In a city dominated by fast food chains, noodle stalls and, at the other end of the scale, fine dining establishments, finding a simple, home-cooked meal is a rare treat. Yet, for many Thais, nothing is more fulfilling and satisfying than the familiar dishes and tastes of our younger years.
Supanniga Eating Room on Thonglor nurtures our nostalgia with a great selection of simple yet rare home-cooked dishes served in a contemporary but comfortable ambience.
Most Thai restaurants in Bangkok these days tend to be either run-down shacks tucked away in small sois or swanky, over-priced tourist traps. Suppanniga Eating Room offers an atmosphere similar to a friend’s house with “family secrets recipes to share”. Established in loving memory of co-owner Thanaruek Laoraowirodge’s late grandmother, all the recipes are all tried and tested by all the family members, and perfected by time and experience.
“Our Khun Yai (grandmother) was a great cook and she cooked for us till she passed away a few years ago,” Thanaruek explains. “When we realised that she was really sick, we had our maids, who had been Khun Yai’s apprentices in the kitchen for years, to jot down her recipes and techniques, primarily because we didn’t want them to go to waste. Then I came up with the idea of opening this restaurant to serve Khun Yai’s food to those who miss home- cooked meals. It’s great to share some hard-to-come-by dishes and pass on our family’s legacy.”
Using the freshest of local ingredients and some brought in from nearby provinces, simple cooking techniques and vintage containers (just like those we used at home some 20 years ago), you’ll be surprised how a simple meal can bring back great memories.
Whet your appetite with savoury and very spicy khao krieb nahm jim (Bt140), where bite-sized steamed rice noodles are served with spicy dried shrimp dressing. Since Khun Yai was from Trat, her cooking relied on quality fish sauce and shrimp paste. To get the authentic tastes, the restaurant actually brings in fish sauce, shrimp paste, dried shrimps, salted sala fish, said to be the premium fish for salting, from Laem Ngop district.
Also recommended is kaeng pa sap nok (Bt180), which does not include bird as the name suggests, but instead uses chunks of minced fish simmered in rich, herbal curry. Another curry dish to try is moo cha muang (Bt170) – a slightly spicy and sour pork dish with simmered cha muang leaves. While most restaurants use fatty, streaky pork, Suppanniga uses lean, succulent and tender meat. The use of sugar is minimal, making it a well-rounded thick curry with the cha muang adding a pleasant tang.
Kai look keoy (Bt130) is another must-order. The sweet and sour dish is made of soft-boiled duck eggs, slathered with savoury tamarind sauce and sprinkled with fried red shallots.
If you like your beef spicy, opt for the delectable yum nue lai (Bt150). This spicy salad is a mixture of sliced marbled beef shank and fresh celery, dressed with spicy dressing and garlic oil.
A Thai meal cannot be complete without a veggie dish. If you like them fresh and crunchy, order a set of nam prik khai poo (Bt190) that comes with a basket full of fresh greens. The addictive and fragrant dip is made of seawater crab egg and shredded crabmeat. Or if you like a big veggie chunks, try ka lum tod nam pla (Bt120) – quick-fried Chinese cabbage sprinkled with fish sauce from Trat. The cabbage is lightly fried for smoky aroma, and maintains its crunchiness. A little fish sauce is added not to soak but only to mildly season.
The dessert menu here is totally dependent on seasonal fruits. Fresh fruit platter, ice cream and panna cotta can be had almost anytime of year. But most Thais won’t want to miss bua loy kai kem waan (Bt85), the sweet and salty bowl of rice flour dumplings soaked in warm coconut cream, with salted egg yolk as condiment.
>> Supanniga Eating Room is located between Thonglor Sois 6 and 8.
>> It is open daily except Monday from 11.30am till 2.30pm, and from 5.30pm till 11.30pm.
>> Call (02) 714 7508; www.Facebook.com/SupannigaEatingRoom