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A Thai Truck Stop – Raan Nong Pun

Michael Babcock, Friday, November 1st, 2013

This blog takes a look at Raan Nong Pun – ร้านน้องเปิล – which is what I think of as a Thai Truck Stop. It is found about a one hour drive north of Ayuthaya on the road to Sukhothai along AH1 – Asian Highway 1. It really is a type of restaurant called (in Thai) ข้าวแกง (kao kaeng) – literally “Rice Curry.” It serves mostly pre-made dishes – think of it as Thai Fast Food – for travelers.

Nam Prik Kapi

Nam Prik Kapi

(Note: you can see all the photos as a slide show at the bottom of the page.)

Click images of pictures to see larger version.

I have long had a soft spot for this kind of restaurant. In 1992, on my first trip to Thailand, I went to a 10-day meditation retreat at Suan Mokh monastery near Surat Thani in southern Thailand. I was there for nearly 14 days. The food there was nutritious, healthy, bland vegetarian fare: they basically recycled 3 or 4 dishes over and over and it began to be fairly monotonous. I was picked up by Kasma and one of her small-group trips to Thailand on their way to Krabi and we stopped at a place in Chaiya quite similar to Raan Nong Pun. It was one of my most memorable meals ever. The dish we see to the left is from Raan Nong Pun and you’ll probably find it at any Thai fast food center or market: Pan-fried Mackerel and Assorted Vegetables with Hot-and-Pungent Fermented Shrimp Dipping Sauce (Nam Prik Kapi, also called Nam Prik Pla Too). This dish is what I think of as “hard-core Thai food.” The dipping sauce has a strong flavor that is unlike anything I’ve ever had in western cuisine; it may be an acquired taste but is absolutely delicious once acquired.

Restaurant Sign

Sign for Raan Nong Pun

Sign for Raan Nong Pun

Look for this sign

The name for this restaurant probably should be Raan Nong Appun – ร้านน้องแอปเปิล – แอปเปิล, (which I transliterate as Appun – there is no ending “l” sound in Thai) means Apple. It has been shortened in the name to the second syllable – เปิล (pun). Presumably anyone who reads Thai understands what is meant. For those who do not, there is, as we see here, the sign with a very large apple to clue us in. If you are driving from Sukhothai, you can enter the parking lot directly from the highway; coming from Ayuthaya, you will have to make a u-turn and come back around. The picture on the right shows the view as approaching from Ayuthaya. The restaurant is found in the Inburi district in Singburi province, about 90 kilometers from the center of Ayuthaya.

Food Line

Food line

Food Servers

Food servers

These Thai fast-food “truck stops” are all pretty much alike. The closest analogy we have in the U.S. is a cafeteria. There’s a line going past anywhere from 30 to 40 different dishes staffed by (almost always) women in neat, often uniformed, clothing. You go through the line and you can either order 2 or 3 dishes over rice or, as Kasma does on her trips, order plates of each food to eat family style. Westerners going through the line may recognize some of the dishes and then there may be many more that look familiar but we can’t quite name. Doesn’t really matter. Just point to a couple of the dishes that look extra appetizing. You usually pay 30 or 40 baht for two dishes over rice.

Thai Fast Food

Some of the many foods

Restaurant Seating

A seating area

There are always many, many trays of delicious looking food (as above left). As you go through the line, you simply choose whatever looks good to you. (Or you come with Kasma, who will select her favorites.) The seating area is pretty basic – tables, chairs, stations where you can get silverware. There are also other vendors where you can get drinks: water, soft drinks, coffee or (Thai) tea.

In addition to the restaurant and food service there’s also a store that sells many different kinds of Thai kanom (snacks) and also a full array of nam prik – chilli pastes and dipping sauces. This particular stop is known for their own brand of kanom piak – a pastry with a sweet filling in a pastry shell. Kasma always hopes to purchase several boxes, both to feed to her tour members and also as gifts for her Thai friends; unfortunately, they often sell out before we arrive and none of the other brands taste very good.

