One thing that the Great Street Food Cleanup of Thonglor/Ekamai has done (and solely for the people who eat it for fun), is basically curating that area’s vendors for us. No longer do we need to consult guides to figure out which ones inspire a following (and that’s a good thing, because a lot of those guides would be outdated by now lololallthelulz). Instead, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has kindly done the job for us. The vendors who enjoy a steady stream of customers find places nearby in front of businesses that will have them; the ones who can’t broker these types of deals move on.
Yet, even with the knowledge that these vendors are there for us, the chance of getting a plate of food from them has somehow diminished. Let me tell you how that could be: after four (FOUR) tries, I have yet to procure a khao mok gai, or Thai-Muslim-style chicken biryani, from the Thonglor vendor since the Wonderful Sidewalk Cleanup for Citizens of Thonglor/Ekamai back in April.
tl;dr. Rainy season + laziness = zero chicken biryani, like this:
Let me tell you the odds: my friend Karen can duck into a shared-ride service in New York City only to encounter a rando she once corresponded with on OKCupid six years ago, but I cannot get a plate of this stuff from this Thonglor vendor. The butt-hurt rando can complain — six years later — about how Karen blew off their date to take photographs of the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, but I cannot get a plate of this stuff from the Thonglor vendor. A movie could come out starring Emma Stone as Karen and Ryan Gosling as this rando guy where they re-encounter each other on a shared ride, only to be joined by a beleaguered government press secretary (Jonah Hill) who is on the run from a dangerous Russian mobster (Russell Crowe) charged by a mysterious entity (Nick Nolte) to recover incriminating documents that the press secretary may have stolen (call me Hollywood/ Uber/ Lyft). But, I cannot get a plate of this stuff from the Thonglor vendor.
The last time I went there was only two days ago. Not a drop of rain yet, not a weekend or a special holiday, all the stars seemed to be aligned for me. I arrived at 10am, only to be greeted by the very bottom of a large stainless steel pot, a few grains of yellow rice clinging forlornly to the side. “Sorry,” said the vendor. She advises me to come at 8 in the morning, a time when I am still mulling my life choices while drinking my second cup of coffee in my pajamas. Trying to salvage something out of my morning, I buy a spicy chicken soup to take home, top-heavy with coriander, deep-fried shallots and plenty of freshly minced chili. I then ask to take a photo of her. “Sure,” she says, resolutely avoiding the camera.
It would appear that the scarcity of street food in the area has only strengthened business for the ones who remain, which makes sense — it should hardly be a challenge to sell good, cheap food in this kind of environment. With that in mind, head to Amat Rot Dee, aka what used to be my favorite chicken biryani vendor, for your own plate of chicken rice heaven, open on Thonglor Road in front of the barber shop past Grand Tower Hotel on Monday-Friday from 8am-9am. Hurry.