Derby King

IMG_0003-Edit Patpong, Bangkok's famous red-light district, is not the most likely destination for good Thai food. Sanitation issues aside, many of the strip's restaurants, with names like Madrid and Mizu's Kitchen, are holdouts from the Vietnam War era, and offer an interesting glimpse into the Bangkok of the 1960s and '70s:


but continue to serve the same quasi-Western food menus they have for decades.

Yet there are exceptions.

Specifically, every Thursday at lunch, the longstanding restaurant Derby King serves bowls of khao soi, the famous northern Thai curry noodle soup (thanks, Nikky G, for the heads-up). It's hard to find a good bowl of khao soi even up north, so I was skeptical, but on a recent day, gave it a try.

Derby King's khao soi comes served with beef, chicken and less traditionally, pork, and seemingly different broths for each. I went with beef, which wasn't as rich as some of the better versions in Chiang Mai, but that was made with a curry paste that seemed to compensate with lots of garlic and aromatic dried spice. Flat khao soi noodles are virtually non-existent in Bangkok, so the restaurant used the standard round egg-and-wheat bamee noodles. It's not the most amazing khao soi in Thailand, but it's solid and satisfying, and with Lamyai having closed and Lam Duan Fah Ham being too far for most people, it's probably one of the better bowls you're going to get in central Bangkok.

Derby King also do excellent deep-fried spring rolls -- meaty, crispy and full of flavour -- that are easily the best I've encountered in Bangkok.

Derby King's khao soi is popular, and you'll most likely have to call ahead to reserve a table -- itself another novelty.

Derby King 70-72 Th Patpong 1, Bangkok 02 234 8354 7.30am-2am

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