Puangkaew is a satisfying and consistent neighborhood Thai place that doesn’t aim too high and delivers decent meals. Set in a cute, modest house whose façade almost disappears behind thick foliage, the place is always packed at mealtimes with folks from the neighborhood and nearby office workers. The space is divided into two rooms on the first floor, with the majority of tables in a square-tiled, windowed room reminiscent of other living-room-style Thai places. The menu is a list of mostly Thai standards, which they execute to varying degrees of success. Their yam tua ploo is nice and crunchy, and the (slightly runny) sauce manages to escape being too heavy on the coconut. Their curries are suitably thick and herby like the panaeng kai which has tender chicken, though it can sometimes be a tad underseasoned—nothing irredeemable, though. The few ventures away from strict Thai are pretty good, such as their spicy, garlicky and crunchy pla krapong Szechuan (B180) with crispy, non-greasy pieces of fish fillet and a firm dose of black pepper. Some dishes, though, can be insipid and uninspired, like the poh piah duang duen (deep-fried minced shrimp spring roll, B120), which, although expertly fried, can arrive lukewarm, with a plum dipping sauce that’s sweet but little else, or the hor muk hoy (steamed mussel curry, B120) which is just plain rubbery. Other standards are just good enough, like the pak boon fai daeng, which is a huge, decently-balanced dish, though the morning glory is the slightest bit overdone. Or the khao yung with the mini, crunchy rice cake yet sadly runny dip. Still, there are enough dishes here that hit the spot if you care to discover them. And the service is usually lightning fast and we are charmed by their delicious, no-frills desserts like the coconut ice cream and custard with jelly. They certainly help to make Puangkaew a feasible, cheap option for quick lunches when you can’t be bothered to leave the neighborhood. But considering the fact that places with this description are dime a dozen in our fair city, it’s also not worth the trek if you don’t live nearby.
|Puangkaew, 108 Sukhumvit Soi 23, Bangkok, Thailand
|B - BB
|Mon-Fri 10am-1pm, 4-9pm; Sat-Sun 10am-9pm
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