Traditional (and Exceptionally Delicious) Thai Food at The Local Restaurant

By Mark Wiens 21 Comments
Traditional Thai Food
Traditional Thai Food

What is traditional Thai food?

Restaurant owner and Chef Cann explains that for himself, traditional Thai dishes are the flavors and combinations he remembers from his childhood, the dishes his mom prepared and served at home.

Using the comforts of home cooked traditional Thai food along with a few recipes from the ancient archive of the royal Thai kitchen, Chef Cann aims to preserve Thai culture through his menu.

At The Local Restaurant you’ll find over 70 different dishes, many of them traditional and noticeably different from modern day Bangkok fare.

Ruam Kam Aroy (รวมคำอร่อย)
Ruam Kam Aroy (รวมคำอร่อย)

We began the meal with a gorgeous appetizer mixed plate known as Ruam Kam Aroy (รวมคำอร่อย).

Included on the plate was a coconut shell bowl filled with creamy khao soy surrounded by a number of other dainty tidbits like lemongrass shrimp and pandanus wrapped fried chicken (green triangles on the right).

Price: 250 THB

Purple Lotus Flowers
Purple Lotus Flowers

Something about eating flowers is always exciting to me, I guess it’s the fact that for so long we’ve seen flowers as pretty things to look at, but not to eat.

I was particularly interested in the beautiful bite sized purple lotus pedals. Chef explained that the green and white lotus flowers are not edible, but only the purple pedals.

The sweetness of toasted coconut, the flavorful red onion and shallots, and the zest of lime peel all piled into a lightly sweet lotus flower made it a single bite of complex goodness.

Pad Pak Pun Ban (ผัดผักพื้นบ้าน)
Pad Pak Pun Ban (ผัดผักพื้นบ้าน)

Along with balancing flavors to perfection, another fundamental aspect of Thai cooking is not overcooking the ingredients. The mixed vegetable dish known as Pad Pak Pun Baan (ผัดผักพื้นบ้าน) was cooked so it was still crisp and not at all limp or over done.

It was a mixture of 5 different things including ivy gourd leaves and flower buds. The combination was fresh, fragrant with garlic, and it made a great accompaniment to the other curries and flavors of the meal.

Price: 180 THB

Traditional Thai Food
Gaeng Run Jan (แกงรัญจวนเนื้อ)

Another prized item on the menu is the traditional Thai Gaeng Run Juan (แกงรัญจวนเนื้อ).

The fantastic dish included fresh strips of thinly sliced beef flank steak lightly cooked and combined into almost what I’d call a meat salad curry.

Authentic Thai food
This is a must order dish when you go to The Local!

Here’s more of a close up shot of the dish. Can you see the finely shaved slices of lemongrass, the whole baby cloves of garlic and the whole chillies?

Those ingredients along with a lime and shrimp paste dressing made it wholly flavorful and simply a joy to eat!

It was one of those dishes that as soon as I sampled it, I just couldn’t help from closing my eyes and savoring every vibrant component.

Price: 240 THB

Pak Miang Pad Kai
Pak Miang Pad Kai

Simple yet remarkably flavorful is how I’d describe the Pak Miang Pad Kai.

Pak Miang is a rare leafy vegetable, it’s difficult to find in most Bangkok markets, so I was delighted to see it on the menu of traditional Thai food at The Local Restaurant.

Sometimes when you order vegetables stir fried with egg it is served watery because the heat and oil are not at the exact perfect temperature. At The Local, the dish was stir fried with just the right amount of oil and precise heat so all the flavor remained on the leaves and egg without being drained out by extra liquid.

The egg was lightly crunchy on the outside and the leaves were seared. The combination is  something I could probably eat everyday!

Price: 180 THB

Pla Ta Tien Tom Kem (ปลาตะเพียนต้มเค็ม)
Pla Ta Pien Tom Kem (ปลาตะเพียนต้มเค็ม)

One of the signature traditional Thai food dishes served at The Local is their Pla Ta Pien Tom Kem (ปลาตะเพียนต้มเค็ม).

Simmered for over 20 hours in a secret blend of sugar cane juice and ginger, this beauty was delivered to the table with a halo of food glory around it (Ok, maybe that was in my imagination) – it really was that magnificent.

