No noodle dish is as colorful as the famous yen ta fo with its pinkish-red pickled bean curd. Like many other Thai dishes, it draws inspiration from China and can be found served in roadside stalls and small shops and restaurants throughout Bangkok. Here are our five favorite places to enjoy this distinctive dish.
8 Pan Rd., Silom Rd., 02-236-4393. Open Mon-Sat 10am-4pm
Stroll past Wat Kaek (Sri Mahamariamman Temple) and its marigold garland stalls and you will find an old restaurant on Pan Rd., named simply Yen Ta Fo Wat Kaek. The shop looks charming, with its wooden tables and chairs just begging you take a seat. Their yen ta fo (B30-40) is simply delicious, so there’s no need for extra seasoning. The noodles and the squid are soft and tender. Even the swamp cabbage is just the right consistency. Other items worth trying are the well-portioned meatballs and fried tofu. They also sell stewed pork knuckle with rice (B30-40), fermented rice flour noodles with chicken curry and nam-yaa, salad kaek and spring rolls (B25 each).
Yen Ta Fo JC
Sala Daeng Soi 2, behind Silom Complex, 081-919-1233 or 081-814-9547. Open Mon-Sat 6-9:20am, 10am-1:30pm
A landmark for St. Joseph Convent students and office types alike, Yen Ta Fo JC, located behind Central Silom Complex, serves Silom’s most demanding yen ta fo lovers. Ignore the cook rudely belting out orders to the staff, the queue for a table and the parking lot backdrop, and slurp up some amazing crispy squid in a slightly spicy broth. This shop is strictly dedicated to yen ta fo, but you do have the option of choosing your noodles. If you think you might be hungry even after your first bowl (B40-45), make sure to order two at the same time, as the wait time here is quite long. Affordable prices and fantastic noodles make it worth it.
Ton Yen Ta Fo Kung Tod
89/3 Lad Phrao Soi 71, 081-3157-311. Open daily 8:30am-4:30pm. Closed every 2nd and 4nd Wednesday of the month
Already on its second generation of ownership, this heritage yen ta fo shop has been serving Lad Phrao’s residents for nine years. The owner runs a tight ship and all the ingredients are laid out systematically for diners to view, as their bowls are prepared. This may be the most tidy noodle kitchen we’ve ever seen. The yen ta fo is served with crispy fried shrimp and toasted taro (B35-40), a yummy combination you won’t find anywhere else.
Between Sukhumvit 55-57, BTS Thong Lo, 02-391-0043. Open daily 7am-4pm
Walking towards Soi Thong Lor from the BTS station, you’ll spot this reputable and pocket-friendly establishment. This shop isn’t the best yen ta fo we’ve had, but it sure doesn’t skimp on the ingredients. You’ll receive more than a fair share of vegetables, chunky fish balls and fried tofu in every bowl. Prices start from B40 to 50. The friendly owner proudly claims that he has been running this same shop for over ten years and the friendly service makes up for the slightly average taste.
Yen Ta Fo Pa Sena
Entrance of Soi Senaniwej 105, Senanikhom Rd., 084-6233-330. Open daily 8am-4pm
Positioned at the mouth of Soi Senaniwej 105, this shop has been a hit for over a decade. The décor is barebones as can be, but what makes it unique is the special daily fresh homemade orange sticky yen ta fo sauce served with their signature dish. They not only serve original yen ta fo, but also yen ta fo tom yam manow, which is a bit more tart and spicy thanks to the lemony tom yam flavor. Priced B30-40, the dishes can be complemented by snacking on the delicious fried shrimp balls delivered daily by the owner’s relative. By Rattikarn Suwithayaphan, Nuchanat Prathumsuwan and Sritala Dhanasarnsombut