Peeling Back Bangkok’s Layers With Onion

One year after finishing university, Bangkok-native Sorasak Chanmantana started what he thought was the beginning of a fruitful career in freelance music production. Out of pure necessity, the budding entrepreneur decided to sell his collection of vintage sunglasses to float his need for expensive production equipment. What he never expected, was the frenzied demand for his stylish accessories.

Thus, his ‘aha’ moment was born. Sorasak began to procure similar vintage styles, sold them online and in 2011, Onion was born. Years of unforeseen success later, Onion is now home to brick and mortar stores across Bangkok that carry international accessory and clothing brands, as well as trendy coffee shops.

I met up with Sorasak, who has an intimidatingly timid and cool aesthetic that makes you want to befriend him instantly. Or at least stand close to him so that some of that cool might rub off on you too. We chatted, I had a mojito, and I introduced him to the theme of our interview: Bangkok contradictions. I wanted to know the good with the bad, the underrated and the overrated, and the secret from the touristy. 

Sorasak (L) and Pin (R), his partner at Onion

What defines ‘good style’ in Bangkok?

Any person who has self-respect and self-esteem, cool sneakers are not necessary.

The worst style trend in Bangkok?

Military Junta.

It’s 1am on a Friday night, where are you?

Cactus Bar in Sathorn with my girlfriend. Or watching a movie at home.

It’s 1pm on a Monday afternoon, where are you?

In the office, having a meeting with the team.

You have five minutes to leave for a spontaneous trip, what three things do you grab?

Laptop, wallet, underwear.

You have five months before a trip, what research do you do to prepare?

The weather for how to dress, the basic culture, where to eat and art museums.

The most underrated restaurant in Bangkok:

Isan Tent around Preedee 43. 

The most overrated restaurant in Bangkok:

Pad Thai Thip Samai.

A hidden gem you don’t want others to find out about?

There is a bar in Ekamai that has no sign at the front door called Rabbit Hole. 

A famous spot that you secretly love?

Ba Hao, the bar there is easy to go to for everyone.

A Bangkok hotel you’ve been dying to go to:

Amdaeng Hotel.

A Bangkok hotel you go to all the time:

Josh Hotel.

Your everyday outfit:

A t-shirt, vest, and cropped pants, mostly straight out from my store Onion and some from Clothiers Ekamai.

We’d never catch you wearing:

Supreme kind of things. Hyped items.

Favorite Thai restaurant:

Baan Mae Yui and Nhong Rim Klong.

Favorite international restaurant:

Mahasarn Teppen and Indigo.

The best gallery in Bangkok:

Bangkok City City Gallery.

The best street art:

Alex Face, he’s done a lot of great street art.

Where is on your travel list? 

Morocco, Mexico City.

Where is not on your travel list? 

Warzones.

Your favorite Bangkok store:

Onion and Brave Roasters.

A Bangkok store you’d be happy if you never walked into again:

Shuu…it’s a secret!

The Onion Bangkok Store
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