Despite the palm oil price crisis, Nuanla-or Sripila, 38, a fried banana street vendor on Convent Road, opposite Saint Joseph Convent, keeps a positive outlook on life and her regular customers on a carb-loaded sugar high with her crispy snacks.

Where are you from originally?
I’m from Roi-ed but I’ve lived in Bangkok for ten years already and consider myself a Bangkokian. I now live with four relatives in a rented house on Soi Phiphat. I work and provide for my father and mother who still live in Roi-ed.

Have you always sold kluay khak (fried bananas)?
No. I sold socks first but the business wasn’t going as well as I would have liked, and I thought food might be more lucrative. So I switched to bananas three years ago. I use one of my friend’s recipes and bought the cart secondhand. I chose selling snacks simply because they’re easy to sell. Almost everybody eats kluay khak. It’s been going quite well actually.

What’s your daily routine?
Every day I wake up at 5am to prepare the ingredients: flour, bananas, sweet potatoes, and taro. I come here at 7am and start cooking. But when school is in session, I have to come here after 8am because there’s traffic from students coming to school, so the police asks us to come later. Almost every day, I’m sold out by around 3-4pm. But if there are not many people on the street, I won’t fry all of my bananas because the remainder can be kept for another day. Every couple of days, I go by tuk-tuk to buy my ingredients at Khlong Toei Market.

How has the palm oil price crisis affected you?
I have had to raise my prices. The price hike has resulted in fewer customers, too. In fact, oil price isn’t the only factor. Coconut, coconut cream, sugar and flour are more expensive as well. I used to sell seven pieces for 10 baht but now it’s four pieces for 10 baht. I know it’s almost 50% less but the ingredient prices have doubled.

Do you have any complaints about Bangkok?
Well, I don’t think there’s anything specific I want to change, but I’m worried that the permission for street stands might be revoked in the near future. We all have our names registered at the district office, yet the authority is pretty strict. The sanitation unit comes quite often to check on the cleanliness and to make sure we use proper containers for our food. The municipal officials come a lot too, but after a recent receipt scandal, I haven’t seen any. Sometimes we have to pay them a little something like a “cleaning fee,” but I don’t want to talk about it. It’s sensitive.

Have you ever dreamed of selling anything or doing something else?
No. I’m satisfied. I’m self-employed. I can work on my own and I enjoy my freedom. Interview by Kanyanun Sanglaw, Nuchanat Prathumsuwan


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No noodle dish is as colorful as the famous yen ta fo with its pinkish-red pickled bean curd. Like many other Thai dishes, it draws inspiration from China and can be found served in roadside stalls and small shops and restaurants throughout Bangkok. Here are our five favorite places to enjoy this distinctive dish.


8 Pan Rd., Silom Rd., 02-236-4393. Open Mon-Sat 10am-4pm
Stroll past Wat Kaek (Sri Mahamariamman Temple) and its marigold garland stalls and you will find an old restaurant on Pan Rd., named simply Yen Ta Fo Wat Kaek. The shop looks charming, with its wooden tables and chairs just begging you take a seat. Their yen ta fo (B30-40) is simply delicious, so there’s no need for extra seasoning. The noodles and the squid are soft and tender. Even the swamp cabbage is just the right consistency. Other items worth trying are the well-portioned meatballs and fried tofu. They also sell stewed pork knuckle with rice (B30-40), fermented rice flour noodles with chicken curry and nam-yaa, salad kaek and spring rolls (B25 each).

Yen Ta Fo JC

Sala Daeng Soi 2, behind Silom Complex, 081-919-1233 or 081-814-9547. Open Mon-Sat 6-9:20am, 10am-1:30pm
A landmark for St. Joseph Convent students and office types alike, Yen Ta Fo JC, located behind Central Silom Complex, serves Silom’s most demanding yen ta fo lovers. Ignore the cook rudely belting out orders to the staff, the queue for a table and the parking lot backdrop, and slurp up some amazing crispy squid in a slightly spicy broth. This shop is strictly dedicated to yen ta fo, but you do have the option of choosing your noodles. If you think you might be hungry even after your first bowl (B40-45), make sure to order two at the same time, as the wait time here is quite long. Affordable prices and fantastic noodles make it worth it.

Ton Yen Ta Fo Kung Tod

89/3 Lad Phrao Soi 71, 081-3157-311. Open daily 8:30am-4:30pm. Closed every 2nd and 4nd Wednesday of the month
Already on its second generation of ownership, this heritage yen ta fo shop has been serving Lad Phrao’s residents for nine years. The owner runs a tight ship and all the ingredients are laid out systematically for diners to view, as their bowls are prepared. This may be the most tidy noodle kitchen we’ve ever seen. The yen ta fo is served with crispy fried shrimp and toasted taro (B35-40), a yummy combination you won’t find anywhere else.