A Few Dishes Kasma Orders

I always come here with Kasma, who does all of the ordering; basically, I just eat what is put in front of me. It is always very tasty and surprisingly fresh for food that has been sitting for awhile. I will just include the photos below with a few words about the dishes. Food is cafeteria-style so dishes come and go: you may not see all of the dishes shown here.

Fried Fish

Fried fish dish

Fish Dish

Fish in red curry

To the left above is perhaps my favorite dish here: fish is salted, partially dried in the sun and then fried in chunks. Two things make it special: the type of fish (I can’t tell you what it is) and the fact that it is fried to perfection. This is a dish that can sometimes be hard to order because it disappears quite quickly once they put it on display. On the plus side, it is usually quite freshly cooked when you can get it. On the right is another fish dish: a fish in red curry sauce, perhaps what is called pad ped – stir-fried (pad) spicy-hot (ped).

Vegetable Dish

Vegetables and mung-bean noodles

Thai Curried Fish

Thai curried fish

To the left above is a vegetable dish, served with woon sen (mung bean) noodles. On the right is Haw Moek – (Red) Curried Fish Mousse – which is usually on offer at kao kaeng shops and in Thai markets.

Bitter Melon Soup

Bitter Melon Soup

Acacia Leaf Curry

Cassia Leaf Curry

On the left above is another staple at this type of restaurant, a real favorite: Bitter Melon and Pork Rib Soup (Mara Tom Pak Dong See Krohng Moo). It’s one of my favorite because I adore bitter melon. On the right is a Cassia Leaf Curry dish.


Getting There

I can only give the address in Thai:

ร้านอาหารน้องเปิ้ล – Nong Pun Restaurant
736 ถนนสายเอเชีย
อินทร์บุรี อินทร์บุรี สิงห์บุรี 16110
036582391, 036582390
Open: 06:00 – 23:00
Google Map, Ayuthaya to Raan Nong Pun


See also:


Slideshow – Some Dishes at Nong Pun Restaurant

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.

Clicking on a slide will take you to the next image.

Nam Prik Kapi
Sign for Raan Nong Pun
Restaurant Sign
Food Servers
Food Line
Thai Fast Food
Restaurant Seating
Fried Fish
Fish Dish
Vegetable Dish
Thai Curried Fish
Bitter Melon Soup
Acacia Leaf Curry

Pan-fried Mackerel and Vegetables with Hot-and-Pungent Fermented Shrimp Dipping Sauce (Nahm Prik Kapi)

Look for this sign on the highway from Ayuthaya to Suhkothai

Close up of the sign for Raan Nong Pun

Food servers at Raan Nong Pun

People in the food line at Raan Nong Pun

Just a few of the many food choices at Raan Nong Pun

The seating area at Raan Nong Pun

Fish, salted, partially sun-dried and then fried

A fish cooked in red curry, possibly a pad ped

Vegetables cooked together with mung-bean noodles

Fish Curry Mousse (Haw Moek)

Bitter Melon and Pork Rib Soup (Mara Tom Pak Dong See Krohng Moo)

Acacia Leaf and Grilled Fish Curry (Kaeng Kee Lek)

Nam Prik Kapi thumbnail
Sign for Raan Nong Pun thumbnail
Restaurant Sign thumbnail
Food Servers thumbnail
Food Line thumbnail
Thai Fast Food thumbnail
Restaurant Seating thumbnail
Fried Fish thumbnail
Fish Dish thumbnail
Vegetable Dish thumbnail
Thai Curried Fish thumbnail
Bitter Melon Soup thumbnail
Acacia Leaf Curry thumbnail

Written by Michael Babcock, November 2013

Yok Yor Marina Restaurant in Bangkok

Michael Babcock, Sunday, September 15th, 2013
Yok Yor Sign

Yok Yor Marina Restaurant sign

Yok Yor Marina Restaurant – ห้องอาหารยกยอมารีน่า – in Bangkok is one of the restaurants where Kasma takes her small-group tours to Thailand. It specializes in fresh seafood and we have always gotten an excellent, tasty meal there. Yok Yor Marina is situated right on the Chao Phraya river. As you sit and eat you can watch the boats go by on the river. Although it’s nothing fancy, the food is always tasty and good and there’s usually a very nice cooling breeze coming in off the river. There’s a second restaurant – Yok Yor Klongsan – nearby. (See below for address and link to a map.)

