Krua Khun Kung
Nestled in a strange location right across from the Grand Palace, Krua Khun Kung is doing Thai favorites in a setting that resembles an old conference room. Seat yourself inside if you don’t mind the prospect of dealing with middle-aged karaoke warbling and kids running all over the place. But the deck outside tends to be more peaceful and here you get to buy the grilled squid straight off the boat, too. The ambience is far from hip and chic—it’s more like a clubhouse where your uncle might get together with friends; fitting as Krua Khun Kung does sit in the Navy Club. The menu is classic Thai, with the undoubted highlight being the Eastern dish gai baan tom rakum (free-range chicken in spicy soup with salacca, B110). The refreshing light sourness and aroma of the rakum fruit results in a delightful broth, while the chicken meat is dense, nicely chewy and naturally sweet. The yam cha-om tord (spicy salad with deep-fried acacia leaves, B100) is wonderfully cooked, with no grease at all. The pleasant aroma of the cha-om is balanced by the flavors that come from the little pieces of shallots and garlic. It’s nothing extraordinary, but it’s a very crispy, comforting and addictive option. The pla chon lui suan (steamed catfish, B230), however, turns out to be a pedestrian dish, lacking overall taste. While reasonably fresh, it was very dry on our last visit. Similarly, we wish the cooks would add more seasoning to their poo nuea ob woon sen (steamed crab with rice vermicelli, B750), as its flavor is just bland. It’s unfortunate because the crab itself is actually very impressive—fresh and of a size you rarely see for only B750. At the end of the day, though, Krua Khun Kung might not be very inspiring, but it works pretty well for big families looking for a cheerful riverside vibe and some solid dishes—you just need to know which ones to order. Corkage is ridiculously cheap, too. Corkage charge B30.