Category Archives: curries

A haven for the overlooked

Veggie curries and stir-fries at Raan Booniyom

I lost my iPhone a couple of weeks ago. It is hard for me to believe I have lasted this long without it. The one thing I clutch  at parties when there is no one to talk to, at restaurant tables when I am inevitably the first to arrive, at home just because — my iPhone was a personal lifesaver in a restless sea of social awkwardness and negative thought spirals.

I am now up to my neck in that sea. No one tries to contact me anymore. I feel like people like me less. Yes, I know, my phone is gone. Also, I hate talking on the phone. Don’t pester me with logic! The point is I feel cut off from everything, neglected, and lonely. Overlooked.

I think it’s easy for vegetarians who love food to feel overlooked here, as well. Thai food has never been known for being particularly meaty the way American food is, but it seems to be a lot easier finding a good vegetarian meal in the States than it is here. And the places that do exist in Thailand are often criminally ignored. I’ve been guilty of this myself. Even though I know there are tons of wonderful ways to cook non-meat ingredients, I don’t actively seek vegetarian places out (except for Rasayana Raw Food Cafe, which has wonderful soups. I’m not kidding). It has to be right in front of me.

That problem is compounded when you factor in street food. Perhaps it’s because Thais feel “authentic” Thai food must have fish sauce or shrimp paste in it, or because there are not enough Thai vegetarians around, but when people ask me about street food stalls that are also vegetarian, there are few places to recommend.  Does Lemon Farm count as street food?

Well, Ubon Ratchathani has its act together when it comes to this. Raan Booniyom (corner of Thepyothi and Srinaruad roads, 086-871-1580) — less a stall, more a cafeteria, to be honest — offers everything that any vegetarian in Thailand would be happy to try out. In business for the past decade or so, Booniyom is possible because of the efforts of a group of local volunteers who arrive daily to dish up stir-fries, curries, salads, noodles, desserts, and anything else you could think of that is vegetarian.

Veggie “shrimp chips”

khao lad gaeng (curries over rice) counter offers the choice of one curry over rice for 10 baht; 20 baht for three curries. An aharn tham sung (made-to-order) section cooks up stir-fries a la minute. A vegetarian guay thiew (soup noodles) stand costs 15-20 baht; veggie som tum for 15 baht is also on the menu. Possibly best of all are the different drinks available, ranging from nam macaam (tamarind juice) to taro milk and something called “mushroom juice”: need I mention they are homemade?

Homemade drinks on display

Is there something like this in Bangkok? Um … not that I know of. That’s not to say  that a volunteer-run vegetarian “cafeteria” couldn’t open its doors, somewhere (hopefully close to me), thanks to a group of enterprising food lovers. In fact, I’d be happy to be the first customer! Let me know! Just don’t try to call me.

(Photos by @SpecialKRB)

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Filed under Asia, curries, food, food stalls, Thailand, Ubon Ratchathani, vegetarian

A very Phuket breakfast

Dim sum in Phuket

There are times when “research” means stuffing yourself with lots and lots and lots of food in a very short period of time. God help me, it was the kind of research I was doing today — namely, three promising stalls, all for breakfast.

Lured by the promise of “beef bamee”, I was excited by the prospect of Guaythiew Rab Arun, a small noodlery in the shadow of Bangkok Phuket Hospital. Alas, they were not as excited by our appearance, and, double-damn, a beefy variation of the popular egg noodles with barbecued pork was also not on the cards. No, this was your run-of-the-mill beef noodle shop: choice of rice vermicelli (sen mee), thin noodles (sen lek) and thick ones (sen yai), with broth that did or did not include cow blood (nam tok). The broth was as good beef broths are, cinnamon-y and sweet; the bowl an unashamed showcase for all sorts of innards — lungs, liver and tripe.

Beef noodles without broth

All very nice — except for the bizarre delay in letting us settle the bill — but nothing I wouldn’t find in Bangkok. On the other hand, I haven’t seen anything quite like the dim sum shop we visited next. When asked the name of the place, a two-room shophouse on Sam Gong Road serving kanom jeeb (Chinese-style steamed dumplings) and a wide variety of little bits, our waitress acts like I have just asked her ATM pin code. “Just ask, everyone knows the Dim Sum Place Down The Road From The Hospital,” she said (TDSPDTRFTH for short). A trayful of plates is deposited onto your table as you sit; you pick what you want, and you are charged, conveyor belt sushi-style, for whatever you choose. Small plates are 10 baht, “big” plates (which are almost the exact same size as the small plates) cost 15.

