BANGKOK RESTAURANT

Foo Mui Kee

Set in a narrow soi that connects Surawong and Silom, this 80-year-old, open-fronted restaurant serves Western dishes with a distinctly Chinese influence. 

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Set in a narrow soi that connects Surawong and Silom, this 80-year-old, open-fronted restaurant serves Western dishes with a distinctly Chinese influence. It’s filled with character and an almost museum-like air thanks to the upright wooden benches, gorgeous vintage fans and the groups of Chinese aunts and uncles that come here to eat. The menu is large, adventurous and affordable, and the occasional flat note is made up for by an atmosphere with heart and history.

Whatever you think about the flavors on offer at this humble restaurant, there’s no arguing with its authenticity. That’s a refreshing change in a city increasingly filled with retro-inspired restaurants that think the odd antique can create atmosphere. Set in a narrow soi that connects Surawong and Silom, the open-fronted Foo Mui Kee is a simple yet charming place. It’s filled with character and an almost museum-like air thanks to the upright wooden benches, gorgeous vintage fans and the groups of Chinese aunts and uncles that come here to eat. The food is equally authentic. One of the few remaining old-school restaurants of its kind, for over 80 years Foo has been serving up an intriguing blend of recipes cooked with a distinctly Chinese influence. The result is dishes you can’t really find anywhere else, like the delicious beef fillet salad (B140/280): tender slices of beef on a seemingly dull-looking salad that’s given a delightfully refreshing lift by their traditional homemade lime, sugar and vinegar-laden dressing. Or an offering like the poo cha (B80/160), a wonderful mix of crab, egg, mince, onions and more grilled in a crab shell and served with a palate-cleansing pickled cucumber. It’s not the most refined cooking—the steamed rice in a pot (B90), for example, comes with everything from frankfurter sausages and prawns thrown in to the fluffy, slightly crispy rice—but it’s always interesting. How often do you get to eat tender and rich ox tongue stew with frozen peas (B130)? Unfortunately, some dishes can taste a little one-dimensional. The mushroom and crab soup (B90/180) is swimming with both, yet tastes so bland it feels medicinal, while the crab fried with fish maw (B90/180) is equally uninspiring. Perhaps a reason why they have bottles of Worcestershire sauce on every table? Despite these disappointments we’ll definitely be back. The service, which even includes a wet towel at the end of the meal, is efficient and warm. The menu is large, adventurous and affordable. And perhaps best of all, this restaurant is that rare breed, a place with heart and history, and that more than makes up for the occasional flat note.

Venue Details
Address: Foo Mui Kee, 10-12 Prachum Rd., Bangkok, Thailand
Phone: 02-234-6648
Area: Silom
Cuisine: Chinese, Western
Price Range: B
Opening hours: daily 11am-9pm
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