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khtodd Jun 25th, 2013 08:12 AM

BKK for a couple of foodies!
First I want to apologize for not frequenting these forums more often - the last time I was here was about 7 years ago when planning a trip to Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam. The advice I got here was very helpful, for which I am very thankful! I spent a little time on the boards after my trip - both posting a trip report and answering some questions... but as time went on, I felt like my information was becoming dated and may not have been accurate any longer, so I stopped chiming in...

We're finally going back - this time spending a lot more time in BKK since we only had an overview the last time.

My question is about food - specifically street/shophouse food. (Sorry RHKKMK - I know you'll disapprove unless anything has changed your opinion in the last few years!)

I've been reading a lot about Jay Fai - all over the internet, and also in Chawadee Nualkhair's book - and she consistently raves about the place both on her blog and in interviews she has done. Is this place as good as all this hype (and expense - it's supposedly one of the most expensive shophouse restaurants)? I'd love to get some other people's perspectives. Has anyone had her 1500B tom yum goong? Can it really be that good to be worth that kind of price?

She also seems to wax on and on about Isaan food... is Isaan food that popular in BKK nowadays or is it just her penchant for it?

Are there any recommendations of other standout places? Not looking for trendy or modern restaurants - we're booked for Nahm for one night based on many recommendations, and will be stopping by Supanniga as well so I feel like we have that covered... Nor are we looking for other cuisines (like French, Italian, sushi, etc) no matter how good they may be. I'm looking for advice for good curry, grilled items, stew, and of course noodles! (not all at once... we'll be there for about a week and have no problems travelling to different neighborhoods for a worthwhile cause!)

I know a bit about the streetfood scene in Chinatown, as well as Sukhumvit soi 38.. any specific places that are your favorites?

Thank you!!

Hanuman Jun 25th, 2013 08:49 AM

I have eaten at all the places you've mentioned and yes there are 150 Baht Tom Yam Goong and sometime even more expensive as well. Other notable dish that can command high prices from these gourmet shop house restaurants are "Lard Na Goong" or flat noodle with big prawn hence the high price. I often drive to these place in the middle of the night to satisfy my craving!

If you only have one night free then I recommend a visit to Yaowarat, or China town, instead. If you wander around after dark then you can find pretty much the same dishes available there but at Jay Fai they might be a bit better. Note that Jay Fai ("Jay" = Chinese for sister or aunty and "Fai" = a mole) is pretty much Thai Chinese food.

In Bangkok's China town, apart from the various street stalls, seek out the following restaurant for some unique dishes:

Kam Long - stir fried morning glory prawn paste, fried duck tongue - good if you dare to try etc.

Jok restaurant - everything is good IMO

Nahm is a totally different experience IMO as it's more gourmet and very upscale. Another choice comparable to Nahm is "Bo Lan" which I consider as a bit better than Nahm.

Hanuman Jun 25th, 2013 09:04 AM

Forgot to mention about the street food around Sukhumvit soi 38. They are not bad but not as good as in China town but they will have more variety, like non Thai/Chinese dishes. Another notable street food area, for local people willing to drive and seek out street food, is "Saphan Lueng" or the area around Rama 4 near Hua Lamphong train station.

Isan food has been popular for a long time but most of the dishes will be too hot or spicy for people who are not use to it. Many restaurant served strictly Isan food and nowadays there are even Isan food restaurants in upscale malls with picture menu - check out the restaurants in the Paragon Mall.

khtodd Jun 25th, 2013 09:29 AM

Thanks for your replies Hanuman... We will have 5 free nights in BKK.

So I don't quite understand - what do you think of Jay Fai and the others. Do you think they are so much better than the rest that they are worth the extra price? Which place has you driving there in the middle of the night? I'd love to check that out!

Regarding Jok, I don't think that'll be possible as there are only 2 of us and the article says there is a minimum party size of 6 persons.

Hanuman Jun 25th, 2013 09:36 AM

The place I drive to in the middle of the night is Jay Fai. I like the "lard na talay" or stir fried noodles with seafood. They add tiger prawn to the dish which make it expensive. What make the dish special IMO is the large prawn with both the soft large noodle and the fried crispy noodle in the dish. I think it's around 200 Baht a plate.

For Jok you can go with 2 people and I often do. The article might be a bit dated, but now they open for lunch and will cater to 2 people if they are not too full. If you are a real foodies and want to try just let me know and I can reserve a table for you on short notice.

Hanuman Jun 25th, 2013 09:38 AM

Here's a picture of the dish I like at Jay Fai:

Hanuman Jun 25th, 2013 09:48 AM

My wife just corrected me and the dishes at Jay Fai is around 300 - 400 Baht per dish of Lard Na.

Kathie Jun 25th, 2013 10:06 AM

Hanuman has great food advice for Bangkok!

Another thing to consider is one of the Bangkok food tours. The two areas they cover are Chinatown and the Sathorn area. Do a search here for the details.

rhkkmk Jun 25th, 2013 12:16 PM

I have been to jok with hanuman and the food is fantastic... good luck finding it, but worth the effort..

take a look at gaggan, very unique..

btw, hanuman knows his food and is bkk's #1 restaurant patron.

progol Jun 25th, 2013 04:39 PM

For a splurge night out, which restaurant is your favorite?

Hubby and I will be celebrating our 25th in January, and I thought that we might go to one "fancier" place, if that is the right term for BKK eating places.


Hanuman Jun 25th, 2013 06:30 PM

progol - what type of food do you like? Thai, Chinese, Indian, European etc..

rhkkmk Jun 25th, 2013 07:18 PM

biscotti in the four seasons

lord jim in the oriental

any of the major restaurants in the main line hotels

progol Jun 26th, 2013 02:36 AM


A really good Thai restaurant would be wonderful.

Thank you!

Hanuman Jun 26th, 2013 04:46 AM

If you just want good gourmet Thai food then here are some suggestions:

Than Ying

If you like a classical thai dancing show along with a nice food then I suggest Sala Rim Nam at the Oriental hotel. Start of at the main hotel then catch their complimentary teak barge ferry across the river at sunset for the restaurant. To finish off your evening go to the Bamboo bar back at the main hotel after for some soulful jazz. That would be better IMO then just a nice restaurant.

Hanuman Jun 26th, 2013 04:47 AM

Sala Rim Nam at the Oriental hotel:

Smeagol Jun 26th, 2013 05:14 AM

Great suggestion Pook, We did that exact thing on our 2nd trip to BKK. The food at Sala rim Nam was great and lovely to finish off the night at the Bamboo Bar!

progol Jun 26th, 2013 01:27 PM

Thank you! I appreciate the suggestions! They looks wonderful!

What about a Frencch restaurant? I think that would be the other food we!d consider.

Hanuman Jun 26th, 2013 04:34 PM

The best rated French in Thailand is Le Normandie at the Oriental hotel as well. However, I find it a bit traditional and very formal there and if you don't mind that then it's well worth a visit.

I also like Le Beaulieu and find the chef very creative but with a limited menu offering. Other less expensive places that I like include Paris Bangkok and Water Library (Continental food).

progol Jun 26th, 2013 05:03 PM

Thanks, Hanuman. We are not looking for formal, so I'll look into the others you mention. We have plenty of time to figure out what we want as we're not going till January. Thanks for the suggestions - I really appreciate it.

progol Jun 26th, 2013 05:15 PM

Hanuman, I just looked at Paris Bangkok and it looks perfect! Hubby loves his cigars and a menu of cigar options has his name on it! And since Paris is a favorite of ours, it looks just right.

Again, thanks for the suggestions!

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