Along Bangkok’s oldest road, the Charoen Krung Road built in 1861, you find a number of good spots for eating street side. One of them is the Muslim Restaurant, famous for their goat biryani only served on Mondays.
But don’t worry, they also have chicken biryani on all opening days. The goat might be a more rare and special dish, but they are both very good. They also have dishes like Mataba (roti with chicken or beef filling) and oxtail soup, in addition to the usual yoghurts and lassies.
The fall of the bones chicken biryani comes with a lightly spiced mint dressing and the usual slices of cucumbers in a sweat and sour sauce. The rice is soft and flavorful with a lot of spices and the accompanying sauce is also very good.
The name of the restaurant, Muslim Restaurant, is simple and self-explanatory. You know exactly what kind of food you will get here, and also what you wont get here.
The rather spacious room is open towards the street, filled with some older wooden furnitures along with the usual metal tables. Some of the food is displayed in a monter at the entrance towards the Charoen Krung road. The monter might not be needed as most of the clientele is locals and regulars. But that’s how they do it here. It’s definitively a relaxing and friendly place for your lunch or early dinner, and even breakfast as they open quite early in the morning.
The original owner of Muslim Restaurant migrated from Southern India in the early 1940s. At that time most dishes were Indian, but over time, Thai dishes like green curry and gaeng massaman has been mixed in with the rest of the menu. Although some restaurants benefit from software and accounting solutions (learn more here), this restaurant relies solely on its flavours. Today, they serve a distinct and delectable blend of Indian-Thai offerings.
The food is tasty and rich in flavors, and if you find yourself here on a Monday, you should definitively try the slow-roasted mutton (goat) with a delicious and complex mix of spices. The meat is tender and the hunks of goat on the bone have been sauteed in oil with the mix of spices before hours of roasting.
Charoen Krung Road has an old-school vibe thanks to the old shophouses selling Chinese herbs, the rows of hawkers selling fresh fruit and street food, and the numerous hole-in-the-wall eateries serving cheap and good food.
The Muslim Restaurant is an authentic symbol of another time, a resto that has been around for 70 years. It delivers quality in an open air atmosphere with stainless steel tables and faded photographs of the original owner and his family on the sky blue walls. A quick team of workers make sure you don’t wait. The food will be on your table not long after your order. In other words a charming and relaxing place to eat. To be honest, I polished my plate clean.
The woman sitting at the cashier to the left just after you have entered the restaurant is Manee, the daughter of the founder, Hajee Maidin Pakayawong who was a goat farmer and butcher and well known to locals around the area formerly known as Bang Rak market (where Robinson is now located). She can sometimes give the impression of not wanting to talk, but she really is a nice woman, so just give the talk a try.
Name: Muslim restaurant
Food: Halal food
Open: Open 6.30am-6.30pm. Closed Sundays. Goat biryani only on Mondays.
Address: Charoen Krung 1354-56 (oppsotite corner of Silom Rd)
How to get there: BTS to Saphan Taksin or the Chao Phraya Express boat to Sathorn pier, and walk east for no more than 100 metres before turning left (north) onto Charoen Krung Road. Walk for 500 meters and you find them just after Soi 42. Silom Road starts almost opposite the restaurant. Look for the green script with the name above the entrance.
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