Early Wednesday Morning

Flaky roti and massaman beef curry at Yusup Pochana

Flaky roti and massaman beef curry at Yusup Pochana

While doing research for a story recently, I came across the menu for the Dining Room at the House on Sathorn, the former Russian Embassy that has been turned into a drink-dine-function space by the W Hotel. Chef Fatih likes to emphasize the creative process that spawns his dishes by drawing their names directly from his past experiences. So you can order something like “Early Morning at Tsukiji Market” (bluefin tuna/seaweed/avocado/wasabi) or “Once Upon a Time in Istanbul” (lamb belly/eggplant/hummus) and feel like you’re being told a story and offered a voyeuristic glimpse of someone’s life through a series of “slides” that probably taste delicious too.

Naturally, I thought of the menu that I would create as Chef Fatih, but culled from my very own experiences.  There could be “Sophomore Year of College” (frozen pizza/cocoa nibs/instant noodle powder/hemp seeds) or “Limbo in Palo Alto” (whitefish/tortilla/avocado/artichoke). I could get more ambitious and go for “Junior Year Abroad in Tokyo” (curdled milk/mentaiko/nori/pickled plum) and “Penniless in Culinary School” (torn-up baguette/hard-boiled eggs/grated carrot/black olives). Maybe we could end the evening with a heaping helping of DIE BITCH DIE (herring/monterey jack/triscuit/gherkin) in honor of my high school boyfriend who cheated on me, not that I care that much anyway. Or “Barfing at Gas Panic in front of Agee the hot Japanese-Brazilian bartender” (Budweiser/Jack Daniel’s/Jagermeister/Goldschlager).

If I were to concoct a dish for “Early Wednesday Morning in the Bangkok Rain”, it might be something along the lines of (braised beef/potato/flaky dough/cinnamon/coconut cream/peanuts). It would be delicious, because it would be modeled after the breakfast-lunch I had at Yusup Pochana (531/12 Kaset Nawamin Road, Tawmaw 97, 081-659-6588), considered one of Bangkok’s best Thai-Muslim restaurants but one I had yet to go to because I am lazy. Yusup Pochana has all the Thai-Muslim faves we have come to know and love: biryanis, South Asian-inflected curries, mataba (a sort of crepe stuffed with fish, beef or chicken), a pungent hot-sour soup strong enough to cut through the other dishes’  sweet coconut milk and a respectable array of noodle soups.

Lots of curries

Lots of curries. This one is the massaman.

The online love for Yusup’s curries falls almost squarely on the rich massaman, a dish that is almost entirely Malaysian-influenced but a deeper and more aromatic version than others commonly seen in Bangkok. The even more beloved “kuruma goat” curry is only available on weekends, and the khao mok (biryani) is okay, but it’s really the mataba that drew raves from my friends from KL (excellent meat-to-dough ratio) accompanied by a generously chunky ajad of cucumber, shallot, and chilies in a sugar syrup. I, meanwhile, was enamored of the roti, which was so supremely flaky and light that it reminded me of clouds and made the roti at other places look like baked rubber cement. The roti here versus there is like croissants versus dinner rolls. Don’t miss out on this stuff.

To get here without a car, your best bet is to take the BTS to Mor Chit and then a taxi. The earlier you come, the better.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Early Wednesday Morning

  1. Massaman is by far my favourite curry, which I discovered for the first time in Thailand. Great description of a perfect roti. Loving discovering your site through Girl Eat World.

  2. Jennifer Bees

    Just read ur most recent installment. Can’t tell u how much I enjoy ur acerbic wit and the chance to “travel” vicariously to places that for the most part i will never be able to, at least not until the children graduate and start their own paths. Thanks for the yet again enchanting trip away from bored to tears New Castle!!! Jen

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