Here are the top spots for when you just need a comforting bowl of khao tom pla (soft-boiled rice with fish).

Siang Ki Khao Tom Pla

For almost a hundred years, Siang Ki has built a reputation for its scrumptious khao tom pla (B250). Although located in a hidden part of Yaowarat, it still attracts large crowds hankering for a taste of this delicious fish dish. The owners claim that their rice soup recipe originated from ancient China where it was a preserve of the wealthy. The porridge is made from fresh pla jaramed (pomfret fish) with condiments like fresh oyster, fish maw and bateng (fried streaky pork with soy sauce). The tenderness and freshness of the fish cooked in the old-school style is so impressive that you’ll want to make the trek out here time and time again.
54 Soi Bamrungrat, Yaowarat Rd., 02-224-3600. Open daily 4pm-10pm (except last Sunday of every month)

Khao Tom Pla Suan Ruen

For two generations now, Suan Ruen has been serving tasty fare like spicy fish salad, fish tomyam and, of course, khao tom pla krapong (sea bass, B60). The dish here is cooked with tender fresh chunks of fish, the mellow soup brimming with dried shrimp and fried sliced fish tofu and bean curd sauce. For a balanced meal, the recommended accompaniment is the boiled seafood selections (B100) with spicy seafood dipping sauce.
Near Dusit Post office, Ratchasima Rd. (near Yaek Ruamjit), 02-241-7763, 081-924-8004. Open daily 5pm-midnight

Hor Khao Tom Pla

The reason there’s so many good khao tom pla joints in this area is probably because the Saphan Pla (fish market) is right nearby. The owner of Hor Khao Tom Pla (aka Khao Tom Gim Po), Krit Panyawisutthikul, told us that he got his recipe from his father and it’s been in the family for more than 70 years. The soup might not be as powerful as others, but the fish (tao toey, seabass, and grouper) are certainly well selected and the powerful sauce takes it to another level. The stock is made from pork bone, fish and shrimp head resulting in a delicious natural sweetness with no added MSG. Be prepared to battle it out for a parking spot with the endless stream of Mercedes dropping off hisos in the know to eat here.
1897 Charoenkrung Soi 73, 02-675-2598, 084-010-3424. Open daily 6pm-midnight

Hia Waan

Located on the busy Chan Road, Hia Wann might not be a centuries-old institution but nothing beats the size of the seafood it has to offer. The fish, shrimp and squid—they all seem to come from another planet they’re so huge, meaning you certainly get your money’s worth. With their khao tom, the broth is well-balanced, slightly peppery and with no hint of fishy smell. The must-have, though? It might seem strange to say it, but the tomyam is the real star dish here—super yummy.
Chan Rd. (in front of Soi 32/2), 02-211-0829. Open daily 5pm-midnight

Asia Khao Tom Pla

Even when you hear of something tasty across the river, it can still take some convincing to go check it out. Rest assured, though, the khao tom here is worth the effort. The dish can be had with seabass and grouper (B70), both delightfully chunky and naturally sweet. The bean curd sauce is amazingly well-prepared with no hint of fake lime juice, while the chili adds a nice edge. Do order the yam talay (seafood in spicy salad, B120), too, as it comes with very tasty bateng (fried streaky pork with soy sauce).
Suksawat Soi 1/1, 089-141-7485. Open daily 5pm-1am

Q&A: Jannipa ‘Houy’ Chokevichitkul, 66, owner of Hia Waan, talks about her khao tom pla

Where did you get the recipe?
It’s our home recipe. Usually we make khao tom pla at home every weekend. We’re one big family that love to cook and eat together. I sold ped palo (braised duck) for about 60 years before I decided to do this. I just got bored doing the duck and it’s a dish that people would eat mostly on festivals but the khao tom pla is an everyday dish.

Don’t you regret not selling ped palo anymore?
I loved it. It was yummy and our customers still ask about it. But you know, people can always start something new. And the khao tom pla business is going great. I enjoy what I do. I love what I cook. And my family supports me a lot in everything.

What makes your khao tom pla delicious?
Maybe the broth. We use the pork and chicken bone together with the Chinese parsley and garlic and boil it from 9am to 5pm to get the full flavor from it. Always cook daily, otherwise, it won’t be as good.

What about the ingredients?
They’re the most important thing. We get most of the fish from Mahachai market from a supplier. But the fish needs to be fresh and weigh roughly 10-14 kilos.


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Rub shoulders with university students along historical Tha Prachan Road, a top spot for affordable and delicious street eats.

1.) New Yong Hua Pochana (B35)

This legend of Tha Prachan has been around for exactly 50 years, but few would recognize its real name as it’s usually just called “guay tiew ped Tha Prachan.” A real favorite among locals, the friendly third-gen owners are renowned for whipping up super-tender roast duck. The dipping sauce is, of course, their secret, but one thing we noticed is that they squeeze the grease out of the duck into the sauce from time to time, which makes it a really decadent delight. The owners don’t mind if you ask for more, too.
081-330-3223. Open daily 8am-5pm

2.) Mitr Pochana (B60)

It’s a steamy, seedy backdrop with smells wafting in from all sides—not all of them pleasant. But having to wash your hair after a visit to Mit Pochana is a small price to pay for their tender, juicy beef and intestines. We’re not sure about this old institution’s hygiene but they do a pretty mean beef stock that goes very well with the rice.
081-832-2059. Open daily 7am-5:30pm