The tray of goodies at TDSPDTRFTH

Is it the best dim sum ever? Of course not. Is it crazy cheap? Well, that depends on you, but for the most part, why, yes it is. It is indeed cheap. And that is sometimes what I am looking for.

So, a question mark on the first stall, a possible “yes” on the second. The third? A resounding I WILL BE BACK. Pa Mai (at three-way intersection of Sagul and Dibuk roads near Wittaya School, 076-258-037) specializes in curry — curry, and the Mon fermented rice noodles known as kanom jeen, what some people mistakenly translate into “Chinese candy”. A plate of the stuff is handed to you at the front by this nice lady:

Dispenser of kanom jeen

Once you receive your blank canvas, an array of curries awaits your artistry: a trio of nam ya, crab, fish and “jungle” (without coconut milk); chicken green curry, made the old-fashioned way with globs of congealed pork blood; nam prik, a speckled chili-coconut milk concoction that, unlike its terrifying name, is actually quite sweet; gaeng tri pla, or the famous — and fierce — southern fish entrail curry; and because this is the south, nam prik kapi, or shrimp paste chili dip, made to go with the innumerable garnishes that greet you at every table:

A table at Pa Mai

Is there any sight more gladdening than this one? A platter bristling with greenery: tart mango leaves, chewy cashew ones, boiled jackfruit, cubed pineapple, bitter, spice-defying baby eggplants. Soft-boiled eggs for 7 baht. Dried fish. An ajad of thinly-sliced cucumber in a tart-sweet syrup. And a happy variety of pickles (I just love pickles): cabbage, bean sprouts, lotus stems, baby garlic.

My choice (at first): crab nam ya

Best of all, you are only charged 30 baht for the kanom jeen, meaning those curries can be added, mixed, or replenished as you see fit. Really. So I first took some fish nam ya, then some crab. Some green curry. Some nam prik. And then a little left for the fiery tri pla. Don’t judge me.

We have found kanom jeen nirvana, and it is open from 7 to noon.

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Filed under Asia, beef, Chinese, curries, food, food stalls, noodles, Southern Thailand, Thailand

Grumpalicious

N

Lunch at Silom Pattakarn

I try to write something here once a week, because life without forcing yourself to do something is a life far too enjoyable, but sometimes, things happen. Last week, and the week before that, and the week before that one, and, oh, this week too, that thing has been the Cold Monster. The Cold Monster rarely visits, so I had little idea what to expect, but it’s a stubborn creature, and pretends to leave only to show up in fuller force when you are at your most jaunty and hatching plans to make an ass of yourself in public again. So that’s what I’ve been up to. Fighting the Cold Monster.

Obviously, I have also been eating. Alas, the cold medication that I have tried all I can to avoid is the only thing between me and utter destruction at this point, but it renders everything I eat either tinny or tasteless. There are only a few things that have broken through this cold-medication curse, and sans further verbal tap-dancing, I have listed them below. Not surprisingly, they are from my favorite kinds of places: shabby, taciturn, and ancient. They are grumpalicious.

Pong Lee (10/1 Ratchawithi Soi 9, 02-644-5037, open 11am-9:30pm)

Why I like it: My grandfather, bless him, is no longer the gourmet he once was. But there was a time when he liked nothing better than to tell other people what or where to eat, and this was invariably one of his favorite choices. It’s changed little since we took him here last — the decor is the same (shabby unchic), as is the clientele (“vintage”). Not surprisingly, the menu has also undergone little renovation. Although people like to order the deep-fried duck, our family has our own little favorites.

What I like: Old-school Thai-Chinese versions of “Western” dishes are also represented on the menu by way of Pong Lee’s deep-fried pork chop, swimming in a thick tomato sauce and peas. It sounds kind of gross, and maybe is if you are not familiar with this very specialized subset of old-style fusion food, but it is the dish my brother invariably goes for. Steamed seabass and hae gun (Chinese-style deep-fried shrimp rolls) are standbys, as is the odd vegetable dish of what appears to be canned white asparagus garnished with a murky seaweed. Sometimes (only if I am there), we order the stewed goat. Pong Lee’s specialty, however, is said to be the Hokkien-style fried egg noodles, garnished with shredded pork floss.

