Bangkok street food
Digging in for lunch at Racha Pochana (ร้านราชาโภชนา)

Even though I have lived in, and been based in Bangkok for years now, some of the best meals I’ve had are a result of just walking around and exploring.

A few days ago my wife and I were walking from the Chao Phraya river towards Democracy Monument and we needed something to eat for lunch… but had no plans where to eat.

We stumbled into an old-school place, kind of like Ba Mee Jub Kang except much cleaner and tidier, called Racha Pochana (ร้านราชาโภชนา) and decided to try it…

Racha Pochana (ร้านราชาโภชนา)
Lunch in Bangkok

We were on our way to Ban Baat, Bangkok’s Monk’s bowl community (I’ll write more about this over on migrationology.com shortly), and we needed a quick lunch.

Both of us being hungry, we stopped at a restaurant on the corner that looked like it had some character with a Grandmother who immediately welcomed us in when we approached. It was a good sign from the beginning.

I didn’t see a menu at Racha Pochana (ร้านราชาโภชนา), but they basically had two different things to choose from: khao gaeng (prepared curry and dishes in the display cabinet), and kuay teow gai (chicken noodle soup).

Ying and I first ordered a couple of different dishes from the display cabinet, most of which were Thai Chinese style, and old-school, and then Ying was feeling like eating a bowl of noodles as well.

ร้านราชาโภชนา
Here’s the outside view of Racha Pochana (ร้านราชาโภชนา)

While choosing which dishes to order from the pre-made selection, Grandmother rattled off a few dishes she had on hand, explaining to me that she cooked everything herself.

“Tee nee yang kong ben ahan bolan (ที่นี้ยังคงเป็นอาหารโบราณ),” she also mentioned – the English translation meaning “here we still make old style” food.

The selection of dishes was on the slim side, many of the dishes were just about finished when we got there for lunch.

Racha Pochana (ร้านราชาโภชนา) typically serves all their prepared curries and stir fried dishes starting in the morning, and sells out by around noon. So they mainly serve breakfast or brunch, and at lunch they serve mainly the chicken noodles.

So if you go wanted to eat the prepared dishes, try to go sometime around 8 am – 10 am or even earlier if you’d like. There’s nothing better than a full rice meal for breakfast in Thailand.

But anyway, there was still enough food left, and Grandma dished us out.

Old School Thai Chinese food
Old School Thai Chinese food in Bangkok

Old School Thai-Chinese

When you get a Chinese style metal spoon to eat with in Thailand, you know you’re in for some old fashioned food.

The classic metal Chinese spoons are commonly used in the countryside in Thailand, at people’s homes, and they are especially commonly used for eating with the older generation – I usually see my mother in-law eating with one.

But you are rarely served this type of spoon at a restaurant in Bangkok unless it’s a throwback restaurant, just like Racha Pochana (ร้านราชาโภชนา) is.

หมูผัดพริกเผา
Moo pad prik pao (หมูผัดพริกเผา)

Moo pad prik pao (หมูผัดพริกเผา)

The first dish we ordered was moo pad prik pao (หมูผัดพริกเผา).

This is a dish I’m typically a little on the line about.

Prik pao (พริกเผา) is a roasted chili and shallot sauce usually quite sweet and unfortunately these days usually right out of the can instead of being home-made.

Typically what they do to cook moo pad prik pao (หมูผัดพริกเผา) is just stir fry some pork with a scoop of the canned chili sauce, and that’s about it.

It’s usually is way too sweet and artificial tasting for me.

But this was much different.

Thai street food in Bangkok
It was almost pulled pork tender, and had beautiful chili flavor

The pork was tender and nearly pulled pork style, and it was cooked or stir fried in an awesome prik pao (พริกเผา) chili sauce that was most definitely not from the can – she either made it herself or used some kind of special fresh chili sauce or paste.

It was just slightly spicy, salty to perfection, and had a tiny sweet, almost fruity fragrance.

Price – each plate was 25 – 30 THB I believe

ผัดถั่วฝักยาวหมูกรอบ
The pad tua fuk yao moo krob (ผัดถั่วฝักยาวหมูกรอบ) was my favorite dish…

Pad tua fuk yao moo krob (ผัดถั่วฝักยาวหมูกรอบ)

The dish that I really loved most at Racha Pochana (ร้านราชาโภชนา) was the pad tua fuk yao moo krob (ผัดถั่วฝักยาวหมูกรอบ), stir fried Chinese long-beans with crispy pork belly.

As simple as this dish looks, and it was incredible.

While in modern day Bangkok the long beans would likely be stir fried up with oyster sauce and soy sauce for seasoning, it appeared to me that she didn’t use anything but oil and salt.

And not just any salt, but the salt had a spectacular light and flavorful taste – I’m guessing a good quality sea salt.

