Rice topped with red roasted pork (khao moo daeng) and crispy pork belly (khao moo krob) can be a truly delicious plate when the sweetness of the sauce is made with a careful approach as it otherwise can be to dominating. At Si Morakot, between Hua Lamphong station and Chinatown, you get the real deal. A truly superb plate that also comes with slices of tasty Chinese sausage. They have been in the business for more than 60 years, and know what works. It’s also a safe route for all those not willing to flirt with spiciness in Thai cuisine. A bonus is Wat Traimit and the world’s largest solid gold Buddha just a minute away.
Si Morakot is one of those vendors that started out as a real street food stall and worked their way up due to the quality of the food and happy customers. They moved their business inside back in 1977, in a side street to Wat Trimit, close to the entrance to Bangkok’s Chinatown. It’s now operated by the second generation using the same recipe as they used more than 60 years ago. The barbequed pork is marinated for several hours and you can taste that they use coal in the roasting process. Just as they did it more than six decades ago.
The crispy pork has been boiled to soften the skin before they roast it. The sauce is based on pork broth mixed with ingredients such as peanuts, sesame seed oil and garlic. And of course tapioca flour, palm sugar and fermented soy bean paste. The trick and make or break for this dish is to avoid the sauce to be too sweet and to make sure it has a bit of saltiness to it, as they do it at Si Morakot. A very pleasant sauce, unlike most other vendors who use too much sugar. The origin of the sauce is by the way Chinese, but as with many Chinese inspired dishes in Thailand, it originally was too bland for the Thai palate, and has therefore been changed and tuned into something much more intense flavor wise.
Si Morakot keeps the standard high on every aspect of the dish, including the best pieces of pork belly I’ve ever had. And that’s why I come back, time after time, for a chat and a plate of really good food. The dish comes with a soft boiled egg (kai), made orange by food coloring. On the table your find mild chilies in vinegar as a condiment. Don’t step back from it as it really fits the dish.
Si Morakot also make a few Chinese style soups, like the regular tart duck and lime soup, using pickled lime. Pork rib and bitter guard and also the pork stomach with pickled vegetables (hog maw) are soups served more occasionally. All of them good. They also help cleaning your mouth for the thicker sauce served with the khao moo daeng moo krob, but I normally prioritize the main dish when here as I don’t know anyone who does it better.
Be aware that you also have an excellent satay shop next to Si Morakot. Pork satay’s with a relish and a dipping sauce that really is difficult to beat is what you find at Chong Kee.
Food: Khao moo daeng (ข้าวหมูแดง) – rice with barbequed pork, and Khao Moo Grob (ข้าวหมูกรอบ) – rice with crispy pork. They will normally ask if you want an egg added, but if you want to be up front you can say sai kai. Or to be sure to get the whole thing order khao moo daeng moo krob sai kai.
Open: Mon 11am – 2pm, Tue-Sun 11am – 7pm & 9.30am – 6pm
Price: 48 Bath with an egg
Phone: 02-266-9816, 081-567-9006
Address: 80-82 Soi Sukon 1
How to get there: Take the MRT (Metro) to Hua Lamphong. Take exit 3 and walk for 4-5 minutes. You can also come by express boat. Go off at Ratchawong Pier and walk from there.
You find the world’s largest solid gold Buddha image in Wat Traimit, a minute away from Si Moraket and also the entrance to Chinatown. The golden Buddha was casted sometime in the 13th Century ans is made of 83 % pure gold. The seated Buddha in Sukothai style is 15 foot tall, weight five and a half ton and has a remarkable history.
At some point it was covered in plaster and lacquer in an attempt to hide this valuable icon from thieves or looters. After some time everyone ivolved forgot about the coverup and what was hidden inside. The statue was moved to Bangkok during King Rama III’s time in power and installed in a temple that fell into disuse and abandoned around 1931, where the Oriental Hotel is today. And the golden Buddha inside was discovered by a true accident. In 1955 it was beeing moved to Wat Traimit, but during the process, the ropes broke and the statue crashed to the ground where some of the plaster fell off and revealed the gold underneath.
Today, the statue sits in a new chapel, opened in 2010. On the second floor of the structure house you find an exhibition covering the history of the Chinese community in Bangkok, including a 3D presentation. The third floor is a museum, coveing the history of the Golden Buddha image itself. It also include a video presentation with a good and brief background on Buddha images in general. The exhibit covers how the image was made as well as the historical background of how it ended up in Wat Traimit.
Entrance fee: The Golden Buddha is 40 Bath. The museum costs an additional 100 Baht.
Opening hours: Daily 8am – 5pm. The museum (not the golden buddha) is closed on Mondays.
Location: Wat Traimit is located just off Odeon traffic circle, which is dominated by the huge symbolic Chinese gate marking the entrance to Bangkok’s Chinatown.