Between Sukhumvit 55-57, BTS Thong Lo, 02-391-0043. Open daily 7am-4pm
Walking towards Soi Thong Lor from the BTS station, you’ll spot this reputable and pocket-friendly establishment. This shop isn’t the best yen ta fo we’ve had, but it sure doesn’t skimp on the ingredients. You’ll receive more than a fair share of vegetables, chunky fish balls and fried tofu in every bowl. Prices start from B40 to 50. The friendly owner proudly claims that he has been running this same shop for over ten years and the friendly service makes up for the slightly average taste.

Yen Ta Fo Pa Sena

Entrance of Soi Senaniwej 105, Senanikhom Rd., 084-6233-330. Open daily 8am-4pm
Positioned at the mouth of Soi Senaniwej 105, this shop has been a hit for over a decade. The décor is barebones as can be, but what makes it unique is the special daily fresh homemade orange sticky yen ta fo sauce served with their signature dish. They not only serve original yen ta fo, but also yen ta fo tom yam manow, which is a bit more tart and spicy thanks to the lemony tom yam flavor. Priced B30-40, the dishes can be complemented by snacking on the delicious fried shrimp balls delivered daily by the owner’s relative. By Rattikarn Suwithayaphan, Nuchanat Prathumsuwan and Sritala Dhanasarnsombut


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Chula may be demolishing old buildings left, right and center but shopowners (and our taste buds) won’t let go.

Suan Luang and Sam Yam Markets have now been razed to the ground, as part of Chula’s development plans. Long-time food vendors have lost their original spots and, now that parking has gone, a good chunk of clientele. Still, many famous vendors are persevering, and here we round up some long-time favorites.

1) Pheng Pochana

Chula Soi 20, Suang Luang Market. Open daily 3-11pm, 081-899-2173
Just across the street from the demolished market, Pheng Pochana has long been famed for its gway tiew khua kai, which they do with several variations ranging from just chicken and pickled squid (B30) to taro (B40). They have the technique of dry-frying the noodles and lightly charring them down to an exact science, plus their pickled squid are chewy without being too chewy and have just the right amount of fishy flavor. We also like their preparation of the egg, which is lightly scrambled and set on top of the noodles, not mixed in. Watch out for the inexplicably mean manager lady, though.

2) Seng Sim Ee

Chula Soi 5, Suan Luang Market, 02-214-0612.
Open daily noon-midnight

Around for several generations, Sing Sem Ee has been the go-to nam khaeng sai (Chinese shaved ice and syrup dessert) place for Chula kids and neighborhood enthusiasts. While the recent changes to the area have meant a slight dip in customers, the place is still full to the brim most nights, necessitating table-sharing. If you’re anything like us, cover your head, duck and run past the bees swarming the dazzling display of over twenty sweet toppings out front to reach the safety of the back room. Here you can enjoy the range of rice flour balls, pickled plums, glass noodles, balls of ice and more. Prices for a bowl range from B20-40.

3) Paw Pang Ping

168, Chula Soi 5, Suan Luang Market, 084-911-8896.
Open daily 10:30am-10:30pm

This famous grilled bread (khanom pang ping) cart had been sat outside Sam Yan until the demolition. Now it has moved across the street, conveniently next to Sing Sem Ee, where it now has to stay open longer to break even, due to the diminished customer base. The shopfront grill operation lures you in with its range of toppings, including more pricey ones like coconut paste (B30) and ice shavings (B30). Most range from B15-18, though, and they also do Thai iced tea and related drinks. If you’re lucky, you might also spot the cute cat in the dining room.

4) Rad Na kiang empire

Corner of Chula sois 20 and 5, 089-771-8131.
Open daily 11:30am-11pm

At the corner of the two sois, diagonally across from a bua loy cart and flanked by moo daeng stalls, is a little shophouse that specializes in pad see ew and rad na (B30-40). Not much more to say, except that the special, marinated kiang recipe is delicious, especially the rad na broth which is slightly gelatinous and porky, and that the outdoor seating on the corner gives a really nice, wide angle vantage point for people watching in the evening.

5) Khao Moo Daeng Nakhon Pathom

206, Chula Soi 50, 02-215-4354. Open 5am-3:30pm
Many of the food vendors from the now-demolished Sam Yan Market have been moved to this little soi, flanked on both sides by two-story shophouses. This moo daeng (red pork) place proudly says on its sign “the old face of Sam Yan” and dishes up a very generous B30 plate of rice with moo daeng, moo krob (crispy, three-layered pork) and Chinese sausage. Tea and ice are free—that’s old school hospitality.

