Thong Lee, Bangkok, Thailand
Opening Hours:daily 9am-8pm
Price Range:B - BB
64/3 Sukhumvit Soi 20, 02-258-1983
Thong Lee is small in size, but big in flavor. Located on the same soi as swanky big names like Koi and Tamarind Café, this unassuming eatery might be easy to miss. First-timers trying to find it can look out for signs for Sabai Sabai or Tamarind—Thong Lee is just a few steps away. There are only five tables, all dressed up in garish plastic tablecloths. Drop by on a hot day, and you will sweat throughout the entire meal since there is no air-con, although there are three ceiling fans swirling overhead. However, despite the humble settings, Thong Lee has been feeding devoted crowds for more than 60 years, and has been given accolades in more than a few local and international publications. The laminated menu features Thai dishes with Chinese touches, and though the presentation is plain, there are a few surprises on the menu. Every dish is delicious and tastes homemade, just like a Thai-Chinese grandma would cook it up. And the prices are wallet-friendly. On weekends, you can order Thong Lee’s “special” braised pork ribs with sauce. The servers in yellow shirts recommend things off the menu for you. Still, the easiest way to go is to order the “five-star” recipes. There are five of them, and fortunately you rarely go wrong with any of these best-selling dishes. The stir-fried minced pork with shrimp paste didn’t look attractive, but it was flavorful with the right balance of sweet and salty flavors. The sweet and sour mee krob was addictive, thanks to the crispy texture and zesty tanginess added by the chopped preserved garlic. Thong Lee also does an impressive job with its stir-fried pork liver with garlic and pepper. A heap of liver was surrounded in a pond of oil, so you might need a tissue or blotting paper to absorb some of it first. But that said, the big slices of liver were perfectly cooked, tender and juicy. If you come with friends, try the Hainanese fried chicken, with its crisp skin and tender meat. The yum het (spicy mixed mushroom salad) was less impressive, as it’s a basic dish you easily can whip up at home. Also, note that there’s no alcohol available and you’re not allowed to bring your own. But you can live without alcohol for one meal, right? Considering the oh-so cheap price you pay for its tasty food, Thong Lee still provides a pleasant dining experience, and you can save your money for drinks and boogying later. Closed on the third Sunday of every month.