Be sure to click on the images (especially the food pictures) to see larger version. We also have a slide show of the food pictures at the bottom of the page.

Yok Yor Interior

Inside Yok Yor Marina

Yok Yor View

View from Yok Yor Marina

These two pictures show one of the tables at Yok Yor Marina where Kasma’s trip members are enjoying one of many feasts on the tour during her shorter 19-day trip to Central and Northern Thailand (Trip B) in January 2012. The interior is nothing fancy but comfortable. The other picture shows one of the many barges going past on the Chao Phraya river.

I’m going to mostly let the pictures of the dishes Kasma orders speak for themselves. In a typical meal here she would order 6 dishes and rice to be eaten family style.

Duck Curry

Roast Duck Curry

Garlic Pepper Squid

Garlic Pepper Squid

Kasma almost always orders the dish to the upper left – Roast Duck Curry. It’s a red curry with succulent duck as the meat. Quite nice. On the right we see Garlic-Peppered Squid with a dipping sauce. The squid is nicely cooked, meaning it’s tender and not too chewy. (It’s quite easy to overcook squid and turn it rubbery.)

Seafood Laab

Seafood Laab

Crab Dish

Crab Dish

Above left  we see a Seafood Laab (also transliterated as Larb), fresh, spicy (as a laab usually is) and crunchy from the toasted rice. Kasma always gets one of a couple of crab dishes here, such as the one to the upper right.

Steamed Fish

Steamed Fish

Crab in Yellow Curry

Crab in Yellow Curry

Yok Yor Marina does a very good Steamed Fish, upper left. To be good, the fish must be very, very fresh indeed: this one was. The above right Crab in Yellow Curry is quite good. Lots of liberated (from the shell) crab meat in a yellow curry sauce; succulent and tasty.

Fried Fish with Green Mango

Fried Fish with Green Mango

Sour Pork Ribs

Sour Pork Ribs

Kasma sometimes orders the Fried Fish with Green Mango that is above left. Another frequent item on the table for our groups is the Northern Sour Pork Ribs on right; the tasty, fermented meat is served with a variety of accoutrements (the shallots, greens, peanuts, garlic, often chillies), which are popped in the mouth with a piece of the rib. Yummy.


Slideshow – Some Dishes at Yok Yor Marina Restaurant

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.

Clicking on a slide will take you to the next image.

Duck Curry
Garlic Pepper Squid
Seafood Laab
Crab Dish
Steamed Fish
Crab in Yellow Curry
Fried Fish with Green Mango
Sour Pork Ribs

Duck Curry at Yok Yor Marina Restaurant

Garlic Pepper Squid at Yok Yor Marina Restaurant

Seafood Laab at Yok Yor Marina Restaurant

Crab dish at Yok Yor Marina Restaurant

Steamed Fish at Yok Yor Marina Restaurant

Crab in Yellow Curry at Yok Yor Marina Restaurant

Fried Fish with Green Mango at Yok Yor Marina Restaurant

Sour Pork Ribs at Yok Yor Marina Restaurant

Duck Curry thumbnail
Garlic Pepper Squid thumbnail
Seafood Laab thumbnail
Crab Dish thumbnail
Steamed Fish thumbnail
Crab in Yellow Curry thumbnail
Fried Fish with Green Mango thumbnail
Sour Pork Ribs thumbnail


Yok Yor Marina Restaurant
885 Somdet Chaophraya 17 Rd
Klong San Bangkok 10600
Tel. 02-863-0565-6, 02-863-1708
Service time : 11.00 – 24.00 hours
Website for Klongsan branch: www.yokyor.co.th


Written by Michael Babcock, September 2013

Din Tai Fung Bangkok – A Disappointment

Michael Babcock, Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Last February we visited the restaurant Din Tai Fung in Bangkok with great expectations for their Shanghai Dumplings – Xiao Long Bao. Apparently, the Din Tai Fung in Taipei is considered one of the top restaurants in the world and it is known for their Xiao Long Bao, and we adore good Xiao Long Bao. Unfortunately, the restaurant in Bangkok did not live up to our expectations.

