Yen ta fo is an underestimated dish among foreigners, or farangs as they call them here. You find one of the better yen ta fo stalls in the Silom area, just of Convent Road. Turn right out of Central Silom’s back entrance and head down the street and you’re in for a delicious bowl.
I have not come across a proper translation, but we are talking about a noodle soup with fish- and shrimp balls (Look Chin Pla/Goong) and some other toppings like tofu.
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 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. The red tofu or Chinese cheese (Tao Huu Yee) is pickled with red rice and therefore the color. The tofu has been filled with fish paste (surimi). I’m on thin ice hear, but I think linguisticly ta fo is rooted from tofu, as this is what makes the broth pink.
It’s a landmark for St. Joseph Convent students and all the office workers in the area. Have a seat and slurp up some of the slightly spicy broth with bits of crispy squid. The stall only serves yen ta fo, so your choices are limited to choose the noodles, and they know how to make them. Sen lek would be the ordinary choice here.
Be prepared for 10 minutes wait prime time lunch or do as me, go there after 1pm where the rush seems to be over.
Name: Coke Chuan Chim (also called yen to fo JC as a reference to the nearby St. Joseph Convent)
Food: Yen Ta Fo
Price: 40-45 Bath for the special which is the one to go for
Open: Mon-Fri 6-9:20am, noon-1:30pm
Address: Sala Daeng Soi 2 in Silom, Bangkok’s de facto Business district
How to get there: Sala Daeng is the BTS close by. Walk up Convent Road and take to the left at Sala Daeng Soi 2. You find it 50 meters down the road on the left side, opposite Bangkok Christian Guest House.