As you can see from the photo above (and video to come soon), there’s already a chunk removed from the lefthand side of the fish… it was cooked for so long that we could just slice through the bones and eat its entire carcass!

It was so soft and tender that every bite melted in my mouth and because it was simmered for so long, the flesh was saturated like a sponge full of luscious juices.

Price: 380 THB

Gaeng Kua Gai Bai Som Pan Kee Maa (แกงคั่วไก่ใบส้มแป้นขี้ม้า)
Gaeng Kua Gai Bai Som Pan Kee Maa (แกงคั่วไก่ใบส้มแป้นขี้ม้า)

The last dish we sampled was the Gaeng Kua Gai Bai Som Pan Kee Maa (แกงคั่วไก่ใบส้มแป้นขี้ม้า), and it was one of those home-run kind of dishes!

The rich coconut cream was loaded with turmeric and chillies, and to me it had a smooth nutty flavor.

What I really liked is that it wasn’t overly sweet like some Thai curries, but instead there was a hint of bitterness – not a medicine flavor, but just a tiny hint of subtle bitterness that really worked well with the other ingredients. The shaved orange leaves and whole bird’s eye chilies on top added the final perfect touch.

I’d highly recommend this curry!

Price: 280 THB

The Local Thai Restaurant
The Local Thai Restaurant

At The Local restaurant they’ve done a great job of creating an elegant yet traditional Thai atmosphere. The front part of the facility includes a small antique museum as well as a number of private dining rooms.

Outdoors there’s a garden with a full bar and finally the main dining room is located in the back. Just moments from busy Asoke road in Bangkok, The Local is a quiet and relaxing environment.

Traditional Thai Food at The Local in Bangkok, Thailand
Traditional Thai Food at The Local in Bangkok, Thailand

The Bottom Line

Traditional Thai food served in a wonderfully blissful environment is what makes The Local such a special dining experience. It’s a great family sit-down restaurant or a fantastic place to come with your friends to enjoy an authentic Thai feast.

For the high quality of the food and the care of the ingredients used in the cooking, the prices are very affordable. I might add that the service is also exceptional.

The Local Thai Cuisine

Address: 32-32/1 Sukumvit 23, Klong Toey Nue, Wattana, Bangkok, Thailand 10110
Hours: Lunch and Dinner
Phone: 02-664-0664, 02-664-3360-1
Website: The Local and also check out their Facebook Fanpage
Prices: 300 – 600 THB per person

How to Get to The Local

The closest BTS station is Asoke, which is about a 10 minute walk away. Alternatively you can catch a taxi.

Here’s the map:


View Bangkok Eating Thai Food Map in a larger map

Be sure to stay tuned, we’ll be bringing you a VIDEO of this feast very soon!



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

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  • Sonny

    2 years ago

    Hi Mark,
    Perhaps things have changed at The Local since you were last there. I have not been disappointed once with any of your recommendations, but my experience at the Local was mediocre at best.
    First, in my view, there is NO excuse to have less than perfect rice at a restaurant charging these prices. The rice was overcooked and gummy. Then one relatively small to medium size crab with onions and bell peppers cost a whopping 780 THB. There was absolutely nothing to get excited about. The clientele was mostly foreigners. No comparison to Bahn Som Tam or Soei, where the food and atmosphere were both exciting.
    I enjoy your column and videos, but I have t say this one was thumbs down all the way.
    Regards
    Sonny

    • Mark Wiens

      2 years ago

      Hey Sonny, sorry to hear about that, and thank you for sharing. Every time I’ve been to The Local, it’s very good. Could have been an off-day, sorry about that.

      • Joachim

        2 years ago

        Hello Mark
        First i have to thank you very much, for me your like a soulmade.
        for loving Food as much as i do! :-)

        Iam sitting at the local Right now…
        First the Appetizer plate was
        Really nice!
        Than i tried Gaeng Run Jan (แกงรัญจวนเนื้อ)…. And was way to spicy for me…really uneatable, the staff was so kind To Chance my Order ..

        But I think its good idea to write something like a spicyness level :-)
        Thanks man
        I already bought Your Guide!

        • Mark Wiens

          2 years ago

          Hey Joachim, great to hear from you, glad you enjoying the food. The Local is an excellent place, and the food does run a bit spicy. Thank you for your support!