Xiao Long Bao

Xiao Long Bao

A Xiao Long Bao

One Xiao Long Bao

(Click images to see larger version.)

Longtime readers of this blog know of our love of Xiao Long Bao. At one point, in 2011, we thought we’d found a great source for them at the then-named Shanghai Happiness Restaurant in the popular MBK (Mahboonkrong) Center. (See Shanghai Dumplings in Bangok.) Unfortunately, when we re-visited this restaurant last year (December 2012), we found the name had changed (to Shanghai Xiao Long Bao) and the Shanghai Dumplings were no longer very good. So we were quite excited to try out Din Tai Fung. [We will revisit this Shanghai Xiao Long Bao later this year – perhaps they just had an off-day.]

Entry Sign

Entry sign

Making Xiao Long Bao

Making Xiao Long Bao

Din Tai Fung is known for “its famous signature xiao long bao.” As you walk in, you are able to watch 3 or 4 of the workers making the Xiao Long Bao in front of you: the dumplings came out looking absolutely gorgeous. In their literature they talk about how a good xiao long bao should have at least 18 folds. When ours came to the table, I actually counted over 20 folds and they looked absolutely stunning.

Din Tai Fung Restaurant

Din Tai Fung Restaurant in Bangkok

Seating Area

Seating area

This particular branch is located in the upscale shopping center Central World in the Ratchaprasong Shopping District. It’s a pretty classy looking restaurant, modern and clean. They raise your expectations very high: a sign as you walk in informs you that “The arrival of Din Tai Fung in Thailand creates new standards in the local dining scene.” This is under the heading: “Ushering in an era of esteemed Taiwanese culinary heritage.”

Condiments

Condiment tray

Place Setting

Place setting

It’s an attractive, modern setting. The place settings were pleasing and each table came with soy sauce, chilli oil, vinegar and pickled ginger. The ginger was our first taste of their food: it was the most bland ginger I’ve ever tasted with almost no ginger flavor whatsoever. I wondered: how on earth do you make ginger so tasteless!

At first glance, we were disappointed by the menu: although there were quite a number of noodle dishes, the rest of the menu didn’t provide many choices. We ordered 5 items.

Xiao Long Bao

Xiao Long Bao

First, the Xiao Long Bao. We ordered  6 for 145 baht (there’s also 10 for 195). The dumplings were absolutely gorgeous on the outside. I counted over 20 folds in each of the dumplings – they looked spectacular. With great anticipation I dipped a dumpling in the sauce with “pickled” ginger, popped it into my mouth and bit down. The dough was excellent: not too thick, not too thin, just right for retaining a good quantity of the juice that squirted enticingly into the mouth when I bit down. Unfortunately, that’s where the positives stopped. The juice itself was bland. The filling itself was even blander. All that work and beauty, undermined by a filling and broth that had virtually no flavor. What a disappointment.

Spinach Tossed with Sesame

Spinach Tossed with Sesame

Another item we ordered was a salad, Spinach Tossed with Sesame. The dressing was pretty ho-hum, nothing spectacular at all; it desperately needed some salt. The overriding impression from the dish had to do with the toughness of the spinach, which I found mystifying. I sometimes cook up the leftover spinach from making Miang Kam in class at home and it always comes out easy to eat: it’s really very easy to cook up spinach so that it’s tender. If my spinach came out as tough as it was in this salad, I’d be embarrassed to serve it; in fact, I wouldn’t serve it.

