Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Asia (
-   -   Thailand/HKG - food/wine (

emtravel Aug 3rd, 2004 05:20 PM

Thailand/HKG - food/wine
There has been discussion re: restaurants in Bangkok and north. I have a question: we mostly drink wine, no hard liquor although my husband might want to try beer there (loved beer in Belgium, how does asian beer compares?). What kind of good wine is available? Have not read yet about local wines. Or should we stick to California/Australia/French/Italian?
Is it expensive?

Also, what are your favorite non-alcoholica Thai drinks?

We also will be in HKG. Any suggestions there?


Hanuman Aug 3rd, 2004 06:10 PM

There are a few local wines produced in Thailand but they are not that good. Most restaurant serve imported wines but beware that the import duties for wines is quite high and the price will reflect this.

Thai beer, Chang group and Boonrawd group are the two main brewer. Chang beer is the best selling in Thailand but at bit strong for my taste. They just launched their second beer, Ohcha(spl), and it's more like a larger.

Favorite non alcholic drinks here I would say is either the ice coffee or ice tea(Thai style). Also the abundant fresh fruite juices are also very popular.

Something I like to do is to bring a couple of bottles of my favourite wines from duty free and pay the corkerage at the restaurants(most will allow byo with corkerage charges).

rhkkmk Aug 3rd, 2004 06:43 PM

wine is very expensive in thailand and sometimes is not that good as it has not been treated well in shipment (exposed to heat, etc)...i have noticed a huge difference in the last 10 years in thailand, re wines....there did not used to be much around but now it is every place and in every restaurant almost...
we stick to beer...there are several choices...we have chiang or chang (not sure of the spelling), carlsberg, heinekin, and several others...there is a large bottle, not a GIQ, but in between that and a regular bottle which is good for a couple with a meal, and perhaps another if you are is very reasonable...

my wife likes wine primarily but we skip it totally in thailand...she did have a couple of glasses last trip and i think they were about $6-8 a glass---about the same as run of the mill stuff in usa, but expensive by thai standards...

HK is different, but i do not know about the price of wine or quality, sorry...lots of beers....remember the british were there for years...

rhkkmk Aug 3rd, 2004 06:44 PM

simpson 510 spoke often in her recent reports about buying wine in bkk, so she may chime in here...her meals were quite expensive if i remember and my guess is that 50% of the price was the wine...

Hanuman Aug 3rd, 2004 07:11 PM

From rhkkmk "wine is very expensive in thailand and sometimes is not that good as it has not been treated well in shipment (exposed to heat, etc)..." - in most upscale restaurants this is not true. Wines are shipped in temperature controlled environments(12 - 14c) and are also kept in temperature controlled storage. First growth French are treated like royalty when it comes to temperature / humidity control and premier American, Australian and Italian wines are treated with extreme care.

rkkwan Aug 3rd, 2004 08:26 PM

There is no "local" wine from Hong Kong. I have not heard of any decent wine (from grapes) from China either.

The major brewery in Hong Kong is San Miguel (which came from the Phillipines after WWII, but they've been in Hong Kong for so long that most people consider that a local brew). It also brewed for the German beer Lowenbrau in HK as well.

The other top brand is the Danish brew Carlsburg. They built a brewery in Hong Kong in the 70's, but I believe have moved their production to China in recent years.

There's also a small brewery called HK SAR Brewing, used to be called South China Brewing. I had their "Hong Kong Gold" lager, but it's actually more like a low-end beer rather than a "microbrew" that the company would want you to believe. Haven't tried their other products.

If you like strong beer, do try the Carlsburg Special Brew, a full-flavor 8.5% alcohol beer. And during my recent visit to Hong Kong, I really enjoyed the biergarten at the King Ludwig at Murray House, Stanley. Lots of German beer, many on tap, and a great view of the Stanley Bay. [Murray House is a 3-storey British colonial building that used to sit where the Bank of China is today. They took it down stone by stone in the late 70's; and only recently rebuilt it in Stanley, with 4 restaurants there.]

Cicerone Aug 4th, 2004 12:33 AM

Here are some of my favourite Asian-made beers, you can find them in both Thailand and Hong Kong. These are all light tasting lagers, don't know anything about local stout:

Shingha - Thai beer
Tsing Tao - China
Tiger Beer - Singapore
Asai - Japanese beer

An unusual drink to try would be a Shandy, a combination of half beer and half ginger ale or 7 Up, invented I think by the Raj in India, you will often find it in Indian restaurants in Hong Kong. It is actually very refreshing.

