The best German cuisine is in Asia: two twins bring Germany to Bangkok

Feb 28 2024, 18:03
Contrary to stereotypes and common beliefs, German cuisine is not just about pork, potatoes, sauerkraut, and sausages. And it's not limited to Germany either. In Bangkok, for example, there is a highly acclaimed restaurant run by the Sühring twins

Many believe that the best German cuisine outside of Germany can be found in Bangkok. This credit goes to twins Thomas and Mathias Sühring, who opened their restaurant dedicated to Teutonic gastronomic culture here less than a decade ago. It might sound unusual for those who enjoy stereotypes, summarizing an entire nation with beer, pork, potatoes, sauerkraut, and sausages, but it is indeed the case. Michelin Guide has awarded them two stars since 2019, and in the 50 Best rankings, they are at number 66 globally and seventh in Asia.

Stepping into the Sühring restaurant is somewhat like immersing oneself in the best of European culture. Except for the lush tropical vegetation in the building's garden and a small Hindu place of worship peering toward the street, one could easily think they are in the old continent. However, that's not the case: the grand villa hosting the restaurant, once an embassy, is nestled in a tranquil corner of Bangkok, away from the traffic and chaos surrounding the city skyline.

Twins Sühring restaurant

Refined and elegant, the restaurant is divided into various rooms (one with an open kitchen) and offers dishes that are attentive to local products but also showcase the best Germany has to offer, not just in terms of wines. Thomas and Mathias Sühring's cuisine is a blend of childhood memories and traditional recipes, with grand classics reinterpreted with a sophisticated touch, elevated to the highest rank of fine dining.

Let's take two examples: the Spätzle (fresh egg pasta from southern Germany) served with black truffle, crispy onion, and mountain cheese from Algovia, or the Labskaus (typical of northern Germany) in a version with canned meat, beets, and caviar Aki produced in Hamburg since 1925. Then there are the Maultaschen (Swabian stuffed pasta) on Sühring's table, becoming a small side for grilled blue lobster served with pumpkin, chestnuts, and clams, or the Chardonnay vinegar with honey and vanilla directly from Doktorenhof in Venningen, north of Stuttgart.

The vinegar is served as a pairing, in a small glass with a long stem, along with the Enleta, a homemade duck liver bar presented between two crispy hazelnut wafers. In reality, the dish is a nod to the renowned German chocolate bar called Hanuta, a childhood memory of the chefs. This memory harks back to the grandmother's kitchen of the Sühring twins, born in 1977 in East Berlin.

Thomas e Mathias Sührin

The chefs, with significant European work experiences (under the guidance of Michelin-starred chefs such as Sven Elverfeld at Aqua, Jonnie Boer at De Librije, and Heinz Beck at La Pergola), spent their summers in Klein-Briesen, near Eisenhüttenstadt an hour's drive from Berlin. Here, their grandmother (whose handwritten recipe book is still kept at the restaurant) grew fruits and vegetables, raised ducks, chickens, and pigs, and served food prepared at home, such as strawberry cake, sausages, or chicken fricassee. It was during these summers that the twins were introduced to old-school cooking techniques, such as fermentation, pickling, smoking, drying, and aging, still rooted in German tradition today. Arriving in Bangkok in 2008 to stay for a couple of years and get to know the local culture, they never left.

In 2016, they opened the Sühring restaurant, married local women, and definitively chose Thailand as their home. "When we decided to open," they explain, "we invested all our money in the restaurant. We wanted, and still do, to bring people into our home, let them discover family recipes, and make them familiar with our homeland." Thus, dishes like "Hackerle style" mackerel with eggs, sturgeon eggs, and leeks or bread reminiscent of German taste and love for baking are born. "Made with a sourdough starter from 2015," explains French manager Sinbad Leguen, who works with the Sühring brothers, "the bread is naturally leavened and prepared with whole grains. Also made in pretzel form, it is served with homemade sour cream butter imported from Oldenburg."

Then there's the duck, aged for ten days and served with cocoa gruè, Swedish turnip, and persimmons, or the local cheese fondue (produced by the Goat Farm in Nakhon Pathom, never leaving Thailand) served with truffles and fortified wine, and the Sühring brothers' version of the Black Forest with dark chocolate, vanilla, and cherries. The non-alcoholic pairing is also interesting, with options like apple, celery, and quince oolong tea or apricot, hazelnut, lemongrass, and yuzu.

"Our clientele is predominantly Asian," add the Sühring twins, "but since we arrived in Bangkok, we have seen things change substantially. At the beginning, there was only street food, and working with local producers was almost non-existent: we struggled a lot to build relationships, while today, many European chefs are opening in the city. Just think of Björn Frantzén, Andreas Caminada, or Alain Ducasse. Nowadays, people travel around the world to eat, and what is happening here is truly exciting."

Sühring - Thailandia - Bangkok - 10 Soi Yen Akat 3, Chong Nonsi - +66 2 107 2777 -

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