Thai street food
The pork belly was outrageously crispy

The long beans were freshly crisp, the pork was outrageously crispy to the point of them almost being like croutons, and the saltiness made it incredible.

It was a bit on the greasy side, and possibly fried in lard, but it was truly a simple and amazing dish.

Thai bitter melon soup
Gaeng jued mara (แกงจืดมะระ) – bitter melon soup

Gaeng jued mara (แกงจืดมะระ)

For our last dish from the pre-made assortment, we got a bowl of gaeng jued mara (แกงจืดมะระ).

Gaeng jued is a plain boiled soup, and there can be a variety of different vegetables or meats within it, but one of my favorite versions is with mara (มะระ), bitter melon.

Their gaeng jued mara (แกงจืดมะระ) was top notch, a beautiful pork broth, not really seasoned other than salty, but with a nice tinge of bitterness, and fall apart tender pieces of pork rib meat, and bitter melon.

It was a great street food old school style bowl of gaeng jued mara (แกงจืดมะระ).

ก๋วยเตี๋ยวไก่
Kuay teow gai (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวไก่) – chicken noodles

Kuay teow gai (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวไก่)

One of their lunch specialities is kuay teow gai (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวไก่), and while I was more interested in eating rice, my wife always enjoys noodles, so we ordered a bowl to try.

It was also quite good, the chicken in particular was braised so it was extremely tender, yet not mushy.

The broth of the soup had a very nice soothing flavor, not salty or sweet, but with a fragrance of Chinese star anise and soy sauce.

Price – 35 THB

Racha Pochana (ร้านราชาโภชนา)
The old school house and restaurant – Racha Pochana (ร้านราชาโภชนา)

Conclusion

Racha Pochana (ร้านราชาโภชนา) is a restaurant in the Phra Nakhon district of Bangkok that serves old school Thai Chinese food.

You can either choose to eat their pre-made dishes or their kuay teow gai (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวไก่), chicken noodles. Everything I tried here was excellent, but I especially loved the pad tua fuk yao moo krob (ผัดถั่วฝักยาวหมูกรอบ), Chinese long-beans and crispy pork belly stir fried in salt.

The grandmother that cooks at the restaurant is both nice and friendly, and she cooks some awesome old recipes.

Racha Pochana (ร้านราชาโภชนา)

Address: Thanon Ratchabophit, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
Open hours: 7 am – 2 pm daily, for the rice and pre-made dishes it’s best to go in the mid-morning
Prices: Our total bill came to 124 THB for everything we ate
How to get there: The restaurant is located in the old Phra Nakhon district of Bangkok, so it’s not really connected by any public transportation other than bus or boat if you walk a ways. It’s not too far from Sanam Luang, and just a short distance from Sao Ching Cha (the Giant Swing). It’s at the corner of Soi Thesa and Thanon Ratchabophit.

ที่อยู่: 19-21 ถนนราชบพิธ แขวงราชบพิธ เขตพระนคร กรุงเทพฯ 10200
เปิดบริการทุกวัน 7.00 – 14.00 น.

17 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Rose Shuy

    4 years ago

    Wow, old fashion Chinese due to the metal spoon! What’d ya know! My ancestors are southern Chinese (we are Chinese American). Granny’s house had porcelain or plastic Chinese spoons but never metal. That Chicken chili dish sounds like a Chinese Thai fusion dish to me. Maternal granny side is from Sechran, numbing spicy and no sugar. Hunan people like to put sugar in their spicy dishes. Some southern Chinese dishes have already disappeared in mainland China but can be found in SE Asia Chinese community.

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Hey Rose, great to hear from you and thank you for sharing some of your experiences!

  • Howard

    6 years ago

    Mark,

    I’ve been following your blog for several years now, time flys. I still look forward to getting the next email. I am an amateur foodie and have subscribed to other food blogs. Yours is the only one I have been following for so long. Usually I get a few emails, get bored with the blog and drop it. Please keep eating, writing and sending.

    As of this moment I am planning on my next trip to Southeast Asia where I spend around a week in Bangkok. I have visited several of the restaurants you’ve mentioned, I particularly enjoyed visiting the “boat noodles”locations at Victory Monument.

    I was wondering if I might suggest a great little restaurant in Banglamphu. I’ve been eating there for 8 years, since my first visit to BKK. It’s called Jok Phochana, family-run. It’s your typically small, eat on plastic tables on the street great Bangkok restaurant. It’s located on SamSun 2 Alley, just around the corner from Soi SamSun.

    In closing, I would be honored to take you and your wife to lunch or dinner at the restaurant of your choice.
    I’m truly grateful for your instructive and entertaining blog and Facebook postings.