Century Eggs with Slivered Ginger

Century Eggs with Slivered Ginger

Sliced Duck in Crispy Spring Onion Pastry

Sliced Duck in Crispy Spring Onion Pastry

The next item was Century Eggs with Slivered Ginger. The best part about this dish was the quality of the lovely Century Eggs: they were obviously of very high quality – translucent and delicious. Unfortunately, it was served with incredibly bland ginger: it would have been better served plain.

I thought the most successful of the dishes was the Sliced Duck in Crispy Spring Onion Pastry. The duck was very nicely cooked and the onion pastry was nice and crispy. Still, it was another bland dish that needed more flavor.

Mango Pudding

Mango Pudding

We finished with the Mango Pudding. As you can see (to the left), it’s a lovely presentation. Again, the taste was nothing very special at all.

The cost for our 5 dishes was 565 baht; after 10% service charge and VAT it came to 665 baht for a light meal for two, about $22 at the exchange rate at that time. Certainly, you can find spectacular food in Thailand for less, but this was not outrageous for a restaurant in Central World. Still, it felt like way too much to pay for bland food.

Basically, everything that was served  was bland and could have been enhanced by a little salt. In Kasma’s cooking classes one of the central lessons learned is how salt can be used to enhance and bring out flavor without making a dish taste salty. For whatever reason, the chef here seemed to be salt-averse and this meant  flavor-averse. Without a modicum of salt, everything tasted bland. Even adding soy sauce couldn’t add flavor into the already cooked food – the dumpling filling itself or the duck. The overall impression was of bland food presented nicely.

If you are on a salt-free diet and don’t mind bland food, you might like this restaurant. If you like flavorful food that lights up your mouth with delight, you’ll want to give it a pass.

I normally don’t like to publish something so negative. However, when a restaurant in Bangkok, where you can find some truly great food, claims that their arrival “creates new standards in the local dining scene,”  they had better give you food that delights and impresses. This food did neither.

For me, the best part of the day was finding a Melt Me chocolate outlet on the same floor at Central World. The gelato we had there was the best food of the day. (See my blog: Melt Me Chocolate, Revisited.)

Melt Me Chocolate

Melt Me Chocolate at Central World


Yin Tai Fung
Rajdamri Road, Patumwan
CentralWorld Shopping Centre Level 7 No.4
Bangkok 10330, Thailand
(02) 646-1282

You may wish to visit:


Written By Michael Babcock, August 2013
All opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author only.

Yentafo Kreung Songe, Noodle & Restaurant

Michael Babcock, Friday, February 1st, 2013

There is a type of noodle dish in Thailand called “yentafo” (เย็นตาโฟ) and, as it happens, there is also a restaurant chain named “Yentafo Kreung Songe” – เย็นตาโฟเครื่องทรง. I recently had lunch at one of these restaurants and had a very delicious and satisfying bowl of noodles.

Yentafo

Bowl of yentafo noodles, as served

This chain is owned by the same people who operate one of our “go-to” restaurants in Bangkok – A. Mallika, the subject of my recent blog A Mallika Restaurant in Bangkok. Apparently Mallika does food very, very well.

Yentafo (sometimes spelled as three words – yen ta fo) is a fish noodle soup colored with a red sauce which contains red fermented tofu. It may include fish dumplings, fish balls, sliced fish sausage, fried tofu, squid, white woodear mushrooms and phak boong (a popular Thai vegetable often called “morning glory”). It is sour and a bit sweet with a touch of salty. I like it spicy-hot.

(Click images to see larger version.)

Restaurant Sign

Seacon Square Restaurant

Restaurant

Restaurant interior

Yentafo Noodles

Yentafo, mixed, ready to eat

At Yentafo Kreung Songe, they use only flat noodles made from local rice flour; they say that these noodles shorten the cooking time so that their food can be served very quickly. Among the ingredients found in their Yentafo are sh balls, shrimp balls, white tofu meatballs, egg tofu meatballs, fish dumplings, fried fish sausage, crisp octopus, ear mushrooms, pork blood jelly and deep fried fish skin. I particularly like having the deep-fried fish skin, as it adds another dimension of texture. The pork blood also adds texture and, in addition, gives more substance to the broth.

