If you are a Glutton like me, visits to the dentist can be especially excruciating. The half-hour/hour-or-so that it takes to clean my teeth are the minutes I spend regretting every single thing I’ve put in my mouth for the past six months. I will never eat again, I promise myself as I white-knuckle my way through yet another pass with the dental probe, the Dennis Hopper to my dentist’s Christopher Walken. I will stop eating forever, as soon as this is over.
This is a promise I invariably break the minute I step out of the dentist’s office. After all, surviving yet another near-death-by-drill experience calls for a celebration. Celebrations = food. So, if you are like me, you may choose to celebrate with an enamel-staining flat white and a cavity-inducing strawberry waffle at Roast, before ambling over to Ekamai Road and joining in the ever-growing queue snaking out the door at Hom Duan, a glorified rice curry shophouse vendor specializing in Northern Thai food favorites.
The popularity of Hom Duan — which I first learned about from Chef Jess Barnes now of the new Lady Brett on Thonglor — is simple: a wide range of Northern Thai food, close to your office and air-conditioned (because it’s hotter than Daenerys on a funeral pyre out there right now, you guys). There’s the expected, like khao soy and kanom jeen nam ngiew; there’s stuff that’s harder to find, like pounded young jackfruit salad (thum kanoon) and one of my favorite things to request from my aunt Priew in Chiang Rai, gang pak pang, seasoned liberally with chilies and crumbled fermented pork (naem):
If Hom Duan were anything other than an eat-and-run khao gang spot, it would be one of the most difficult tables in town to score. Instead, people are willing to brave the line because they know that someone, somewhere will be getting up any minute now. You just have to be willing to share tables. And as you are waiting in line, there are oh-so-many options to mull over:
Not surprisingly, lunchtime from noon onwards is a monster to negotiate, crowd-wise, so if you have some leeway with your time, going earlier is better than later (Hom Duan is open from 8:30 in the morning onwards, but supplies are obviously limited!) My favorite things on the menu were the gang pak pang, the young chili dip set (nam prik num with pork rinds and veggies) and the pounded jackfruit salad. It’s certainly the right time of year to go — you will not regret ducking out of the searing midday heat for this food, I promise.
(All photos by @sergiomireles)