khun ying, 55 Sukhumvit Soi 63 (Ekamai), Bangkok, Thailand
Nearest Train:BTS Thong Lo
Opening Hours:daily 11am-11pm
Price Range:BB - BBBB
We’ve all been to those down-home Thai seafood places—you know the kind: open air, save for a roof over your head; a large aquarium in the middle of the dining room and a little trolley with a pail of ice by your table. Khun Ying is simply a tad more expensive and a tad less delicious version. The largely empty dining room and the waitstaff idling together is the first indication that things are a little amiss. The confusing menu with porno-saturated colors and confusing images and numbers is the second. And then the food, while not terrible, does little to improve that sinking feeling. Some of the dishes taste mass-produced, as though no care has been taken. The green curry with chicken, for instance, lacks both depth and intensity of flavor, which is hard to do with a dish made from so many herbs—not too mention the thick layer of oil that tends to visibly separate from the rest of the curry to form a high-tide mark around the circumference of the bowl. Similarly, with the Chinese Kale with oyster sauce, the veggies are crunchy without actually having much body, almost as if they came out of a freezer, and the sauce is more pepper than oyster. It isn’t all so catastrophic as they do handle seafood well. The shrimps in the tom yam kung are large and juicy and far from overcooked—it’s a shame then, that the prik pao Khun Ying uses makes the whole thing more earthy than herby and bright. The pla tod lad prik is quite good, with lots of sweet-spicy-garlicky sauce and a crispy grouper fish. Then again, it’s hard to go wrong with deep-fried stuff, and there are several other places, some in the neighborhood, to have a more comforting, consistent meal for the same price. Coupled with the ambience and service, Khun Ying is only consistent in underwhelming us without being outright bad. On our last visit, we noticed our spirits lifted considerably when we got into a cab and drove away.