    Best,
    Howard, New York City

    Sent from my iPad

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hi Howard, great to hear from you, and I really appreciate your kind words about the blog. Thank you for the restaurant suggestion, I will definitely try to go there at some point when I’m in the area. And also thank you for the invitation, that would be great – let’s keep in touch when you’re in Bangkok – my e-mail is [email protected].

      Thank you for your support!
      Mark

  • Doug

    6 years ago

    Hey Mark, I like your blog. I’ve been a fairly frequent visitor to Thailand since 1997. I worked there for one year in 2004 and I retired there in 2011 and 2012 (part-year). I found your blog as I just made some homemade Nam prik pao sauce and was looking for the Pad Nam Prik Pao Gai recipe. I know it has chicken and lots of onions and the chili paste. I think I’d add some red bell peppers. I am still searching. I used to order it a lot but was looking to refresh my memory. I’ve done quite a bit of Thai cooking using Nancie McDermott’s “Real Thai” book which I find is pretty darned good.

    I hope that you’re enjoying your time there. Tired of the heat?? Hehe. That’s my only problem with staying there is the incessant heat. I’m in Houston and we have plenty of heat and humidity here but we have a mild and cool winter. Next time I get the retirement visa, I may stay up north in Chiang Mai because they have a cool winter season. Just thinking.

    Take good care of yourself. I’ll check back to look at your blog in the near future. I write a blog but it’s about politics and economics (and a lot of complaining). :)

    Cheers! Doug

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Doug, great to hear from you, and so happy to hear you love to eat and cook Thai food as well. Yah, Chiang Mai is a great place – and in the winter the weather is really nice. I was in Chiang Rai and Nan during winter last year and the weather was perfect. Thank you for following!

  • Kitti

    6 years ago

    never try Pad tua fuk yao moo krob (ผัดถั่วฝักยาวหมูกรอบ) that use salt. Maybe I should try cook this version too.

  • Rakhal

    6 years ago

    Hey Mark,
    I’m glad you got to try this restaurant. I go to soi thesa quite often in the morning when they have a market going on. I consider it one of my favorites in the city. If you ever go back don’t miss the kuay teow moo sukhothai restaurant on the corner of soi thesa and soi nawa. It’s one of the two best in Bangkok. Also there is an old couple who serve just about the most perfect gai yang and som tam you’ll ever find, their place is on a side street just east of soi thesa.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Rakhal, great to hear from you, thank you for sharing about Soi Thesa, it was my first time there. That all sounds delicious, can’t wait to try the Kuay Teow Sukhothai, thank you for the tip. How long have you been living in this area? There’s so much good food around here!

      • Rakhal

        6 years ago

        Mark,
        I’ve been living there off and on since 2000. Unfortunately I’m back in the States until winter. I’ve spent countless hours exploring every street, market, and alleyway searching out the best food and I can tell you that the Phra Nakorn area is one of the top food areas of Bangkok. I find that the various Thai noodle soups are what I miss the most when I’m away from Thailand. Kuay teow Sukhothai is one of my favorites although if you are like me and don’t like it too sweet be sure to order the “tom yum” version, and maybe even say “mai waan” (not sweet). The restaurant on Soi Thesa serves a version thats less brothy and the pork has a delicious smoky flavour. Now that I think about it the restaurant may be a block or two south of Soi Nawa on Soi Thesa but you can’t miss it. My other favorite is Somsong Pochana which is on a small Soi behind the fort at Phra Arthit road, if you go there be sure to try the khanom jeen sao nam which is very unique and delicious, especially with a big scoop of chilies on top!!

        • Mark Wiens

          6 years ago

          Amazing, big thank you for the information Rakhal, really appreciate it. I’ll let you know if I can check out the Kuay Teow Sukhothai place and Somsong Pochana. Are you cooking lots of Thai food when you’re in the US?

        • Kitti

          6 years ago

          Apart from Kuay teow Sukhothai at Somsong Pochana (สมทรงโภชนา), their unique Kanom Jeen Sao Nam (ขนมจีนซาวน้ำ) along with hard to find anywhere Thai desserts like Khao Fhang Piak (ข้าวฟ่างเปียก) and Kanom Intanil (ขนมอินทนิล) which available only on Monday are definitely very interesting.

          • Mark Wiens

            6 years ago

            Excellent thank you for the extra tips Kitti, can’t wait to check this place out.

  • Gary

    6 years ago

    Another fantastic review, Mark. Great info. Thank you for your passions for Thai food.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Thank you for reading Gary!

      • Jo Leng

        6 years ago

        Hi Mark,
        Great works and great videos! Keep it up! I think you can start to form a first in Thailand good and cheap food tour guide company! You can have your client and yourself in the video to recommend more cheap great food to the foreigners. Singapore Jo