According to their website, “A bowl of A. Mallika’s Yentafo contains more than 10 ingredients that really differentiate the Yentafo from others’ and hence the name ‘Krueng Song.'”  Kreung songe is a phrase that is a bit difficult to translate; essentially the name suggests that this yentafo is something different from other versions, something special.

Ice Cream

Custard Apple Ice Cream

There are three options for yentafo on the menu here. The first choice has no chilli pepper indicator next to it and roughly translated means “not spicy, for children.” Choice #2 has 2 chillies next to it and is “hot to pierce the heart.” Option #3 with a 3-chilli indicator is rated as “painful.” For my taste, and I like reasonably hot food, “hot until it pierces the heart” is plenty hot for me!

A great way to finish the meal is with a plate of custard apple ice cream, or young coconut sorbet. Whether you have just “pierced the heart” or experienced “pain,” it’s a good way to end the meal.

I very much enjoy the yentafo at this chain of restaurants. They serve a delicious bowl of noodles: I find that I need not make any adjustments from the ubiquitous Thai condiment set that accompanies nearly all noodles in Thailand. Kasma tells me that yentafo is usually served not spicy in most noodle shops, leaving the diner to make adjustments from the condiment set to his or her taste.

There are 17 branches of the chain located around Bangkok – here’s the list of Yentafo Kreung Songe locations. We had ours at the Seacon Square branch.

There are other items on the menu and given that the chain is owned by A. Mallika, they are probably excellent. I just go here for the yentafo and have not yet had the chance to try anything else.


Note: I recently had another bowl of yentafo at the restaurant, Samut Sakhon Yentafo, in Chiang Mai that proudly proclaimed that its yentafo  as  “aroi tee sud nai lohk” – the most delicious  in the world. I prefer the yentafo at Yentafo Kreung Songe. Below are the two bowls of noodles, side by side, for comparison. (Click to see a larger version)

Yentafo

Bowl of yentafo noodles, as served

Chian Mai Yentafo

Chiang Mai yentafo

To the left is the bowl from Yentafo Kreung Songe at Seacon Square in Bangkok. To the right is the bowl from Samut Sakhon Yentafo in Chiang Mai.


Written by Michael Babcock, February 2013.

A Mallika Restaurant in Bangkok

Michael Babcock, Saturday, December 1st, 2012

A. Mallika is one of our favorite Bangkok restaurants. The food in Thailand is, of course, one of the main attractions of the country. Kasma takes most of her small-group tours to Thailand to A. Mallika for one of their first in-country meals and the food is always spectacularly good.

Restaurant Garden

Outdoor seating at A. Mallika

Restaurant Interior

Inside A. Mallika

(Click images to see larger version.)

There are two options for seating at A. Mallika. There’s an outdoor seating area with a pond under a large tree with potted plants decorating the area. It’s an attractive area but we usually opt to sit inside because we typically are at A. Mallika for lunch and in the middle of the day it can be quite warm outside. There are a number of different rooms indoors, including the room above, which has many tables, as well as private (air-conditioned) rooms, which is where we often eat with Kasma’s tour groups. The restaurant can get very crowded, particularly on weekend nights, so reservations are a good idea.

The Food

The food at A. Mallika is really quite good, both in presentation and in taste. Here are some of the different dishes frequently ordered by Kasma.

Thai Salad

Miang Pla Too

One of the dishes Kasma always starts a group with is เมี่ยงปลาทู (Miang Pla Too): Tasty tidbits and a hot-and-sour mackerel salad are wrapped with lettuce leaves and eaten like เมี่ยงคำ (Miang Kum). It’s a fun appetizier, one that you assemble yourself by placing each of the individual ingredients into a leaf, wrapping them all up into a ball and then popping the whole thing into your mouth; the pleasure comes from the delightful explosion of flavors from all the various ingredients.

