Chawang Khaao Raad Geng (ชวางข้าวราดแกง) – Southern Style Restuarant

CHAWANG MAE UWAY – SOUTHERN FOOD RESTAURANT
375 ซอย วังหลัง 4 Siriraj, Khet Bangkok Noi, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10700

Most restaurants representing the southern food of Thailand have a display of various dishes ready to serve over rice. At Chawang Mae Uway, however, the spread is impressive. Daily the restaurant makes anywhere from 30-40 different dishes. Each day those dishes are not the same either. Of course, they have the foundation dishes that everyone expects to get when entering their shop, e.g. geng som, muu palo, nam prik and veggies, etc. You will be guaranteed to find something that suites you.

Pork and Boiled Egg in Chinese Herb Broth (muu palo)

Origin of Chawang (#Aunties of Thailand)

The restaurant has been a family run business. Today, the original chef is 90 years old.  Over 30 years ago, the restaurant was passed from Auntie to Mom. These days, after 50 years in business, the daughters take care of the restaurant. Mom now rests in a house down the road. Her fifth daughter, Ungit, is the main manager. Most of her siblings went to study and learn, and she decided to help her mother in the kitchen. Ungit’s older sister was the third and stayed to help as well. But once Dtoy married, she went to live with her husband and Ungit stayed back. Dtoy returned after her husband’s death and is now 72.

They both had watched as her mom had raised 7 children with the restaurant as a way to make a living and support the family. Ungit had studied as a girl, perhaps until the age of 14 or 15.

Khanom Jin with Naam Yaa (slightly spicy)

Skill of Cooking

“It just came to me,” Ungit described of her cooking skills. She enjoyed it too, and had the heart for it. Some of her siblings became doctors, others are professors at Chulalunkorn and Kaset universities. She studies in the kitchen.

As for Dtoy, she said it came from the love of eating. All she had to do was to taste the food and she would know what needed to be added. Some of the other siblings could taste that it was missing something, but they never developed the skills to modify the dish until it was matching their taste.

A taste of the South

The foods flavor is different than many southern style restaurants. Each province, and each Amphoe (sub-district) within the province will have its own style of flavoring the food. For example, the palo with pork belly and boiled egg was slightly sweeter and more herbal than other dishes. The flavor was deeper. The geng som (orange curry) was spicy, yet balanced with the sweet-sour of the soft coconut meat and papaya.

Geng Som – Yellow Curry with fish

The food matches the flavors of their origins.

A relative started Chawang, and then passed the restaurant onto their mother. The origins of their aunt is from the province Nakhorn Sri Thammarat, in the amphoe Chawang (for a limited view of the region, check out the amphoe’s collection of Instagram pictures). Hence, the name of the restaurant and the unique flavors originating from this kitchen.

Sweet Pork Strips

The choice of 30-40 dishes they make each day is dependent on the ingredients they get from the market every morning. Almost all the vegetables and other basic items for the food comes up by train from the South. They pick it up from the Bang Noi train station and return to decide what to fix. They always have the basics, but there is a seasonality to much of the food. So, depending on the season you may get a specialty curry, or a different fresh fish catch.

Clockwise starting from top left: Yellow curry with snails, fish in orange curry, mango and veggies in orange curry, boiled fish with turmeric

A wide selections of curries is always available; colored deep yellow from the use of turmeric.

For a taste of the South, it’s worth taking a morning to explore Bangkok Noi train station. Once you get hungry for a real meal, drop in for an authentic meal from amphoe Chawang. You surely won’t be disappointed.

Our Menu – We’d Reccommend

Penang Curry with Pork – Not typically this brown color, you will find this authentic Thai dish an adventure into the variety of cuisine possible in Thailand.

Sataw (stink bean) stir fried with gapi (shrimp paste) – It may sound unappealing, but this is one of the staple favorites of many southerners, and once you get a few bites in you will understand why the balance of the herbal beans works well with the salty sauce of shrimp paste.

