Som Tam Boo Maa Restaurant (ส้มตำปูม้า): Sensational Thai Isan Food

By Mark Wiens 25 Comments

I get the chills even thinking about Som Tam Boo Maa restaurant ส้มตำปูม้า. It surely reigns as one of finest Isaan food restaurants in Bangkok, and my overall favorite pick. It’s run by a family that treats food with utmost respect, a family that I would trust to make food for royalty.

A full meal here with a spread of fish will cost anywhere from 100 – 200 THB per person.

Som Tam Boo Maa ส้มตำปูม้า
Som Tam Boo Maa Restaurant, Bangkok, Thailand ส้มตำปูม้า

My inevitable first move is to involuntarily order the roasted fish (pla pao ปลาเผา) that is smellable from a ways down the road. They are absolute masters of grilled fish, a light char on the exterior with flawless moist fish meat under the skin.

Roasted Snakehead Fish ปลาเผา
Roasted Snakehead Fish ปลาเผา
Roasted Snakehead Fish ปลาเผา
Roasted Snakehead Fish ปลาเผา

The roasted fish is served with a combination of succulent sauces. They serve one sauce that is reminiscent of a Mexican chipotle roasted chili sauce with a Thai twist; it’s so delicious that every time I eat at this restaurant, I have to refrain myself from drinking the sauce like a beverage.

Thai Chipotle Sauce
Thai Chipotle Sauce

My first bite of this deep fried snakehead fish bathed in a spicy pungent chili sauce and garnished with robust red onions, basil, and mint sprigs (nam tok pla chon tod น้ำตกปลาช่อนทอด) was enough for me to immediately award it a trophy for the top 10 things I’ve ever indulged in. I’m salivating right now just thinking about it.

Nam tok pla chon tod น้ำตกปลาช่อนทอด
Nam tok pla chon tod น้ำตกปลาช่อนทอด

Of course, no Isaan meal is complete for me without an order of Thai spicy catfish salad (larb pla duk ลาบปลาดุก). I can’t get enough of this dish. Som tam boo maa serves it brilliantly, the body of the fish emptied out, mixed with spices and herbs, and then placed back between the head and tail of the catfish.

spicy catfish salad (larb pla duk ลาบปลาดุก)
Spicy catfish salad (larb pla duk ลาบปลาดุก)

The normal Isaan dishes, like green papaya salad (som tam thai ส้มตำไทย) are prepared with flawless expertise.

Green papaya salad (som tam thai ส้มตำไทย)
Green papaya salad (som tam thai ส้มตำไทย)

A nice twist to a normal plate of papaya salad is with an added touch of grilled shrimp (som tam goong sot ส้มตำกุ้งสด)!

Papaya sald with grilled shrimp (som tam goong sot ส้มตำกุ้งสด)
Papaya sald with grilled shrimp (som tam goong sot ส้มตำกุ้งสด)

Som tam boo maa makes possibly the best minced pork salad (larb moo ลาบหมู) in Bangkok, a luscious combo of minced pork, red onions, green onions, mint sprigs and roasted chilies – the winner ingredient in my opinion!

Minced pork salad (larb moo ลาบหมู)
Minced pork salad (larb moo ลาบหมู)

Among the repertoire of divine treats offered, the winged bean salad (yam tùa ploo ยาํา ถวั่ พลู) is yet another dish to rave about.

Winged bean salad (yam tùa ploo ยาํา ถวั่ พลู)
Winged bean salad (yam tùa ploo ยาํา ถวั่ พลู)

The sour Isan Thai soup with duck (tom saap bped ต้มแซบเป็ด) is literally insane, a fusion of the best tastes that could possibly fulfill any mans mouth in a single bite. Dry chili flakes permeate through the dish in an amazing fiery liquid!

Sour Isan Thai soup (tom saap bped ต้มแซบเป็ด)
Sour Isan Thai soup (tom saap bped ต้มแซบเป็ด)

Yes indeed, it always makes my day when I wake up knowing that I will be visiting Som Tam Boo Maa restaurant!

Som Tam Boo Maa ส้มตำปูม้า - Bangkok, Thailand

Here’s a video about my latest meal here:

(You can also watch it on YouTube here)

Address for Som Tam Boo Maa Restaurant, Bangkok, Thailand

Som Tam Boo Maa Restaurant
25/48 Thanon Charan Sanitwong
Bang Khun Non, Bangkok 10700
Tel. 0-2822-3577
Hours: 11:00 – 23:00

ส้มตำปูม้า
25/48 ถ.จรัญสนิทวงศ์ บางขุนนนท์ บางกอกน้อย กทม. 10700
โทร. 0-2882-3577
เปิด-ปิด 11.00-23.00 น.

