If you ask just about any Thai who’s lived in Bangkok, Thailand more than a few months about Somboon Pochana, you’ll see a smile of pure delight cross their face. Somboon Pochana is a Bangkok institution. A Thai seafood restaurant that opened over 40 years ago, it has carved a reputation for serving the best fried curry crab in the city. Fried curry crab is fresh, succulent crab cooked in a spicy yellow creamed curry and eaten with jasmine rice.
Atmosphere at Somboon Pochana – The one drawback about most of the branches of Somboon Pochana (there are currently five of them) is the atmosphere is a little dull but, as the whole idea about eating out is the food, you can’t complain as the food at Somboon Pochana is second-to-none. Most of the branches are a stereotypical old-fashioned Thai shop-house style restaurant, with the best branch at Chula, Soi 8.
Food at Somboon Pochana – As everyone goes here for the food, you’d expect it to be spectacular and, it is. Known for its fried curry crab, there’s also a full Thai menu, including lots of fresh seafood, with choices like steamed prawn with garlic, stir-fried morning glory, tom yam geung (spicy shrimp soup), sea bass in fish sauce and, another of the restaurant’s specialties, water mimosa sauteed with garlic and chill.
The last time I ate there, I was with several Thai friends so we ordered ‘Thai style’, meaning we ordered half of the menu and everyone shared each dish. Of course, we had their famous fried curry crab (we ordered a whole crab, which was enough for six people). We also had the stir-fried morning glory (always one of my favorites, and superb here), the water mimosa, prawn on glass noodles, fried rice with shrimp, another stir-fried vegetable and tom yam geung. Every single dish was superb. My only tiny complaint was the morning glory seemed a little saltier than I’m normally used to. But, of course, I still ate it.
Ordering at Somboon Pochana is easy too as, unlike many typical Thai restaurants where the menu is completely in Thai and you have no idea what to order, the menu here has big photographs. So, even if you’re not exactly sure what’s in it, at least you can point and order something that looks like it might be something you’d like. Some of the staff does speak a little English but not really enough to ask anything more than simple questions.
Prices at Somboon Pochana – Prices are reasonable, particularly for the standard of food and the service. You can order crab that’s small, medium, large or by the whole crab, with the small order only 250 baht (about $7.75 and enough food for two people), and a whole crab in the region of 1,100 baht ($34) as it depends on the weight, but one will feed at least six people.
Other dishes average between 90 to 180 baht ($3-6) but portions are large and quality is wonderful, so they’re well worth the price.
Somboon Pochana only opens in the evenings from 4-11pm. Be warned, after 5:30pm lines can be long, particularly on the weekend so go early if you don’t want to wait too long. Be careful too, if you take a taxi that they don’t take you to a ‘fake’ Somboon restaurant (the taxi drivers get kick backs from the owner of this fake place). The best Somboon Pochana is on Chula, Soi 8, with others at Sukhumvit Soi 103, on Ratchadapisek Road and, a relatively new one in Jamjuree Square in Samyan.
Photo copyright – Curry Crab in Bangkok – Dickson@flickr