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Wednesday, June 20, 2007




I recently visited one of my favorite riverside restaurants, SamSenSoiSam, next to the Rama IIX Bridge in Samsen area of Bangkok. It is a sin if I covered up this restaurant in my closet.

My visiting friends requested authentic Thai dinner where middle-class locals ate, added a bit of seafood, and must be along the riverside. Therefore, time to unfold SamSenSoiSam to them. I took them to the restaurant by boat from the Taksin Pier (besides Shangri-la Hotel) to avoid traffic jams during the evening in Bangkok’s Banglumphu area. Yes, Banglumphu, you are familiar with the name because of Khao San Road!

The restaurant decoration is simple and minimal, promoting a relaxing and ‘resort feel’ in the premises. People don’t care if the restaurant shall be decorated with more pops like a beautiful girl needs no extra jewelry to stand out the natural beauty of her; we come for the stunning view and the food. I shall confess that I was on edge having missed this gorgeous restaurant; as, at first I thought it was another pub cum restaurant for the teens without sincerity on serving food. Well, the DJ playing soft and house music is there, the live band is there, the teens (like me) are there, and the good food is in place too.

A glass of iced cold beer (or chardonnay) should be appropriated to kick off the dinner in such ambience. With Yum Hed (spicy assorted mushroom salad) leading, Yum Pla Tok Foo (deep-fried minced catfish with raw mango dip), and Deep-Fried Chicken Joint followed. They couldn’t be better starters to go with beer.

There are three must try dishes in SamSenSoiSam, first the house specialty Goong SamSenSoiSam (fried prawns in spicy red sauce). The prawns were split into half each, fried until the meat was done and dressed with the house spicy sauce. The coral in the heads of prawns were great together with the help of the house spicy sauce, the prawn tasted creamy, spicy, sour, salty and heavenly delicious.

Another must try at this restaurant is the Tomyumgoong Nam Khon (spicy and sour prawn soup with coconut milk). The perfectly balanced broth was enriched with the coral from the prawn heads and enhanced by the aroma of galangal, kaffir lime, lemongrass, and coconut milk. Truly aromatic spicy and great!

The third must order dish shall be the Two-Taste Grouper. Fresh grouper cooked two ways, first half the chef deep-fried it with pouring sweet and hot sauce on the fish, the other half steamed with lime juice and bird eyes chilies; it was pungently hot. In one fish we sampled the sweet, sour, bitter, and spicy 4 basic tastes, and 2 textures, in their good balance. For those who are afraid of spicy food, there came the Stir-fried Mixed Vegetables and plain jasmine rice.

The chef must be a southern Thailand native if not the owner, or both! He was in good control of chili (hot) and lime (sour) alongside with different Thai herbs. After the three extreme spicy dishes my friends’ tongues were burnt and sweating like waterfall, but worth that for a gastronomic journey. Weren’t they asked for authentic?

For those who are afraid of spicy food, there came the Stir-fried Mixed Vegetables and plain jasmine rice.

From a Singaporean travel forum, a member commented SamSenSoiSam is pricey and foreign-tatse Thai food. Expensive? I do not want to counter this guy as everyone's living standard (and stingy standard) maybe different. However, I would like to state that in SamSenSoiSam half of the dishes are below Baht 100 while almost other half is slightly above Baht 100 with few dishes at Baht 250. It is much below the average cost in major riverside restaurants. Foreign-taste Thai food? Maybe he is right! Thailand is a foreign country to Singapore, so authentic Thai food becomes foreign-tatse Thai food to him, if not he thought his Thai cooking is better than any Thais.

SamSenSoiSam is an ideal hangout for the newly dated, dating couple, romantic dining for all, or even friends gathering. Panorama river view is available free of charge. Reservation is a must for an al fresco riverside table.

Our Ratings (1 to 5 the higher the better): SSSS has [4.4]
(Ratings are based on Food, Service and Ambience, with Price taken into account in relation to Quality) Food=4.5, Service=4, Ambiance=4.5, Money Worth=4.5

Price range for two without drinks (incl. local water) in Thai Baht = BBB
(B=below 200, BB=201-500, BBB=501-1,000, BBBB=1,001-2,000, BBBBB=over 2,000)

Details: Open daily 5pm-12am (midnight)
SamSenSoiSam Pub and Restaurant, 10 Samsen Soi 3, Samsen Road, Pranakorn, Bangkok 10200; Tel.: 02-6288362

Update on 01-May-2009 : SamSenSoiSam Restaurant closed its door to the public, sad!


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