How to Get to Som Tam Boo Maa Restaurant

The restaurant is located just off Charan Sanitwong road, on a great food street called Bang Khun Non in Bangkok, Thailand. The easiest way to get there is to go by taxi, fare should be around 70 THB from central Bangkok. There are also plenty of buses that pass Charan Sanitwong road and it’s just a short walk down Bang Khun Non road to reach the restaurant (on the left side of the road).


View Som Tam Boo Maa Restaurant (ส้มตำปูม้า) in a larger map



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

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  • Sabrina

    2 years ago

    Hi Mark, I am wondering which one do you like better, Som Tam Boo Ma or Som Tam Sida? Both restaurants seem to offer similar menu. This summer I am flying to Bangkok and would like to eat Isaan food. Thanks a lot!

    Sabrina

    • Sabrina

      2 years ago

      Oh hey, just when I posted my comment I saw your comment above about Som Tam Boo Ma LOL!
      I think i will go to the other one then. Cheers!

    • Mark Wiens

      2 years ago

      Hey Sabrina, yah I would recommend Som Tam Sida. Enjoy!

  • Eva

    2 years ago

    Hi Mark,

    I’ve been reading many of your blogs over the past few years and love them! I have also made several of your recipes and they are all amazing and so deliciously authentic, yum!!!!! I even bought a Thai krok and am making your version of the Som Tam Thai on a weekly basis now (I just add a little tamarinde paste as well and mix in the Chinese long beans instead of serving them separately, ’cause that’s how my Thai stepmom -she’s from a village near Petchabun- thought me to make it. I serve it with a cabbage wedge, choy sum leafs for wrapping, some sticky rice and a plate of either Laap Moo, Laab Gai or Nam Tok Neua. Again, by using your recipes! The Gai Pad Prik Gaeng recipe (including the homemade curry paste) is also a big winner.

    As I am a major fan of Isaan food, I can’t wait to try out Som Tam Boo Maa restaurant when I revisit Bangkok in January! It all looks and sounds ridiculously tasty :-). I might go there before taking the overnight bus from Sai Tai Taling Chan Southern bus terminal to Ranong (for Koh Phayam), as it seems quite close by.

    I was searching for Isaan restaurants on Tripadvisor and stumbled upon Tamnak Isan, 70/4 Sukhumvit 63 | Ekamai, Bangkok 10110. This place gets raving reviews, so I was wondering: have you been? Also, whenever I visit Northern Thailand, I become instantly addicted to sundried, deep fried beef or pork, especially when served with crispy fried lime leafs (!) and/or fried garlic and a good dipping sauce. I tend to order it as a pre-dinner snack accompanied by an ice cold beer :-). I keep forgetting the Thai name of the dish (is it Neua or Moo Dad Deaw?), but do you happen to know where I can get any decent ones in Bangkok?

    Thanks Mark, for all your great insights, tips and recipes and please, keep them coming! And if you are in need for a fabulous authentic Tom Kha Kai recipe (not sweet!) my stepmom thought me about 15 years ago and which I still love to make, because it’s simply still the best I’ve ever had, just let me know and I’ll email you the recipe.

    Cheers,

    Eva

    • Mark Wiens

      2 years ago

      Hey Eva, great to hear from you, thank you very much for your support and glad to hear about your love for Thai food as well.

      I’m not sure how Som Tam Boo Maa is anymore. They used to be very good, but I’ve heard some reports of them now having a more expensive menu for foreigners… but hope the food is still good. I haven’t been there in a couple years.

      You might also try Laab Udon at Surasak station: http://www.eatingthaifood.com/2015/11/grilled-fish-in-bangkok-laab-udon/ They have decent Isaan food, and good neau dad diaw as well.

      Hope you have a good upcoming trip to Thailand!

  • Andy Brandwood

    3 years ago

    Hi Mark,

    Armed with your guide just arrived in Bangkok for the first time and trying to eat my way through it.

    Went to Som Tam Boo Maa last night which was sensational. Really want to go back but so many places to try.

