Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Thonkrueng Restaurant

We were taken out to dinner at Thonkrueng Restaurant (ต้นเครื่อง ทองหล่อ) in Thong Lo. It was disconcerting because somehow, that evening's tables were 90% full of Japanese expatriates and their visitors. More like half-drunk males who are work associates and colleagues. LOL. Cue all Japanese salarymen stereotypes. I didn't even have to eavesdrop. They talked really loudly, and I understand both Japanese and Thai. SCORE.

Sure, Thong Lo and Ekkamai are filled with Japanese businesses and many Japanese expatriates choose to live here. But tonight, with the entire indoor seating area over two floors filled with chatter in Japanese, this is what I would imagine a good Thai restaurant in Tokyo to be like. Then I got a bit worried. Does that mean the food is tourist-level?! The restaurant has gotten crap reviews before their big shift to a new location a street away. I was relieved when the first three dishes arrived. The kitchen seems to have gotten back in order. Our hosts are Thai, so we also got Thai-level spiciness. :) The tom yum kung (in clear soup) with its mushrooms was excellent. Green curry pork and basil minced chicken were solid. There was wild boar curry too!

For our steamed fish, the kitchen ran out of seabass, and offered a small garoupa. Although it was a less than 800g black garoupa and not a red, it was nicely steamed in lemongrass and chillies. So I was still stunned when the bill asked for only 460bht for it. That fish cost an unbelievable S$18! Wah.

Thonkrueng is celebrating its 35th anniversary over these two weeks in July, and for table bills above 1000bht, each diner gets to go home with a small jar of shrimp chilli dip in a woven basket (ชะลอมน้ำพริกลงเรือ). Yay! I can make the dip, but it's nice to have this jar and taste how the restaurant does it.

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