Kanom Krok

Kanom Krok

The second appetizer that Kasma orders is ขนมครก (Kanom Krok)Grilled Coconut-Rice Hot Cakes. Although these are usually made as a street food, many restaurants also have them on the menu. On Kasma’s trips to Thailand, we seldom miss an opportunity to sample some of these delightfully delicious snacks. Here they are made with green onions (scallions) giving a savory edge to the snack. Kanom Krok are typically made with two batters: the lower batter is mostly sweet and the top batter, less of which is added, is salty giving two contrasting flavors to tickle the palate.

Ostrich Dish

Basil Ostrich Dish

Pork Leg

Fried Pork Leg

Kasma always orders the dish in the upper left-hand picture – it’s Ostrich Stir-Fried with Holy Basil. Although it looks like beef, and tastes a bit like beef, it is definitely ostrich prepared ผัดกะเพรา (pad kaprao) – stir-fried with holy basil. It’s a spicy, flavorful dish. Wonderful.

It’s very hard to pass up ordering the dish on the right – Crispy-Fried Stewed Pork Leg. First a pork-leg, complete with skin on, is stewed to tenderness. It’s then deep-fried so that the outside is crispy and the fat just next to the skin is somewhat caramelized. It is very delicious.

Hot-and-Sour Soup

Hot-and-Sour Soup

Hot-and-Sour Soup 2

Individual serving of soup

Above we see a delicious a ต้มยำ (Tom Yum) – Hot-and-Sour Soup. Very spicy and full of delicious Thai herbs.

Seafood Salad

Cha-om & Seafood Salad

Oyster Sauce Vegetable

Oyster Sauce Vegetable

To the left above we see A delicious salad of deep-fried cha-om (a kind of edible tropical acacia), topped with a seafood and chopped pork sauce. It’s spicy, sour and somewhat sweet with the deep-fried green providing an interesting texture. Very delicious.

To the right we see one of our favorite vegetable dishes Stir-fried Vegetables with Oyster Sauce – ผักผัดน้ำมันหอย (Pad Pak Nam Mon Hoi), what I think of as The Universal Vegetable Recipe.

Coconut Ice Cream

Coconut Ice Cream

We definitely recommend that you leave space for the Coconut Ice Cream – ไอศครีมมะพร้าว (Ai Kreme Maprao) at the end of the meal. It’s more like a sorbet and is tasty and refreshing, a great way to end a meal. If you’re particularly hungry (hard to imagine after all that delicious food!), you can get a larger portion that comes served in a young coconut shell.

Getting to A. Mallika

Restaurant Sign

A Mallika Sign

Map to A. Mallika

Map to A. Mallika

It’s not the easiest restaurant to get to. It’s a bit on the outskirts of town and it is easiest to get to if you are able to drive or be driven. You may want to print out the map to the above right from the map on the A. Mallika website. You can also check out the Google Map for A. Mallika.

ร้าน อ.มัลลิการ์
13/10 หมู่ 9 ถ.เกษตร-นวมินทร์
แขวงคลองกุ่ม เขตบึงกุ่ม กทม. 10230

A. Mallika
13/10 Moo 9, KasetNawamin Road,
Bueng Khlong Kum, Ked Beung Kum Bangkok, 10230

Ruen Mallika Royal Thai Cuisine

There is a sister restaurant run by the same people: Ruen Mallika Royal Thai Cuisine at 189 Soi Sukhumvit 20, Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110. It’s a fancier place with excellent food and is a bit more accessible to central Bangkok. If you go there, we recommend you print out the map from their website – it can be a bit hard to find.


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Written by Michael Babcock, December 2012

Wang Derm Restaurant (formerly Krua Nakhon)

Michael Babcock, Friday, June 1st, 2012

Krua Nakhon, a popular restaurant in Nakhon Si Thammarat recently metamorphosed into วังเดิม – Wang Derm Restaurant – at a new location. It still has the same signature dishes as before while offering an expanded menu. The food remains fresh, appetizing, absolutely delicious and highly recommended. Thankfully, most of the friendly staff are still there.

