Sukhumvit Soi 38 has been a late-night best friend to hungry Bangkokians, me included, for decades. Walking down its two rows of yummy food carts, the options are so plentiful that it’s never easy to make your choice.
That said, I do have my favourites. For example, my eyes are often drawn to the egg noodles cart tucked away in the driveway on the right hand side – this one has never let me down. Further down on the left, look closely and you will also see small pots with wooden handles stacked on top of each other in the window of a cart. This is my favourite ‘Hong Kong style noodles’ stall.
These two gems aside, if there’s a favourite which keeps me coming back it’s this one: keep walking until the end of the row and on the right-hand you’ll come upon a little stand manned by a dynamic brother sister team.
What’s being prepped in that big, steaming cooking pot of theirs? Khao tom pla, or boiled fish rice soup. While it’s a good dish worth trying, I tend to order a hybrid version by ordering tom yum pla (tom yum-style fish soup) and taking my rice separately. Why don’t I just go to any old restaurant and order a tom yum with fish? Simple answer: because it won’t taste as good as this one!
The reason why it tastes so special is that the main lady chef does the seasoning for each tom yum soup bowlful by bowlful. In other words, the fresh lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, lime juice, fish sauce, chili and freshly chopped coriander are tossed in just before it gets sent to the table.
The temperature of the soup is just perfect, the flavor even better. The soup has a sweet taste, and subtle hints of salty, sour and spicy thanks to the fish sauce, chili and fragrant tom yum ingredients. Founded almost thirty years ago and now run by the second generation, this family run stall is yet more culinary proof that focusing on doing one dish well often yields the best results. Simple and soothing, this is soup perfection. ข้าวต้มปลา ซอย 38 สุขุมวิท ซ.38
Khao Tom Pla Sukhumwit Soi 38
Khao Tom Pla is in Sukhumwit Soi 38, and the last food cart on the right hand side. They are open from 6:30pm until midnight; closed Mondays