    Thanks again for putting together the eating Thai food guide; felt great being able to order everything in Thai ! The Pla Pao was delicious ! Thanks again.

    Andy

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hi Andy, great to hear from you, and so glad you’re enjoying the food in Bangkok and Som Tam Boo Maa. Thank you for getting my guide, really appreciate it. Hope you continue to have an amazing trip.

  • Frank

    3 years ago

    Hey Mark! We finally arrived in Bangkok and are trying to get over the jetlag so we can explore some restaurants. Tried a restaurant we really enjoyed last night here in the Silom area: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g293916-d4520584-Reviews-I_M_Petra-Bangkok.html.
    I’m wondering – do you have some recommendations in this area? Especially vegetarian/fish. I’ve spent the last hour browsing your reviews and getting hungry :)
    Frank (bbqboy)

  • Joy

    3 years ago

    Hi Mark, this could be the best blog and only blog I’ve taken interest in. I will travel any distance for food! Big love for anything that can be eaten with sticky rice. Som Tum, Pla Salit, Larb Gai, Gai Yang get in my belly, I’m coming for you!

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hi Joy, thank you very much, glad that you love food so much too!

  • Robbert-Jan Meijer

    4 years ago

    Hi Mark,
    Great website you have here! I can’t stop drooling everytime I visit the site. I love pla pao, ever since I ate it in Laos. This summer I will travel in Thailand. Do you some good places to eat pla pao close to Khao san Road? And any restaurants/street stall food you like close to Khao san in general? I’m also looking for a Moo Krata joint. Any recommendations? I’m not familiar in Bangkok so I have no clue where everything is. Thanks in advance! And again, I love your site, keep up the good work!
    Robbert-Jan

  • Robbert-Jan Meijer

    4 years ago

    Hi Mark,

    Great website you have here! I can’t stop drooling everytime I visit the site. I love pla pao, ever since I ate it in Laos. This summer I will travel in Thailand. Do you some good places to eat pla pao close to Khao san Road? And any restaurants/street stall food you like close to Khao san in general? I’m also looking for a Moo Krata joint. Any recommendations? I’m not familiar in Bangkok so I have no clue where everything is. Thanks in advance! And again, I love your site, keep up the good work!

    Robbert-Jan

  • Damien

    5 years ago

    Hi Mark,
    You had a great isaan style street food vendor in Silom, Bangkok which you did a review for and I can’t find the details. Narrow strip along a road, which you said was very busy after 7.
    Can you remember where it was?

  • Matt

    5 years ago

    Hi Mark!

    My partner and I are off to thailand for the first time in 3 days! Exciting! I have been reading your website for weeks and getting everything in order and a colleague of mine has said I must try nam took moo (no 43 on your 100) .

    Is Som Tam Boo Maa restaurant ส้มตำปูม้า the best place to get it? If not then where?

    Thanks…

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hey Matt, thank you very much for reading the site and great to hear you’ll be coming to Bangkok/Thailand soon. Nam Tok Moo is a very common dish, served at lots and lots of restaurants – so while it is very good at Som Tam Boo Maa, there are plenty of other, more central places to get it as well. I’d recommend this place: http://www.eatingthaifood.com/2012/10/isan-rod-ded-restaurant-rangnam-bangkok/ which is right in central Bangkok. That being said Som Tam Boo Maa is AWESOME and worth a visit, though you’ve got to get there by taxi. Hope this helps!

      • Matt

        5 years ago

        Hi Mark,thanks for taking the time to write back. Well we’ve been to pumpkin lady and loved it. We just had the nam Tom moo at this place – Toi Gway Tiew Reua
        The broth was amazing although it looked very different from your no. 43 in the photo of the top 100.

        We will definitely try isan rod red.

        Thanks again,

        Matt

        • Mark Wiens

          5 years ago

          Hey Matt, glad you made it to Pumpkin Lady. Did you have “nam tok” at the boat noodle restaurant? That has a bit of a different meaning, it means the soup broth “with blood,” – so it was probably a dark broth? If you go to the Rod Ded restaurant and ask for “nam tok moo” you’ll get the sliced pork salad! Hope you enjoy it!
          Mark

  • Michael

    5 years ago

    Hi Mark,

    you wrote: “Just a 5 minute walk away is the coolest coffee shop in all of Bangkok!”
    Where do I find this coffee shop, could you post that address? I will check out this area with my kids next week, thanks a lot for your work, I love it!!!!!

    Michael