Luke Farrell: what and where to eat in Bangkok

Luke Farrell divides his time between Dorset and Bangkok, where he spends his days eating like a king and sourcing ingredients for his two Thai restaurants in London – newly opened Speedboat Bar, in Chinatown, and Plaza Khao Gaeng, in the Arcade Food Hall on New Oxford Street. Here, he shares his tips on the Thai capital’s best dishes and where to eat them.

Crispy frog salad at Jae Daeng

It’s a classic dish that you’d have late at night with your mates after a few rounds of karaoke. The neighbourhood is a bit out of the way, but it’s worth it, for nearby Lumphini Park, where massive monitor lizards laze around in the sun. Jae Daeng’s salad is all about hunting through a plate of herbs and leaves for those little crispy morsels of salty fried frogs’ legs. You need to wash it down with a bottle of Regency, the local budget brandy, in which the vintages are evened out with pineapple juice. Everyone drinks it in Bangkok. Afterwards, head to the market next door for the most famous banana pancakes in the city. 

Jae Daeng, 1757/8 Chan Kao Road, Thung Maha Mek, Sathon, Bangkok 10120

Tom yum mama noodles at Jeh O Chula 

Our signature dish at Speedboat is tom yum mama, which is this massive bowl of packet noodles and stock with lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves, Thai chilli jam, roast pork, squid, prawns and coriander. You can get tom yum mama everywhere in Thailand, but Jeh O was the first place to make it pretty. Jeh O is a traditional khao tom restaurant, specialising in steaming Thai rice congee, but after hours one night the owners’ son and his mates were watching the World Cup, so he started making them all tom yum mama with his parents’ great ingredients. He made it look amazing with an egg yolk in the middle of the prawns and put it on Instagram and it went off like a rocket. To begin with, it was only available after 11pm. People were queuing around the corner to have it. It turned this very traditional khao tom restaurant into something really of the moment. It’s a great place. Get there early at 6pm to avoid the queue. 

Jeh O Chula, 113 Rong Muang, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330

Crispy Pork at Crispy Pork Alley (Aunt Tiw)

This place is behind a massive shopping mall called Samyan Mitrtown and it’s actually an alley where you sit outside. There is just one guy on the woks there and he’s out in the street. It might not be glamourous but it’s worth it for the crispy belly pork that has a juddering firecracker crunch to it. They do all kinds of stir fries with it. You can have it in big chunks with Thai basil and chilies on rice. Or you can have it with cellophane noodles, satay sauce, scrambled egg and greens. Or you can just eat it on its own with a dipping sauce. It’s delicious whichever way you have it. 

Crispy Pork Alley, 1543 Rama IV Road, Wang Mai, Pathum Wan, Bangkok

Try Luke Farrell’s food at Speedboat Bar, 30 Rupert Street, speedboatbar.co.uk, and follow him here @lukiefarrell

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