3.) Gai Tord (B35 for 100g)

The stall that never stops frying. Choose the chicken wings, peppery and powerful, or the fatty pork, perfectly fried. Or both. Everything here is lovely and garlicky, and very, very juicy. Make sure to dip liberally into the namjim jeaw (dipping sauce) which is totally tasty and saep.
Open daily 8am-6pm

4.) Aroi (B20 for small)

Around since before the mega-popular After You, this little factory-like place gets big queues for its kanom pung ob (baked bread with butter) every day. Crispy, non-greasy and not overly sweet, this lovely snack is actually sold in some supermarkets, too.
02-221-2252. Open daily 7am-7pm

5.) Nai Chart (B25 for 100g)

A relatively new arrival to the neighborhood, visitors to Tha Prachan need to get their hands on the superb tord mun pla muek (squid fishcake) served here—wonderfully balanced thanks to aromatic herbs like kra chai (aromatic ginger). It’s made bit by bit so you’re assured its fresh whenever you drop by. With generous portions and perfect frying, this is one powerful tord mun.
Open Mon-Sat 7am-5pm

6.) Roong Kasem

Among the offerings at this shophouse, the best is definitely the tomyam (B120) whose recipe has been in the family for generations. The soup shines thanks to its shrimp head fat which makes it rich and creamy, almost as if milk has been added. We recommend you have it with pla pad kuen chai (stir-fried sea bass with vegetables, B100). The grandma explained to us that what makes it so great is the use of a charcoal stove which gives the soup a bit of a smoky quality. Do call ahead for availability, though, as it runs out pretty fast.
02-221-4536. Open daily 12-7pm

7.) Mae Som Tawin (B30)

If you’re after some Southern fare, the khao gaeng (side dishes) here are quite average, but the watery gaeng tai pla (Southern curry with fish) does stand out. The owner added a few of her own twists to the recipe, including liberal use of kapi (shrimp paste). The mackerel fish is also of a very high quality.
02-623-5762. Open Mon-Sat 7am-2:30pm 


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Khao chae is a seasonal summer dish which sees rice in iced jasmine scented water and various elaborately prepared dishes.

Baan Mae Yui

An institution of the Ari neighborhood, we wish Baan Mae Yui was right next to our office due to its wonderful lunchtime single dishes. But when summer hits, we want nothing more than their khao chae (B200), whose recipe has its origins in Ayutthaya. We particularly like their shredded sweet pork and crispy fish skin—addictive and not greasy at all.
53/1 Soi Ari-Samphan 1, Phaholyothin Rd., 02-619-9952. Open daily 10am-9pm

Khao Chae Mae Tong Yod

Here’s something a bit different. Take a trek out to Koh Kred to sample the Mon take on khao chae. According to this stall’s owner, who uses a generations-old family recipe, the best time to visit is during Songkran when the local community shows off their myriad khao chae recipes, which are all slightly different from one other.
Koh Kred, in front of Wat Poramaiyikawas School, 084-543-5411. Open Sat-Sun and holidays 10am-5pm

Khao Chae Raan Pa Tib

The sweet grandma here, Uthai Panyakun, sells khao chae (B170) out of her home. Her recipe is the same as the one used at Than Ying. The owner says she used to work in the kitchen of Queen Rambhai Barni, so you can be sure she pays close attention to detail. The kapi is sourced from either Chantaburi or from the South to get the best aroma. Thankfully grandma is now teaching the recipe to her nephew. Do call ahead to check availability.
Call (one day in advance) and pick up at Coutier Club Bldg. (next to Sukhothai Palace), Samsen Rd., 02-241-3188. Open daily 9am-6pm

Lai Rod

Lai Rod is a more central option and their khao chae is delicious. While the fine ingredients (like the sweet fish) shine, it’s the overall aroma of the khao chae that brings people back time and time again. They also claim that the rice is cooked in the traditional way here (using a charcoal stove)—with the added bonus that they serve the dish (B220) all year round.
120/4-5 Sukhumvit Soi 49, 02-391-3193. Open daily 11am–10pm

Than Ying

The recipe here was created by M.C. Sulapwanleng Wisuthi during Rama VII’s reign. The Sukhothai Palace variation has five side dishes (B295): luk kapi (deep-fried shrimp paste balls), hom tord (deep fried shallots), prik yuak yud sai moo (green chili pepper stuffed with minced pork), chai pow pad khai (stir-fried dry turnip with egg) and neua wan (shredded sweet meat). The most popular is the luk kapi which the owners carefully select from Chantaburi only. Of course, this being a royal recipe, it comes with lovely presentation, too.
10 Soi Pramuan, Silom Rd., 02-236-4361. Open daily 11:30am-10pm (khao chae available at lunch time only)


This Thai restaurant is probably best known for its khao chae recipe. Cool down with the refreshing jasmine-scented rice (as opposed to the more common candle smoked variety) before rolling up your sleeves and tucking into our fave, the nung pra kem chub numtan (salty fish skin mixed with sugar, B250), which goes particularly well with the khai daeng khem (salted egg yolk).
27 Pramual Rd., 02-238-4002. Open daily Mon-Sat 8am-6pm; Sun 8am-3pm


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