6) Khao Man Kai Sam Yan

234, Chula Soi 50, 089-007-4585. Open daily 7am-5:30pm
Further down the street is the new home of a forty-year-old khao man kai (Haianese chicken rice) stall from Sam Yan Market. We like the cute little shophouse with its pale green walls, the long mirror and the odd combination of old wooden booths on one side and metal tables with plastic stools on the other. In addition to khao man kai (B30-40), they also do a mean gway tiew ped (duck noodles, B30-40).


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Our favorite soups and stir-fries in Silom.

Thai street food is blessed with many different noodle dishes, and in the business madness of Sala Daeng, the saturation of hungry office workers means that famous stalls selling each of them are readily available—complete with long queues for tables. Here we round up our favorite places where the wait is worth the bowl.

Guay Tiew Tom Yam

Khao Moo Daeng Convent

Soi Convent. Open Mon-Sat 6am-2pm
On Soi Convent, on the stretch of sidewalk between the flower shop and the entrance to the Carmelite monastery is a stall that not only packs in the tables, but also packs the sidewalk with patient patrons waiting their turn while ogling the giant bowls of noodles on offer. They do a few dishes, but their highlight, we think, is guay tiew tom yam, and their fixings are high-quality and delicous, including but not limited to moo daeng, fish balls, fried shrimp balls and tofu fish balls.
The price: B30, B35 for special and B40 for extra special.
Approximate wait time: Ten minutes for a table, 15 more for your food. But it’s worth it.
Our tip: Don’t be daunted by the throngs of people waiting for a table. The lady managing tables is a dab hand at keeping track and won’t let anyone cut ahead. Oh, and ask for a boiled egg and extra limes.

Guay Tiew Ped

Guay Tiew Ped Sala Daeng

Soi Sala Daeng, 081-491-5626. Open Mon-Fri 10am-1:30pm
Situated down an alley ten meters into Soi Sala Daeng, this is a rare duck noodles place in the neighborhood. The soup is murky and savory and their fixings are several cuts of duck, from the lean to the fatty to the chunks of congealed blood. If you’re not into veggies, this is the soup for you. Theirs barely has a few bean sprouts.
The price: B30-40
Approximate wait time: About five minutes.
Our tip: You’re also right next to a very cute, cheap dessert stall, where you can sample some delicious sangkhaya khao niaw (B10).

Yen Ta Fo

Coke Chuan Chim

Sala Daeng Soi 2. Open Mon-Fri 6-9:20am, noon-1:30pm
Turn right out of Central Silom’s back entrance and head down the street to this lauded yen ta fo stall. A single-file row of tables lines the sidewalk and is managed by a moody uncle who’s happy to see you but will slap you down if you try to cut the orderly queue for tables. Their broth is a great balance of garlicky, sweet and sour, and their shrimp and tofu-fish meatballs are varied and fatty. You may also like their rubbery, fermenty dried squid bits.
The price: B40, B45 for special
Approximate wait time: Ten minutes for your table, another 15 for food.
Our tip: Wait on the sidewalk across the street instead of crowding around the tables. Also, go for the special; it’s not that huge, but it’s got all the fixings.

Bah Mee Moo Daeng

Chuwan Sawoey

207 Silom Rd., 02-235-1860. Open daily 8am-8pm
This is a Chinese-owned shophouse a few doors away from Central Silom, right next door to yet another shophouse selling bammee moo daeng. You’ll know it from the friendly grandpa sitting outside rolling fresh wontons (and from the sign that warns you against going into the wrong shop). The bowl here is earthy, balanced with a mild, radish-heavy broth.
The price: B35.
Approximate wait time: No more than ten minutes, despite crazy crowds.
Our tip: The yelling can be a bit scary, but everyone’s nice. There’s a lesser-known second floor upstairs with more tables. Get your bah mee moo daeng dry with the broth on the side, so you can take intermittent bites.

Pad Thai

Pad Thai Sala Daeng

47 Sala Daeng Soi 2 (behind Silom Complex), 086-403-0106. Open daily 7am-2.30pm
A street stall in the front yard of an old Thai private residence, this pad Thai stand is run by the longtime housekeeper of the house, whose owner granted her use of the front yard. A smiling but busy woman, she works alone over the wok, expertly dishing out steaming plates of smoky, fresh pad Thai, the secret to which is supposedly the home-made tamarind paste. We love the large table that’s set away from the street, on the actual front porch of the house, but it’s almost always taken.
The price: B30 for pad Thai, B40 for pad Thai with fresh shrimp or squid.
Approximate wait time: Ten minutes for your table, 15 for your food. Don’t forget to order the minute you arrive, even if you’re still standing.
Our tip: Show up early (around 11:30am) or late
(around 1:30pm), or you’ll be waiting forever for a table, and then forever more for the food. Even if you’re squeamish about dried shrimp (what’s wrong with you?), try theirs: they are bigger than usual, very crunchy and not too pungent.