Khaao Yam – Rice salad is a refreshing dish (perfect for vegetarians) including sour green mango slices, a variety of herbs, and toasted coconut flakes. It is brought together with a sweet and salty sauce, and in case you like it more sour you may consider squeezing a wedge of lime.

Sweet shrimp – You only need a few bites to have a candy-like experience with these shrimp. It is perfect to balance with the spice and salty of other dishes.

Fried fish of any kind – This one is unique for many non-Thai people (okay, Americans…), because of the full fish on the plate, head and all. Slowly pull away the meat from the bones on each side, and make sure to get a spoonful of the deep fried garlic that tops the dish as well.


If you like Southern Food and you’re looking for another adventure, check out our post on Southern Food at the Flats.

 

Map of Chawang:

Sugar & Spice meets Sour & Salt

The food in Thailand is good not just because the food itself has flavor already. Yes, that is true. But what is the key to many of the Thai dishes is the sauce.

This is part I of a series of posts that will help you know the secrets to eating Thai food. Of course, you can come to Thailand and never know about these details – you’ll get along fine. However, if you want to know the details, the nuances, and get into the real way of eating Thai food like a Thai – put down your knives, pick up your fork and spoon, and get ready to dig in.


Essential Thai Condiments

Condiments are not just the same ones we know – like ketchup and relish, sauerkraut or kimche. Not any one sauce is alike, and they should be carefully paired with the proper dish.

A table may have five sauces, but one must use discretion when adding – and the key is:

always taste first before you flavor.

Take for example the dish “Kao kaa muu” (rice leg pork). It is a plate of rice, served with stewed pork leg in a dark soy sauce broth. In order to get the best bite possible, you must make sure it is complete with the appropriate pieces. In addition to the rice and pork leg, you will need a little
1. Pickled cabbage.
2. Fresh garlic clove (preferably the smaller cloves).
3. Chili – yes, one whole chili (these are larger birds eye chilies, less smooth and more like a witch’s crooked nose).
4. Chili vinegar- this is a vinegar based sauce, with red chilies mashed up and added in.

Here we will share with you a few of the most popular dishes.

Popular Dishes and Method to Flavor Them

1. Kao man gai – boiled chicken and oiled rice. Key ingredients for the condiments include: finely diced ginger, diced chilies, and bean curd paste sauce with vinegar and chilies. If you get a portion of fried chicken, then the sweet chili sauce matches best.


2. Kao muu deng muu groop – the base of this dish is rice and generally it is dry with the red pork and pork belly if you don’t ad ether sauce. Therefore, be sure to drizzle the gravy sauce (light brown) and add dark sweet soy sauce with chilis. Each of the grains of rice should not be white anymore, and it will get slightly darker with the soy sauce. The table should have a cup with green onion stems – chill them in ice water first for a crispier experience.


3. Bami muu gieow – this dish either comes with soup or without. With soup it is important to taste the soup itself to see how salty it is. We’d recommend the dry, then add more soup as you like. This dish calls for vinegar with sliced green chilies (the chilies are not necessary but vinegar is), dried chili flakes, sugar and fish sauce. Add dashes of each and taste, after mixing thoroughly. Adding some of the black soy sauce is suitable as well.

 

For more how to – see our YouTube video showing the techniques of mixing noddles with sauces.

Best of BKK Eats

 Here is a list, along with some photos that may make your mouth water, of our top restaurant picks in Bangkok. Whether you are here for a day, a month or a year, these are restaurants you will want to check off the list with food that will set the bar high when it comes to your Thai cuisine expectations!

Thon Krueng

The food here is truly authentic and full of amazing flavors unique to this restaurant. What to order? See these pictures for reference and if you’re not sure how to say the names of the dishes in Thai, just point!

