At the end of a long working day, all you want is to dodge Bangkok’s gridlocked traffic, especially during rainy season, or avoid being jammed in a crowded train, wishing to get home and finally unwind.
So, while you wait for the streets, skies and trains to clear, what’s better than sharing a delicious meal with close friends or catching up with colleagues over icy cold drinks to wash the stress away? Even if payday is still a ways off, there are still many delectable options available at reasonable prices in Bangkok, and these are some of the best pocket-friendly ones in Si Lom and Sathon.
Conveniently located near both the BTS skytrain and MRT underground, Somtum Der is an after-work hot spot amongst those who crave for Northeastern flavours in the Saladaeng neighbourhood. After over eight years of serving som tam (papaya salad), the shop is now dishing up its deliciousness at six branches across Thailand and internationally in New York City, Ho Chi Minh City, and Tokyo.
Their authentic Isan menu features ten different types of som tam, such as pickled clams, cockles, Sakon Nakhon style, grilled pork neck, and mackerel. And where there is som tam, you’ll find meat specialties like sua rong hai and moo rong hai, where meat is marinated in chillis, roasted rice, and spices. There’s also an excellent selection of spicy salads, perennial favourites among the after-work crowd. A new-found favourite during the work-from-home lockdown is Fried Chicken Der. Available in small, medium, and large servings with a side of som tam. Perfect with the plentiful homemade jim jaew and jaew hong pla ra dipping sauces. Also recommended is the Isan-style sausages made especially for the restaurant and the tom sap (piquant, spicy soup) which MICHELIN inspectors particularly enjoyed.
Location: Saladaeng Road (120 metres from Si Lom Road) Tel. +66 2 632 4499.
Hours: Everyday, 10.00-20.00.
Price range: 200-400 baht.
Known as “the Hainanese chicken rice at the Montien Hotel”, “Ruen Ton” is a Thai-Chinese restaurant located at the Montien Hotel and is considered a legendary eatery in the area that has been serving this classic comfort food for over 40 years.
The restaurant sells Hainanese chicken rice from around 11.30 until they run out of chicken (recommended to go straight there after work). The generous portions guarantee to fill the belly, but there are also the extras of fried vegetables and soups for those with a big appetite. What to order? The MICHELIN inspectors recommend sliced chicken topped with special soy sauce served with two different dipping sauces made from fermented soybean paste. One is subtle, the other more intense. Both enhance the dish’s flavours perfectly.
There are also plenty of one-plate dishes on the menu from Hainan noodles, duck noodles, stir-fried noodles, or Chinese-style turnip cakes to order.
Location: Montien Hotel, Surawongse Road, Bangkok. Tel. +66 2 233 7060.
Hours: Everyday, 11.00-22.30.
Price range: 190-650 baht.
If you’re with a big group looking for a cool, comfortable spot, check out Baan Somtum in Sathon. The restaurant seating area is spacious, and the menu features som tam and all your Isan favourites. Grilled meats and every spicy salad (yum, nam tok, lab) as you would find on any Isan menu. But there’s also the fish and seafood selection -- fried fish, steamed spicy fish, fried fish in fish sauce, fish sauce shrimp, and more for you to pick from.
Not sure what to order? The inspectors suggest selecting from the 29 different types of som tam showcasing a wide range of ingredients such as fresh crab meat, pork scratchings, salted eggs, coconut palm shoots, and shrimp. And of course, there are the bold and intense flavours of the traditional Northeastern favourites like grilled meats and spicy salads for you to savour and enjoy.
Location: Si Wiang Road, Bangkok. Tel. +66 2 630 3486.
Hours: Everyday, 10.00 – 22.00.
Price range: 200-400 baht.
This classic Cantonese spot has been around for 60 years, offering large portions to be shared with friends. Starting as a tiny noodle shop hidden away in a side alley, they’ve been serving dedicated regulars for the past six decades.
There are so many Cantonese dishes to choose from. Our MICHELIN inspector’s favourite is charcoal-grilled duck marinated in a secret sauce created by the restaurant’s founder. These tasty morsels are even better with tender egg noodles. There are currently four branches, but this one is the first, which has only 25 seats, but there’s an extension on the other side of the street. And even though there are other branches, for a truly authentic Sanyod dining experience, visit this original location in Bang Rak.
Location: Under Taksin Bridge, Bangkok. Tel. +66 2 236 3905.
Hours: Everyday, 10.00-21.00.
Price range: 100-500 baht.
The year 1969 marked the opening of Somboon Pochana with its legendary menu offerings such as Fried Curried Crab. It’s the perfect seafood restaurant for meeting friends on payday to fully enjoy all the delicious delights while celebrating the end of the month.
Looking for a perfect spot to treat your team or teammates? There are set menus for parties of 10 or more as well. Inspectors praise the fresh ingredients, superb flavours, and reasonable prices. There are now seven branches across Bangkok with the Surawong branch being the largest with over 200 seats. Besides the delicious crab dishes, yummy menus not to be missed include prawn baked with glass noodles in a clay pot and garlic-fried mantis shrimps.
Location: Surawongse Road, Bangkok. Tel. +66 2 233 3104.
Hours: Everyday, 11.00-22.00.
Price range: 200-1,200 baht.
Hero photo: © Somtum Der