Perhaps I wasn't so decisive about this before, but after my third visit, I'd say that this place serves the best northern Thai food I've eaten outside of the region. In fact, I'd wager that Maan Mueng puts out better northern Thai nosh than many restaurants in Chiang Mai! If you come during the day, the selection if huge, and you can just point to whatever looks good from the pots out front. It's probably one of the only places in Bangkok where you can get seasonal dishes, such as the dish pictured above. It's called yam phak hueat, and is made from sour-tasting leaf (phak hueat) that is minced and par-boiled before being mixed with a curry paste and some other herbs and seasonings. It may not look (or sound?) that pleasant, but was delicious.
Another fun dish was something of a northern Thai tempura; big green chilies stuffed with a delicious minced pork mixture, then battered and deep-fried:
But perhaps the coolest thing about Maan Mueng is the greens; there's a vast table topped with bowls containing different veggies, leaves and herbs, many of which most Bangkok Thais wouldn't even recognize:
A waitress warned me that one herb I chose would make my mouth numb. She was right.
Maan Mueng, which is also known as Yaa Maeng Wai, and which is now open evenings, recently moved a bit further up Ramkhamhaeng, and is now truly outside of the city, but is definitely worth a visit.
Maan Mueng/Yaa Maeng Wai (Google Maps link)
8am-10pm (closed Tuesday)
081 913 3413/081 771 1708