I’m working on yet another piece about obscure Thai dishes for CNNGo’s Bangkok pages. This week I’m eating suki haeng (สุกี้แห้ง), the wok-fried ‘dry’ version of the ubiquitous do-it-yourself hotpot sukiyaki that’s found in just about every shopping centre in Thailand.
Of the handful of suki haeng restaurants I’ve been to so far, a list that includes the famous Elvis Suki, this tiny stall at the side of Thanon Rama IV stands out as my favourite. The proprietor claims to have been making the dish at this location for at least 30 years, and in this time he’s arrived at the combination of flavours and textures that define an excellent version of the dish.
A pork or chicken order here comes with tender, marinated meat, while the seafood version includes squid and shrimp. A dish here is slightly smokey with some nice charred bits, and contains lots of vegetables and egg and a relative minimum of noodles. A squirt of oyster sauce provides the suki with a bit more meaty roundness, and his dipping sauce – the element that can make or break a good suki – is excellent, combining meaty and spicy flavours with lots of garlic.
It’s a very simple dish, as this video illustrates:
He begins by heating oil over a high flame, adding to it egg and protein. These are just barely cooked before he adds the veggies (a combination of Napa cabbage, green onions and morning glory), a knot of bean thread, a pinch of sugar and MSG, and a squirt of oyster sauce. A few more turns to bring it all together and the dish is done in less than a minute.
It’d be an easy Thai dish to make at home, the only thing lacking being the nam jim suki (น้ำจิ้มสุกี้), the dipping sauce, which as this video (in Thai only) shows, is a much more complicated dish than I’d realised:
If you can’t understand Thai but want to have a go at making the dipping sauce it yourself, the process is pretty self-explanatory, and the ingredients include, in the order she introduces them, water, bottled chili sauce, cilantro/coriander root, garlic, fresh chili, sugar, fish sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce, salt, lime juice and roasted sesame.
Suki Haeng Saphan Leuang
Thanon Rama IV, Bangkok
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