Egg noodles with pork floss

Sanguansri (59/1 Wireless Rd., 02-252-7637, open 10am-3pm)

Why I like it: Is it habit? Is it the food? I can’t tell anymore. Sometimes I am absolutely appalled by the service (but cannot say anything because, let’s face it, some of the servers are my grammy’s age). And sometimes I am perfectly happy to sit there, ignored, serving myself water from the counter and fighting to pay my bill. All I know is that I first came here when, well, I first came to Thailand, and eating here makes me think of that time. Also, the food seems to have only improved since then (as illustrated by the growing and increasingly-ravenous lunchtime crowd).

What I like: What can I say? It’s all about the kanom jeen nam prik. Sure, some other places also have kanom jeen (Mon-style fermented rice noodles) with vaunted reputations, but Sanguansri deserves it. Their nam prik — a mellow, chili-flecked, coconut milk-based curry — is genuinely delicious, layered and complex, sweet and mild but with an earthy undertow. Noodles come pre-mixed with greens for convenience’s sake (theirs, not yours), and sometimes they forget silverware and/or dishes, but whatever. As for everything else, it … skews sweet. Another favorite is the gluay chuem (bananas cooked in syrup), which comes drizzled in coconut milk, a further play on the salty-sweet thing.

Kanom jeen nam prik

Silom Pattakarn (Soi Silom Pattakarn, the soi after Silom Soi 15, 02-236-4442, open 10am-9pm)

Why I like it: Among the oldest remaining examples of Thai-Western fusion food, Silom Pattakarn specializes in something that is increasingly in danger of becoming extinct (see: Restaurant, Carlton) — Thai-Chinese versions of “Western” dishes such as “stew” (tomato-based sauce, peas, and pork, oxtail or ox tongue), corn soup, Chinese-style “chicken curry” (the national British dish), and “steak” (here seared perfectly and cooked medium to medium-well — no bleu among germ-phobic Thais!) accompanied with a simple salad in a sweet vinaigrette. There are also “fancy” Asian dishes such as fish maw soup, either cooked dry or nam daeng (“red broth”) and mee krob boran (old-style crispy thin noodles), which, unlike the lacquered khunying hair-like confections atop so many “traditional” restaurant tables today, arrives simply and humbly, mixed with minced shrimp, touched only a bit with sugar.

Old-fashioned mee krob with garnishes

What I like: Uh, I think I went over that already. But honestly, I also just love the place: it’s breezy in the wintertime, the ladies are lovely, and everything comes with a fluffy tower of white bread and ginormous pat of butter. With the loss of the Carlton Restaurant on Silom (another “fancy” place frequented by blue-hair types who remember its heyday in the ’50s and ’60s), Silom Pattakarn has possibly become the remaining purveyor of this slice of post-World War II Thailand, when the country was young and budding and the future seemed bright (I remember this time vividly, you see). The restaurant is up for sale (granted, for the past 6-7 years), so this may be the last chance you get to see, and taste, progressive mid-century Thailand.

Chicken curry and the dining room

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Filed under Asia, Bangkok, chicken, curries, food, noodles, restaurant, Thai-Chinese, Thailand

Mid-life crisis

Beef mataba (stuffed Thai-Muslim pancake) at Roti-Mataba

When people talk about having a mid-life crisis, they are thinking about something like a loss of identity or the mourning of things that have passed us by, never to return, like the opportunity to go braless. Or the ability to digest 1 kg of meat without any repercussions. Or a deep, uninterrupted sleep. Oh, so many things to mourn!

But there are other things, more insidious. Because I am all about listing bad stuff, over and over again, here’s another one: being taken for granted. Underrated. Your opinions rendered irrelevant. Low tide at sunset, and you the fish wriggling in the shallows, somewhere between a dead jellyfish and plastic bottle.

And it’s not just about getting annoyed by things that other people inexplicably LOVE, like that teacher on Glee, who, every time he opens his mouth, moves a part of me that wants to kick his face in, even though he hasn’t done anything to me ever (I’m not lying. He’s on TV now and I want to shoot myself. Yet I can’t change the channel. Is this the point of Glee?) It’s about being dismissed in spite of your successes. In this context, I am obviously not talking about me, sitting in front of the television on a butterfly chair borrowed from my grandma because I have no furniture. I’m talking about Greyhound Cafe.

Because, for whatever reason, Greyhound is not considered a serious place to eat, the “See Fah” of the contemporary Bangkok dining scene. But let me tell you a story about Greyhound. Once, 100 years ago, it didn’t exist. Emporium was new, rising up out of the rubble of the last Bronze Age. My friend Tutti and I were making the rounds of this new, glittering place and she got to talking to a gentleman hatching plans to open a new restaurant in the next few months. He said the menu would be a bit strange, a bit of this and that, a Thai-Italian mix. Being the wonderful people we are, we waited until we left him to laugh at his idea. Thai-Italian? Awful. Who would eat this dreck? Fusion suxx!

