This long-running Thai comfort food establishment is regularly packed with large groups of business people, families, friends and even couples. It’s clear the owners are quite set in their ways, from the plain 70s-80s restaurant design of white walls, brown bricks and wood, to the long, long menu of Thai and Western comfort dishes.
But familiarity breeds complacency. Despite good produce, the execution has been severely lacking on our recent visits. This is evident in the gloopy stir-fried crabmeat with yellow curry powder (market price, starting at B320), in which we can barely taste any curry, or crab, just the starchy sauce. The deep fried appetizers are a similar disappointment, like the tod man pla (B170), which is just too greasy and soggy despite a decent level of spiciness. The ajard dip does not really cut through the fat, either. Another greasy dish, the fried chicken wrapped in pandan leaves (B170) is moist and juicy, but just a tad salty from the long marinating process. We feel it could have used a hint of sweetness and turmeric to balance the flavor.
Overcooking is another issue here; the deep-fried grouper (market price, around B430), though crispy on the outside, is dry on the inside. The same applies to the freshwater prawns with bean noodles (market price, around B350), in which the expected peppery and gingery flavors did not shine through. Despite the prawn being a tad overcooked, we did enjoy the scrumptious fat of the prawn’s head.
These complaints aside, Thon Krueng still rolls back the years to pull out some well-balanced dishes. The beef green curry (B150) is fresh, fragrant and velvety without being too spicy. Likewise, the spicy wing bean salad (B140) combines springy prawns with a sweet and spicy coconut milk dressing with just the right amount of lime juice. The stir-fried bitter melon leaves (B120), too, are crisp and fresh, with a nice smokiness from the wok technique. You’ll need plenty of rice, though, as it’s quite salty on its own.
If you want old-school Thai food at reasonable prices, served up in a nostalgic ambience, then Thon Krueng may hit the spot; but if you want anything more, just go across the road to Supanniga Eating Room