I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure there are only a hand full of places where one can get a top quality meal while watching the chef prepare your entrees in the kitchen. Bangkok, with its scores of street food stalls, happens to be one such place. It’s relatively common knowledge that the food available from many stalls across the city can rival that of most fine dining establishments. After receiving a tip about the tastiness of the food cooked up on Petchaburi Road I had to make a trip over to check it out for myself.
Starting at the Petchaburi/Ekamai intersection and walking about 100 yards down Petchaburi Road to the east; you’ll find a string of street stalls selling everything from fried chicken to assorted types of noodles to sushi. The biggest problem here is deciding what to eat. Before I settled down at a table I took a slow walk past all the vendors checking out what each had to offer. Parked right in front of the “Best House” apartments is what looked like the “Best Stall” on the street, Lung Sawai. Hanging in the window on one side of the cart were the standard varieties of meats (pork, beef, chicken) and on the other side were fresh vegetables. To the right of the cart was a bbq grilling up chicken and fish, and to the back was a small burner where aromatic broths and sauces were being mixed together. The veggies were being used to make Som Tam as well as added as garnishes to other dishes coming from the “kitchen.” From what I saw this looked like one stall I could not pass up.
I took a seat on a small plastic chair at one of the metal tables behind the food stalls on the sidewalk. There were no menus available, so I surveyed the scene before attempting to order in my best Thai accent. I placed an order of Gai Yang, Nam Toke Moo and Khao Niaow (bbq chicken, spicy pork salad and sticky rice). My Thai must have come out well because the only follow-up question I received was whether I wanted the Nam Toke spicy or not… I requested spicy.
I sat back and watch the chefs go to work. Smoke billowed from the grill and the smell of bbq’d chicken filled the air. Blending in with the sound of the evening traffic whizzing by was the “pok pok pok” sound of the sauce for the pork salad being mixed together in the wooden mortar and pestle. My stomach was rumbling and I was ready to eat. The dishes arrived not a moment too soon. My initial bites confirmed how tasty the food here really is. The bbq chicken was cooked to perfection. Juicy, flavorful and served with a spicy/tangy dipping sauce. Outside of Issan it can sometimes be difficult to find quality Nam Toke, however, here they had the right stuff. The pork was tender and juicy and the flavors of lime, mint, onions and chilies were fantastic. My bill came to a total of 90 Baht; I happily paid with a smile and a wai. For the equivalent of about $3.00 I was full, satisfied and now know of another great food stall to visit.
In the evenings the streets of Bangkok become a culinary mosaic; with vendors offering their own versions of Thai staples. Lung Sawai is just one of the stalls on Petchaburi road and it’s a great find. Whether you choose to visit it or one of the other vendors here you really can’t go wrong with taste or price. If its a quality meal you’re in search of then flag down a taxi or motorbike to head this way and enjoy. I know I’ll be back for round 2!