One of the world's foremost gin bars in Thailand, nay Asia, Teens of Thailand is expanding. After half a decade of being a leading Bangkok cocktail bar specialising in Gin, the team decided having one Teens of Thailand or TOT isn't enough. Instead of luring drinkers to come to them, they go to drinkers. Udon Thani is the province they chose to pave the way to the Issan region.
Chomp Magazine was invited to travel to the press session of launching the new branch. We flew to Udon Thani in the morning on the 22nd of December, 2022. The bar's location is close to Centara Hotel & Convention Centre Undon Thani's main entrance. First, we needed to check in our room and rest from a short but exhausting flight before going to the bar.
Teens of Thailand Udon Thani or TOT Udon is different from the original bar in Bangkok.
The first is the space. TOT Udon is more spacious, open-aired and surrounded by greens. Guests can sit without feeling claustrophobic. We were lucky to come here in the winter when it was the winter that its weather was very wintery -- well, at least by Thai standard, which was like late spring in Europe.
Second, they serve food here from the hotel's kitchen. The food menu consists of Issan and Italian - Issan fusion foods, which were created especially for the bar.
Peek Ghai Yang Yud Sai Khao Jhee, chicken wings stuffed with grilled-sticky rice, then deep-fried, served with a local spicy dipping sauce called Jaew, is a good appetiser. The chicken wings is crispy on the outside with soft grilled-ticky rice inside, giving contrasting textures, and dipping it with the Jaew for an extra kick.
Meang Pla Tod is another appetiser that you should try. It's Crispy-fried fish chunks served with a handful of betel leaves, roasted peanuts, diced fresh ginger, chopped chillis and Num Pla Waan or a caramel sauce mixed with fish sauce. To eat it, put all the elements on a betel leaf and wrap it into a small bite before putting it into your mouth. Each bite is full of textures, sweet, salty, umami, spicy and herbaceous.
A main dish such as Carbonarha is a Carbonara with a twist, and that twist is Pla Rha, the Thai fermented fish. The Pla Rha gives a unique flavour and aroma to typical creamy, salty and umami pasta.
Pasta Sai Grog Issan is twisted from Pasta Bolognese. Instead of having ground beef and Italian sausage in the sauce, the chef replaced them with sour Issan sausage, and the tomato-based sauce is added with some Thai chillis for some Thai heat.
The third is the list of the drinks on the menu of TOT Udon which consists of TOT classics that fans love and adore, in-Udon-only drinks, the classics and Issan Rum signature cocktails.
Thai Tea Gin & Tonic, one of the recommended TOT classics, has a slight tannin from Thai tea, aromas of local citrus called Somsa from the Nammon Somsa Tonic, and cinnamon, mint and orange peel which are garnishes.
Chrysanthemum Gin & Tonic, a gin and tonic with the aroma and taste of Chrysanthemum with floral notes from TOT's floral tonic garnished with lemon and Tiger Ear Leaf, is complex and delicate.
The in-Udon-only drink session is called Seasonal Drinks. Drinks in this session will change accordingly due to the seasons of local ingredients. Strawbini Bikini is strawberry gin mixed with salted honey, wine and ginger ale. It's moderately sweet, highly bubbly and refreshing with a slight tartness and kick.
The final session on the drink menu is the Issan Rum Signature Drinks. The drinks in this session are all Issan Rum-based cocktails.
Issan Rum is a spirit made from freshly-pressed sugarcane juice in
Nongkhai Province. The distillery is a 45-minute drive from TOT Udon. It's definitely a true gem for this region. One of the cocktails in this session that really hit us was Issan Sour. This drink is a twist on New York Sour. It is a mixture of Issan Rum, wild honey, lime and topped with homemade mulberry wine.
Chomp Magazine hopes you will pay TOT Udon a visit when you travel to Udon Thani Province.