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Cheapeats :Some like it Lao/Isaan
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  1. #1
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    Cheapeats :Some like it Lao/Isaan

    Cheapeats :Some like it Lao
    Fermented fish - 'plaa raa' - is the star ingredient in the salty, savoury Isaan-style somtam of Sab Silom

    A food paradise like Bangkok offers a grand variety of cuisines. Bustling Soi Convent, off Silom Road, is famous for packing a great variety of foods into one area, and is a good spot for Isaan food. Somtam Convent is perhaps the best known of the lane's Isaan restaurants. But not too far away is another excellent, if less well known eatery.

    Opposite Sala Daeng Soi 2, the open-air Sab Silom stall has been open for almost 10 years. The highlight of the menu is definitely traditional Isaan somtam plaa raa (payaya salad with fermented fish). Unlike in many city Isaan joints where somtam is gentrified with too much sugar and premature plaa raa, the somtam here is just right. The unripe papaya is mixed with cherry tomatoes, lime juice, dried chilli, olive skins, a few slices of apple eggplant and very little sugar. Uncooked plaa raa preserves the rich taste and aroma, making it smoothly salty without adding salt or fish sauce.

    The recipe for this mouth-watering dish comes from the wife of the owner, Surachai Karnpien. The 46-year-old native of Buri Ram, who works full-time in the Sathorn District Office, set up this nocturnal family-run business as a sideline.

    "Normally I work in the daytime, and so does my partner," Surachai says. "My wife and daughter begin preparing the food at 10am. After work I drop by home and help them set up the shop." Sab Silom gets all the ingredients including the all-important plaa raa from a fresh market.

    Say you're not a plaa raa fan? Well, Sab Silom offers a variety of somtam both with and without fermented fish. You can order Thai-style somtam, in which both sweetness and sourness are more pronounced, or somtam with crab stick or cockles.

    Apart from its best-selling somtam, Sab Silom has an extensive menu that is sure to satisfy your cravings for Isaan cuisine. They make traditional dishes like laab, naam tok (grilled pork salad), baby bamboo soup, Isaan tom yam, gaeng om (thick curry with meat and lots of vegetables) and an array of spicy salads. Also available are grilled chicken, grilled beef, and grilled fish with a sweet or spicy dip. They also serve one-plate dishes such as laab and naam tok with rice for Bt30 to Bt60.

    Dishes cost from Bt30 to Bt80, which is quite a bargain considering the tastiness of the food and the amount of it that's given. But there are other prices to pay since the place is out in the open and has no toilet. You might not want to go there when it's likely to rain. And, there is no parking.



    Sab Silom

    Soi Convent (opposite Pola Pola)

    BTS: Sala Daeng; MRT: Silom

    5.30pm to midnight Tuesday to Sunday



    Manta Klangboonkrong

    The Nation

  2. #2
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    Re: Cheapeats :Some like it Lao/Isaan

    There's a really good northern restaurant opened on Samsen Soi1, right on the corner. They use free-range chickens, and I don't know what they coat it in but they taste great. We always take the bones home and make stock from them as well.

    It also has all the other northern culprits, laab, namtok, lots of different somtams, grilled catfish. The menu really is quite extensive, and the restaurant is always filled with Thai people, and the odd farang who knows what they want and also the odd farang who hasn't got a clue, but is willing to try

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    Re: Cheapeats :Some like it Lao/Isaan

    I'd go there just for the grilled catfish - yummy!

    Thanks Ben Kroo, I'll be sure to check it out on my up & coming trip.

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    Re: Cheapeats :Some like it Lao/Isaan

    Catfish tastes great in Tamarind sauce
    Ӽ

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    Re: Cheapeats :Some like it Lao/Isaan

    Ben Kroo, reference your post #2. Free range chicken? Like the wild chickens that ran all over in the small village's of thailand? If there that kind of free range, then, recall the bird flue? There are no longer these kind's of chicken's running around many villages any longer. Gov eradicated em. The chicken I'm thinking of is hard as nails after cooking. Must be another kind of free range.

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    Re: Cheapeats :Some like it Lao/Isaan

    Quote Originally Posted by lenss View Post
    Ben Kroo, reference your post #2. Free range chicken? Like the wild chickens that ran all over in the small village's of thailand? If there that kind of free range, then, recall the bird flue? There are no longer these kind's of chicken's running around many villages any longer. Gov eradicated em. The chicken I'm thinking of is hard as nails after cooking. Must be another kind of free range.
    They're tasty, thats it...

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    Re: Cheapeats :Some like it Lao/Isaan

    Quote Originally Posted by nam phyyng View Post
    Catfish tastes great in Tamarind sauce
    Sounds tasty!

    If you have a recipe, please do share with the rest of us.

    Also, if anyone could let me know the cooking process involved to make yam pla dook fu, then I'd ptobably be their friend forever!

  8. #8
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    Re: Cheapeats :Some like it Lao/Isaan

    Quote Originally Posted by lenss View Post
    Ben Kroo, reference your post #2. Free range chicken? Like the wild chickens that ran all over in the small village's of thailand? If there that kind of free range, then, recall the bird flue? There are no longer these kind's of chicken's running around many villages any longer. Gov eradicated em. The chicken I'm thinking of is hard as nails after cooking. Must be another kind of free range.
    Are you talking about those chickens they have for fighting? Their meat is really tough because of the muscles built from fighting.

  9. #9
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    Re: Cheapeats :Some like it Lao/Isaan

    Ben Kroo, can you help out here. What's the motive for calling those chicken's free-range. Got free range chicken sold thru out the US. Guess free range means their not penned and are not fed chicken feed!.. I speak of this because about 3 years ago 2 of my wife's relative's died of eating bird flue chicken. Her sister-in-law survived. Probably seen her and other family member's on Thai TV. She was a kind of poster child. Gov gave her 10,000 baht. Then the gov came in and eradicated all wild chickens within 60 clicks of the town where the bird flue occured.

  10. #10
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    Re: Cheapeats :Some like it Lao/Isaan

    You mean those left eating buffetly in wilderness?? LOL

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