- For our chat with the pad Thai lady
- For more places with spectacular bah mee moo daeng in the city
- For something else around the neighborhood, check out the street eats of Soi Phiphat


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Tasty Thai food finds as picked by the city's top foodies.

In light of all the fancy new restaurants we’ve been covering in BK lately (we can’t help it; it’s just been one of those months), we decided it was high time we went back to basics: the fantastic street food stalls that are the true backbone of the city’s dining scene. But don’t just take our word for what the best finds in the city are. We spoke to four of our foodie friends and asked them to recommend the places they are most enthusiastic about. Here’s what we got:



Chef Ian may have been the first Thai ever to become the Executive Chef of a five-star hotel property, and he may have gotten his chops at places like French Laundry in Napa and El Bulli in Spain and Thai-restaurant Kittichai in New York. But his humble beginnings pushing a khao kaeng cart prepared by his mother is what makes him such an authority on Bangkok food. When he’s not busy commuting across the globe, you can find him at his newest Bangkok restaurant, Hyde and Seek (Athenee Residence, 65/1 Soi Ruam Rudee, 02-168-5152, BTS Phloen Chit).

Ko Yee

• Thai-Chinese seafood, like kao pad poo (B33)
• Soi Charoennakorn 21, 02-863-6955. Open daily 10am-10pm
Ian says:
“Great crab fried rice with fresh and hand-picked crab meat. Also great are their mee hong kong, a version of the Hong Kong stir-fried noodles, but this time with a Thai-Chinese flavor.”
BK tip: Get off at BTS Saphan Taksin and cross the river to Charoennakorn Road. Make a left and walk up the street. The factory-style space is located just across from soi 21.


• Bah mee moo daeng, bah mee crab (B50-300)
• 336/2 Rama 4 Rd. MRT Hua Lamphong. 02-236-1772. Open Tue-Sun 5-11pm
Ian says:
“The noodles are made in-house and the recipe has been passed down over three generations. It’s only one noodle shop—they’ve never expanded. This is the taste, flavor and great texture of classic egg noodles, not to mention the blue swimmer crab and its very sweet flavor.”
BK tip: Just a short walk from the train station. A bowl of bah mee here can be as much as B300, so come prepared, and do watch out for the elderly uncle, who gets upset when you don’t have the exact change.

Chua Kim Heng

• Braised goose (B115-460, whole goose B920)
• 81-83 Pattanakarn Rd., 02-319-2510. Open daily 8.30am-6pm
Ian says:
“One of the best braised goose in town, salty and sweet and with a deep molasses color from the braising liquid.”
BK tip: Okay, so it’s not really on the sidewalk, but we’re including it because it doesn’t have air-conditioning. And because it seems to constantly be packed with the sort of hi-so who would otherwise never deign to brace such heat. The braised goose aside, the bitter gourd soup is also fantastic. FYI, it’s across Pattanakarn Soi 6 and a 10-minute walk from the SARL Ramkhamhaeng station.



Chawadee Nualkhair got into food as a child because her mother couldn’t cook. She received a cooking diploma from L’Ecole Gregoire-Ferrandi (perhaps the toughest cooking school in Paris) and went on to cover much more serious subjects at international news agencies. Now a freelance journalist, Chawadee is also at work on her first book, about street food. Her blog is

Aisa Rot Dee 


• Khao mok kai/neua (B55), beef satay (B45 for 10)
• Beginning of Tani Road, 02-282-6378.
Open daily 8am-5pm, except fourth Monday of the month

Chawadee says: “This food court-style venue benefits from the convergence of a whole bunch of stalls in one tiny little open-air courtyard. That makes it a great one-stop introduction to Thai-Muslim food. It’s also hard to find, which, of course, I love. I think people should have to work a little bit for their great food experiences.”
BK tip: The entrance to the alley through which you’ll find Aisa Rot Dee is eclipsed by sidewalk shops, and the only identifying sign is in Thai only (non-readers can identify it from the red color and the crescent and star logo). Close to the corner of Tani Road and Soi Rambuttri.

Guay tiaw Lord

• Guay tiaw lord (flat rice noodles stuffed with pork, B35)
• Yaowaraj Rd. in front of the Seiko shop, next to La Scala shark fin restaurant. Open Tue-Sun 6:30pm-1am
Chawadee says: “Even though it’s fairly well-known, I wanted to make sure it’s included because it is that fantastic a dish. It’s loaded with so many flavors: pork, shiitake mushrooms and dried shrimp included in the ‘fabric’ of the rice noodles.”
BK tip: They’ve been around for twenty years, and though they used to only do their signature dish, they now have a pretty fantastic kra por pla (B50-100), too.

