One of the Bangkok restaurants that Lara from http://grantourismotravels.com/speaks most highly of is SomTum Der and as all her recommendations so far have been spot on I decided to finally take her advice and visit it for myself. The restaurant is within easy walking distance from Sala Daeng BTS (on soi sala daeng about 100 metres up on your left handside) although that didn’t stop me getting lost and walking half way down Silom trying to find it!
They specialise in Issan cooking from the North of Thailand which is generally harder to find oversees than say Royal or Central Thai cuisine and something I am enjoying discovering a bit more about since I have moved to Thailand. As you might expect from the name, they list many variations of som tum (papaya salad) on their menu and I struggled to choose which one to try.
In the end I picked one which came with lots of Nam Pla Rah (a fermented fish sauce) which was a little bit challenging for me I have to confess. One of the reasons I love som tum is that it is really fresh and “zingy” so I should have realized that having it drenched it in fermented fish sauce would not be to my taste. Oh well – for less than 80 THB I wasn’t too bothered and chalked it up to “experience”!
I visited quite late and just wanted a couple of things to nibble on with a beer (beer Lao in this case) and my original order (with the som tum) had been some deep fried spicy minced pork or “Larb Mu Thod”. The little fried minced pork patties were beautifully spiced with lots of chilli, both fresh and dry herbs and were insanely good -really crunchy and very tasty.
After I bailed on the somtum I decided to try the “hors d’oeuvres” as well which was basically a mixed plate of pork! Crisp strips of sundried pork, sour fermented sausage, and another two varieties of sausage that I had not tried before came with a sour chilli dipping sauce and some lovely crunchy vegetables. Perfect beer food! The kind of thing you would put out to snack on if you had friends around for drinks, the sundried pork in particular was great.
With a couple of beers my bill came to less than 500 THB which I thought was very reasonable. I can definitely understand why SomTum Der is so well regarded and would echo the recommendation whole heartedly.