When I am around Samsen Road area, I always plan to spend my entire evening on food and exploration. The oasis, for me, is Madame Musur Samsen.
This branch remains similar in character to the first but has more green space for plants and open-air seatings. My favourite arrival time is in the late afternoon when soft beams of sunlight play with the hanging plants, accompanied by the evening breeze.
I began with the classic starter, ‘khan toke’. A combination of ‘cab moo’ (deep-fried pork rinds) with ‘nam prik noom’ (sweet, spicy pepper salsa) and ‘nam prik ong’ (tomato salsa with minced pork), accompanied by fresh vegetables.
Nam prik noom is well-balanced in its spiciness and texture of green peppers and nam prik ong has its own rounded taste from fermented beans that gives the aroma and taste a deeper dimension beyond just a tomato base with minced pork. Their crispy pork rinds are special—made fresh every batch (not from a plastic bag!) and their texture has good layers of pork fat, meat and skin in harmony.
Then the ‘khanom jeen nam ngiew’ (fermented rice noodles with a tomato-based soup). The challenge of making this dish right is the combination of ingredients while what makes the soup thick and full of flavours are the pork ribs. It needs to be slow-cooked long enough that the goodness of the ribs melts into the soup. The highlight is the stem of the ‘dok ngiew’ flower that adds a crunchy texture and taste.
The Northern sausage or ‘sai ouwa’ is another highlight, a sausage that has a perfect mixture of pork meat and fat together with northern spices. Sai ouwa here presents its spices and meaty textures equally. I can feel the soft and firm texture, not too dry or too fatty; meanwhile, it is not too powerful in chilli or any spices either. It is merciful on the spice but so aromatic with turmeric, galanga, shallots, garlic and kaffir lime leaf. This is not to miss!
Somtam Luang Prabang is very well executed. Shredded young papaya and flat noodle salad with shrimp paste called ‘kapi.’ They always have good quality kapi which makes the flavour unique and impressive rather than strange and stinky! There are also two amazing ‘yum’ (spicy salads) that are ‘yum hau plee’ (banana blossom salad)—has a touch of sweetness in harmony with sourness and spiciness; and ‘yum som-o’ (pomelo salad)—an interesting texture of pomelo fruit, sweet and sour to the taste along with the crunchy fried garlic and shallots as a surprise in each bite.
My day slides into the night smoothly while I’m here. Like I said, it’s a very enjoyable combination of ambience and exploration of the taste. Truly a sweet spot!
Address: Madame Musur Samsen 2
Open: daily 11am-11:30pm. Tel: 064 174 5708