Phỏng vấn: Saimai Nantarat

Ngày 4/4 vừa qua, bartender Saiman Nantarat đến từ Abar Rooftop Bangkok đã có dịp đến Việt Nam để thực hiện một buổi guest shift tại quán the Pi. Câu Chuyện Cocktail đã có dịp được phỏng vấn Saimai về những cảm nhận của cô trong lần ghé thăm Sài Gòn, Việt Nam.

*Bài phỏng vấn được thực hiện vào ngày 4/4/2022*

Q: Good evening Saimai, welcome to Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. How does it feel to be able to travel and to be able to do international guest shifts again after COVID?

A: This is my first guest shift after COVID, so I am very excited and also very nervous. I actually missed my flight yesterday since it’s my first trip after 2 years. I actually arrived this morning. I was so worried that I couldn’t make it because I didn’t prepare enough in terms of the documents in order to get pass airport customs.

Ảnh: Koi Nguyễn

Q: What is your impression of Vietnam so far?

A: I have been to Đà Nẵng 2 years ago, but this is the first time in HCMC. I am surprised that Vietnam is a very multi-cultural place. I feel almost at home, because the 2 cities is kinda similar. There’s a lot of motorbike and fast pace life style.

Q: Regarding your guestshift, what is a must try drink?

A: I will say try everything. I actually brought some cocktails from Abar, where I work. I also brought with me a bottle of Strangers & Sons Gin, distilled in Goa, India since I also work part time as a Brand Ambassador for the Gin as well.

Q: What are the top 5 bars that you recommend people to visit if they come to Bangkok?

A: It’s really hard to choose, since Bangkok have alot of great bars and all of them are pretty much close to each other. I have to say my top 5 are:

1/ Messenger Service Bar – The owner are not even from the F&B industry, but they do all of the research regarding cocktails and food by themselves. Even the industry people in Bangkok were surprised because they can pull of alot of amazing creations.

2/ Thaipioka – Very rustic atmosphere but alot of interesting flavour with fruits, tea, wine incorporated into their cocktails.

3/ Bar Scofflaws – The venue takes its name from the cocktail that originated in France back in 1924, in the days of Prohibition when there was a movement to “scoff” at the law banning alcohol. It reflects the restrictive mandates regarding alcohol consumption in Thailand in this current pandemic.

4/ Abar Rooftop – This is where I work. I will say we are proud to have one of the biggest Gin collection in Bangkok and we always do alot of seasonal change to the menu as well.

5/ Mahaniyom – owned and operate by Ronnaporn Kanivichaporn, who is the Bacardi Legacy champion in 2019 and the World Class Champion of Thailand in 2017. He is a former actor, model but he is self-taught in bartending. Ronnaporn also have a few other bars to his name such as Locker Room and Backstage.

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Q: What is a “must try” cocktail for you when you visit a new bar?

A: Anything with Gin. It also relates to the fact that I worked as Brand Ambassador for the Stranger & Sons Gin, so if I go to any bar in Bangkok, bartenders will just automatically serve me a drink made with that Gin.

Ảnh: Koi Nguyễn

Q: If you have to describe the hospitality scene in Bangkok or Thailand in one sentence, what would it be?

A: I will say it in one word: “Incredible”. I would strongly recommend everyone to come and experience it by themselves so they could see it in their own eyes. Overall it’s pretty amazing and everyone is super friendly. Thai people are very hospitable, very much the same as Vietnam, I believed.

Thank you so much for the interview, I really do hope we will meet again at some point in the future and I wish you enjoy your time in Vietnam.

Ảnh: Koi Nguyễn

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