Som Tam & Chardonnay
In a bright, elegant space combining white marble and slate gray, Som Tam & Chardonnay offers variations of the spicy papaya salad staple alongside a number of wines and beers to cool off the heat. We recommend the classic Thai-style (crispy shrimp, long beans and tomatoes, B250) and the creative pu-nim plara (B280)—green papaya salad with Thai anchovies and lightly fried soft shell crabs. Choose between wine-pairing options like Cranswick Estate Chardonnay 2014 (B295/glass, B1,420/bottle), or a small bottle of Singha for B150.
88/333 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor), 020-909-052. Open daily 5:45am-11pm. BTS Thong Lo
Always fenced by a long queue of Asian tourists and young locals, this restaurant serves quality Isaan food in a casual setting. The menu covers various kinds of somtam, as well as other Northeastern favorites. But the crowds mostly come for the fried chicken (B98/B130), which is beautifully marinated and comes out with perfectly crispy skin, and somtam nua (papaya salad with seafood, B75) which boasts various toppings like Northern sausages and rice noodles. Wash it all down with a Singha for B120.
392/14-15 Siam Square Soi 5, 02-251-4880. Open daily 10:45am-10pm. BTS Siam
Few places do well-executed Isaan food in a more polished setting than this friendly eatery tucked away from the bustle of Silom Road. Here, restaurateur Thanaruek Laoraowirodge brings the strong, vibrant flavors of his native Khon Kaen to Bangkok, resulting in a parade of somtam, laab and tom saap that rivals anything to be found on the street. Standouts include the tam sua Sakon Nakhon (B65) with freshwater crab and kratin beans. Don’t forget to order a small bottle of Singha beer (B90) to help with the face-melting heat.
5/5 Sala Daeng Rd., 02-632-4499. Open daily 11am-2:30pm, 4:30-10pm.
Nestled in Gaysorn Plaza’s third-floor Food Path, De Tummour boasts a more urban feel with industrial light fixtures and Chinatown-evoking metal shutters joining the usual array of traditional bamboo rice containers. Somtam lovers should opt for the pla ra-heavy tum yok thad (B220), which is packed with (lots of) chilies and comes with 11 sides (from peanuts to salted eggs to rice vermicelli). You can take down the heat with a big bottle of Singha beer for B150.
3/F, Gaysorn Plaza, 999 Phloen Chit Rd., 02-253-8328. Open daily 10am-10pm. BTS Chid Lom
With its aqua blue tones and popping pink tiles, the friendly styling of this Isaan joint makes it a pretty chill spot to unwind and chow down on plates of authentic somtam that rub shoulders with more fusion-y dishes like raw salmon laab (B150). Highlights include somtam super pla ra (papaya salad with rice noodles, salted crabs and extra fermented fish, B110), which really will have you feeling like you’re smack dab in the northeast. For drinks, opt for the Thai tea with chewy grass jelly (B69) or a bottle of Singha beer (B95).
2/F Central Eastville, Pradit Manutham Rd., 02-553-6166. Open 10am- 10pm