As day turns to night, and the small army of food vendors lining Soi Chidlom between Petchaburi and Sukhumvit during the morning and afternoon pack it up, follow the sound of a sizzling wok to a small, pop-up outdoor restaurant sandwiched in between 7-11 and Charoen Optical on the corner of a sub soi: the area’s premier pad thai chef is just getting started, and you absolutely need to sink into a plate or two of his masterful ooey-gooey handiwork.
Grab a cold Chang beer from 7-11, pull up a plastic stool at one of the fold-out aluminum tables, and join the crowd of loyal regulars who have the man behind the wok whipping up one batch after another of his addictive, disgustingly delicious noodles and mussel omelets. Plates cost just 30 baht, or 35 with shrimp.
I hesitate to definitively call any one vendor or restaurant’s version of popular dishes like pad thai or som tum “the best in Bangkok” since it’s so subjective and everybody has their favorite, but this spot has certainly become my favorite in the city and, at a minimum, the best in the area: always fresh, always made to order (my ow goong-hang, in my case), and always served with a warm smile.
Funny sense of humor too: once, before taking a week off, he hung a sign on his cart that, in Thai, likely said he’d be closed the following week, and in English said “Go to France.” To his delight, I took the bait and asked him where he was going in France: “No, hahaha, no. Only go to Nong Khai.”
The always cheerful husband-wife duo–he handles the cooking, she takes care of everything else with additional help from his little brother–moved to Bangkok from Nong Khai and share the same space with an afternoon vendor (who specializes in other Thai dishes). They’re open every day but Sunday from 4pm-ish to 8:30pm-ish, depending on how busy they get–and it’s very busy most nights.
Trust me, it’s worth the wait.
Photo credit and copyright Brian Spencer