There’s no doubt about it: the recently launched Asiatique Night Market is a fun place to get your shop on. However, the same can’t be said for its dining – most of the time its bars and restaurants are packed to bursting. Nope, rather than standing in line, I advise getting something to eat before you come here; especially as the surrounding area, Charoenkrung Road, is not short of its own options –places like Meng Pochana, one of my all-time favourite khao mun gai (chicken on rice) stands.
One of the best things about it are the hours it keeps. No matter how early or late I rock up at Meng Pochana, it always seems to be open. While the slightly al-dente texture of the rice and the tender chicken meat are pretty spot-on, my second and third favourite thing about it is the sauce and the soup. A good khao mun gai should always come with a spicy sauce, usually one dominated by ginger. But here they don’t care about such traditions and it’s the chili that cuts through, and makes you sweat. It’s similar to one of the nam jims you normally eat with seafood.
As for the soup, this also offers a different taste than the norm, all thanks to its key ingredient: pickled lime, or manao dong. This lends a smoky-sour flavour to the soup, one that cuts the oily taste of the rice and chicken. The result is a dish that sings on the tongue a little louder than your usual versions.
How to find it? I recommend getting off the skytrain at Saphan Taksin station. However, rather than squeezing on to a packed Asiatique tourist boat, try walking along Charoenkrung Road instead. Do this and, along with plates of the aforementioned at Meng Pochana, you’ll discover the charms of the area’s old shophouses.
Meng Pochana is located next to the Yannawa fire station on Charoenkrung Road, close to Soi 61. Open 10am-3 am except the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. If you get lost, get a Thai-speaking person to call 02-211-1400 for directions