Thanon Dinso, an atmospheric little street located a short walk from the Democracy Monument , is home to some really interesting eateries. One of the most popular ones has to be Krua Apsorn, a darling among foreign publications and foodie-tourists as much as locals, especially government officials/civil servants from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration offices nearby.
Krua Apsorn was opened around 1996 by an enterprising woman-chef, Chanchavee Sakulkant, popularly known as Auntie Daeng to her family, friends and customers.
Auntie Daeng was actually a civil servant (working in the Irrigation Dept.) until one day - and this happened about half a century back - her cooking prowess amongst her office colleagues resulted in her being chosen by the wives of the department’s managers to be responsible for preparing a reception dinner for a couple of visiting royals: Princess Mother Srinagarindra, the mother of the late King Bhumipol Adulyadej, and her daughter, the Princess Galayani Vadhana, the older sister of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). Princess Galayani is a direct granddaughter of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), and aunt of the present Thai King Vajiralongkorn (Rama X).
As the fates would have it, Auntie Daeng’s cooking made such an impact on the royals that she was invited to be the personal chef for the Princess Mother! And that was to be Auntie Daeng’s subsequent career until the older royal’s passing more than a quarter of a century later!
Right after the elderly royal’s passing, Auntie Daeng’s sister, Khun Apsorn, suggested that she open her own restaurant to showcase her signature royal palace dishes. She did - and also promptly named the restaurant after her sister, which was how Krua Apsorn came to be.
The original branch at Samsen was a favourite among government officials, and is a real pain to get in on weekdays. The larger branch on Thanon Dinso is just as popular, but you have a better chance of snaring a table. Service is efficient and friendly.
Our lunch last Friday consisted of:
Lump crabmeat cooked in yellow curry, with onions - this was a typical Thai seafood curry, but is probably the best-tasting version one can ever find in Bangkok. Superbly fresh, sweet-tasting lump crab meat, juxtaposed with the onion slivers, blanketed in a mild, but very addictive yellow curry. It’s a dish that stays in your mind long after the meal is over.
Chicken green curry - the rendition here also seemed milder and less chili-hot than thicker, denser versions served elsewhere. To me, the flavours were deliciously subtle and perfect. Again, the quality of the ingredients shone through: the chicken pieces, the yellow peppers, the small aubergines and the young bamboo shoots.
Fluffy omelette with lump crabmeat - this is an extraordinarily fat, round omelette (more a decadently rich frittata) which, when cut open, reveal copious amounts of lump crabmeat and sweet onions. It’s like a smaller sibling to 1-Michelin-starred Jay Fai’s crabmeat omelette.
Mieng kham - a salad of crisp lardons, dried shrimps, toasted peanuts, galangal, raw onions, bird’s eye chilis and finely-chopped kaffir lime, served with wild betel leaf wraps and a thick, unctuous molasses-tamarind sauce.
Stir-fried water mimosa with garlic & red chilis
All the dishes were well-executed and some of the best-tasting we’d had in Bangkok.
Of course, we didn’t want to miss our favourite Thai iced milk tea.
Krua Apsorn (Thanon Dinso Branch)
169 Dinso Road, บวรนิเวศ, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand
Tel: +6626854531, +66805500310
Operating hours: 10.30am-8.00pm Mon to Sat. Closed on Sundays.