Soei just screams madness, from the erratic service to the often fiery dishes. For starters, the modest open-air restaurant, sat right beside Samsen Train Station, is always busy as hell come dinnertime. Should you turn up between 5pm and 9pm, expect a lengthy wait with nothing but a glass of water on your table. On our last visit, the staff told us we would have to sit around for up to two hours to get our meal—a frankly frightening prospect. But it was just about worth it in the end. The tom yam platoo (fresh mackerel in spicy lime soup, B100-150) is superb. Although the soup looks a little pale on the surface, it’s actually brimming with chili and spices. It’s the sort of overwhelmingly flavorful dish you might expect to find in your mama’s kitchen, not in a restaurant—and it goes some way to explaining Soei’s strong appeal. In fact, before opening shop, owner and chef Soei honed his craft by cooking for his friends whenever they threw a party. His signature gung chae nam pla (shrimp in fish sauce, B70) is another favorite that will blow you away, and not just because the special fish sauce contains wasabi. Just be warned, this is seriously hot stuff. The shu shee platoo tod (fried mackerel in fresh coconut curry, B90) strikes more of a balance between salt and spice, while the deep-fried seabass with fish sauce (B300) is another tasty option, as the sweet fish meat goes really well with the light dipping sauce. Not all dishes fare quite so well. The kraprao nuea nong lai (stir-fried beef with basil leaves, B70) and hoi talab pad cha (fried clams in herbal spicy sauce, B70) aren’t the most memorable, but are at least derived from authentic recipes rather than altered to cater for Bangkokians’ love of a sugar-rush. But if you want something extra-special, the kaem platoo tod (deep fried mackerel head, B70) is a must. You need to call ahead to reserve this famous dish, because they serve only 8 to 10 per day. If it’s full-flavored food you’re after, Soei is a real gem. But the pay-off for that is a reputation that can leave you facing a frustrating wait to be fed. Oh, and portions are small so you had better order enough food from the get-go. No corkage charge.
|Address:||Soei, Samsen Train Station, Kamphaeng Phet, Bangkok, Thailand|
|Opening hours:||Sun-Fri 11am-10pm|
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