicy vinegar dressing, and flaky white fish atop pa tong go. Again, the sweet, crispy pa tong go really worked (surprisingly) well as a vessel for the spicy Thai-style salad!

fusion pa tong go with a spicy Thai fish salad
fusion pa tong go with a spicy Thai fish salad

I'm all about food adventures. Sometimes, something might sound odd, but may very well end up being delicious. I guess the Patonggo Cafe follows that same philosophy. On paper, these dishes probably shouldn't work, but when you taste them, all of the flavors combine perfectly! It may sound strange, but it's really good!

You can't properly enjoy pa tong go without Cha Yen, or sweetened Thai iced tea with condensed milk. Patonggo Cafe's cha yen is excellent as well, and adds a bit of a traditional element to this funky fusion.

Thai iced tea, or cha yen at Patonggo Cafe, Bangkok
Thai iced tea, or cha yen at Patonggo Cafe, Bangkok

Official Social Media

Menu


Patonggo Cafe menu and prices, Bangkok, Thailand
Patonggo Cafe menu and prices, Bangkok, Thailand

Price

💲 - what a deal! Especially considering the Michelin star, premium ingredients, and huge portions. Dishes run in the 60 THB ($2) range.

Patonggo Cafe, Bangkok
Patonggo Cafe, Bangkok

Traveler's Tips

The restaurant is located right in the heart of Bangkok's historic Old Town neighborhood, not far from the Grand Palace and other top tourist destinations in the Thai capital. While in the neighborhood, make sure to stop by and pay a visit at my favorite spot in Bangkok: Wat Saket, or the Temple of the Golden Mount located nearby.

Wat Saket, or the Temple of the Golden Mount, Bangkok
Wat Saket, or the Temple of the Golden Mount, Bangkok

Location and Hours


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