Mee grob (Crispy, stir-fried noodles)

Tom kha gai (Chicken coconut soup)

Fried mixed vegetable samosas

Hor mok (Steamed seafood curry)

Khanom jiin sao naam (Rice noodles with coconut milk, pineapple, ginger and fish balls)

Bua loy naam king (Sesame dumplings in ginger water)

RTN Club House

The Royal Thai Navy Club House is perfect for an afternoon riverside lunch, making one feel like a special guest of the Thai Royal Navy with its maritime décor. Their seafood selection is delectable! After lunch, stop by their next-door café for some Thai tea or coffee.

Menu must-try items: pineapple fried rice, crab somtam papaya salad, pork dumplings, shrimp toast, green curry with roti, and ‘hor mok talay’ (steamed curry seafood in coconut).

Somtam puu (Crab papaya salad)

Hor mok talay (Steamed curry seafood in coconut)

Giiaow tod (Fried dumplings)

Gaeng kiiaeow wan roti (Green curry with roti)

Khao pad sapparot (Pineapple fried rice)

Bpo bpia sawan (Shrimp cakes)

Muu det diiaow song krueng (BBQ marinated pork in sesame seeds)

Krua Aroy Aroy

Located adjacent to the Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu Temple, this restaurant is famous and has been around for a long time. Sip on the different colorful Thai herbal drinks for a refreshing treat. For lunch or dinner, have some fish or Kanom jiin (white noodles) with different sauce toppings. The Kanom jiin sao naam is a cool, refreshing and unique dish — Kanom jiin served in a cool coconut milk sauce with fresh pineapple slices and a little hint of chili peppers and dried shrimp. A must try!

Khanom jiin naam ya 

Khao Soi Gai (Northern Thailand noodle dish)

Khanom jiin sao naam (Rice noodles with coconut milk, pineapple, ginger and fish balls)

Blue Elephant

Blue Elephant is a famous restaurant and cooking school where you will find old-style traditional food, as well as modern spins on traditional food, served in fancy platters and dishes. The ambiance here is elegant and the décor is as intricate as their culinary presentations. For a variety of tastes, try the set menus crafted by the head chef.

See Fah

See Fah has authentic and good quality Thai food! The ‘khao na gai (chicken over rice) and ‘khao niiaeow durian (sticky rice and durian) are highly recommended. But order the durian sticky rice as soon as you get there because it tends to be a hot seller and runs out quickly!

Wattana Panich

When a restaurant is family-owned and has been open for 50 years, you know you can trust the taste of a long-standing recipe. The braised beef or goat stew are delicious, and I definitely recommend the ‘khao na gai’ (chicken over rice) or ‘rad ma’ (gravy noodles). All are full and hearty meals that will leave you feeling fully satisfied and a committed customer!

Khao na gai (Chicken over rice)

Khao kha muu (Pork leg over rice)

Oliiang (Thai iced coffee)

Cha Nom (Thai Tea)

Cha Nom Yen

ชานมเย็น

(Thai Iced Tea)

Thai tea, also known as ‘cha nom yen’, is a must-try if you are visiting Thailand. This is most likely one of the most popular drinks among tourists and foreigners in Thailand. You can’t miss its bright orange color, and its sweet taste will leave you craving for more. Cha nom yen is brewed with Ceylon tea leaves, and then condensed milk and sugar are added to give it its sweet and creamy consistency. It is usually poured over ice (in a cup or a plastic bag) and then evaporated milk is added.


Although the ‘yen’ in ‘cha nom yen’ means ‘cold’, this treat is also delightful as a hot drink. The traditional way to serve this tea is in a glass with condensed milk sitting at the bottom. How much you stir should depend on how much of a sweet tooth you have. If you want to enjoy it in its original, unsweetened form, let the condensed milk sit at the bottom of your glass.

Tip for ordering: Say ‘cha nom’ if you want hot Thai tea and ‘cha nom yen’ if you want cold Thai tea. Sometimes, different variations of these phrases will get you some other kind of tea that is not orange in color. Just remember, it’s all part of the language learning process and living abroad experience!

What treats should you eat with this traditional drink?

Roti – plain with condensed milk, egg, with banana
Toast – with ‘sankaya’, butter and sugar, etc.
Patongo (Recommendation: dip this fried doughy delight in your cha nom yen!)

