The Bang Rak area in Bangkok is full of eating options. The variety is really good, including a fair shair of duck vendors worth a visit. Charoen Wiang Pochana is one of them, situated in one of the side streets to Charoen Krung road. For those shopping at Robinson, it’s a minute walk away.
Personally I find roasted duck mostly good or bad and seldom something in between. Just ok is a rare experience in the world of ducks. They either hit it or they miss it, and there’s no short cuts to be learned in presenting the perfect bird. Duck meat easily gets dry and chewy or the skin lacks crispiness, and that’s what you get if the vendor doesn’t give necessary attention to the quality of the meat and the process. On the other hand, the serious vendors serves you a really good bite with tender and flavorful pieces, making sure you get back to them.
A good year ago, I tested the roasted duck over a plate of steamed rice at Charoen Wiang Pochana, or khao na bpet as is the Thai name of the dish. It’s one of the best plates of duck and rice in the area, and definitively good enough to bring me back to this open terrace kind of resto.
But this time I headed for the ba mee egg noodles with slices of roasted duck, one of my absolute favorite duck dishes when properly made and I’m in for some birds proteins.
And it didn’t disappoint. The duck was excellent. The noodles was fresh and not sticky as you can experience many places, perfectly cooked with a broth full of flavors and a good depth to it. Remember to taste it before you add fish sauce as it was perfectly salted in my view. Chili and maybe a drop of vinegar on the other hand can be considered, depending on your preferences.
At Charoen Wiang Pochana they definitively put quality on the plate and you also have good view of the protein in the cabinet at the entrance if you feel for checking out the goods.
Historically, Bang Rak had a rather big Chinese community and their roasted duck has clear influences from their bigger neighbor. In case you didn’t know, that’s a good thing. But of course it has been adapted to the Thai palate through the spices being used.
Charoen Wiang Pochana has a full menu of stir fry dishes as well, thought I haven’t tried any of them. That together with their roasted red pork will be for another visit. I am definitively coming back, and that in an area where you find interesting food all around you.
The easiest way to get here is to take the BTS to Saphan Taksin BTS, take the exit and walk towards Robinson, then cross the main street and turn into Charoen Wiang road. You find the open terrace restaurant on your right hand side about 30 meters down the road.
Name: 211 Charoen Wiang Pochana (เจริญเวียงโภชนา)
Food: Roasted duck, ba mee egg noodles (priority one when here), barbecued pork (red pork) and a full menu of stir fried dishes.
Price: 40 – 50 THB
Open: Daily from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Address: 211 Charoen Wiang Road
How to get there: Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin, take the exit and walk towards Robinson, then cross the main street and turn into Charoen Wiang road, just opposite the shopping mall. You find the restaurant on your right hand side about 30 meters down the road.
Insider tip: The Bangkok Seashell Museum
If in the area, you should consider visiting Bangkok Seashell Museum. It might appear to be a place addressing only conchologists (of course you know what a conchologist is) and other shell collectors, and in a way it’s not untrue, a shell museum seems a geeky place to visit on a holiday, especially in a big city, but it’s really informative and for everybody.
The remarkably large collection of exquisite shells is displayed in a really intelligent way, explaining and describing how shells are just more than a beautiful objects or a delicacy on your plate. Shells can have surprising features and some of them are among the most deadly living creatures on earth. They have been part of human history since the beginning of time, as currency, musical instruments and medical research.
The 3,000 specimens of more than 600 species from all over the world are arranged by families and annotated in both English and Thai. Illustrations and diagrams makes the visit informative without ever being boring. The most popular shells are the alien looking or the larger ones. The giant clam is 300 kg.
On the upper floors you’ll find collections of colourful shells organized with artistic sensibility and the range of colours goes far beyond the shells found on any beach of Thailand.
The Bangkok Seashell Museum is absolutely worth an hour or so.
Open: 10.00 – 18.30
Address: 1043 Silom Road, next to Soi Silom 23, opposite the Lerdsin Hospital.
Phone: +66 (0)2 234 0291
Price: 200 baht