Today, this man is probably on a yacht in the Andaman Sea, snacking on “Sandwich in a Bowl”, in a T-shirt reading “Complicated Noodle 4Eva”. Spaghetti pad kee mao is commonplace, and cutesy versions of Thai food staples like fried rice, nam prik or khao pad are everywhere in the city. This place now has a gazillion branches. Yet it’s still “just Greyhound”, mired in the restaurant version of a mid-life crisis. It was the best sort of fusion — a look into the future, reflecting how Bangkokians really eat. But what have you done for me lately, Greyhound?

Roti-Mataba (136 Pra Arthit Rd., 02-282-2119, open 9am-10pm except Mondays) is not a fusion restaurant. But it’s also in a mid-life crisis.  Among the most popular places to try Thai-Muslim food in the city, this khao raad gaeng (rice and curry) standby is seen as touristy, a bit blah, ignored in favor of younger, newer Thai-Muslim places that are harder to find — hence, more “authentic”. Later, sometime in the evening when the rats are scurrying next to your table and your beef curry noodles are strangely flavorless, watered d0wn in a failed attempt to make them last longer, you think back to the cheery, well-lit shophouse that is Roti-Mataba, and the women who tirelessly make new roti throughout the day. Roti that would eventually be dunked into a peanut-strewn bowl of beef mussaman curry, or a green chicken curry, the surface flecked with fat and basil. Better yet, roti slathered in chocolate sauce, dotted with slices of ripe banana.

That’s when you start to feel regret. Roti-Mataba, I have been away for too long.

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Filed under Asia, Bangkok, curries, food, food stalls, restaurant, Thai-Muslim, Thailand

So here goes

Jay Maew's giant pomfret with pickled plums

People sometimes ask me where I like to eat. I suspect this is so they do not have to worry about bumping into me somewhere. I’ve been asked this enough times that I have decided to write down a handy little list, detailing the places I make a serious effort to go to again and again.

You may notice there is a pattern. As I get older (I am 75), I get more set in my ways. You will never, ever catch me in a place with throbbing music, or packed with people, or outfitted with beds instead of chairs, unless Anthony Bourdain is there, in an outfit made out of sun-dried beef. I will try my very best to avoid a place that describes itself as fusion, unless it is something like Eskimo-Mongolian, because — well, who wouldn’t want to see that? I also steer clear of theme restaurants, unless they involve ninjas, or pirates. Or, uh, knights and jousting. Never mind. Just scratch what I said about theme restaurants.

1. Jay Maew
Just off of the highway in Samut Songkhram on the way to Hua Hin, this Thai seafood place is … about to close, because the owners want to retire and enjoy their lives. This is a shame (although I am all for the owners wanting to enjoy their lives), because their gaeng som is easily the best within 100 km of Bangkok. Also delicious giant pomfret, stewed with pickled plums or steamed with soy sauce and ginger; grilled crab, thick with eggs; freshwater shrimp, heads oozing, lightly blistered. Try not to miss it!

Before going over Mae Nam Tha Jeen, stick to left, go under bridge, U-turn, make first left, and it’s on your left hand side.
034-713-911

2. Jay Fai
Let me tell you a story about Jay Fai. I wrote a book about street food stalls, and although the bill at Jay Fai falls quite outrageously beyond the price limit of 100 baht per meal, I included it, because her cooking is incredibly delicious, more so once you find out she is self-taught.

Well, she didn’t like being included in a book with the pad thai guy down the street and the assorted noodle vendors here and there on the sidewalk. Her food is “on another level”, she said. Well, I can’t say I disagree with that. “Dry” thom yum (spicy lemongrass soup), festooned with prawns as big as a child’s hand; double-fried lard na, thick flat noodles paired with skinny yellow ones, topped with a flavorful seafood gravy; or, my favorite, a Japanese-inspired omelette stuffed with gigantic hunks of crab — this place is the first place I think of when someone I like wants to eat great Thai food.

Jay Fai's crabmeat omelette

327 Mahachai Rd.
02-223-9384

3. Chesa
People are sometimes confused when I say this Swiss restaurant is my favorite Western restaurant in Bangkok. Who knew raclette could be so alluring? How could fondue be such a draw?

