Our top picks from foodie haven Saphan Lueng, Bangkok
1.) Long Leng/Bae Siang Kung
Rama 4 Rd., Between Chula Soi 7 and 9, across from Sapanlueng Church, Bangkok, 02-611-6338. Open daily 11am-2pm, 5pm-11pm.
This place had been around for 70-80 years under the name of Be Siang Kung, but the second-generation owner has made it catchier, changing it to Long Leng (loud noises). Their fish balls (B3.50) are made with yellowtail fusilier, white fin wolf-herring, and mackerel—all homemade and with no flour added. The result is a fish ball that really tastes of fish with a bouncy texture; and the same goes for their shrimp balls (B3.50). Their fish wontons (B5) are just as exciting, with minced pork thrown in for richness. Fancy something crispy? Try fried swordfish skin (B20), or have it all with their yen ta fo (tofu noodles, B35-40), which is seasoned with ketchup instead of the normal pickled bean curd.
2.) Ros Dee Ded
Rama 4 Rd., Chula Soi 9., Bangkok, 02-611-9826. Open daily 10am-10pm.
After inheriting his father’s business on Rama 4, the son opened another branch at Chula Soi 9. It’s all about the meat here, with options ranging from rice to noodles and hotpot. The rice topped with pork tongue stew (B40) is simply delicious: the pork tongue is well-done and the sauce is delicate. The signature noodles (B40-60) are braised pork and braised beef, sweetened by meat bone soup. The meat is thinly sliced and so perfectly scalded that it practically melts in your mouth. If you want to cook it your own way, then hotpot it is. Get ready for all the premium meat cuts—sirloin, flank, shank, rib eye, chuck, etc. The tip from the owner is to adjust the pot’s temperature by slowly mixing in the soup with the meat in a separate bowl. This way you’ll experience a softer and sweeter meat. Do note that you have to call ahead an hour for the shop to prepare the premium meat.
3.) Kao Ka Moo Lert Ros
Rama 4 Rd., in front of Hong Chai Rice Ltd. Bangkok. Open daily 4pm-midnight.
The menu sounds simple enough—rice topped with stewed pork leg—but we all know how difficult it is to find the perfect kao ka moo. The pork skin is on the fatty side, but that’s why it’s so delicious. The pork is slowly simmered in a brown soy sauce for a sweet, rich taste, and the pickled Chinese cabbage and vinegar make for a perfect balance of sour, sweet, and salty. And if the rice dish (B35-50) isn’t enough, just order an extra plate of it (B70).
4.) Kao-tom-pla Sa-pan-leung
506/2-3, Soi Pranakares, Rama 4 Rd., Bangkok, 084-727-8899. Open daily 5pm-10pm.
Don’t get confused by the big ‘Viroon Ice-cream’ sign in front of the shophouse since there is no hint of ice-cream anywhere nearby. This place is known for its fish boiled rice (B150) that comes with a flavorful sauce on the side. It may seem a little pricey for a bowl of soup, some rice, and some fish, but they make each dish separately, and serve only the freshest fish. No need to worry about scales or bones: just let the fish melt in your mouth—just like eating ice-cream.
5.) Jae Sri
Soi Pra Nakares, Rama 4 Rd., Bangkok, 081-927-7017. Open daily 6pm-10pm.
Jae Sri has been in the business for 30 years, and her secret, she says, is using only the top part of the water mimosa, making her Yum Pak-Krachade (B80, B100) the talk of the town. Apart from her renowned dish, we also recommend the boiled cockles (B100, B150). As for her marketing strategy, you can even find her on Facebook!
6.) Sangkaya Bread by Chai
506/1, Soi Pranakares, Rama 4 Rd., Bangkok, 089-893-5393. Open daily 6pm-midnight.
Warm bread with sangkaya and a hot glass of milk is about as close to a grandmother’s hug as food gets. And that’s exactly who Chai got his recipe from, serving his grandmother’s not-too-sweet, yet very fragrant, sangkaya (B30). And if his specialty doesn’t warm you up, his genuine smile will.
7.) Seng Sim Ee
Rama 4 Rd., Soi Pra Nakares. Bangkok. Open daily 4pm-midnight.
What better way to end your day than seng sim ee (hot and cold Chinese dessert)? It’s sweet but healthy so don’t hesitate to have it at night. A must is ginger syrup served with grains (B35-40) gingko seed and lotus roots. If these sound too organic, try the bean curd, rice flour balls, and glass noodles.