Restaurant Sign

Sign for Wang Derm Restaurant

Krua Nakhon was situated in the heart of town; Wang Derm (which could also be transliterated as Wang Deum or Wang Doem) is located next to the Provincial Court. As the sign (to the left) says, under the name, it serves อาหารไทย อาหารปักษ์ใฅ้ – Thai Food and Southern Food (ahaan Thai and ahaan pak tai).

(Click images to see larger version.)

Two of my favorite dishes from Krua Nakhon, the southern specialties of kanom jeen noodles and khao yam salad are still available in addition to a wider variety of other dishes.

Noodle Dish

Kanom Jeen Noodles

The photograph to the right shows Kanom Jeen Nam Ya – ขนมจีนน้ำยา – a popular southern Thai dish. Kasma translates it into English as “Southern-Style Rice Vermicelli Topped with Spicy Fish Nam Ya Curry Sauce.” Kanom jeen are a fermented rice noodle and are found all over Thailand; they are possibly the one noodle in Thailand that is not Chinese in origin. (They probably originated with the Mon ethnic group.) This particular dish is a southern variation. The nam ya curry sauce is made with flaked fish and is often very, very spicy. The only place I’ve ever come across this in the United states is at Kasma’s Advanced Set E cooking class.

Rice Salad

Rice Salad - ข้าวยำ

The left photograph shows “Southern Thai Rice Salad” – (ข้าวยำ) (Khao Yam) – a composed rice salad. The ingredients can vary depending on what is in season and what is fresh and available. To eat, you mix everything up together and enjoy. It is a particularly southern Thai dish, though there are apparently variations in Malaysia. Kasma also teaches this in her Advanced Set E cooking class as Southern-style Rice Salad.

Restaurant Counter

One of the friendly employees

Restaurant Interior

Inside Wang Derm

I recognize most of the staff from Krua Nakhon, including this smiling woman. Also brought over were the decorative antique coconut graters seen here in the background. The interior remains open and bright, although open on 2 sides rather than 3 as at Krua Nakhon.

Counter

Counter & menu

Menu

A second counter

Here are two of the counter areas where food is served.

Fish Dish

Fish dish

Bitter Melon with Egg

Bitter Melon with Egg

The food in the restaurant is all pre-cooked. You can either order from the menu (if you read Thai) or you can just go up to the counter where the food is displayed and point out what you’d like. The dish to the left is a fried fish topped with fish sauce, shallots, and chillies; you can eat virtually the entire fish except for the spine – most of the bones are fried up and edible. To the right is one of my personal favorites – Bitter Melon Stir-fried with Egg – มะระผัดไข่ (Mara Pad Kai). (Check out Kasma’s Recipe for Bitter Melon with Egg.)

Vegetable Platter

Vegetable platter

Fish Curry

Fish Curry

In southern Thailand, expect to get a plate of fresh vegetables, such as the one to the left, with your meal. In addition to the more usual long beans, cucumbers and Thai eggplants, you’ll often find various leaves: I believe the leaves to the left of the picture are cashew leaves. The dish to the right is Sour Curry – แกงส้ม (Kaeng Som). In other parts of the country, the southern version of Sour Curry is often called Yellow Curry – แกงเหลือง (Kaeng Leuang) – to distinguish it from the northern version of Sour Curry – they are quite different. There’s a good Bangkok Post Article: “Kaeng Som” A Thai Culinary Classic by Suthon Sukphisit.

Fried Fish

Crispy fried fish

Thai Dessert

Thai dessert

The dish on the left is a red-curry based crispy fried fish. To the right is one of the many desserts available at Wang Derm; this one is served in sweet coconut sauce. Be warned though, they do run out of the desserts so you might want to select one early on. The yellow bits on the dumpling in the center are fried mung beans.

Outside View

Wang Derm parking lot

Another Outside View

Another outside view

Here are two views from the outside of Wang Derm to help you find the restaurant. If you’re in Nakhon Si Thammarat, give it a try for breakfast or lunch for delicious, fresh southern-style Thai food.


You may enjoy my previous blog on Krua Nakhon Restaurant


Written by Michael Babcock, June 2012.