Thai street food is an experience like no other, and even more when you enjoy them in new restaurants that and classing up Thai local food.
By Rich Kantita.
This month, we’ve selected a few Bangkok restaurants that are showing the way on how the bar on Thai street food can be raised further and how they can be better experienced in their beautifully designed, modern and fun restaurants. Some are new and upcoming but others just needed to be visited as soon as possible!
Baa ga din
Phrom Chit Alley, Sukhumvit 33, 02 662 3813
Creative American chef Chandler has a great sense of taste that while he may not be native to Thai food he sure knows how to capture its authentic taste. Inspired by Thai street food and combining his impeccable skills and innovative techniques in the kitchen, he has created a menu for Baa Ga Din that is undoubtedly familiar to Thai taste, albeit presented in more interesting way perhaps. The restaurant itself is modern in design but incorporating local elements such as bamboo chicken cages, and paintings of roosters and Siamese fighting fish to give the place a sense of locality.
Eat: Expect different techniques and presentation of the usual Thai street food favorites such as spicy salad and tom yum goong. The dishes looks very contemporary but their flavors remind you of home. We highly recommend one bone chicken wings served with green curry dip, which is as interesting as it sounds. Tom yum goong ceviche, grilled corn salad with green mango and kaffir, and crispy oyster remained true to Thai level of spice and are all incredibly flavorful. Calm the senses down with a sweet approach through a fruit mix dish that is nowhere ordinary.
Drink: Try the sake to keep it interesting!
Visit: Open Wed-Mon 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 6-11 p.m.
Soul Food 555
The Commons, Thonglor Soi 17, Sukhumvit 55, 02 101 4526
Soul Food Mahanakorn’s second branch at The Commons gives the chic food mall a homey touch with its Thai and Thai-fusion dishes. Imitating the traditional street-side food stalls but recreated indoors with nice cool air-conditioning, the design and spirit of Soul Food 555 takes us back in time although the menu is definitely modern in flavors.
Eat: One of the most familiar Thai soul food is kao pad grapow (rice with fried meat and holy basil), which of course is on the menu but made with hand-chopped Australian Wagyu grapow instead. Other interesting dishes include a mix of burger and the common Thai dishes such as khao soi, a type of curry traditional to Northern Thailand; and fatso crab, which is softshell crab with sour green mango mix. They may sound wild and their taste is wilder but extremely satisfying.
Drink: If the mood fits, try the tequila-mango shot.
Visit: Open daily 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Som Tum Der
5/5 Saladaeng Road, Silom, 02-632-4499, BTS: Saladeang
A Michelin-starred famous papaya salad restaurant that took New York and Ho Chi Minh by storm cannot be missed if Bangkok is currently your city. Stepping into the restaurant, it’s like being in Isan (the northeastern part of Thailand). The décor is planted with every traditional material one can find in the Isan provinces such as bamboo crafted tools used to catch fish or cage the chickens. At the counter, displays glass bowls of ingredients for som tum (aka papaya salad), which is the signature of the restaurant, and follows the concept of every som tum venues around the country.
Eat: Som Tum Der is proud of their recipe, which makes the traditional dish taste as closely to home as possible. Ingredients may be switched up the ingredients but sticks to the original style — for example, by adding roasted rice to flavor the beef in the house special grilled marinated beef dish. Other traditional Isan dishes include soft boiled prawns mixed with fresh herbs and minced roasted rice, local Isan spicy grilled catfish soup, spicy papaya salad with deep fried minced catfish, spicy minced grilled catfish salad, som tum der styled deep-fried chicken thigh, tum sua Sakonakorn and many more to explore!
Drink: Lemon Grass Martini is an option and it does not disappoint. Try the Ice Rosella Juice or the Ice Chrysanthemum Juice to help cool down the spices.
Visit: Open daily 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Kai Yang Sua Yai
46/4 Piman 49, Sukhumvit 49, 02 662 6428
From the famous Thai film, “Kai Yang Sua Yai,” this branch at Sukhumvit 49 has a more modern and funky feel that the original restaurant. Designed and curated by Khunying Mangmom, whose aim is to provide guests a traditional Thai food experience while enjoying a more comfortable ambience. Originating from a famous Thai film in 1996 of a famous Isan restaurant, Kai Yang Sua Yai holds essence of the past in some of their menu and servings.
Eat: The restaurant’s expansive menu offers a range of original Isan cuisine as well as typical Thai dishes. Signature dishes include the crispy skin grilled chicken, deep-fried white perch with som tum and spicy papaya salad with fresh shrimps. Try the more unfamiliar dishes such as spicy omelet that is mixed with Thai-styled spicy salad with roasted rice created by the owner herself. For dessert, sticky rice and banana wrap is a must. This traditional dessert is harder to find nowadays.
Drink: Thai milk tea and Anchan lemon juice are among the favorites and a traditional pick.
Visit: Open daily 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Asiatique The Riverfront, 2194 Charoen Krug Road
Based from San Francisco, Osha welcomes its second branch in Bangkok last month with Osha Café in a busier commercial ground of Asiatique. A more vibrant and relaxing atmosphere, this new establishment aims for a fun dining experience. The place is dressed in yellow and gold with a tinted black door and walls on the entrance, as part of Osha’s signature.
Eat: Executive chef Panida of Osha once again brings the oohs and ahhs with his special menu for Osha Café.
Drink: Sponsored by Mekhong
Visit: Open daily 5 p.m. to midnight