Our last trip to Bangkok was approximately seven years ago, freshly married, Bangkok marked the beginning of our six month honeymoon around Asia. Yup, six months. So, this trip brought back a lot of nostalgia related to our pre-kids life. The most prominent in our minds? The smells and tastes of Bangkok, Thai food, namely Pad Thai and all things street food. This is where we usually spend our calories whenever we are in Thailand or Vietnam.
North East restaurant came as a recommendation from the hotel because (1) it was literally around the corner (we were hungry), and (2) it was friday, afterwork peak hour, which means you don’t want to be on the road.
A nondescript cafe-looking like joint, we stepped into a bustling dinner time crowd at 7pm and were ushered to their second room upstairs that was also (thank god), air-conditioned. The menu was authentic yet tourist friendly – i.e. pictures with Thai descriptions plus English subtitles – always helpful.
Food came relatively quickly – and first impressions were “yum!”.
First up was the stir-fried morning glory with crispy pork (Moo Krob) and chili and garlic…lots of it. The hubby devoured it all pretty rapidly. The pork was crispy, not chewy, and it soaked up the sauce just adequately to make it juicy to bite on. Great start!
Next up was the Som Tam – green papaya salad. Not too bad – a good balance of spicy, sour, saltiness from the fish sauce and umami from the crispy dried shrimps. The generous heaping of nicely toasted peanuts to add a smokey aftertaste and crunch was nice. But we concluded that the best Som Tam we had by far was still from a little street cart in Krabi.
The best Tom Yum Goong by far
The Tom Yum Goong came next, steaming hot in a black little cast iron pot and it smelled amazing of lemon grass, kaffir lime and chili. The broth looked creamy and fiery and it instantly made our mouths water. The first spoon taste-test fired up our palate and we were hooked.
This was one of the best Tom Yum Goongs we’ve had by far. It was a heady and addictive combination of hot and spicy, sour and sweet. The fresh, juicy prawns and generous portion of straw mushrooms and fresh button mushrooms that added to the texture explosion in our mouths brought a good Tom Yum Goong to a whole new level. I always like chewing on the sliced lemongrass and galangal to assess how fresh the ingredients are and here, the lemon grass was fragrant and juicy and one could definitely tell it was one the star heros that made this simple yet amazing dish.
The next couple of dishes were a bit of a letdown – I wouldn’t really recommend the omelette (a tad too greasy) and the green curry chicken (using only chicken breast is always a telltale sign of inauthenticity). Shame.
Oh well, by this time – my belly was on fire and my tongue was completely happy and at ease with the taste party it had – with all corners fired up … so we left pretty contented with our first meal in Bangkok.
We vowed to go back to street food for our next meals…and disappointed, we were most definitely not.
Ps. We came back for another two meals
The Pad Thai and the Pad Krapao Moo aka Pork with Basil Leaf (make sure you order a side Sunny Side Up with it) are worth mentioning. But their standout dish is definitely the Tom Yum Goong by far.
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All images provided by Mishell Leong.
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