Chula may be demolishing old buildings left, right and center but shopowners (and our taste buds) won’t let go.
Suan Luang and Sam Yam Markets have now been razed to the ground, as part of Chula’s development plans. Long-time food vendors have lost their original spots and, now that parking has gone, a good chunk of clientele. Still, many famous vendors are persevering, and here we round up some long-time favorites.
1) Pheng Pochana
Chula Soi 20, Suang Luang Market. Open daily 3-11pm, 081-899-2173
Just across the street from the demolished market, Pheng Pochana has long been famed for its gway tiew khua kai, which they do with several variations ranging from just chicken and pickled squid (B30) to taro (B40). They have the technique of dry-frying the noodles and lightly charring them down to an exact science, plus their pickled squid are chewy without being too chewy and have just the right amount of fishy flavor. We also like their preparation of the egg, which is lightly scrambled and set on top of the noodles, not mixed in. Watch out for the inexplicably mean manager lady, though.
2) Seng Sim Ee
Chula Soi 5, Suan Luang Market, 02-214-0612.
Open daily noon-midnight
Around for several generations, Sing Sem Ee has been the go-to nam khaeng sai (Chinese shaved ice and syrup dessert) place for Chula kids and neighborhood enthusiasts. While the recent changes to the area have meant a slight dip in customers, the place is still full to the brim most nights, necessitating table-sharing. If you’re anything like us, cover your head, duck and run past the bees swarming the dazzling display of over twenty sweet toppings out front to reach the safety of the back room. Here you can enjoy the range of rice flour balls, pickled plums, glass noodles, balls of ice and more. Prices for a bowl range from B20-40.
3) Paw Pang Ping
168, Chula Soi 5, Suan Luang Market, 084-911-8896.
Open daily 10:30am-10:30pm
This famous grilled bread (khanom pang ping) cart had been sat outside Sam Yan until the demolition. Now it has moved across the street, conveniently next to Sing Sem Ee, where it now has to stay open longer to break even, due to the diminished customer base. The shopfront grill operation lures you in with its range of toppings, including more pricey ones like coconut paste (B30) and ice shavings (B30). Most range from B15-18, though, and they also do Thai iced tea and related drinks. If you’re lucky, you might also spot the cute cat in the dining room.
4) Rad Na kiang empire
Corner of Chula sois 20 and 5, 089-771-8131.
Open daily 11:30am-11pm
At the corner of the two sois, diagonally across from a bua loy cart and flanked by moo daeng stalls, is a little shophouse that specializes in pad see ew and rad na (B30-40). Not much more to say, except that the special, marinated kiang recipe is delicious, especially the rad na broth which is slightly gelatinous and porky, and that the outdoor seating on the corner gives a really nice, wide angle vantage point for people watching in the evening.
5) Khao Moo Daeng Nakhon Pathom
206, Chula Soi 50, 02-215-4354. Open 5am-3:30pm
Many of the food vendors from the now-demolished Sam Yan Market have been moved to this little soi, flanked on both sides by two-story shophouses. This moo daeng (red pork) place proudly says on its sign “the old face of Sam Yan” and dishes up a very generous B30 plate of rice with moo daeng, moo krob (crispy, three-layered pork) and Chinese sausage. Tea and ice are free—that’s old school hospitality.
6) Khao Man Kai Sam Yan
234, Chula Soi 50, 089-007-4585. Open daily 7am-5:30pm
Further down the street is the new home of a forty-year-old khao man kai (Haianese chicken rice) stall from Sam Yan Market. We like the cute little shophouse with its pale green walls, the long mirror and the odd combination of old wooden booths on one side and metal tables with plastic stools on the other. In addition to khao man kai (B30-40), they also do a mean gway tiew ped (duck noodles, B30-40).