Genius Bar BKK: Cups Of Collagen-Filled Bone Broth & Healthy Thai Street Food In Bangkok

Last Updated: November 28, 2019

Written by Guest Writer

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Food trends from abroad don’t take long to arrive in Bangkok and that seems to be the case with the first broth cafe in Thailand called Genius Bar. The owners also claim that it’s the first in Asia!

A broth bar, for the uninitiated, serves broth cooked from stock made with grass-fed and organic meat, with mushroom broth options for herbivores. 

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Genius Bar is located inside Eight Thonglor mall in Soi Sukhumvit 55, in the swanky Thonglor downtown area. The “bar” is a cosy, greenhouse-like structure on the lower ground (LG) floor of the building. 

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And here’s some good news for health junkies—the business is run by a certified health coach, Chinese-Canadian Darren Liu and his Thai fiance, Kat Thongpeng. The couple, who look to be in the prime of health, take pride in sipping multiple cups of broth and eating the menu’s healthy Thai street food dishes.

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There are four broths on offer: Beef, Chicken, Mushroom and a mixture of all three called the Genius Broth. A small size (like a coffee cup’s worth) will cost you THB135, but you can get double the amount for THB175.

Cilantro, garlic, ginger, or turmeric can be added for THB15 each.

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By far the most popular stock is the Beef one, which Darren says gets you the most “bang for your buck” since it’s made from grass-fed beef bones and has a large amount of collagen.

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The broth was light and free of excess oil, and the extra add-ins of turmeric and cilantro really gave it zest and pulp. 

Darren himself drinks four cups a day since they pack quite a protein punch and are only 30 calories for a small glass, 60 for a large. None of the broths has processed ingredients or MSG, and each mixture is simmered for 18 hours. 

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Darren explained that in Southeast Asia, collagen marketing is everywhere, encouraging people to buy creams, pills, even jellies—but they aren’t absorbable in many forms.

The only way to get collagen to strengthen one’s hair, skin, and nails, he asserts, is via animal products. And the best way to absorb collagen? Through easily-digested broth.

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We also tried some of the Mushroom Elixir Broth, made from medicinal mushrooms sourced from a farm in Thailand’s northeast. Darren says all the mushrooms used are fresh, not powdered. 

This broth doesn’t have collagen and is suitable for vegans. It contains mushrooms such as cordyceps and lion’s mane, as well as herbs used in Chinese medicine like dong quai and goji berries. 

This really gave it a savoury flavour and it tasted like a much better version of the traditional Chinese liquid medicine that our grandmas sometimes force us to drink. 

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Besides enjoying a cup or two at the space itself, you can also buy hot or frozen broth to bring home, for THB320 per litre. After all, having just one cup once isn’t going to make a world of a difference. 

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Of course, broth isn’t the only thing on the menu. Darren says their healthy versions of Thai street food use pink sea salt and extra-virgin olive oil, and contain no oyster sauce, no soy sauce, and no MSG.

That’s right—street food without MSG.

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“You won’t get heartburn after eating this. I don’t think anyone is making Thai street food using these ingredients,” he said. 

And as a born-and-bred Bangkokian, I can safely say that health-conscious street food is really hard to find, especially ones that can be adapted for keto or paleo diets (unless of course, you make it yourself). If you need any pointers, don’t hesitate to ask Darren for some help. 

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We first tried the popular Pad Kra Pao with grass-fed Australian ground beef (THB170), with an additional fried organic duck egg (THB30).

I’ve personally had krapao countless times, and this was by far the healthiest version. There was a distinct lack of oil or sauce seeping out of the meat, but it was still full of flavour from the basil and chilli, and had a clean, herbal taste. 

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Genius Bar’s version of krapao elevated this fast-casual meal to a guilt-free, yet satisfying one. The free-roaming duck egg was much more delicious than the crispy-fried chicken eggs we are used to and was cooked to perfection. 

Pro tip: If you don’t mind offal, the beef liver option has more protein and nutrition, which Darren recommends. There are also options like chicken breast, chicken hearts and liver. A set meal of a krapao dish with a large cup of broth costs THB300.

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We then tried the Tom Kha Chicken Thigh (THB240) which was foreigner-friendly (read: not spicy) and featured a rich soup of coconut milk with chunks of juicy chicken, sweet red shallots, and a generous amount of oyster mushrooms. 

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However, compared to the krapao, the tom kha was less unique and not as revolutionary in taste. This may be due to the fact that this version still uses herbs similar to those found in other tom kha dishes, such as kaffir lime, lemongrass, galangal, and so on.

Unlike other street-side tom khas however, which are usually full of canned evaporated milk, you can rest assured that this dish won’t flag up on your calorie fitness counter app. The portion was also very generous—we were unable to completely finish the bowl.

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Genius Bar is already drawing a crowd and most customers seem to be expats or tourists who are familiar with the bone broth trend. The inviting space and informal atmosphere should be enough to get more curious folk to find out more.  

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Head down and you’ll be able to have a comfy chat about health with Darren and Kat. Or maybe even try their squat challenge to get a discount on your meal: enjoy THB1 off with each squat you do (50 squats max). 

Being in Genius Bar made me feel like I was treating my body well by rewarding it with good food, broth, and the company of those who really know all about health. These guys are on to something! 

Expected Damage: THB135 – THB400 per pax

*This post was contributed by Nang Linchi, a born-and-bred Bangkokian passionate about showing off the city’s old secrets and new improvements.

Price: $ $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Genius Bar BKK

Eight Thonglor, Level LG, 36 Soi Sukhumvit 55, Klongton Nua, Watthana, Bangkok, Thailand 10110

Our Rating 4/5

Genius Bar BKK

Eight Thonglor, Level LG, 36 Soi Sukhumvit 55, Klongton Nua, Watthana, Bangkok, Thailand 10110

Telephone: -
Operating Hours: 10am - 8pm (Daily)
Telephone: -

Operating Hours: 10am - 8pm (Daily)

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