There is a line between restaurants and street food in Southeast Asia; sometimes a blurry line, sometimes clear. Some countries skew one way, some another. Laos seems more restaurant focused. Thailand is all about the street.
Most of the meals we’ve been eating have been at street stalls, but some of the restaurants are worth visiting too. Some clearly started out as street stalls, and haven’t forgotten their humble beginnings. The Chinese roasted goose restaurant we visited is one such restaurant.
The restaurant must have started as a street stall and only opened inside to accommodate more diners, the cooking is still done in the front area on the street. This place serves one thing, delicious roast goose, sliced, attractively plated with offal and blood cubes and doused in jus. Soup is optional, but the water spinach with crispy goose bits is included, which is a good thing because you can’t miss it. Cold tea is supplied to wash it all down.
We only two other sit down meals in Bangkok. One was soft serve at McDonalds for 9 baht ($0.30) to get free wifi. The other was the polar opposite, the full tasting at Nahm in the Metropolitan Hotel. Chef David Thompson was the first chef to receive a Michelin star for Thai food. He has been studying Thai food for 30 years and has written three incredible cookbooks; Thai Street Food is one of the best cookbooks of the last ten years. This was my chance to eat his food at the San Pellegrino #16 best restaurant in the world.
The atmosphere at Nahm is ideal. The restaurant patio butts up against a beautiful, serene pool. The banquettes are high backed and section off the room, blocking noise and offering lots of privacy. The music is perfect for the space.
Nahm’s tasting menu format is unique and works perfectly for their concept. You start with a spread of four canapes. Your table chooses one of each entrée category: a stir fry, a curry, a soup and a dip. This is followed up by an individual dessert from the selection. This allows you to eat the meal in the Thai style, communally sharing the entrees together over sticky rice, balancing the strong flavors of one dish with the subtleties of another.
The highlights included a perfect rendition of the one bite salad wrapped in betel leaf, a mussel satay and a very tasty crispy coconut cakes for dessert. All for around $60 per person, an amazing deal considering the company they keep.