Bangkok's best Teochew restaurant
Bangkok's best Teochew restaurant -- Recommended: Yim Yim
"Thais are very clever at adopting other cuisines and making it our own," says Chef McDang, one of our Best Eats panel experts.
And that includes the local Thai-influenced versions of Teochew cuisine, based on the region of China where most Thai-Chinese families emigrated from.
Yim Yim, on the 2nd floor of an old banquet hall, is a Yaowarat classic. This place has stuck to its 80-year-old roots while adding a few Thai tastes along the way to offer the usual Teochew classics like abalone, sea cucumber, goat, baked goose, fish and crab -- all with that home-style taste that Teochew food is known for.
This is one of those places the local Chinese crowd hits strictly for its food, not the ambiance, as Yim Yim looks like it hasn't been renovated since the 1970s. Kitschy accents abound.
The tablecloths are threadbare and plastic sliding curtains divide dining rooms like bedrooms in a caravan trailer. Support columns are painted red, the floor is covered in green and white checkered tiles and in one corner there's a huge chunk of plastic tropical wallpaper with palm trees.
But the food is fantastic so who cares.
89 Passai Road, Yaowarat. Tel: +66 (0)2 224 2203. Open daily, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Bangkok's best Teochew restaurant -- Recommended:Tang Jai Yuu
"Teochew cuisine is much like Cantonese but it has a reputation for being considered 'peasant' food," says McDang. "More family style, wholesome food ... we in Thailand are more exposed than most countries because there so many Teochew families here.”
Tang Jai Yuu's Teochew cuisine hits that wholesome mark. Every night of the week the place is packed full with Thai-Chinese families and the after-work crowd.
Tables for two are in short supply. Large groups sit around circular tables crammed full with Teochew-inspired dishes like baked goose's feet in hot clay pots, barbecued suckling pig, goat skin with ham jelly, oysters, mantis prawns and a wide range of imported fresh fish. There are also a few Thai dishes like tom yum soup and the usual fried rice options.
Tang Jai Yuu looks small from the outside, but it actually features two large dining rooms, heavy on the Chinese decor but far from fancy. A TV hangs in one corner blasting the evening soap operas, giving the big-haired grannies a distraction after dinner as the men sip their Johnny Walker Black Label and soda and chat.
85-89 Thanon Yaowaphanit, Yaowarat. Tel: +66 (0)2 224 2167. Open daily, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Bangkok's best Teochew restaurant -- Recommended: New Muang Meng
Another Yaowarat favorite serving delicious Teochew classics is New Muang Meng, which has been around for 40 years.
This place has a few items you won't find in other Chinatown restaurants, including imported Chinese fresh water fish. (Try the Chinese-style sashimi.) All the other Teochew classics are there too, like sea cucumbers, abalone, goose, duck and pig.
If you're looking to make the night an event book the private dining room downstairs, which features Chinese antiques and art and a majestic round table topped with a red cloth.
The main dining room upstairs is far less fancy, catering to the after-work crowd and hungry families looking for nothing more than a fantastic Teochew meal.
4-8 Padsai Road, Yaowarat. Tel: +66 (0)2 224 2201. Open daily, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Bangkok's best Teochew restaurant -- Winner: Somboonlarb
"Known to locals as Sor-bor-lor (SBL), this family-run eatery started in 1954," says food critic Tim Footman. "It’s added Hong Kong and even Isaan specialties to the menu in recent years, but regular customers ensure the old favorites remain. Check out the steamed crab claws."
While most Teochew restaurants are carbon copy versions of their counterparts, SBL's delicious takes on Teochew classics -- particularly its seafood -- put this restaurant just outside of Chinatown at the top of the Thai-Chinese dining list.
The menu is huge, featuring a wide range of dishes like sea asparagus with oyster sauce, grilled mero fish, fried pigeon and stewed goose legs.
Bangkokians also love this place for its over-the-top Chinese decor. Think golden tablecloths, Shanghaiese chandeliers, glittering accents and waiters in traditional Chinese suits.
710-714 Wangburapa Road. Tel: +66 (0)2 225 9079. Open daily, 11 a.m.-midnight.