Pojsapakarn (Cook Som Dej)
If you don’t keep up with the foodie blogs or devour local dining guides then you could quite easily walk past this tiny eating spot on Tanao Road without a second glance. Pochsapakhan hides its glorious reputation inside an antiquated double-width shophouse which boasts a proud history that goes all the way back to 1925.
The menu of authentic palace recipes has an equally authentic history. Founder Hong Pawanand used to work in the kitchen of HRH Prince Yugala Dighambara, Prince of Lopburi, who actually named the venue Pojsapakarn, which means the venue of food, when they first opened. That simple name actually does the place a disservice, because while the selection on offer here won’t exactly blow you away, the execution is also pretty unmatched in Bangkok when it comes to achieving that classic balance of sweet, sour, spicy and salty.
Indeed, in a city of bastardized offerings, their unstinting commitment to their original recipes in dishes like gaeng jued look rok (egg sausages in clear soup, B125/150), mee krob (crispy noodle, B125/B150) or saeng-wa (light spicy salad with shrimp, B100) is refreshing. The list of highlights is extremely long but the best dish of the lot must be the mee krob with fresh shrimps whose full flavor is truly amazing. They cook it using traditional techniques with original ingredients such as citron, tamarind and kaffir skin.
They also cook every order from scratch. Pongwaree teelakham (fried seabass with crispy kale and mayonnaise, B150/200), another popular choice here, wins with its sheer simplicity, and the little touches like the tiny pieces of real lime in every drop of mayo, that make it so irresistible. The gaeng liang (spicy vegetable soup, B125) has honest flavors that thankfully avoid the usual Bangkokian obsession for powerful sweetness. Another can’t-miss dish must be the nam prik goong sod (fresh shrimp with shrimp paste, B125) which contains all the essential Thai flavors, all perfectly balanced.
Perversely, the few cons we can drag up really all relate to one of the big charms of the place, its age and authenticity. The dining area is pretty fusty and limited to only around 20 seats, which means it quickly gets packed out. The auntie-led service can also be pretty sluggish when they fill up. And yet, this is all a very small price to pay when you get the chance to experience authentic Thai dishes this well-executed.
|Address:||Pojsapakarn (Cook Som Dej), 443 Tanao Rd. Soi Si Kak Saochingcha, Bangkok, Thailand|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 9:30am-1:30pm; Sat-Sun 10am-8:30pm|
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