Truthfully, although I love cheese, raclette and fondue aren’t big draws to me either. Yet I come to Chesa every chance I get because nearly every item on its menu is well-cooked. I like that the chef includes seasonal menus — focusing on, say, white asparagus in late spring, chanterelles in the fall. I like the brisk, efficient service. I like that they don’t mind substitutions. I even like that it’s slightly fusty and quiet. Best of all, I love that this is a restaurant that does not shy away from offal — veal kidneys in a mustard sauce, liver with rosti, breaded fried sweetbreads, these guys have it all.

Kidneys with brussels sprouts

5 Sukhumvit Soi 20
02-261-6650

4. Soul Food Mahanakorn
Every time I mention Soul Food Mahanakorn to anyone, I am invariably told one of a several things: 1. that it is their local; 2. that they have had the party for their book/exhibition/film/album there; 3. that they had a very interesting conversation about (insert something here) with the owner; and 4. to try the lamb grapao/Burmese-style stewed pork belly/spicy eggplant salad/excellent cocktails.

The point being, everyone loves this place. What started out as being a trendy new place with promise has turned into something that people genuinely love to go to, again and again. Everyone has picked out their favorite dish on the menu (mine is the Hat Yai fried chicken); everyone has had some sort of party there (including me); everyone has had an interesting conversation with Jarrett (boo, Eagles). This is because it is very easy to do all of these things, thanks to a smart menu, a convivial, homey atmosphere, and Jarrett’s genuinely warm personality. You feel like he could be your best friend: we could watch movies together, and do each other’s hair, and he could listen to me blather on about “Game of Thrones” for hours on end … right? Jarrett? Hey, where are you going?

56/10 Sukhumvit Soi 55
02-714-7708

5. Bamee Slow
I travel more than I should, and this is the first place I always try to go to once I get home. I love bamee kai — I am a fool for eggs, and a boiled egg, cooked just enough so the yolk runs all over a silky, fragrant handful of egg noodles accented with red pork and fried garlic, is probably my idea of an edible heaven. Best/worst of all, the wait can take up to 25 minutes, ramping up the anticipation for your first bowl (I immediately order two, broth separate, to avoid unnecessary drama) that much more. It’s the very best street food, the slow kind.

 

Entrance to Ekamai Soi 19 (after 8pm)

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Filed under Asia, bamee, Bangkok, curries, fish, food, food stalls, noodles, restaurant, seafood, Thailand

What’s Cooking: Gaeng som

Shrimp gaeng som at Mamapapa Restaurant

The last time I went to Phuket, my husband took me to what looked like a secluded selection of shanties set over the water, accessible via a small dirt road. I was starving and, obviously, grumpy, but our beachside breakfast — gaeng som with rice — reminded me why I love Thai food, its strong clear flavors and its honesty, communicating everything that in regular conversation is all-too-often too nuanced for me to pick up.

I sought to recreate this experience — sans Phuket sand, glimmering ocean and dozing old man at the next table — in my own kitchen. With store-bought nam prik gaeng som (I know, I know), it was criminally easy, but if you want to make your own chili paste base, mix a handful of red bird’s eye chilies, shallots, garlic cloves, a pinch of salt and a few lemongrass bulbs, galangal and kaffir lime leaves into a paste. Some people add a dollop of shrimp paste as well.

Gaeng som (sour curry) (serves 4)

– 4 Tablespoons nam macaam piek (tamarind syrup)*

– 6 knobs of grachai (wild ginger)

– 1 Tablespoon palm sugar

– 1 firm, white-fleshed fish such as pomfret, boiled in half a pot of salted water (save cooking liquid)**

– 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

– 4 Tablespoons fish sauce

– 2 bunches cha om (acacia leaves)

– 3 eggs

– 4 heaping Tablespoons gaeng som paste (see above)

1. Chop grachai into small pieces and pound into a paste with mortar and pestle.

2. Deflesh fish from the bone, add to mortar and pound further. Add your nam prik gaeng little by little, mixing carefully so that you don’t get any in your eye (again), which is very painful. It will look like this:

3. Add paste to fish cooking water on the stove along with palm and granulated sugars and fish sauce. Bring to the boil.

4. When boiling, add tamarind juice.

5. Add your white fish pieces. Do not stir, or gaeng will become “fishy”.

6. Taste to correct seasoning, adding if necessary more tamarind juice (for acidity), sugar (for sweet) and/or fish sauce (for salt) as you see fit.

