To me, it’s really a pity if you cannot—or refuse—to eat street food in Bangkok. The quality and hygiene standards may be lacking at some stalls, but when you meet a good one, you are bombarded with a smorgasbord of flavors and textures. Take this hole-in-the-wall along Soi Thong Lor (around 100 meters from the soi entrance) that M, P and I visited today.
With just filmsy metal tables and rickety plastic stools lining a cracked pavement, an open kitchen that was enveloped in smoke half the time and lightbulbs hanging from cables strewn across trees, the owners managed to carve out a small-time business serving Isan-style specialties. There was a steady stream of patrons while we were there, which probably is a reflection of the popularity of this roadside stall.
We three famished gluttons ordered enough food to feed a small army: som tom puu (papaya salad with crab), som tam puu plaa raa (papaya salad with crab and fermented fish sauce), seua ronghai (crying tiger a.k.a. grilled beef), muu manaao (pork with lime sauce), khor muu yang (grilled pork shoulder), jim jum (Isan-style hot pot), yam ruam mit (mixed salad) and sai oon yang (grilled pork intestines), alongside sticky rice and chilled beer.
M suggested trying paeng nom muu (pork teats), but unfortunately the stall ran out of teats, so we opted for grilled pork intestines instead—which wasn’t on the menu but the owners gamely agreed to whip it up for us. We joked that unlike the hi-so and hipster set who flock to Thong Lor to see and be seen, we were instead holed up at this low-so eatery with sweat dripping down our foreheads. We ate and talked and ate some more; by the end of two hours, the chairs were groaning under our weight and our buttons threatening to pop.
The damage for all this good food and company on a Friday evening? 690 baht.
Tucked down Plubplachai Road in Yaowarat, Luuk Saow Naay Mong’s oyster omelette is, in fact, one of the best I have ever eaten. As the Thai name suggests, the dish is now cooked by Mr Mong’s daughter. My guess is Mr Mong probably served this dish in the past, but he has since passed the art to his daughter who continues the family culinary trade. So far, I have been to Luuk Saow Naay Mong twice, and tried both Orh Lua and Orh Suan. The former is a rich crispy batter topped with oversized oysters, and the latter, a succulent watery version with tapioca flour and oysters mixed in. My personal favourite is Orh Lua: it’s crunchy on the outside but light inside, and the heavenly oysters simply pop and melt in the mouth.
This shop only serves four dishes: Orh Lua, Orh Suan, Mussel Omelette and Crab Fried Rice.
Luuk Saow Naay Mong, or Mr Mong’s daughter, whipping up what she does so well.
Kuay Tiao Cap Kang | ก๋วยเตี๋ยวจับกัง
It was down a dingy lane in Yaowarat that we stumbled upon Kuay Tiaow Cap Kang. Intrigued by the long queue that snaked around the stall, we decided to try the noodles. Well, it must be good if there are so many locals queuing for it, we thought to ourselves. YC and I ordered the dry version while Tang requested for the soupy version. In just a few moments, three bowls of noodles were plonked onto our table. It was an unassuming, oil-smeared bowl but it was truly yummy. The noodles were chewy (or QQ in Chinese), the meat was tender and the vegetables were fresh and slightly crunchy to the bite!
After taking a few bites, I finally took a closer look at the stall name. The noodles is called ก๋วยเตี๋ยวจับกัง (Kuay Tiaow Cap Kang). For those familiar with Hokkien (I presume it’s the same in Teochew), ‘Cap Kang’ means 杂工, or ‘an assortment of works’. After checking with mr;p, he revealed that ‘Cap Kang’ commonly refers to the Chinese coolies in Thai. I haven’t really done much research into the background and origin of this dish, but I could safely surmise that it was probably an culinary invention by Chinese labourers in the old Siamese days.
A man, full of attitude, stood cutting the meat with one leg up perched on a stool.
This stall still adheres to traditional means, i.e. charcoal to cook the food.
A woman separated the piping hot strands into bowls.
The noodles are priced at 25B for a tamadaa (normal) serving and 35B for a phiiset (special, upsized) serving. Very attractively priced!
Street food lovers, ever wondered how a Bangkok vendor lives his/her day? This photo essay gives an interesting take.