Som Tam Jay So, a Hidden Gem in Silom, Bangkok
BANGKOK, THAILAND: We first found out about this small eatery through Mark Wiens, a well-known Youtuber, and it has been on our list to visit ever since. Som Tam Jay So (ร้านส้มตำเจ๊โส) is a hidden gem in Bangkok that we were glad to finally have the chance to try. Located in a quiet alley, a short walk from Chong Nonsi BTS station in Bangkok. It is a true treasure for Isaan cuisine lovers.
Isaan food is a type of cuisine that originates from the northeastern region of Thailand, known as Isaan. It is famous for its bold and intense flavours, with a heavy emphasis on fermented fish sauces, spicy chilies, and herbs. Isaan food is also known for its unique textures, with dishes often featuring a variety of crunchy, crispy, and chewy elements. Popular dishes include som tam (papaya salad), larb (minced meat salad), and Gai Yang (grilled chicken). Isaan food is a must-try for anyone looking to explore the diverse culinary offerings of Thailand.
Upon arriving at the restaurant, we were greeted immediately by the open kitchen at the front along the road where we could see the food being prepared. The menu was written in Thai, but thankfully they had an English menu available and it is quite extensive, with a variety of classic Isaan dishes and some more adventurous options. Despite being very local, there is a steady stream of tourists entering into the restaurant while we were there.
We decided to start with Pik Gai Yang, which is grilled chicken served with a spicy dipping sauce. The chicken was juicy and the dipping sauce was full of flavour without being too spicy.
Next, we tried the Kaw Moo Yang, which is grilled pork neck served with a side of sticky rice. The pork neck was juicy and tender, and perfect with the sticky rice.
We also tried the Nam Tok, which is a spicy beef salad. The beef was thinly sliced and marinated in a tangy sauce, and the fresh herbs. We can really tasted the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and galangal, which add depth and complexity to the dish.
Lastly, we tried the Laap Pla Duk, which is a spicy catfish salad mixed with a variety of herbs and spices. The minced catfish tossed with chopped shallots, green onions, mint leaves, coriander, roasted rice powder, lime juice, fish sauce, and chili flakes. It has a flavourful and tangy taste, with a perfect balance of spicy and sour notes, enhanced by the aromatic herbs and toasted rice powder.
Overall, Som Tam Jay So was a fantastic introduction to Isaan food. The portions were generous and the prices were reasonable. We highly recommend this hidden gem to anyone looking to try authentic Thai cuisine. Just be prepared for some spicy dishes if you're not used to it!