7. Allow to boil for another 10 minutes. Your gaeng is finished!

8. As your soup boils, chop cha om with scissors into bite-sized pieces.

9. Heat 4 Tablespoons of cooking oil in a big frying pan.

10. Whip eggs as you would an omelette and add half the cha om. It will initially look like this:

11. Over medium heat, cook in hot oil until puffy, then turn over and cook until golden-brown. Take out and drain on a paper towel.

12. Serve omelette by cutting into squares, placing at bottom of bowl and ladling your gaeng som on top, accompanied with rice.

*You can make your own tamarind syrup by steeping a tamarind pod in hot water for at least 10 minutes. A tamarind pod looks like this:

 ** Obviously, you can substitute the fish for anything else you would prefer — shrimp, chicken, and/or some blanched mixed vegetables.

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Roadside Buffets

The "curry rice" stand on Methenivet Road

While researching the street food book, I spent a lot of time formulating some sort of tried-and-true criteria that could be used to determine the kind of “street food stall” perfect for the book. I did this because I got a hella annoyed at stories that would claim to explore “Bangkok’s most authentic street food”, and then take you to the Food Loft at Central or something. I mean, I like the food there too, but come on. You are supposed to “suffer” for street food. You are supposed to wander aimlessly in the street as people say “there she goes again, that farang” and pretend you don’t understand, acting out the role of “clueless foreigner” in this bizarre trade-off people call “social discourse in Thailand”. You are supposed to sit at a rickety stool as the sweat pours off your face and people point and laugh and say, “Look at how uncomfortable she is! So funny!” or they politely pretend not to notice, which might be worse. Street food is an enterprise where the awards are commensurate with what you put into it. That’s just the way it is. (I know. We are all now wandering aimlessly down the length of this paragraph, wondering “When does this road end? The book did say it was supposed to be RIGHT HERE…”)

The thing is, I hardly had the wherewithal (or the stomach, to be frank instead of Glutton) to explore all the kinds of proper street food stalls that there are in Bangkok. That included aharn tham sung (made-to-order stalls, marked by raw ingredients arranged in front of the cook) and khao gub gaeng (“curry rice” stalls, marked by ready-made curry vats arranged in a row in front of the cook). I did briefly discuss, amid all the purple prose, the awesomeness of made-to-order stalls in a post here. Now, I’d like to talk about the tantalizing roadside buffet that is the khao gaeng stall.

Of all the stalls out there (except for maybe the nam kaeng sai, or iced dessert stalls), curry rice stalls are the most inviting Thai stalls around. Their purpose is to beckon to the grumbling stomach — here, you could be having this RIGHT NOW — instead of suggesting the promise of the future, as a made-to-order stall does. It appeals to the immediate in all of us, which is why our book features a particularly famous one on its cover (Mae Malee at Aor Thor Kor).

That said, there are so many stalls out there, on practically every street corner, most offering a variation of the following: green basil curry, usually chicken and/or chicken feet; stewed bitter melon stuffed with minced pork in a clear broth; stir-fried long beans in red curry paste; some sort of stir-fried Mama noodle or glass vermicelli with pork and chilies; stir-fried veggies; fried pork with garlic and black peppercorns; and fried eggs, yolks ready to break open at the slightest slash of a spoon. If it’s a particularly good one, you’ll also get maybe a yum (spicy sour salad), usually seafood, a gaeng jued (bland clear broth soup to counteract the spiciness of everything else) and something cool and ornamental, like kai luk kuey (son-in-law’s eggs, which are deep-fried and slathered in a sweet sauce. I once wrote a story about Thailand’s “foreign son-in-laws” for, oh, let’s call them Schmeuters, and my editors misunderstood and thought I was referring to “luk [something else]”, which was really, really annoying. Minds in the gutter, much? Anyway.)

Because I love eggs: krapao at a made-to-order stall

You might be wondering where the best place to find a khao gaeng stall may be. I would once have said the one on Sukhumvit 24, across the street from Emporium, but it has since disappeared, taking its green curry spaghetti with it. So let’s go with Krua Aroy-Aroy (it’s a favorite of Ferran Adria’s, after all!) at Thanon Pan, across from Maha Uma Devi Temple (Wat Kaek), 081-695-3339, open 8:00-21:00 daily. The laminated menus are gone! The massaman curry and nam prik platu are still there … just don’t order the nam ngiew (I’m sorry. I can’t help myself. It’s a sickness).

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Filed under Asia, Bangkok, curries, food, food stalls, rice, Thailand