Chiang Kii, a old-school restaurant located in Bangkok’s Chinatown, is known for serving Bangkok’s most expensive khao tom plaa, rice and fish soup. A 250 baht (about $8) bowl (pictured above) includes heaps of very fresh fish (I believe it’s pomfret), tiny cubes of sweet/salty pork, dried shrimp, preserved white radish, dried galangal, a pinch of bitter greens, strips of dried tofu, and a garnish of deep-fried garlic; a simple dish, based on simple, but high-quality ingredients.
Each bowl is prepared by an elderly couple:
who tend to speak Chinese to each other (and, incidentally, Thai with a strong accent). Considering the cost of their product, they take their work very seriously, and each order involves a fair bit of consultation and discussion, with some customers ordering variations such as less rice or more fish (I asked for oysters). It took the man several minutes of concentrated work to turn out my bowl, which was served with a tiny bowl of tao jiao, fermented soybeans, the obligatory condiment.
The broth itself was inobtrusive, and required the saltiness a few spoons of tao jiao would supply. The fish was both copious and incredibly fresh, the reason, I suspect, for the dish’s high price tag. As a whole the khao tom was very good, but I have a feeling that if it weren’t for the essentially unrelated factors of atmosphere and the whole ‘ceremony’ associated with preparing the dish, I might feel slightly ripped off. As it is though, I’ll certainly be back come pay day.
54 Soi Bamrungrat (also known as Thanon Yaowarat Soi 12)