Convent Road is a story of two chapters in the Silom area. One for your lunch time and one for your dinner time. The options are plentiful all hours of the day, but greatest at lunch time. The evening treats include one of my favorite pork and rice noodle soups in the area.
Silom is the central business district of Bangkok. That means masses of people. Translated into Thai language that means lots of food. And at Sala Daeng, in the heart of Silom, you will litterally be wading in street food options. Especially at lunch hours on weekdays when hordes of hungry office workers head to fill up their stomachs. But don’t worry, there is plenty of room for you as well.
The two most interesting roads when talking about bigger concentrations of street food vendors are Convent Road and Sala Daeng Soi 2, the third road to the left when heading upwards Convent road from Silom Road. Both of them unfolds a great variety of street food to please any of your taste buds. And the advice is really to follow your instinct and to be curious. If you passes something that smells good, it normally tastes good. If you haven’t decided on what to explore, a good option is to stroll up and down the streets to see what the locals and the office workers shuffle in on before you decide.
Let’s start with Hai Som Tam (2/4-5 Convent Road) with inside seating. It’s a well known country style Isan food resto, especially for their som tam (green papaya salad). The papaya is pounded with garlic, chillies, fish sauce, lime juice and small tomatoes. And in the end they throw in a raw, fresh-water crab unless you tell them not to (then order som tam thai). As the regular standard can be a bit too spicy for the non-adapted, make sure you order not spicy if you wan’t it moderated.
Som tam is normally served with sticky rice, but their grilled chicken is more important. Some of the other dishes are quite ordinary, so my preference here is to search them up when I’m in for the grilled chicken and green papaya salad. It can be packed with locals during lunch hours, but give it a few minutes and you get a seat. You find Hai Som Tam on the corner of Convent Road and the first alley to the right coming from Silom Road.
Be aware that many of the food stalls along the pavements may have vanished if you show up for a late lunch due to being sold out.
For most of the stalls along the road, it doesn’t help to ask for a name (tai sin). They might not have one, and if they have a name, not even regulars would know it.
The stall to the left have gotten a well deserved reputation for their biryani (Khao Mok Gai) – yellow curry rice with chicken. They have been serving it for 30 years, and that is really quite a lot of practice time to define your taste and consistence. They also serve a bowl of good chicken soup filled with lip licking bones, along with the biryani. It’s a mild soup with an elegant flavor to it. Biryani is B40 and the chicken soup is B30. You find them just outside the Bua Restaurant.
There are also vegetarian options around. You have a respected vegetarian stand in Soi Pipat 2 (third to the right off Convent Road). When you see the sign for “Sam’s fish and chips”, walk into the soi and look to your right and you’ve found it.
Sala Daeng Soi 2, that runs between Convent Road and Sala Daeng Road, is also crowded with options for lunch time searchers. Everything from curries and rice dishes to soups, fish dishes, noodles and BBQ options are available.
One of the cities best yen ta fo is to be found at Coke Chuan Chim – also called yen to fo JC as a reference to the nearby St. Joseph Convent. You find it just of Convent Road.
The five or six tables are lined up along the sidewalk. A happy, but sometimes brisk guy in the 50s take the decisions on when your time has come. Don’t even think about trying to cut the queue if you come prime time lunch hour. But it’s worth the wait. Their broth is a great balance between sweet and sour, garlicky and their shrimp and tofu-fish meatballs are varied and juicy. Not to forget the slightly rubbery, fermented and dried squid bits. Other ingredients are shrimp balls, fish dumplings and fish cakes, the deep-fried tofu and morning glory. The taste of the pink broth is sweet and sour and is therefore rather different from other noodle soups.
Duck isn’t an easy find in the area around Convent Road. So if you’re a duck lover you should head to Guay Tiew Ped Sala Daeng. The broth is murky and savory, but has a light flavorful taste. It comes with some vegetables, but the noodles and the duck is stealing most of the attention. It comes with different cuts of duck, from the lean to the more fatty chunks. Personally I order sen lek noodles when here. The english is limited so if you’re in doubt on what to choose, they ask you over to point among the different noodles. It’s basically a matter of preference. Coming from Convent road, turn into Sala Daeng Soi 2 and walk Soi 2 almost to the end where you see a parking spot to the left. It’s on the corner just before entering the parking.
Parts of the Sala Daeng area turns into an entertainment area (Patpong) at evenings. Food wise you start to see new stalls setting up around 4 p.m. in Convent Road. That’s also about when you will see one of my favorite stalls start shuffling out noodle soups with pork. A stall that has been around for 23 years. You find it outside the corner of Starbucks (see picture).
It’s one of the few times I have been served a noodle soup that doesn’t need any additonal flavoring. It was absolutely spot on. No Chili, no sugar or vinegar needed. Lots of white pepper, but they use powder and not the whole peppers like in Kuay Jab. But the noodles are the same, rolled up rice noodles that looks like rolled pasta plates. It is not as spicy as Kuay Jub and it’s ritcher in taste reflected in the much darker broth.
They serve the soup with different kind of pork addings. personally I prefer the pure meat and the pork belly over liver and kidney, but thats me. It sets you back B50. The seafood versions runs up to B70.
They are open from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. You find the stall outside Starbucks on the left side, 70-80 meters into Convent Rd.
Chicken and rice (khao man gai) is a regular dish in Bangkok. It’s served almost everywhere, meaning the standards must be high to stick out in the crowd. Part of the story is the juiciness of the cooked chicken. The second chapter is the rice cooked in chicken stock and fat. It has to be fragrant and not to oily. The last chapter is the added sauce. The women at Convent Road, next to the stall serving noodle soups with pork, scoop up some quite good plates of khao man gai in the evenings.
Food: Thai street food indoor and outdoor
Prices: From B30 and up
Address: Convent Road and Sala Daeng Soi 2
How to get there: The best way to get to Convent Road and Sala Daeng Soi 2 is to take the BTS to Sala Daeng. Convent Road is a minute walk away from the BTS. Sala Daeng Soi 2 is to the left from Convent Road, another minute from the intersection Silom Road and Convent Road.