There are still a few aging Thai restaurants stashed away in the quieter side-streets of odd-numbered Sukhumvit that still make food like our grandparents enjoyed. Gedhawa is one of these, although it’s more ageless than aging with its Lanna-style darkwood furniture, hanging fabrics, hanging lanterns and intricate textiles meeting display cases painstakingly filled with several decades’ worth of mini-bottles of booze lifted from minibars and other dubious collectibles. At first glance it resembles a furniture shop—this could be a disaster in the hands of less-skilled decorators—but the owners tastefully pull it off. With only 10 or so tables, plus a couple more outside for smokers and kids who can’t sit still, dining at Gedhawa is a very warm and homey experience. Completing the picture is a kind-hearted aunt-like woman who runs the dining room, and a shy waitress in her student uniform. The menu is an elegant cloth-wrapped book that unfolds, accordian-like, to reveal over 100 dishes handwritten in neat script accompanied by photos glued to the pages. The specialty is Northern food, scrumptious dishes like khao soi and nam prik. We like to begin with one of the round wooden trays filled with traditional appetizers; one with both nam prik ong and nam prik noom is served with pork four ways—dat dieo (dried and fried), nam (fermented sausage), moo yaw (white pork sausage) and Chiang Mai sausage—and an artful arrangement of vegetables. The Northern version of yum som-o is bolder than the more common central version with the addition of crab “juice” and bitter green eggplants. Gedhawa also serves excellent Northern-style laab; one made with fish is especially delicious thanks to the quality of the fish and generous use of herbs and chili-heat. We also give high marks to a curry made with hed top (round brown mushrooms that “pop” when you eat them), chunks of coconut and pork. Don’t worry if you’re not a big fan of Northern food. They also know how to cook a few southern dishes that have perhaps a bit less fire than what is served in Hat Yai but have the right taste, including shrimp pan-fried with sataw beans.
There are still quite a few aging Thai restaurants hidden away on the quieter side-streets of odd-numbered Sukhumvit that make lovely, simple food that you and your family can enjoy. One of these is Gedhawa, though you could argue that its Lanna-style dark wood furniture, hanging tung (fabrics) and other collectibles are more ageless than aging. In fact, at first glance it resembles a furniture shop, a look which could have been a disaster in the hands of less-skilled decorators, but one that the owners tastefully pull off. With only 10 or so tables, plus a couple more outside for smokers and kids who can’t sit still, dining at Gedhawa is a very warm and homey experience. Completing the picture is the kind-hearted aunt-like woman who runs the dining room and a shy waitress in her school uniform. The food is Thai with an emphasis seemingly on Northern dishes, including khao soi (Northern-style noodles in curry with chicken, B85), which here is quite light but pleasant enough when you add in some of their fresh condiments. On the kanom jeen side, their kanom jeen nam ngiew (rice vermicelli in Northern-style soup, B75) might not come with the lovely dok ngiew (dried red cotton tree flowers) in it but the overall taste isn’t bad. We just think that it could be even better with a more generous serving of paste to bring out a stronger, tastier flavor. The kua kae (stir-fried vegetables with chicken, B120), however, is the real deal, tasting like your grandma’s cooking (if she’s Northern, admittedly)—highly aromatic and totally scrumptious. A few other dishes are almost as enjoyable, like the stir-fried eggplant with salted soya bean sauce and sweet basil (B120). The sauce has a very pleasant tang and is not overly salty, going great with rice. On the whole, Gedhawa is a rewarding option in the far-too-limited field of Northern cuisine in Bangkok. It’s unfussy and very cheap, especially considering the lovely flavors on offer. No corkage charge.
|Address:||Gedhawa, 25 Sukhumvit Soi 35, Bangkok, Thailand|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 11am-2pm, 5-10pm|
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