Jay Fai

• Lad na (B260), pad see ew (B280)
• 327 Mahachai Rd., 02-223-9384. Open Mon-Sat 3pm-2am
Chadawee says:
“Yes, it’s an outdoor lad na stall with Italian-restaurant prices. But I think it’s one of Bangkok’s best Thai restaurants! The specialty lad na is really, really good­ — especially the seafood one with crispy noodles prepared ‘three ways’.”
BK tip: It’s right next to another outdoor stall, so don’t get confused. This one is a shophouse with lots of outdoor seating, directly across the street from Soi Samranrat and the wet market. They seem to have gotten a lot of attention from farangs, as they now do a laminated menu with a few pictures and English descriptions but, we say, stick to the basics.

Xia Duck Noodles


• Duck noodles (B35), five-spice duck (B70-100), dim sum (B20)
• 2856 Rama IV Rd., 02-671-3279, Open daily 7:30pm-midnight
Chawadee says:
“It’s not just the duck noodles—there’s duck braised in five-spice powder and ‘Chinese medicine’ meant to go with rice; their tao tung for dessert; and, on Sunday afternoons, dim sum, duck rice and jab chai. A good sign you’re at Xia: deserted at 7pm, completely packed by 7:45.”
BK tip: They’ve been around for three decades. The duck noodles are amazing, yes, but we also recommend going there on a Sunday, when they do some specials like steamed duck and Chinese herbal soups like bah mee boo pith and bitter gourd.



A long-time resident who is fluent in Thai, Austin has been a regular writer and photographer for guides on Southeast Asia, most notably Lonely Planet. He maintains a serious photography and food blog where he chronicles his experience eating at street stalls around Bangkok (including helpful Googlemaps whenever possible) as well as on his travels around the region. Check it out at

Khao Kruk Kapi

• Khao khruk kapi (rice with shrimp paste, sweet pork and mango, B30)
• Phra Athit Road. Open Tue-Sat 8am-2pm
Austin says:
“There’s just about every flavor and texture you could ever want, and served with a bowl of hot broth, the dish is a tasty, healthy and balanced one-dish meal.”
BK tip: They only serve three dishes here, the highlight of which is the khao kruk kapi. The stall is set up on a stretch of sidewalk right in between Baan Pla Sod and a little cafe/bar called Artist, directly across the street from Baan Chao Phraya. Also, the unsung hero here is the broth accompaniment, which is super peppery and garlicky and plays no second fiddle to the main dish.

Nay Lao

• Lad na (B30) and pad see ew (B35)
• 124/8 Nang Linchi Rd., 02 678 3517. Open Tue-Sun 11am-11pm, Mon 11am-3pm
Austin says:
“The best thing about the dishes is how they’re prepared. The men wielding the spatulas at Nay Lao are masters, expertly charring the pad see ew and providing the dish with a smoky flavour that remains in your mouth a good hour after you’ve eaten it.”
BK tip: A food inspector’s nightmare, but you won’t care when you put that first bite of their pad see ew in your mouth. The owner makes it order-by-order, never combining orders, making it that much more remarkable that he’s always smiling and nice. It’s right opposite Nang Linchi Soi 8. There are two other branches at Thanon Tok Rd. and Choke Chai 4 being run by his brothers.

Coke Chuan Chim


• Yen ta fo (B35 regular, B40 special)
• Sala Daeng Soi 2. Open Tue-Fri 6-9:20am, noon-1:30pm
Austin says:
“The broth is balanced out with plenty of deep-fried crispy garlic and slightly salty tao huu yii. A bowl comes with excellent-quality fish dumplings, fish cakes, shrimp balls, deep-fried tofu, par-boiled morning glory and pickled squid.”
BK tip: It’s right across from the Bangkok Christian Guest House under a big brown awning. Prepare for 15-minute waits but the owner keeps things very disciplined so that even the sneakiest aunties will be told off if they try to nab your table. Or head there at 1pm when the big rush is over.

Nay Hong


• Guay tiaw khua kai (stir-fried noodles with picked squid, chicken and egg, B30)
• Alley behind the corner of Luang Road and Phlapplachai Road. Open daily 4-9pm
Austin says:
“The man who cooks the dish, almost pancake style, allows the messy mixture of chicken, eggs and noodles to crisp on one side before flipping the whole lot over en masse. This provides the dish with a crispy texture and lots of tasty singed bits.”
BK tip: It’s a few buildings before Luang Road hits Phlapplachai. Turn left into the alleyway. You’ll have to pass another guay tiaw stall, Nong Ann, to get here. Go now before the litter of street kittens grows up and aren’t as cute anymore.

Nay Mong


• Hoy thod (oyster omelet, B65)
• Corner of Plaeng Naam and Charoenkrung Road, 02-623-1980. Open daily 11am-9pm
Austin says:
“Whether you order the crispy (or lua, pictured above) or soft (or suan) version, you’re getting a brilliant intersection of seafood and egg; smoky, rich and cooked to perfection. Quite possibly my favorite dish in Bangkok.”
BK tip: Get extras of the delicious dipping sauce, which may look like the stuff that goes with khai chiaw (omelet) but is runny and super vinegary and cuts wonderfully through the grease. Also, these are some of the fattest oysters we’ve ever seen.



