We think the continually strong reputation of long-term favourite, Taling Pling, has to be down to the wonderful consistency of its dishes. Set in a quiet, non-descript soi, it’s actually situated in a original wooden house that’s pleasantly bright and contemporary inside thanks to its vivid colored walls. You’ll find its wooden seats packed most nights with a decent mix of Bangkokians and foreign tourists, often making reservations vital. The extensive menu covers all the Thai favorites and a few more intriguing options. Flavors are well-balanced but tend towards mild. The lhon pla kem (salted fish dipping, B130), for example, is a good balance between salty and sweet, even if it isn’t really wow-worthy. The klua gling moo gradook on (Southern style stir-fried baby back ribs with herbs, B150) has the same decent combination of tastes—salty and mild spicy. Their gang kua hed poh (puff ball mushroom curry, B145) is less impressive, lacking proper weight and missing the freshness and aroma of coconut milk. Another less successful dish is the prik king pla duk foo (crispy fried catfish with chili paste, B145). On our last visit, the fried fish had a really horrible, slightly rancid aroma from the cooking oil and was a bit too greasy. Even their recommended dishes falter sometimes, like the tod mun tong muan (fried fishcake with kaffir lime leaves, B140), which is nicely fried with lovely flavors and is not too oily. But our big gripe is that it was served pretty cold on a recent visit, as if it had been prepared in advance. Indeed most of the dishes seem to arrive a few degrees cold, perhaps because the staff is always so busy. We think people forgive such missteps because Taling Ping is so good at walking that fine flavor line on individual dishes—not too salty, not too sweet—pleasing its very mixed clientele. Still, if you’re a hardcore foody, don’t go expecting the very best ingredients, creativity, freshness or any delicacy from Taling Ping. This place is as close as it comes to a sure bet—a simple meal that gives you little cause to complain and won’t cost you the earth.