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Best eateries in Bangkok’s Chinatown and beyond

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: Bangkok's Chinatown - Activityfan
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Bangkok’s Chinatown and its historic Phran Nakhon district are home to some of the city’s most storied and beloved restaurants. But rather than brave Bangkok’s notorious traffic, The Thaiger suggests taking public transport, the MRT’s Blue “heritage” Line for maximum convenience. There are heaps of historic landmarks and temples nearby like Sao Chingcha (Giant Swing), Wat Traimit, the Golden Mount/Wat Saket temple, the Phan Fa Lilat Bridge and the Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall, so take this opportunity to do some exploring.

The best three Chinatown eateries are about 1 to 1.7 kilometres from the splendidly designed Wat Mangkon station, while the four in Phra Nakhon are all within 1.6 kilometres of the next stop, Sam Yot station. While none has a Michelin star (yet!) here are a few from The Michelin Guide Thailand:

Phan Fa (Bib Gourmand)
This old school, family-run restaurant opened in 1939 and is famous for Hainanese chicken rice. Their succulent steamed crab claws bring back childhood memories for many long-time patrons. Other popular dishes include their exceptional, fragrant crab fried rice, deep-fried pork intestines, vermicelli with seafood, boiled snapper head soup with taro, and the obligatory plateful of sweet and fresh peeled Nakhon Chai Si pomelos for dessert.

S.B.L. (Bib Gourmand)
S.B.L. (short for Somboonlarb) has served traditional Teochew (Chiuchow) cuisine for well over sixty years. Elegantly furnished, the restaurant offers ten different set menus featuring a wide assortment of dishes including their highly recommended stewed fish maw and XO scallops. Other signature specialties are Peking duck, whole BBQ pork, boiled whole chicken, fried lobster with ginkgo seeds, stewed goose legs, and for dessert, ginkgo in hot syrup and fried rice balls (bua loy).

Sae Phun (Bib Gourmand)
Sae Phun has been serving our most beloved comfort food, Khao Na Kai (Chicken Stew on Rice), for over eighty years; a popular one-plate meal of juicy, tender bite-size pieces of chicken cooked in a rich, deeply flavorful gravy and poured over rice or noodles. It’s served with a crispy fried egg on top and slices of sweet and fatty kun chiang (dry Chinese pork sausage) that balances out the savory stew, and garnished with fresh coriander and sliced green chilies. If you need some good old-fashioned comfort food, indulge yourself with this hearty and warming culinary staple.

The Thaiger recommends checking the Michelin Guide for addresses and opening hours.

SOURCE: The Michelin Guide Thailand

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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