I recently met with Suthon Sukphisit, the author of the Bangkok Post's excellent weekly Thai food column, Cornucopia (ever Saturday in the Outlook section of the Bangkok Post). Khun Suthon is a gold mine of information about Thai food and hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Bangkok, and was kind enough to give me a few interesting leads that I will certainly follow up on these pages. One of the places he mentioned was a khao mok, biryani, stall near the Haroon Mosque off of Thanon Charoen Krung. According to Khun Suthon, the stall serves what he considers the best khao mok in town, but is only open on Fridays, the biggest Muslim prayer day.
Curious, I headed down last Friday to check it out. The stall was a bit hard to find, but after asking around I located a long table topped with snacks and sweets and three immense pots of biryani:
I ordered a plate of khao mok nuea, beef biryani (pictured at the top of this post), but honestly was skeptical. The rice seemed to lack the deep yellow/orange colour of previous excellent biryanis, such as that of Naaz, and wasn't even topped with crispy deep-fried shallots! Despite appearances, the rice and the beef were both rich in flavour, the rice was perfectly cooked, and had a pleasant spicy flavour and was laced with sweet golden raisins and green peas. I'm not sure if I would call it the best khao mok in town, but sitting at the open-air table next to the mosque and chatting with the other diners, reckon it's undoubtedly the most atmospheric.
Among the other things available here are a variety sweet snacks, some very tasty samosas:
and khao yam:
the southern Thai rice 'salad'.
Fatima, the owner, and her helpers were very friendly and talkative, and when I asked why she only sold on Fridays, she said that "There are not enough customers in this neighbourhood!" Too bad, that.
Next to Haroon Mosque