For Thai grub, it’s all about the sauce.
Be it fish sauce, chili sauce, or etc., it’s a critical component for most dishes to provide an added dimension, and enhancing the flavor profile. And for Thai cuisine, it is absolutely essential to have a balance of sweet, salty, spicy, sour, and bitter. My favorite has to be the seafood sauce, which as the name might imply, goes fantastically well with seafood. This green concoction is basically a combination of garlic, green chilies, lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar, which are pounded or “pok pok” into utter deliciousness, and something truly greater than the sum of its parts.
Laem Charoen restaurant does their seafood sauce pretty damn well. Oh, and not to mention, is one of the best seafood restaurants located conveniently at the basement level of Silom Complex, which is easily accessible by BTS, plus a host of other locations. There are plenty of good restaurants in shopping malls across Bangkok, abound with authentic Thai restaurants. One does not need to risk travelling to a tuk-tuk led tourist trap, in order to have a good meal in this wonderful, chaotic city. Just ask the locals.
As I had an evening plane to catch, we opted for an early dinner. We were quick to grab a table, and soon after, the crowd started piling on until the restaurant filled to the brim. And this is well before 6pm!
We were absolutely famished, and hankered for some of our favorite dishes, which were deep fried sea bass with sweet fish sauce, fried garlic squid, and fried rice with shredded crab. Service was quick, and our dishes were served within 10-20 minutes.
Let’s start with the deep fried sea bass (420 Baht). Upon first glance, it’s a rather simple dish. But as most simple dishes, when done well, it transcends into something even better. The sea bass was nicely deep fried, but the flesh was still juicy and flaky, and the fish sauce added some sweetness to the dish. Then comes the seafood sauce! With just a mere dab of it, the dish is instantly transformed into perfection. Crunchy, salty, sweet, sour, spicy with delicious fresh fish, all in one bite. If that doesn’t entice you, honestly, I don’t know what will!
Next, we had the fried garlic squid (210 Baht). This was also done amazingly well. The texture of the squid had a nice bite to it and wasn’t rubbery, enveloped in a crispy crust, and served with tonnes of garlic plus a sweet chilli dip. A perfect example of deep fried food, with the filling retaining it’s moisture and integrity, without the crust being overtly greasy.
And of course, fried rice with shredded crab (175 Baht) And no, not the red, alleged “crab” sticks, but actual proper chunks of crab meat. Drizzle with some lime juice, douse with some fish sauce with chopped chillies, and Voila! Perfection indeed.
The total meal set us back 920 Baht for two diners, including bottled water. Speaking of which, you never ever need to lift a finger for water! As the waiters make sure that you’re always properly hydrated with your glasses never empty. Now, that’s service! I’m really being spoilt silly in this country.
After you’ve had a shopping and walking tour around Silom, go for a foot massage to rejuvenate yourself, and why not cap it off with some nice, simple seafood at this place.
And that’s what Bangkok is all about really, simple pleasures.
Also located in my Bangkok Food Itinerary