A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.



Dao Tai

Posted date:  April 6, 2009
8 Comments


Dishes at Dao Tai, a southern Thai restaurant in Thonburi, near Bangkok

Perhaps I’ve lived here too long, or maybe I’m just jaded, but lately I’ve become convinced that there’s little good Thai food in Bangkok. My cynicism seemed to be confirmed when a recent dining companion and longtime resident of Bangkok, Ung Ang Talay, expressed similar notions. He then proceeded to prove both of us wrong by taking me and buddy R to Dao Tai, a truly wonderful southern Thai restaurant in Thonburi (well, technically not Bangkok, but close enough).

Dao Tai, like any good southern Thai raan khao kaeng (curry shop) serves a huge array of prepared curries, soups, dips and stir-fries. Simply side up to the glass case and point at whatever looks tasty.

Ordering food to go at Dao Tai, a southern Thai restaurant in Thonburi, near Bangkok

We ordered a huge array of dishes, every one of them uniquely delicious and authentically southern:

Dishes at Dao Tai, a southern Thai restaurant in Thonburi, near Bangkok

There was, from the bottom and moving upwards, kai tom khamin, a thin but fragrant broth of chicken, lemongrass, shallots and fresh turmeric; kaeng lueang, one of the most famous dishes in southern Thailand, a sour, salty, spicy soup of fish and vegetables (or sometimes shrimp and fruit);  a rich coconut curry combining beef and pea eggplant; an absolutely delicious soup of creamy coconut milk, tender palm shoots, tiny shrimp and a local leaf called bai liang; and previously unknown but delicious curry of tender palm shoots, grilled fish and sour young tamarind leaves.

Ung Ang Talay ordered nam phrik makhaam on, a tart ‘dip’ of young tamarind:

Dishes at Dao Tai, a southern Thai restaurant in Thonburi, near Bangkok

and at some point there was also a bowl of kaeng khii lek, a thick coconut curry of bitter accacia leaves and grilled fish.

It was one of the best Thai meals I’ve had in a long time, and also served to assure me that there is indeed good Thai food in Bangkok; you just need to be pointed in the right direction by somebody equally pessimistic.

A few more images from the meal can be seen here (all images taken with my Nikon D100, my first digital SLR).

Dao Tai
508/26 Th Phran Nok, Thonburi
02 412 2385
7am-8.30pm
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8 Comments for Dao Tai


I just get the feeling that the more time that you spend in BKK, the more that you crave food from either the far north or far south of Thailand. I’m not sure if that counts as jaded or not.

I haven’t been spending too much time in BKK lately, but you’re right, I always find the food in the provinces a bit more interesting.

Thanks for the recommendation, Austin. I’ll be sure to visit this place when I’m in BKK this summer. I feel that over the years the central cuisine has become a lot sweeter, even things that aren’t supposed to be predominantly sweet such as yums, kang som, or tom yum. Sugar ends up obliterating the tastes of other ingredients. Daily exposure to these dishes can numb the tastebuds; everything tastes the same! Perhaps this explains why some of us seek out regional dishes which, thank heavens, have thus far been spared from excessive sweetening.

I find your comment regarding being jaded with food in Bangkok interesting. Perhaps this happens over time? For me Thai cuisine is still an unfinished voyage of discovery. The Southern Thai food looks beautiful though perhaps a little “ped” for my western palette?

Gosh, all your photos make me drools. I will be returning to my homeland this summer for a short vacation, and I can’t wait to eat all the wonderful food Thailand has to offer. Sometimes I feel that in Bangkok, the flavor of food is altered to suit the tourists’ tastebuds or to simply cut cost. Not sure how accurate that is, but quality sure has gone down heaps.

Anyhow, keep the photos coming. Thanks for blogging. :)

[...] Perhaps I’ve lived here too long, or maybe I’m just jaded, but lately I’ve become convinced that there’s little good Thai food in Bangkok. My cynicism seemed to be confirmed when a recent dining companion and longtime resident of Bangkok, Ung Ang Talay, expressed similar notions. He then proceeded to prove both … Read the whole story on TIT – This is Thailand [...]

[...] again today when I planned to take visiting Thai food fans Nick Malgieri and David Thompson to Dao Tai, a southern Thai restaurant in [...]

Hey Mr. Bush,

Recently a friend showed me to your website and I recognized your photography style from Saveur magazine. I’m a big fan of the magazine and your style. I love the colors in your pictures and was wondering what lens you used with your Nikon? I’d appreciate a tip! Thanks!



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