A former resident of Chicago where she trained at the Cordon Bleu and at some of the city’s decorated French restaurants, Chef Nate is now back in Thailand, volunteering her time at the Royal Projects and the cause of eating local. Her Thong Lor restaurant, Triplets (6/F, Paranjit Tower, Soi Thong Lor, 02-712-8066), sources almost all food and drink, including beef and wine, from ranchers and growers in Thailand. Who better, then, to extol the virtues of Thai food made with Thai ingredients?

Joke Prince Bangrak


• Congee (B25-50)
• In front of Prince Movie Theatre at Bangrak, 089-795-2629
Nate Says:
“I’ve had congee here since I was in primary school, thirty years ago. I think it’s very original—congee nowadays is very thick, but it’s supposed to be soothing when you feel sick or you want to have a light meal in the morning. This one is light, with a nice body and a smoky flavor, really unique.”
BK tip: Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin and walk down Charoenkrung Road, on the way to Silom Road. The shop is a set up in a little alley across the street from soi 44 (the entrance of Shangri-la Hotel).

Kao Tom Prung

• Khao tom (B80-100)
• 1083 Sukhumvit Road (corner of Soi Thong Lor), 02-391-8433. Open daily 5pm-10pm
Nate Says:
“There’s a difference between congee and rice porridge. This one keeps the shape of the rice but still has a lot of soup in it. And the ingredients: the fish, shrimp and Chinese sweet pork, they’re all fresh and hygienic.”
BK tip: This is just a single-story shophouse eatery that’s easy to miss if you’re walking by. But the kao tom here is fairly expensive, because the ingredients are very aromatic and their servings are very generous.

Tao Tueng

• Chinese sweets (starts at B15-40)
• Near by Sapanluerng Church, close to Samyan Market
Nate Says:
“They do a lot of condiments and fillings: red bean, lotus seed, water chestnut et cetera. They also have lots of flour-based dumplings in noodle and ball-shapes. And it’s all handmade by the lady who runs the store, and a lot of attention goes into the preparation, which is rare these days when you can just buy these things in bulk at the market.”
BK tip: Situated next to the famous goose noodle of Sapanluerng is the luckiest thing for us to find her. After testing tao tueng, don’t forget to try her por pia sod (B25). It will keeps you coming back to her.


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BK explores some more of Sam Phraeng’s best grub

In part one of this story (Aug 25) we hopped around the Sam Phraeng neighborhood and introduced various tasty fare from somtam to fresh milk. But the food-studded area still has a lot more to offer. Here are seven more top eats to check out on your next food-hunting trip.

Tom Yum Pig’s Brain

11 Phraeng Phuton Rd., 06-772-1600
Open Mon-Sat 9am-4pm

Don’t be scared. This is not a Fear Factor challenge. A visit to Tom Yum Pig’s Brain will open your eyes to this often overlooked menu item. Entering Phraeng Phuton from Atsadang Road, the small eatery is on the left side across from the camping shop.

The deal: As the name suggests, tom yum pig’s brain is the hot specialty. It has been recommended by food critic Mae Choi Nang Ram and featured in many local and international magazines. The Hakka-style spicy soup includes not only pig’s brain but homemade pork balls, fish balls, entrails, deep-fried fish skin and deep-fried taro balls. Try it and you’ll see that, gross as it sounds, pig’s brain tastes great.

The price: B60/bowl.

Pig’s Brain (Thai Tham)

28/1 Phraeng Phuton Rd., 02-221-7612
Open Mon-Sat 7am-2pm

Just a few steps from Tom Yum Pig’s Brain, on the opposite side of the road, is Pig’s Brain (Thai Tham). This hole-in-the-wall shop has been around for over 40 years—since its owner, Auntie Sudjit, was a young lady. Back then the soup cost only B3!

The deal: “Thai Tham” means made by Thai, so the pig’s brain soup here is prepared with a Thai flair. It has attracted lots of celebrity diners and food critics, including MR Thanadsri Svasti, who gave the eatery the Shell Chuan Chim award. The ingredients are pretty much the same as in the Hakka version, but the broth is clear and fragrant with pepper. The soup runs out quickly; arrive early to avoid disappointment.

The price: B70/bowl.

Chote Chitr

146 Phraeng Phuton Rd., 02-221-4082
Open Mon-Sat 11am-9pm

Chote Chitr is small and unassuming with only five wooden tables. But despite its unpretentious neighborhood setting, the restaurant offers some of the best Thai fare in town, and has been building its admirable reputation for almost a century. Its fame has also reached foreign shores, and international media including the New York Times and London’s Financial Times have written up this local institution.

