About two years ago, I asked Jarrett Wrisley, the American food writer and proprietor of Soulfood Mahanakorn and two other restaurants in Bangkok, what he thought the next food trend would be here in the City of Angels. His response: home style Thai food cooked by locals with really good quality ingredients and refined technique.
He was spot on. In 2014, we started to see more and more restaurants here in Bangkok that serve what you might call “Grandma’s food” – dishes that you rarely see most Thai restaurants serve, especially outside of Thailand. There are many places that are doing this trend well, and in this entry I visit Vanilla Home Cafe.
Located in the basement of the recently remodeled Silom Complex, Vanilla Home Cafe comes from the same family-run business that owns the S&P chain of eateries. Interestingly, some of the “Grandma’s food” menu items from Home Cafe are making their way onto the S&P menu, which I count as a good thing.
Appetizer of Gratong Tong – crispy golden cups with minced chicken and sweet corn. This isn’t the rarest of dishes but is one that be a candidate for the endangered list. Crispy cups with a chicken and corn relish. What’s not to like?
Yam som-oh – pomelo salad with a dressing of lime, palm sugar, fish sauce, shallots, and chilies. This is also pretty common. The “yam” style salad can be made with countless ingredients but the pomelo version is one of my favorites. Perfect balance of flavors and not too sweet.
Naamprik mamuang gunghaengbon plaasalidpuu – green mango chilli relish with crispy fish. The “naamprik” is really the dish that set this “Grandma’s food” trend in motion. There are many different versions of this dip, all of which are served with blanched vegetables and other condiments. Some are fiery, others not so much. This version with green mangos has a really nice balance of flavors. Spicy, but with just a small amount with some veggies to cool the fire, it is fantastic and fantastically healthful.
Gaeng kuahaed paw – Earthstar mushroom curry, a forest mushroom in a rich curry that isn’t as spicy as you might expect. Served with an interesting local green that has the same effect as asparagus on your urine’s smell.
Kaijiaw gapraw muusap – minced pork with chili and basil omelet. Probably the most common dish but a classic that grandma would be remiss not to serve!
Muutod plaakhem – deep fried pork patty with salted fish. Yes, at first you think it is just a pork patty. And then you taste the salted fish. And the chilies. And the shallots. And the lime. And the coriander. Wow, there is a lot of flavor going on here!
Plaahaeng taengmo naamkaengsai – crazy obscure dessert. Perfectly ripe watermelon served over crushed ice with dried fish. Yes, you read that right. Think of it this way: you know how sweet watermelon and salty feta cheese is all the rage these days? This is the non-dairy version of that flavor combination.
Location: Basement of Silom Complex, adjacent to Saladaeng BTS station in Bangkok.
Those dishes looked deliciously home cooked. I miss S & P food and look forward to try their new restaurants on my next visit to Bangkok. Yumm!
You are overdue for a visit…
The curry dish is something I want to try along with the watermelon dessert. I should check this place out if I’m in Bangkok.
p.s. I wish you would blog daily.
“When” you are in Bangkok…
Interesting! The trend that “grandma’s dishes” are reinterpreted is not new on a global scheme of things. Makes me wonder what all the nostalgia is really about and why they are reinterpreted with a modern, fancy twist.
Yes, I think the “everything old is new again” idea is a recurring pattern in human history.
Yum. That got my mouth watering. Really beautiful looking place and food, too.
Yes, it is a pretty good place to eat.
I want to try all these dishes!!
Come visit and I will take you!
My plan is to come during Songkran next year!
Pingback: Taper Restaurant | christao408
i can’s stop salivating and swallowed my saliva numerous times while reading this. sigh, I MUST VISIT BANGKOK SOON.
Yes… you must!