You’ll find a lot of dirt cheap Isan (Northeastern) food at the street stalls, but sometimes, such as when you’re jet-lagged and still not acclimatized to the humid Bangkok heat, you want to sit down and enjoy your food in nice, air conditioned surroundings. For this purpose, Somtum Der in Silom and Som Tam Nua on Siam Square are the two places that first pop up, so with Somtum Der just a short walk from our hotel, there was no doubt regarding where we would be having our first lunch in Bangkok.
Do you remember when I was at Somtum Der with Poul for the first time? When they made the som tam completely non-spicy? Well this time I remembered to say that we could eat Thai spicy, and we had a really nice som tam (papaya salad) with lots of Thai chilies. The spicy beef salad was really fierce, and Poul had to drink up all my Thai milk tea just to keep his mouth from blowing up.
At Isan restaurants, I always look for the deep-fried sun-dried pork, which is a delicious, non-spicy snack. At Somtum Der, it’s like a fatty version of pork jerky, slightly crispy and chewy and quite amazing. We also had sticky rice, which was served traditionally in a cute rattan basket and with vegetables on the side.
Some of you might know Somtum Der from NYC, where there’s a branch on Avenue A in East Village. They got a Michelin star in 2015 and 2016, but lost it again in 2017, but it’s still a great spot for Isan food in NYC.
Somtum Der, 5/5 Sala Daeng Road, Silom, Bangkok, Tel: +66(0)26324499
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