They’re bringing saucy back.
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
‘In Sauce We Trust’ is one of two slogans of the Bang Bang Sauce Factory, and one that is bang on the money – the germ of the idea began with an offhand request for “bang bang sauce,” what we know as nam jim jaew, and grew into the dynamic two-floor walkup in Sukhumvit Soi 11 that it is today. The burger joint features a single star in their logo, and despite a space that is a love letter to the best of Americana, it’s not a reference to the Lone Star State. “It’s actually a cheeky conversation starter,” one of the co-founders of Bang Bang tells me. “We asked a one-star Michelin chef from Canada to design our menu, and his view was using sauces to create distinct and original flavour profiles across our range of offerings.”
Their second slogan is the mischievous ‘Make Burgers Great Again,’ and this, I’m informed, boils down to three things: making healthy and yet nostalgic burgers that throw you back to “your childhood of biting into the perfect burger, with sauce running down your hand;” a focus on sustainability, from regenerative farming, to plant-based offerings and sustainable fishing; and finally, affordability – or as one could aptly put it, the right bang for your buck. “Our principle is to be unpretentious, affordable, and all about flavour first. We even have a whole sauce manifesto that’s beautifully done; it’s poetic,” I’m informed.
Tucked into the always-bustling Sukhumvit Soi 11, one of Bangkok’s most renowned party streets, the Bang Bang Sauce Factory stands out with its fire-engine red railings and neon signs, and rash of hand-painted street art in its al fresco area that extends far into the restaurant’s depths. “This street is iconic,” the team tells me, “and we wanted to channel that energy – its cobbled streets and authentically Thai vibe, where you have street-side vendors rubbing elbows with high-end rooftop bars.”
Inside, the metal-and-brick industrial vibe is the perfect backdrop to the floor-to-ceiling homages to “legends with the bang bang attitude – from Marilyn Monroe to Muhammad Ali.” Posters and boxing paraphernalia abound, and, in deference to the season, cheeky seasonal touches hanging from the rafters, or on the tables themselves – perhaps a Darth Vader lego piece dressed like Santa here, or an elf on the shelf there. Designed by celebrated designer Shelly Kwok, the space channels the unapologetic attitude of the 60s and 70s, a time of Flower Power and Civil Rights moments and campy B-movies, while also being “completely non-PC,” I’m told with a laugh. “We might have a picture of a dog having a cigarette, and if that’s not your vibe, then there’s the door.”
FOOD AND DRINK
With their ‘flavour first’ policy, we were excited to sample their array of burgers, bites, and what we were promised would be the “freshest, coldest draught beers in town.” Their mission, I was told, was to enter the crowded burger market with options that could span the full range of easy-to-eat, easy-to-make, and affordable smash burgers that are packed with flavour, to more involved offerings for those who want to elevate their burger experience. What stood out when perusing their menu was their range of plant-based options and plethora of patties, from lamb, chicken, and even fish, all of which are available for delivery. The menu will also feature something new every month, from this month’s fish-based Jabberjaw crispy fish burger (THB 198), to their planned co-creation collaborations with renowned chefs in the city, so there’s always something new and playful to try, for Chinese New Year and more festivities to come.
As we began our meal, we were given a smorgasbord of sauce options; a saucy embarrassment of riches. I would especially recommend the Magic sauce which had the right kick of spice to make it truly enchanting. Each burger was named after “trailblazers that packed a punch,” from their Cassius (THB 320) bacon cheeseburger, in honour of Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. i.e. Muhammad Ali, which had a generous helping of grass-fed beef and smoked bacon to really pack in the meat; to their Raging Bull (THB 320) after Robert De Niro’s character in the eponymous Scorcese-directed drama, which was as spicy as the film, with its smattering of jalapeño.
For those who like things hot, the Angry bird (THB 280), their fried chicken burger, packs a wallop and is best paired with a cold fizzy drink – maybe one of their raspberry ciders. For those looking for plant-based options, The Green Earth (THB 320) is piled high with pickled red onions, cheese, and, in my opinion, one of the most flavourful plant-based patties in the city.
Of course, what’s a great burger joint without fries, and their array is banging, and all available for delivery. From sweet potato fries, to truffle, larb, and – I was thrilled to discover – their California dip, which is their sour cream and onion flavour, you’re spoiled for choice. The latter, especially, is unique and hits the spot for anyone wanting to wash them down with their choice of cold beverage. Our favourite dipping sauce and the star of the night, however, was the Larb flavour, which had all the Thai flavour profiles that we love – we could’ve eaten it by the bucketful, especially when paired with their California dip fries.
Their smashburger from their Iron Mike range (starting from THB 155), named so because Mike Tyson is “all about the smash.” Moreish in the extreme and comprised of Hawaiian bread, American cheese, sautéed onions and your choice of Beyond Meat (in fact, one of the only plant- based smash in the city) or lamb, chicken and beef options, the burger comes straight from the griddle, and is dripping with sauce and flavour. I have to admit that I could’ve easily eaten several of those in a row.
BANG BANG SAUCE FACTORY