It’s my last day in Bangkok so I decide to lash out for lunch and try the seafood that Bangkok’s Talad Noi Chinatown is famous for.
I settle on Hua Seng Hong restaurant. A temporary kitchen on the street front caters for takeaway, and appears to specialise in steamed dumplings but has a variety of options.
Walk through into the air conditioned restaurant, which is full of Thais and only a few tourists. So the locals like it here: always a good sign.
I copy them and ask the waitress for a glass of “what they’ve got”. It’s iced chrysanthemum juice (50 baht, $2), very sweet and reminds me of heavily sugared iced tea.
Starters: Oyster omelette (150 baht, $6), these guys are not stingy on the oysters, there’s probably about 10, with chopped chives in an egg batter, fried and served on bean shoots, on a sizzling iron plate. The serving size is a main meal. I have been caught off guard, as Thais generally eat their food in a snack size, and it is priced accordingly.
Main: Steamed crab in curry (900 baht, $36.60). I saw this on the menus of several restaurants along the main strip, Yoawarat Rd, for 600 baht ($24.30) but I’ve opted to pay extra because the menu pic here indicates that it is served with the shell at least cracked. The pic doesn’t lie: it is served segmented and the claws are cracked, but this is still a full-on assault with no prisoners. On the upside with crab, you probably burn up more kilojoules getting to the meat than you store when you eat it. A cracking implement (nutcracker) is not provided, but the chopstick serves as a handy poker to get to the tricky bits.
I’m grateful that Thais are courteous and don’t stare at a fellow diner having a the wrestling match with his food.
It is delicious.
The bowl of steamed rice (50 baht, $2) wasn’t needed as, again, this is a full meal by itself.
In total: 1,150 baht ($46.60). Well worth it, way more than I could eat and probably enough for two people.
Important note: no card, payment is cash only.