Japanese food is big in Bangkok. Restaurants serving Japanese food can be found just about everywhere, and ‘sushi’ is even sold at my neighborhood’s Saturday market. Despite this, I generally don’t get too excited about eating Japanese here. The vast majority of Japanese restaurants take the form of characterless corporate chain-type places such as Zen, or the gorge-yourself-to-get-your-500-baht-worth buffets such as Oishi. There are also many privately-owned authentic eateries, particularly in the areas of Sukhumvit around the Emporium shopping center and Thong Lor, but these are quite far from my house. And yet another form of Japanese restaurant in Bangkok is the small informal Thai-owned and run place that put out a few standard dishes. Such is the case with Kinkoku, a tiny streetside Japanese restaurant/cafe at the Chatujak Weekend Market.
I and my friend Nick, doing research on an article about eats at Chatujak, sat down directly in front of one of those fans that blows cool misty air and started with yakisoba:
which was, well, yakisoba. Despite this, I think I enjoyed this dish the most, and the noodles were reasonably tasty and graciously un-oily. The dish contained tasty bits of browned chicken, and I liked the white cabbage (maybe because Thais rarely eat it?), especially when dipped in the salty soy sauce provided.
We asked the waitress what she recommended and she suggested the grilled mackerel with soy sauce:
I find this type of mackerel, known in Thai (via Japanese) as saba, to be almost assertively fishy and oily in flavour. Maybe I’ve just never had a really fresh one? This one was no different, although the sweet-tasting soy sauce almost concealed the fishiness. This dish was served with a bowl of Japanese rice and miso soup.
And finally we had grilled mushrooms:
For some reason they used the virtually flavourless straw mushrooms, het faang, as opposed to the more delicious (and infinitely more Japanese, not to mention appropriate for grilling) shiitake, het hom.
All in all a decent eat, and a fun break from the ubiquitous som tam and southern food of Chatujak, but certainly not worth a detour.
And on a non food-related tip, that morning I also got some pretty cool candid shots of vendors and shoppers that I’ve posted in black and white at my photo blog, The Old Main Drag.
Chatujak Weekend Market
Section 6, Soi 18