Bangkok Joe’s has been an important member of the Georgetown restaurant scene for years. The restaurant closed a few years ago, but people missed the place so much they finally brought it back. That’s how much of a religious following this place has. The new-and-improved Bangkok Joe’s opened a few months ago, and showcases some of their classics from the original menu, plus some more daring and innovative Thai dishes…
One of the most important aspects of Bangkok Joe’s is their dumpling bar. You can sit right at the bar and take your pick amongst their 10-15 different dumpling varieties. Much to my surprise, at least three of these happened to be gluten free. To start, I ordered the Larb Duck Dumplings and the 5-Veggie Dumplings. The duck dumplings, made with Thai herbs, crispy shallots, and a sweet chili sauce, were incredibly juicy and flavorful. The presentation was also superior and visually stunning, as each dumpling has their own bowl. The 5-Veggie Dumplings included garlic chive, taro root, cabbage, carrot, and shitake, all served with a sweet soy sauce.
Another thing I appreciate about Bangkok Joe’s is their extensive drink list. There is a great mix between classic cocktails and unique cocktails. You wouldn’t think of a Thai restaurant as having an exceptional cocktail program, but Bangkok Joe’s really shines here. They also have at least six mocktails on the menu, in case you’re not trying to imbibe. I ordered the Thai basil lemonade, which was pleasantly herbaceous and refreshing.
For the main course, I ordered the Singapore Rice Noodles and the Pork Belly Kana. The rice noodles absolutely blew me away. This is a dish I used to eat fairly often when my family would order takeout, but after one too many dried out noodles, I moved on to a different go-to dish. Bangkok Joe’s Singapore Rice Noodles were extremely flavorful and moist, which was probably the responsibility of the delectable coconut yellow curry-soy sauce. This sauce was not only visually appealing with its rich, yellow hue, but it served as the perfect flavoring for the dish’s freshly grilled chicken.
The Pork Belly Kana, with Asian broccoli, crispy pork belly, crushed garlic, and Thai pepper was also delicious. The pork belly itself was thick and hearty in flavor, but the dish as a whole had a nice lightness to it, as the vegetables balanced out the fattiness of the meat. I was lucky enough to have leftovers of this dish, which I whipped up for breakfast the next morning and topped with a fried egg. It was delicious.
While majority of the dessert menu does have gluten, there are usually 2-3 safe options. I went with the classic Mango Sticky Rice, which did not disappoint. The mango was incredibly fresh and sliced precisely, and the sticky rice had great flavor, which was emphasized by the additional coconut cream sauce served on top.
Bangkok Joe’s has certainly found a way to elevate Thai food. While the cuisine is generally very safe for those who can’t have gluten, Bangkok Joe’s goes the extra mile by notating on their menu exactly which items are gluten-free or can be made gluten-free. The high caliber food mixed with great service and care towards food allergies makes Bangkok Joe’s the perfect restaurant for any occasion.