The deal: There are at least 200 dishes scribbled on the menus hanging on the wall. The highlights are gaeng lieng (mixed vegetable soup with dry shrimps and shrimp paste) and yum hua plee (banana flower salad). But the real scenestealer is mee krob (crispy sweet and sour fried noodles), which comes with generous portion of shrimp and chicken. Vegetarian-friendly, the restaurant also serves up a wide selection of meatless choices. Don’t forget to try Chote Chitr’s best-kept secret, its signature ya dong (traditional herbal liquor), whose recipe is said to help combat illness. Watch out for the eatery’s dogs.

The price: A la carte dishes start at B30. Ya dong is B100/shot, B350/bottle.

Seri Thai Cuisine

87 Phraeng Phuton Rd., 02-223-8416
Open daily 10:30am-9pm

From the outside—and, okay, the inside too—this place is not at all attractive. The restaurant sign is old and tatty and the white tile floor is turning yellow. The service is so-so. But the 10-year-old restaurant still manages to draw the crowds with its no-frills Thai cooking.

The deal: The menu features standard (some would say boring) fare you can find elsewhere, like tom yum and green curry, plus a selection of one-plate quick dishes. Skip those and order Seri’s must-try pla ta pien rai kang (deep-fried fish), which is so crisp you can eat the bones.

The price: Side dishes start at B30. For the deep-fried fish, prices vary by size starting at B140.

Nai Kim Thong’s Beef Noodles

71 Phraeng Phutorn Rd., 02-222-0744
Open Mon-Sat 11am-4pm

On the same side of the street as Seri is Nai Kim Thong’s Beef Noodles. In spite of its faded walls, scuffed woodwork and plain décor, customers frequent this shop for its tasty noodles. The busy man cooking the noodles (Mr. Kim Thong?) doesn’t have time for chitchat, but you can always count on him for fast service.

The deal: This Shell Chuan Chim-recommended restaurant’s homemade beef balls are what keep the regulars coming back. On the cooking stall sits a huge stainless steel pot full of mouth-watering braised beef. Tender and savory, the beef couldn’t be more satisfying. But a bigger portion could be an improvement.

The price: B30/bowl.

Udom Pochana

78 Phraeng Phutorn Rd., 02-221-3042
Open Mon-Sat 7am-3:30pm

Udom Pochana has tried out a few locations around the neighborhood before settling in its present spot. However, the eatery has managed to preserve its khao muu daeng (rice with BBQ pork) recipe for three generations, striving to live up to its slogan “60 Years Same Taste.” Most of the customers are government employees who flock to the family-run restaurant during their lunch break.

The deal: While known for its tried-and-true khao muu daeng, Udom Pochana has also added new items such as fresh spring rolls and noodles to the menu. Make sure to try the recommended Chinese-style beef stew and pork curry.

The price: Everything is B30.

Natthaporn Ice Cream

94 Phraeng Phutorn Rd., 02-221-3954, 02-622-2455
Open Mon-Sat 9am-5pm

Go straight from Udom Pochana and you’ll find Natthaporn Ice Cream, a specialty shop whose reputation has outgrown its tiny setting. Over 50 years ago, the famous ice cream parlor started up with just one flavor: coconut milk. Now not only does it have a new and bigger outlet on Tanao Road, Natthaporn Ice Cream also tempts your sweet tooth with more flavors.

The deal: Those craving rich and velvety ice cream might be disappointed—Natthaporn is all about light Thai-style treats. Even the coconut milk flavor is refreshing. Other flavors include chocolate, milk, coconut, iced tea and coffee. Homemade sweet sticky rice makes a nice topping for your ice cream. For an indulgent treat, the owner recommends matching your favorite ice cream with a slice of homemade cake.

The price: B15. Take-away pints are B175-255, depending on the flavor.


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BK explores Sam Phraeng’s best chows: part 1

The name Sam Phraeng may not ring a bell among the young and hip of Siam Square and Thong Lor, but this old neighborhood, including Phraeng Phuton, Phraeng Nara and Phraeng Sapphasat, is home to the city’s top eats, some of which you cannot find elsewhere. It’s a good place to revisit the old favorites.

Kai Yang Boran

474-476 Tanao Rd., 02-622-2349. Open daily 8am-9pm.
Located just a few steps from Chao Pau Seau Chinese Shrine is Kai Yang Boran. The restaurant is simply furnished with wooden tables closely spaced to accommodate as many people as possible. Despite its no-brainer décor, Kai Yang Boran has managed to attract lots of celebrity diners, whose photos cover the walls, with its full course Isaan feast.

The deal: The staff is quite friendly, but not so knowledgeable. From their accents, we guess most of them are Burmese. It’s no use asking for recommended dishes because the only answer is somtam. The best bet is what the restaurant is named after, kai yang (roasted chicken). The recipe is taken from Suphanburi, the owner’s hometown.

