An underrated neighbourhood for a street food paradise
When asked where to grab a quick bite, I hazard a guess that Bantadthong Road, would unsurprisingly not be the top answer. To many locals, it has always been unfairly perceived as the ‘mini Yaowarat’, but for those in the know, it features several credible challengers to the crown of our current street food queen like Jay Fai.
Beginning at the Rama IV end and walking towards Rama I, our first stop is at Eiam Noi Pork Noodles (1), in business for fifty years, an unassuming frontage concealing a must stop for lovers of tasty noodle soup. Continuing along the west side of the street, classic rice fish soup is the specialty at Khao Tom Pla Saphan Leung (2). Close by is J’wan Taohuay Namkhing (3), always lively with authentic Thai desserts including black sesame dumplings with hot ginger. A few steps further, the celebrated Longleng Lookchin Pla (4), a proud holder of a Michelin Plate and worth stopping at for homemade fish balls. Both look out onto the lush green Chulalongkorn University Centenary Park built on land donated 100 years ago by King Rama V.
Cross at the Saphan On junction, one finds the legendary Aey Seafood (5); blink and you’ll miss it, were it not for the queues which invariably block the path. From experience, the time spent queuing will double once you are seated awaiting the arrival of your order. However, the lengthy delay is well worth it as the river prawns are simply put, ‘to die for’. The quality of the seafood product and technical prowess here is stellar.
Further north is Pungdet (6) where one may experience the popular late-night snack of charcoal grilled bread crammed with sticky fillings. Continuing on the street, one literally stumbles across highly tempting live seafood tanks in front of Chan Mai Wang Seafood (7) before eyeing up the inevitable queues thronging outside Bantadthong’s version of Jay Fai; Jeh O Chula (8). An institution possessing a Bib Gourmand from the renowned Michelin inspectorate. Be prepared to wait as this place is packed but the queueing is efficiently managed. Early evening shrimp omelette, the famed duck soup with noodles and crispy pork are exceptional. Alternatively visit for a supper of their signature Tom Yum Mama, only available after 11pm, containing shrimp, squid, ground pork, pork balls, crispy pork, two eggs and yes, instant noodles. Weekend queues are horrible but it’s a true contender. Return to the main road and discover Bua Loy Parinya (9) serving up their famous Thai dessert dumplings in fresh milk, ginger tea or the best in my opinion, fresh coconut milk. Next door is Chicken Rice by J Bo (10), for melt in the mouth chicken rice and a couple of shops further, Kao Tom Santipap (11), serving up fresh stir-fried shrimp, just look for the crowds on the street and you are there! Opposite and across the road, the recently opened Tuay Tung (12) offers fried buns, steamed buns and a multitude of homemade ice creams including chestnut and Thai tea in comfortable surroundings.
Continue to Soi 8 and turning right you will reach Somboon Seafood (13), the original branch of this chain where fresh seafood tanks line the pavement. Established in 1969, this Thai Chinese restaurant is a legend with its signature fried curry crab dish. Further up the street, on the corner of Soi 6, is Song Satay (14), a simple stall serving perfectly cooked, juicy pork satay. Next door is Joke Samyan (15), for sixty plus years, serving steaming bowls of the breakfast and supper staple of rice porridge. Continue to amble north and you will reach Jae Keang (16), famed for its duck and goose and Charoenporn Jung Anglak (17) where its curried morning glory leaves on rice is the dish to pick. Just before reaching Rama I Road is Tung Sui Heng Pochana (18), awarded with a Michelin Bib Gourmand and worth a stop for their signature stewed goose and duck with noodles. Next door are two stops for dessert, the first, Itti (19) for small batch home-made ice cream in weird and wonderful flavours including Chocolate and Avocado with Caramel Chips. And lastly, fitting to end our journey is Tao Huay Je Nhoi (20) for a late evening, comforting bean curd or black sesame dumplings with hot ginger.
So, whilst Bantadthong Road may not yet have the polish of other neighbourhoods, for aficionados of real street food it has it all! Do bring a healthy dose of patience and you won’t be disappointed!