It can be difficult to come across a truly authentic Thai tea — meaning the Thai tea that is thick in consistency, rich in flavor, and just the right amount of sweet.

So where can you find the real deal in Bangkok?

MONT (NOM SOT) is a famous milk shop that serves Thai tea and different colored milk that you can drink along with plush white bread dipped in sankaya (Pandan custard) or other sweet toppings.

 

On Lok Yun is a favorite place to enjoy a true Thai breakfast: fluffy fried Thai omelets, eggs, bacon, sausage, ‘khai luak’, or soft boiled egg with Thai pepper powder and Maggi seasoning sauce, cold or hot Thai tea, and ‘patongo’, or Chinese fried dough.

Ahmad Rosdee serves great authentic Thai tea — thick, rich and not too sweet, but rich in flavor.

You can enjoy it with some authentic halal food, like khao mok gai (Thai chicken biryani).

Café de Norasingha is known for its old-style, or Thai ‘bolan’ dishes.

The Thai tea is a popular order at this beautifully decorated historical café.

Patongo Ruam Chok (Chai 4)

Patongo Ruam Chok (Chai 4)

Address

Open: Saturday, Sunday & Holidays from 7AM until approx. 8 or 8:30AM (or until they sell out)

If you are an early riser or have lived in Thailand for a bit, you are most likely familiar with ‘Patongo’, Chinese-style, deep-fried dough shaped like chromosomes, dunked in gooey condensed milk. This is a breakfast favorite for many Thais…and foreigners as well!

It tastes best when accompanied with warm soy milk or ‘cha nom yen’ (Thai tea). You can also dip this in ‘Sankaya’, a pandan-flavored pudding with Carnation milk. A greasy, not-so-nutritious treat but it definitely is delicious and crave-worthy!

Now, we have test-tasted many different ‘Patongo’ around Bangkok, but it seems that the best-tasting and best-selling award goes to a tiny, mom-and-pop shop right in our hood, Lad Phrao. This place is open only on Saturday and Sundays…It’s a family-run business, with two brothers actively rolling the literal dough and momma counting the figurative dough (taking care of the money).

If you are not an early riser, you will miss out on this but it is worth the sacrifice of sleep. The trick is to arrive at the storefront at around 7:15 AM and get a cue chip (in the form of a poker chip).  Then you can usually go do your veggie shopping at the nearby ‘Ruam Chok’ market for about 20 minutes while you wait for your fried goodie bag. People line up quickly and there is a very small window of opportunity to be granted with these delicacies. In fact, they are usually sold out by 8 or 8:30 AM. The early bird catches the worm!

The alternative to doing your grocery shopping would be to watch the action that ensues  in the creation of these golden fried puffs. The two brothers seem very serious and focused…It’s very difficult to break their flow but if you manage to do, they might share a smile with you. They have clearly been doing this for a long time, as they have a very efficient system to produce a great deal of Patongo in a short amount of time. Their chef hats and white t-shirts are usually soaked by the time they’re done, as they roll dough, fry, turn the dough over, let it cool/let the oil drip off, bag it, and finally — give it to the customer. They have a very large wok filled with a great deal of hot oil. The dough is cut into the same perfectly-sized logs, the Patongo, which are then tossed into the wok. They also have ‘Salapao’, which are large, dough, oval-shaped saucers. These are sweeter than Patongo, and do not usually need to be dipped in any kind of condiment. Both of them turn out to be not so oily (especially compared to other sellers). They are crispy and brown on the outside and soft and airy on the inside. Perfect with a hot cup of coffee (dunk if you dare!) or ‘khai luuak’ (a  cup of soft-boiled egg, topped with Thai pepper and Maggi seasoning sauce).

It is a treat to eat these breakfast delicacies. Just a warning, though, if you do venture out on a weekend morning to taste these Patongo, it will most likely ruin your experience eating it anywhere else. It’s very hard to compare!