As long as you don’t let the name fool you into expecting northern Thai cuisine, Fai Kham is a great little gem in the suburbs that’s been offering up solid standards for decades. Because of their location on Bangna-Trad Road, they tend to get pretty busy with an after work dinner crowd looking for a comforting meal before heading home. It’s also a pretty comforting ambience: a two-story structure held up by pillars and open to the elements on four sides, surrounded by a dense garden. The menu comes with pictures on every page, which under normal circumstances would make us turn up our noses, but hey, it’s utilitarian, and the food is good. Chowing on the goong pra ta bong (fried shrimp with mushroom and ham, B150), with its Khmer recipe and name, is a far more constructive way, we think, to work out our border issues with Cambodia. The dish is done well with a crispy flour batter encasing the shrimps, and the accompanying buay jia (sweet plum) dipping sauce is fabulous. The green curry with salted eggs stuffed in fish balls (B130) is also excellent—full-flavored and with thick curry, though we realize the latter isn’t to everyone’s taste. The dish uses somewhat unusually long eggplants, but they’re cooked to perfection, and the salted eggs don’t overpower the familiar flavor of green curry—a pretty impressive achievement. Still, while we are willing to forgive, Fai Kham falls short occasionally. Both the fried rice with prawn fat and chillies (B70) and the banana flower salad with chicken and prawns (B80) are too bland, though even then, you can’t deny that the ingredients are very good. And if the Thai standards bore you, oddly enough, they do a Thai-style fondue where you get to deep-fry your own meat over a small pot of palm oil before dipping it in suki-style sauce. A platter of mixed seafood fondue puts you out B220—death-defying deep-frying is half the fun. We’ve been to this place a number of times now, and, occasional misfires aside, we’ve been very happy every time.
|Fai Kham, Km. 3 Bangna-Trad, Bangkok, Thailand
|B - BB
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