A reprieve for the palate

A variety of fish meatballs with egg noodles at Yoo-Nguan Pochana

It’s hard to believe, but it’s already eating-your-face-off season in Bangkok, and my scale is dearly paying for it. Again. As much as I appreciate the clinking of glasses and rivers of champagne that go with the happiest time of the year — as well as the surprisingly decent weather and traffic (!) — there does come a time when one needs to reset the tastebuds a bit, take a breather, and chill.

So when your tongue wants a reprieve from the prickly tom yums and greasy curries of your normal day-to-day ventures to the trough, you can’t do much better than these fish noodles on the much-loved-but-still-underrated Chan Road. Known as Yoo-Nguan Pochana (Chan Road 18/7), the open shophouse, patronised but not too crowded, is the ideal spot for a quick breakfast that fills you up for surprisingly longer than you’d expect. Although the standard range of rice noodles is available, the bamee were said to be the best, and even though I did not try any other noodle, they were: silky and buttery in a way that I’ve only seen at the original Bamee Sawang, formerly at Hua Lumphong but now on Petchburi Road, RIP (*takes hat off and bows head*).

The meatballs, meanwhile (I ordered ruammitr, or a mix) boasted the qualities that Thais value in their fish balls: springy and resilient to anything but the mightiest mash of the back teeth, qualities credited to the vendor’s mix of bigeye snapper and cutlassfish, according to Khao Sod English.

But look, if a more “traditional” breakfast (something that really doesn’t exist in Thailand) is more your jam, you can get all up into the variety of toasts on offer, served with common Thai toppings like coconut custard, sugar and butter, or yes, jam.

You will have plenty of time to be sorry for your rigid view of breakfast and return for a bowl of fishball bamee later. These folks have been here for a while and will still be there when you go back.


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4 responses to “A reprieve for the palate

  1. ajarn777

    In two decades of being a denizen of my adopted City of Angels, I haven’t yet gone totally native with my breakfasting habits which remain Anglo-centric for the most part, with a-heart-attack-on-plate, if you will, comprising all or any of the following: bacon and eggs, sausage, fried tomato, baked beans (Heinz 57 of course), black pudding when I can get it and, an absolute must, a mug of Builder’s Tea of any brand of tea known to the Brits EXCEPT Liptons or Twinings (perish the thought) AND, the Condiment of Champions, the daddy of all brown sauces, HP! Old age, lockdown and clogged arteries have curtailed this habit to just once in a blue moon. It was a British writer and wit W. Somerset Maugham who famously said: “To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day.” Considering that he lived most of his life man and boy in France, that’s the greatest expression of chutzpah I’ve ever heard. Ho-hum.

  2. Adam

    You should try Warocha on Ekamai if you haven’t already – I’m a fishball bamee fan and the aunties there do the best I’ve had in town 🤤

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