Pad Thai and Tom Yum Koong are maybe the two most famous dishes in the Thai food pantheon, but when it comes to sweet things, there is nothing that compares to the queen of desserts: mango sticky rice.
Summer is the season for mango and April is the time, specifically, for ripened yellow sweet mangoes. This hottest month of the year might come close to killing us, but I prefer to think of it as the month that can cure us. In short, it’s the month of the greatest mango. Of course, we can eat mango all year round now, but in my experience, mango vendors say that April is the month for the ripest, most delicious examples of this iconic tropical fruit.
In Bangkok, we have several places for good mango sticky rice, but lately I have found myself going back to the same place over and over. It’s a street vendor named , and she sets up her stall at the corner of Soi Saladaeng on Silom Road.
I was suspicious about the place at first, because its location is in the middle of a hugely popular tourist area. And I don’t want to be fooled by a business attached to tourism. However, one day I decided to give it a try. Not once but twice, and then a third time, and now I’ve lost count!
Khun Joom’s mangoes have a genuine taste and touch because she selects them from the local mango vendors she knows, usually very early in the morning. You can find her open for business just after the dinner hour, continuing on until after the midnight hour.
I normally eat at the blue tables on the edge of the street. You don’t need to pick out the mango yourself because she will always choose the best one for you. I like watching her sharp knife move across the mango peels, as if she were revealing a secret within. This little process requires a perfect touch, and Joom holds the beautiful yellow fruit firmly—always being careful not to press too hard in order not to bruise the mango’s tender flesh.
Her mangoes never disappoint me. Instead, their nectar’s sweetness lifts me up. And she will always be honest with you if her mangoes that day are not their usual sweetness. In short, this is simple, honest, delicious food.
Her sticky rice, the other half of this famous Thai dessert combo, is slightly softer than al dente, which I prefer over the wet variety that is all-too-common. She uses real coconut milk, and cooks the aromatic concoction to a perfectly creamy texture. It’s so delicious I want to drink it separately! And unlike many places, she doesn’t use flour to make the coconut milk thicken. She even garnishes the dish with a sprinkle of crispy, crunchy yellow lentils. I am floored by the quality of it all!
After eating at her stall, I spoil myself each time by buying an extra one or two to take home. I’d advise you do the same if you, like me, want to be a little bit spoiled.
Address: Joom Mango Sticky Rice is at the corner of Soi Saladaeng and Silom Road. She can be found there daily, from 8pm until 1am.