Located across the river, the Chinese restaurant Charoenthai boasts that they’ve been cooking up their Szechuan suki for 40 years. Once you’ve tasted their big hot pot you can see the reason for their longevity. The venue is a shophouse but, despite it being packed with staffs, service is pretty slow—so you’ll need plenty of patience. But when your order does finally arrive it makes the wait worthwhile.
The star dish is undoubtedly the suki (B380 for seafood, beef, pork or meatballs), which comes with the interesting extras of Chinese herbal sauce, plus chicken and duck egg. Surprisingly, the addition of the eggs creates a better balance of flavors and you get a really strong aroma from the duck egg when it is boiled in the broth. It makes the dish very comforting and rich, while the dipping sauce, too, is well balanced and tangy—a great companion.
Aside from this flagship, the glossy menu is comprised of a seemingly never-ending list of dishes covering everything from stir-fries to soup. They demonstrate some decent frying techniques with their pad pak (stir-fried vegetables with shrimp, B90), which serves up vegetables that are naturally sweet with a wonderful crunchy exterior—the aroma of the toasted mushrooms are an added bonus.
The stir-fried crabmeat with curry powder (B300) is a little bit more problematic due to its pedestrian flavors, which are overly sweet and taste a little as if they are made from cheap curry powder. We would say opt for the fish in the gaeng jued si chuan chai (soup with pickled vegetables and seabass, B180) instead, which is very soothing and satisfying thanks to its fresh fish and delicious salty and sour pickles, despite being more peppery than usual variants of this dish.
While some dishes are best avoided it’s still pretty clear why the space in front of Charoenthai is packed with cars and why the crowds of families dining here are spilling out onto the street. The food is decent and the quality is good value considering the low prices.
|Address:||Charoenthai, 113 Lad Ya Soi 16, Bangkok, Thailand|
|Price Range:||B - BB|
|Opening hours:||daily 10am-10:30pm|
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