    • Rendall

      7 months ago

      I think the last sentence is making me contemplating a visit. As there are more foreigner than Thai. One thing that people always say is that if the an Asian restaurant have mostly foreign customer then it usually not so delicious in Thai context. Maybe just a question, excluding the price factor, do you think Thai people would go to this place for their meal?

  • Chris Stephen

    2 years ago

    Hey Mark,

    I just had a fantastic dinner at The Local earlier. The Pak Miang Pad Kai was simple, but like you said, they did it perfectly. I also had the Gaeng Kua Gai Bai Som Pan Kee Maa and ordered it spicy. The first bite unexpectedly made me moan, much to the amusement of the waitresses. I then proceeded to demolish every last morsel and drop. By far, the best thai curry I’ve ever had. Thank you so much for the recommendation. I wish I could try more of their dishes, but I’d need either more time in Bangkok or a second stomach haha.

    And like the previous commenter, I wanted to try their Pla Ta Pien Tom Kem, but they’ve discontinued serving it.

    • Mark Wiens

      2 years ago

      Hi Chris, great to hear from you, thank you for the comment and glad you loved The Local. It still remains one of my favorite higher end Thai restaurants in Bangkok. Haha, that curry is good enough to moan through the whole bowl!

  • Arnaud

    3 years ago

    Hey Mark,
    After an unsuccessful try during Sonkhran when the restaurant was closed, I finally had dinner at the Local. Definitely another excellent recommendation from you Mark.

    I went there to take the famous Pla Ta Pien Tom Kem, but unfortunately they didn’t make dish anymore, even though it is still on the menu. Anyway, their curries are great, flavorful, and thick as I like.

    I highly recommend as well some of their cocktails made with Thai ingredients (kaffir lime, galangal).

    • Arnaud

      3 years ago

      Sorry I forgot to mention the Pak Miang Pad Kai. That was really good and a real discovery for me especially for the Pak Bung Fai Daeng lover that I am

  • Mark

    4 years ago

    Very surprised you called those leaves “orange leave”! Thais don’t use orange leaf in their cooking,they use kaffir lime leaves!! These leaves are commonly use in Thai cooking and for someone like you there is no reason to get it wrong.
    You should be more professional and you should know those thai herbs and spices if you want to sell your book!!

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Hey Mark, those are actually NOT kaffir lime leaves… The dish is this: แกงคั่วไก่ใบส้มแป้นขี้ม้า – bai som ใบส้ม which is a type of orange leaves. Very rarely found in common Thai food today, but used in southern and royal cooking occasional… like in this dish at this restaurant. The chef even gave me some to smell the difference.

  • Chris

    4 years ago

    Amazing photos. I love Thai food and I can’t wait to get to Thailand to try them in local Thai restaurants.

  • Kate

    5 years ago

    Hey, Mark! We’re just back from our first trip to Thailand. The Local was the only place we ate in twice, because it was that good. You’ve mentioned two of my favorite dishes in this post – the khao soi and the miang khab (the mixed aroy wrapped up in leaves). I was wondering if the chef was kind enough, or would be kind enough to share even a sketch of a recipe for either of these. Living in the US, I know I won’t really be able to reproduce these standout dishes, but I would certainly do the best I could if I had some ideas to work of off. Any ideas?

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hi Kate, great to hear from you and glad you enjoyed The Local! Hmmm, that’s a good question… if I get back there I can talk to the chef and see, but I’m really not sure. Were you able to find any decent recipes from a google search?

      • Kate

        5 years ago

        I have done a few searches, but generally it’s lean pickin’s. And most of them seem pretty farangified. I would be thrilled if the chef could be persuaded to share anything at all about these two recipes. It’s likely I’d have to figure out substitutions, but at least I’d be starting with good first principles. I was so smitten with all the food in Thailand that I’m going to experiment with adding several Thai staples to my garden this year. Lemongrass, ginger and galangal will all no doubt need to be grown in containers and brought inside during the winter, but I’ll give it my best shot and see what happens. Thanks in advance for any details you can ferret out!

  • Vicky

    5 years ago

    Every single dish on here looks amazing! Can’t wait to get to Thailand and try ALL of them!!

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Awesome to hear that Vicky! I know you’ll love the cuisine here in Thailand!