Judging by the number of people eating at T&K Seafood, it should be the most popular seafood restaurant in Chinatown (Yaowarat Road). Just do a Google search for seafood recommendation in Bangkok and you will find T&K Seafood being mentioned everywhere in forums, travel websites and blogs. But wait, does this also mean it is a tourist trap? I am no expert when it comes to Bangkok’s food but even if this is indeed a tourist trap by local residents, it is a trap somewhat worth falling for – especially if you came for their famous Grilled River Prawns.
From the various photos I saw online, I thought T&K is more of a roadside eatery. Little did I know they actually have an actual restaurant about four floors in height, air-conditioned too. Stepping into the restaurant reminded me of our trip to Hong Kong though – tight and winding staircase leading up to the higher floors. Which is why a pully system is used during peak hours, you simply don’t expect the staff to deliver your food by scaling the staircase – a misstep means spilled food.
Compared with the other seafood restaurants I have been to during my short stay in Bangkok, the menu at T&K seems pretty standard and have quite a number of similar dishes. But I think you will at least be pleased at the prices, which I think is quite affordable hence you could pretty much get anything you feel like having. If not because there were only the two of us, and we already had a meal just two hours before reaching here, we would have ordered many more dishes.
Grilled River Prawn is a must have here and you should not leave without trying them. The prawns are so fresh that the simplest cooking method is enough to bring out the best in them. A sourish chilli dip is given but I prefer to eat them just like they are to savour the sweetness of the firm flesh.
So good we had seconds, would have had thirds and probably more if we weren’t so stuffed.
Oyster omelette – not bad, tastes very similar to what you usually have at Malaysian seafood restaurants but this one for me is a little superior for having loads of fresh oysters. However, not even come close to Penang hawkers’ version if you ask me.
Stuffed crab – you can forget about this, nothing spectacular. Only worth ordering for the sake of trying.
To those who raved about the Crab Fried Rice, you must have never had a decent fried rice before. This for me is just a run out of the mill fried rice I could get anywhere. Moreover, there are a lot of crab shell bits that makes the eating experience not very enjoyable. Well, it was really my fault for trusting others so do take everything you read online with a pinch of salt – mine as well.
There are many bird’s nest shop in Chinatown so it is not surprising to find bird’s nest dessert on the menu.
If you are seated in the upper levels of the restaurant, don’t forget to head out to the balcony for a nice night view of Chinatown.
Lastly I want to bring up an encounter we had with a local when we were looking for the restaurant. Even with the developed network of train service in Bangkok, there is not a direct train that stops at Chinatown so you have to walk a bit after alighting from the nearest MRT station. There was a man whom we asked for direction because we did not want to be lost at such a late hour, plus the streets were pretty empty in lieu of New Year celebration preparation.
Instead of giving us the direction, he told us to go back instead because according to him “all the shops and restaurants” would be closed due during that few days – and it has always been like that in the past. Considering that we were already there, we thought we might as well check out the area. And guess what? Many shops and restaurants were not only open, they were very busy too! Until today I am not sure what was the motive behind the man telling us to turn around and head back. But you should never trust strangers no matter how friendly or harmless they appear to be – especially when you are in a foreign land.
49-51 Soi Phadung Dao, Yaowarat Rd, Bangkok 10100,
Business hours: 4:30pm to 2am
Seafood at yaowarat are tourist trappers. A meal for simple food for around 3000baht and above is not uncommon but clearly overpriced by any standard. If you are into authentic chinese food sold by chinese descendants who are hokkien/teochews, there are a few food you can try.
IF you like sharksfin, go for Lao-Li Shark Fin (หูฉลามเล่าลี่) which is off one of the 1st few lanes. (those on the main street will rip you.
Kuay-Teow-Lhodd-Yaowarat (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวหลอด หน้าร้านหูฉลามเล่าลี่) Here’s the picure of the dish >>> http://ed.files-media.com/ud/comicimg/1/125/374498/Cover-620×392.jpg (The stall is next to a fish maw stall) The dish comprised of steamed flat noodle with tiny shrimp, then topped with blanched bean sprout, five spices tofu, braised pork, braised dried squid and Xiang Gu mushroom, then add fried dried shrimp, fried garlic, onion spring and dark soy sauce.
On Padoong-Dao alley there is this amazing Ho Fun stall. Radd-Nah-J-Auan (ราดหน้าเจ๊อ้วน เยาวราช หน้าศรีทองพานิช) The owner named her stall/shop if translated in English ‘The fatty big sister Ho Fun’ – her Ho Fun is a must try and her Char Kway Teow is not too bad either. (You can also choose Mi Fun instead of the flat rice noodle)
If you are there after 2200 there is a very famous fish ball noodle on a pick-up truck. Their fish ball, fish cake and fish wonton are a must try. They open this late as they spend all-day making fishballs. Jitt Look Shin Pla (จิตร ก๋วยเตี๋ยวลูกชิ้นปลา) All of their menu with fish balls family are very good but expect a long wait.
I like their food. Moreover the price aren’t too expensive. And they have several branches in BKK too. ;-)
Always follow your instinct and trust yourself. It is lucky that we didn’t U-turn after listening to that old man.
On your encounter with a local when we were looking for the restaurant who mentioned to you that Yaowarat was closed, I feel obligated to highlight that I am convinced that it was an attempted sham to lead you this terrible restaurant called “Somboodee Seafood (located near to PhayaThai BTS/Airport Link Rail Line stations)”. I am convinced that I am one of the latest victim of this SHAM. We ended at this slaughter house as we were told by this apparent helpful local that Yaowarat (Chinatown) was closed on Saturday. This local approached us when we were looking for our direction to Yaowarat from Hualamphong MRT station. He directed us to Somboondee and even negotiated a Tuk Tuk for us. After reading the other comments in TripAdvisor, I am pretty convinced that this is their MODUS OPERANDI for a SHAM. There is not a single good thing to be said about Somboondee Restaurant, which, trust me, is rare, given that Thailand has customarily raved in their hospitality and F&B. The food was overpriced and so horrible, soaked in greases and manufactured food for e.g. “hai chor” (crab cake) being served.
Please see the link for the negative comments made in TripAdvisor: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g293916-d1675970-Reviews-or10-Somboondee_Seafood_Restaurant-Bangkok.html#REVIEWS
Apparently, there is another popular Somboon Seafood Restaurant which is good. Just be careful not to be misled into this tourists’ Slaughter House of SomboonDEE. I hope that you could share this information with your readers so that your readers can avoid this tourist trap.
Thanks, I have shared this into in my Facebook page