JamesA Aug 4th, 2004 04:51 AM

True, wine is heavily taxed in Thailand, but at the same time in restaurants you might pay B 650-1,000 (US$16-25) for a bottle, so compared with what restaurants charge in many other countries that's not too bad.
My beer used to be Carlsberg but sadly it is no longer produced here. I used to drink Singha many years back, can't really get into Chang so I stick with just Coke these days!

Kathie Aug 4th, 2004 05:12 AM

Wine is expensive in Thailand. While as James says you can get a bottle for US$16-25, it's the stuff you'd pay $5 for in a grocery store here in the US. To get a good wine with a meal would be at least US$50. I just don't drink wine in Thailand (unless it's a bottle of duty-free champagne I brought in!). Interestingly, wines is less expensive in VN. We drank French wines with our dinners in VN, and while the wine was half the total cost of the meal, the price wasn't that bad. US$25 would get you a pretty good French wine.

In Hong Kong, wines aren't as expensive as Thailand. Still, it's more expensive than at a restaurant in the US. The real bargain was wine in Macau - very good Portuguese wines for US$15 or so.

glorialf Aug 4th, 2004 05:16 AM

James --
I wish I found $15 bottles of wine in Bangkok. Seems to me it's more like $10-15 a glass! I'm a big wine drinker but find I often stick to water in Thailand. Unfortunately I don't like beer because it's good and cheap there.

To my surprise, wine in Japan was MUCH cheaper than in Thailand.

Craig Aug 4th, 2004 06:03 AM

If you plan on enjoying the wonderful Thai cuisine as I did, you will not want to drink wine as it just does not "go" with Thai food. I enjoyed Singha beer when I was in Thailand and was impressed that it is available here in the USA.

I also remember enjoying Tsing Tao when I visited Hong Kong. It is also available in the US.

Cicerone - I thought shandy was a British invention - at least that was where I was introduced to it.

Cicerone Aug 4th, 2004 06:16 AM

The Raj ARE the British. . . .

Craig Aug 4th, 2004 06:20 AM

Cicerone - Guess I to educate myself a bit before I go :-)

Craig Aug 4th, 2004 06:22 AM

oops - not my day today-

Above post should be:
guess I NEED to educate myself

orgy7 Aug 4th, 2004 06:41 AM

finaly a topic i know a litle bit about, beer that is.

I know nothing about wine but for those that like australian wines thailand recently signed a free trade agreement with australia and these wines are going too be dramaticly cheeper. it's strnge I found many wines for under $5 at emporium or maybe they were kool aid..

as for beer you have many choices
-Klassik lager
-Dark beer

the best is klassik but it's hard too find

singha is nasty mess that thais rarely drink they just export it everywhere else.
-warstainer (sp)
-asahi dry
-heinaken (sp)
-guinus stout (sp)

if you want something for the hotel at supermarkets you can find budwaiser, Grolch, miller ice, Carona beers. and the above.

if ya want too try a large selection of imported european beers the beer garden at lumpina night market has a large selection.

as for Hong kong they are blessed to have san miguel.. I consider them too be just about the top brewer in the world..

San migual has recently signed a deal too produce some products in thailand soon..

shandy lol ya thats one strange brew but tastes OK.. it reminds me of my contries strange mix. COLOPOLA coca cola and beer..

Cicerone Aug 4th, 2004 06:45 AM

Craig -

Travel is so broadening! In addition to the Shandy, some great English words borrowed from India include: cummerbund, bungalow, verandah, peon, moghal (as in movie moghal), curry, thug, goon, and juggernaught. Not to mention the zero and I think the game of Parcheesi (although that could be from the Arabs like algebra. . .)

I have a list of favorite fiction and non-fiction books on India if you would like it to prepare for your 2005 trip.

Craig Aug 4th, 2004 06:51 AM

Cicerone, I would love to see your list of favorite books on India.

rhkkmk Aug 4th, 2004 06:51 AM

thank you kathie for backing up my is expensive and can be disappointing in thailand

Cicerone Aug 4th, 2004 07:21 AM

Craig, I will post is on a new thread.

orgy7 Aug 4th, 2004 07:41 AM

CNN Asia. is showing a segment on a new wine product invented in australia WINE IN A CAN.. i kind of love how they dig at wine snobs threw the whole thing...

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:50 AM.