A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.

Khao Tom Jay Suay

Posted date:  September 13, 2009

A cook at Khao Tom Jay Suay, a restaurant in Bangkok's Chinatown

Other than noodles, the greatest contribution the Chinese have made to Thai cooking, at least in my opinion, is khao tom. The Thai words literally mean “boiled rice,” but in this case they refer to restaurants that serve a variety Chinese/Thai dishes to order, often with small bowls of watery rice. One of my favourite khao tom places in Bangkok is Khao Tom Jay Suay, an ancient shophouse restaurant in Chinatown. The restaurant is colloquially known as Khao Tom Roy Pee, “100 Year Old Khao Tom,” but I was told it’s really only about 50 years old.

You can recognise Khao Tom Jay Suay by the vast table out front holding the restaurant’s huge array of raw ingredients, mostly different types of vegetables:

Selecting ingredients at Khao Tom Jay Suay, a restaurant in Bangkok's Chinatown

Directly behind this, and shown at the top of this post, a fellow works a station with several prepared dishes. These include several types of meats and fish, a few stir-fried dishes and soups such as jap chai, a type of vegetable-heavy Chinese stew. He shouts the orders out to two additional stations within the restaurant,  a soup station and a separate stir-fry station, and as far as I could tell, no order is recorded on paper.

Must-order dishes at Jay Suay include the delicious smoked duck; muu phat nam liap, minced pork fried with salted Chinese olive; the previously-mentioned jap chai; and any flash-fried veggie dish. On our visit we ordered all of these, as well as a stink bean stir-fry, a tom yam of squid and mushrooms, and a salad of plaa salit thot, a type of deep-fried fish:

Dishes at Khao Tom Jay Suay, a restaurant in Bangkok's Chinatown

You’ll be sitting on the side of a smelly street and it will inevitably be hot, but the food is full-flavoured and excellent.

Khao Tom Jay Suay
547 Thanon Phlap Phla Chai
02 223 9592

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5 Comments for Khao Tom Jay Suay

Great post, Austin — I love this place!

Very useful info! Thanks!!

Hi Austin,

This Khao Tom culture is more specifically derived from Teh Chiew Chinese heritage. It should not be lumped in as Chinese in general because neither the Cantonese nor Hakka or any Northerner have any thing similar to this. Perhaps, the Fukjian people may have something very similar. But Khao Tom is definitely Teh Chiew, much like Cajun dish is part of Luisianna (am I right?)

This makes me sad…and hungry…I miss my favorite restaurant, a khaaw tom joint in Banglamphu that makes the best “super” (chicken feet tom yam). Because of its location, it could easily be ruined by the palates and whims of the numerous tourists in the hood, but it maintains a pretty strong Thai following too. Try as I might, I just can’t make a decent yam plaa salit here in Alabama.

Newley: It was a fun meal, glad you could make it. We MUST do the omelet place next door at some point — it’s profoundly good.

mycookinghut: No worries.

Paul: Interesting point. I never really thought of it as reflecting any particular cuisine, probably because most Thais of Chinese descent are Tae Jiew, and after so many years here, I think I tend to associate this with all things Chinese… By the way, I just saw a Thai TV programme about an interesting Hakka place in Yaowarat called Piak Kee near Yaek Suea Paa, do you know it? It looked pretty cool — let me know when you’re in town again and we’ll hit it up!

Josh: I only recently learned that “super” mean chicken feet… Interesting… No, I can’t imagine there’s too much plaa salit in Alabama.

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