The price: Starts at B30 for somtam. The whole chicken is B160, half is B85.

40-Year-Old Raat Naa

514 Tanao Road, 02-622-1910 ext. 1, 05-169-6569. Open daily 9am-9:30pm.
As its name suggests, raat naa is the specialty at this eatery. Originally, the shop was in Samyan market but moved to its present location in the late 1990s. The grandpa’s recipe, however, has passed unchanged through generations for four decades.

The deal: The secret of 40-Year-Old Raat Naa, the sibling owners reveal, is the tender pork. Each day they have to prepare over 30 kilos to cater to the customers. Special attention is paid to make sure the pork is well soaked in a secret marinade overnight until it absorbs all the flavors. The menu is short and easy: Just choose sen yai, sen mee or mee krob. Pad see iew (stir-fried noodles with egg and meat), is also tasty and not oily at all.

The price: Raat naa with pork is B25, with seafood is B50. Pad see iew is B30.

Pa Thong Go Sawoei

540 Tanao Road, opposite Bangkok Bang, 02-222-2635. Open daily 5-10am, 5-10pm.

This take-away shop does one thing—pa thong go—and does it very well. The kind uncle has been sautéing the crispy Chinese pastry for over 50 years.

The deal: Crispy and airy, pa thong go, which has been recommended by food critic Mae Choi Nang Ram, takes center stage. It’s also a royal favorite. The uncle proudly reveals HRH Princesses Somsavali and Bajra Kittiyabha used to send bodyguards to buy his crusty fare, hence the word sawoei, a royal word for eating.

The price: B10/4 pieces, but opt for a set (B20-B40), which includes sangkhaya (Thai custard). It makes a nice breakfast. Pa thong go usually runs out very quickly, so go early.

Phraeng Nara Pork Balls

544 Tanao Road, 01-483-2347. Open daily 10am-10pm.

Right in the front of Phraeng Nara corner is Phraeng Nara Pork Balls. We don’t know anything much about this stall because vendor Khun Tookta is ever busy grilling. So the conversation kind of goes like this:
How many sticks you churn out each day?
“Don’t know. I don’t keep a record.”
How long have you been here?
“Can’t remember.”
Any secret recipes?
So we’ll have two sticks then.
“Here. B10.”

The deal: It’s all about pork balls. Grilled hot on the spot, these pork balls are made entirely with pork, no starch or additives.

The price: B5/stick.

Khanom Bueang Boran

91 Phraeng Nara Road, 02-222-8500. Open daily 10am-6pm.

One of the oldest shops in the Sam Phraeng area, Khanom Bueang Boran is tucked in a soi opposite the Bangkok Bank. Auntie Somsri is long well known for her khanom bueang boran (original Thai crispy crepe), the recipe for which is from the kitchen of Prince Narathip Phraphanphong in the reign of King Rama 5.

The deal: There are two variants of the crispy crepes to choose from: The sweet filling includes foi thong (Thai dessert), raisins, sweetened diced squash and coconut, while the salty style appeals with savory minced shrimp. Unlike the modern version, traditional khanom bueang isn’t filled with cream, but is coated with a thin layer of Thai custard. To avoid disappointment, head there before 3pm.

The price: Prices range from B10-50, depending on size.

Ko Phanit

431-433 Tanao Road, 02-221-3554. Open Mon-Sat 6:30am-7pm.

Ko Phanit needs no introduction. It was founded in 1929 by Karb Chiebchalard, whose initial has become widely known as the symbol of one of the best sticky rice shops in town. However, the brain behind the renowned khaoniew moon is not Karb, but his wife Sarapee who adopted the cooking tips and tricks from her mother.

The deal: The take-away shop sells only sticky rice. but you can buy juicy mangoes at two hawkers nearby. Sticky rice is blended with sugar and coconut milk, which yield silky texture and smooth creamy taste. Goes great with Ko Phanit’s homemade sangkhaya.

The price: Sticky rice is B110/kilo. A bowl of sangkhaya is B30.

Nom Jo

441 Tanao Road, 09-788-6417, 01-4822377. Open Mon-Sat 10:30am-10pm.

Go straight from Ko Phanit and you’ll find Nom Jo. A few years ago, it was just a small cart attracting customers only with hot fresh milk and roasted bread, but now Nom Jo has expanded into a proper shop.

The deal: In addition to the all-time favorite khanom pang sangkhaya (bread topped with Thai custard), owner Jo just introduced two new toppings to go with roasted bread: chocolate with banana and corn soup. The menu also sees many hearty dishes from pork congee and Chinese dumplings to pork steak.

The price: Prices range from B6 for roasted bread to B65 for steak.

Classic Chows: Part 2


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