Hai Som Tam is a very good and centrally located option in Bangkok for som tam (papaya salad), served with juicy pieces of grilled chicken and sticky rice. It’s situated in Convent Road, close to BTS Sala Daeng.
Hai Som Tam is a well known country style Isaan food restaurant, meaning food from the Northeast of Thailand. They are especially known for their som tam (papaya salad) with grilled chicken and sticky rice. The papaya is pounded with garlic, chillies, fish sauce, lime juice and small tomatoes. And in the end they throw in a salted fresh-water crab unless you tell them not to. If you don’t like the crab you order som tam thai that comes with dried shrimps and peanuts instead. There are also plenty of other variations of Som Tam. As the regular standard can be a bit spicy for the non-adapted, make sure you order not spicy (may pet) if you belong to the more sensitive group. If you on the other hand like it spicier, tell the waiter.
Som tam is often ordered with sticky rice among locals, and many also order the grilled chicken. My preference here is normally also to search them up when I’m in for the full package.
The sticky rice served in a bamboo basket is perfectly cooked, not too hard or mushy. The grilled chicken (gai yang) is very juicy and tasty, and the guy running the BBQ knows his job.
Earlier, I have also tasted their grilled pork neck which was delicious as well. It comes in thick slices and is served with a complimentary hot and sour jim jaew sauce. It’s fatty, it’s juicy, and it has a hint of sweetness. A friend of mine called it sinfully delicious. They have quite some options on the menu, so I wouldn’t bet that everything is as good as the dishes mentioned here, but the som tam with chicken is a safe bet.
I have walked in to Hai Som Tam many times with the plan to test the coconut milk ice-cream as I have heard good things about. But at the end of the meal, there has been no room under my belt, so that’s still on my to do list.
Be aware that Hai Som Tam can be packed with locals during lunch hours as there’s a lot of office workers in the area, but give it a few minutes and you get a seat. You find them on the corner of Convent Road and the first alley to the right coming from Silom Road.
Hai Som Tam is easy to spot thanks to the bright green uniforms of the waiters. It certainly is one of the better indoor options for papaya salad in Bangkok,
Name: Hai Som Tam
Food: Isaan food. One of the best in town for som tam (papaya salad), grilled chicken and sticky rice.
Price: I payed 235 Bath for the grilled chicken, a portion of som tam thai, sticky rice and a big bottle of Singha (85 Bath). Not cheap for Thai standards, but still reasonable priced. In other words 150 bath for the food.
Open: Mon-Sat 11am – 9pm
Address: 2/4-5 Convent Road, right side coming from Silom Road. Bang Rak district.
How to get there: Take BTS to Sala Daeng, walk up Convent Road for about 100 meters and you find it on your right side, across the street from Molly Malone.