[Bangkok] Thai-Chinese curry rice at Khao Gaeng Rattana (ข้าวแกงรัตนา)

Khao Gaeng Rattana (ข้าวแกงรัตนา) at the historic Nang Loeng Market (Est. 1899) is run by a Thai-Chinese owner-chef whose grandfather was once a royal cook in the Thai Royal Palace. The food on offer are best described as localised Thai-Chinese dishes - Thailand’s equivalent of Nyonya food in Singapore, i.e. a marriage of local Thai and Chinese flavours.

Nang Loeng Market itself is a foodie’s paradise, with well-known food stalls such as the fluffiest steamed Chinese buns from Aroi Salapao, to delicious duck noodles (kway tiau ped) from the 50+ years old Sor Rungroj. Their main clientele are uniformed civil servants from the various ministries located in the Old Town, and local Bangkokians looking for comfort food.

  1. One of the entrances into Nang Loeng Market.

  2. Khao Kaeng Rattana at Nakhorn Sawan Soi 6, inside Nang Loeng Market.

  1. Prawns cooked in a blend of minced onions and taucheo (fermented beanpaste). This dish tasted like something that came out of my mother’s kitchen. It was “alien” yet breathtakingly identical to what we have at home.

  2. Mackerel cooked in taucheo (fermented beanpaste) and chilis. Another dish which has strong flavours (saltiness and nuttiness from the fermented beanpaste, coupled with a sharp stab from the chillis), and pretty much similar to what we have in Singapore or Penang.

  3. Fish in red curry and eggplants. This dish was wholly Thai, tongue-searingly spicy. The fish was fresh, and the bouncy eggplants were done just right.

  4. Pork and eggplants in green curry. Another aggressively-spiced dish, but salivatingly addictive. I’m no chili-head, but I can eat this every day.

  5. Deep-fried pork balls. The meatballs were drier than I’d have liked - maybe would’ve tasted better if we had them hot off the wok. These were already cooked much earlier.

  6. Snake-gourd, prawns and eggs. My fave dish for this lunch - snake gourd is a childhood fave of mine: sweet, with a strangely furry, melon-like texture. The shrimps lend a additional salty-sweetness, whilst the scrambled eggs add richness.

  7. Soy-braised pork belly, tofu puffs and hard-boiled eggs. Another childhood comfort food. This is a common dish among the Singaporean-Chinese, as with the Malaysian-Chinese: a Hokkien/Fujianese and Hakka dish.

  8. Spicy stink-beans with shrimps - very good! I’d always associated this dish with Malay or Nyonya cooking, and am absolutely delighted that the Thais have something which is at least 90% similar in taste & texture.

  9. Spicy stir-fried pork curry. We got greedy, and ordering this dish was superfluous. The Thai version here was way too robust for my palate - stingingly spicy, but without the creaminess or aroma of Chinese pork curry we get in Singapore and Malaysia courtesy of the Hainanese-Chinese.

  10. Bitter-gourd stuffed with minced pork. This dish has Hakka-Chinese influences - a testament of the variety of Chinese influences upon Thai cuisine.

  11. Crispy prawn fritters. We ordered this dish as we wanted something crispy to offset the stew-like, soupiness of the other dishes we ordered.

Love the home-cooked flavours. Unlike Bangkok’s largely Chaozhou (Taechew)-infected Chinese cuisine, the cooking here seemed more slanted towards Hakka-Chinese, but with a lot of Thai infusion. If I live in Bangkok, I’ll come here every day!

Address
Khao Gaeng Rattana (ข้าวแกงรัตนา)
224-226 Nakhon Sawan Rd, Khwaeng Wat Sommanat
Khet Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok10100, Thailand
Tel: +66 2 282 6150
Opening hours: 10.30am-13.30pm, Mon-Sat

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold