We looked for a lunch spot before heading to Wat Pho, and I was navigating according to the No Reservations Bangkok episode, so we ended up at Tang Jai Yoo in Bangkok’s rambunctious and visually overwhelming Chinatown.
We arrived just in time before the restaurant filled up with tables of what looked like longtime customers, families and old folks who knew what they were doing and got the special welcome coming in.
Not knowing what we were doing, we gambled a bit on the ordering.
Roast suckling pig:
So you eat the skin first as you would with Peking duck, wrapped in a small tortilla and with cucumbers, green onion, and hoisin sauce. Except that we didn’t know that, so spent about 15 minutes trying to ask the waitress how to eat the pig, eventually ending up a pair of scissors for an idiotic attempt to carve up the meat before the boss came by and we in our one moment of clarity realized he probably spoke Chinese, so we were finally told how the whole thing works.
After you eat the skin, they take the remaining meat and wok-fry it (quite tasty, although at times a bit tough). We had a delicious plate of salt-and-pepper crab (not pictured), and also got a few Thai dishes, like tom yum soup and sauteed morning glory with chilis.
For dinner, we met at a locally-well-known restaurant called Lemongrass, near the Phrom Phong BTS station. After the fact, I read about how it was a place for locals to bring and impress international guests, which in retrospect might be a fair description of the overall experience. I don’t necessarily mind a touristy flair, so long as the food is up to snuff – and the restaurant’s long history in Bangkok would suggest that it could hold its own. Plus, at the time, ignorant of its destination status, we were wholly impressed with our meal, in particular the massaman curry, with tender, caramelized chicken. That seemed to be prevailing theme, since the grilled chicken was conceptually similar and also sweet.
We also had crispy duck, a breaded-and-fried and glazed dish with limes whose minced meat I can’t recall (whether it was chicken or fish or otherwise), and a fried fish topped with garlic and chilis.
Suckers or not, dinner was good enough for us to have gone back to Lemongrass for our last lunch in Bangkok.
Tang Jai Yoo
85-89 Yaowapanich Rd., Chinatown, Bangkok
(1) Roast suckling pig, (2) pepper crab, and (3) sauteed morning glory with chilis.
5/1 Soi 24, Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand 10110
(1) Chicken massaman curry, (2) lemongrass chicken, and (3) fried fish with garlic.