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2012 was yet another year of productive Thai food eating.
But back to the food, here are my personal choices for the top 10 Bangkok restaurants I ate at in 2012.
1. Rod Ded Isan restaurant (ร้านอีสานรสเด็ด)
Located just a 5 minute walk from Victory Monument BTS station and opposite the street from King Power complex, Rod Ded Isan restaurant is in a good location and serves outstanding Isan food.
Som tam (green papaya salad ส้มตำ) is a must, but also try their yam woon sen (mungbean noodle salad ยำวุ้นเส้น), and tom saap sekong moo (pork ribs soup ต้มแซ่บซี่โครงหมู).
Due to their convenient location, this is one Bangkok restaurant I frequent, and have never been disappointed.
2. Heng Chun Seng (เฮ้งชุนเส็ง)
Bangkok locals mainly go to Heng Chun Seng (เฮ้งชุนเส็ง) to get a maw fai (fire pot หม้อไฟ) full of beef soup, which is what they’ve become most famous for.
A flaming pot of tender beef soup is brought to your table to be eaten with rice. Make sure you spice up your beefy soup with chili flakes and vinegar!
3. Larb Bpet Yasothon (ร้านลาบเป็ดยโสธร – ตรงข้ามสุสาน)
Dominating the sidewalk of Silom 9, and across the street from a graveyard, is the popular Larb Bpet Yasothon (ร้านลาบเป็ดยโสธร – ตรงข้ามสุสาน) Isan street food restaurant.
They made the list of best Bangkok restaurants because everything they make is spectacular. Their som tam (green papaya salad ส้มตำ) in particular is massively good and always prepared with fresh ingredients. Their gai yang (grilled chicken ไก่ย่าง) is also a hit.
4. Gold Bay Leaves
Once a hotel chef, Mr. Chai Boonlert now commands his own kitchen called Gold Bay Leaves which is partly indoors and partly outdoors along the sidewalk.
His menu includes both Thai dishes and even a few western pasta dishes that I must say are pretty good, although I prefer his Thai food.
Just about everything I’ve had has been good, but I’d recommend the neua yang (grilled sirloin) and the pad makua muang (stir fried purple eggplant ผัดมะเขือม่วง).
5. Som Tam Khun Gan (ส้มตำคุณกัญจณ์)
Som Tam Khun Gan (ส้มตำคุณกัญจณ์) is a local favorite neighborhood Thai restaurant located down Sukhumvit 101/1 a few kilometers from the main street. The restaurant is truly a Thai food oasis, almost having the feeling of being on the beach.
The menu is packed with Isan dishes, stir fried dishes, and seafood dishes, all of which are prepared extremely well. The pla chon lui suan (snake head fish with vegetables ปลาช่อนลุยสวน), though ugly, is mouthwatering good. Also try their pra goong (shrimp salad พล่ากุ้ง), a tasty shrimp salad.
6. The Local Restaurant
Chef Cann, with his restaurant The Local, has aimed to serve a menu of traditional Thai food (video) that includes flavors and dishes his mom prepared at home. Along with home style dishes, he also uses a few recipes from the Royal Thai kitchen.
I especially enjoyed the gaeng run juan (lemongrass beef salad แกงรัญจวนเนื้อ), pak miang pad kai (a southern leafy vegetables fried with egg), and gaeng kua gai bai som pan kee maa (coconut based chicken curry with orange leaves แกงคั่วไก่ใบส้มแป้นขี้ม้า).
For a sit down Thai restaurant, The Local is a great choice!
7. Khao Gaeng Ruttana (ข้าวแกงรัตนา)
This ancient Thai Chinese khao gaeng (rice and prepared curries) restaurant in Bangkok’s Nang Loeng Market, attracts quite a crowd during the lunchtime hours.
You’ve got to just pick and choose whatever looks best, but it’s best to go on the early side because they quickly run out of the best dishes.
Try any kind of fried fish and the lun boo (creamy crab หล่นปู).
8. Yong Lee (ย่งหลี)
Yong Lee (ย่งหลี) is a Thai Chinese shophouse restaurant that’s located just a stones throw from Phrom Phong BTS Station. When you taste their food, you know it was cooked with passion.
Dishes are tasty and meaty. Try their famous slow cooked beef tongue stew, boo jaah (crab cakes ปูจ๋า), and the pla kapong pad prik dam (stir fried barramundi fish with chili sauce ปลากะพงผัดพริกตำ).
9. Ran Gaeng Pa Sriyan (ร้านแกงป่า ศรีย่าน)
Ever since I ate at Ran Gaeng Pa Sriyan (ร้านแกงป่า ศรีย่าน), I’ve been dreaming about eating there again. While they specialize in northern Thai jungle curry, there are lots of tempting dishes on the menu.
The food is prepared using lots of ingredient combinations, plenty of flavorful herbs, and an abundance of fresh chillies. They serve spicy food, and if you like hot, you’ll be drooling at this restaurant.
You’ve go to try their gaeng pa (Thai jungle curry แกงป่า), but my absolute favorite was the nok sab pad kee mao (minced quail in chillies นกสับผัดขี้เมา).
10. Home Cuisine Islamic Restaurant
Home Cuisine Islamic Restaurant is a nice little restaurant serving Thai Muslim food with a mixture of Persian and Indian flavors as well.
Though I only went to sample two versions of Thai biryani (video), the whole menu looked pretty decent. It’s a sit down restaurant, so prices aren’t overly cheap, but the food is really good quality.
The goat biryani, with a huge meaty bone of goat, was excellent. It was served with some kind of Indian tasting pickle and a killer green sauce.
Finally, have an awesome 2013 and we’ll see you for many more delicious meals to come!