Now if you are in Bangkok, one of the must eats has to be seafood, since it’s likely you won’t find fresh fish, crabs and other crustaceans at such a reasonable price anywhere in your home country.
One of the places often on the lips of locals and tourists alike is Somboon Seafood, a popular restaurant chain opened back in 1969. Its popular dish is the Fried Curry Crab, essentially stir fried crab cooked and drenched with a delectable curry gravy.
I’ve tried Somboon twice and previously was left relatively unimpressed, despite all the hype, but I made a third trip this time with Pari during our latest Bangkok trip to get another assessment to see if things had changed since then.
I was glad to know that Somboon opened two additional branches in the city since I last visited, making it much more accessible. Before, you either had to cab (and run the risk of being scammed, more to share later in my later posts), or take the BTS / MRT to somewhere nearer and hoof it, not advised due to the humid conditions of Bangkok. Now, you could simply take the BTS to either Siam or Ploenchit BTS station and you could easily reach Somboon within a few minutes.
As the Siam outlet was crazy packed when we arrived, we made our way to the Central Embassy outlet, which had a much shorter queue.
The first dish that arrived was the Fried Oyster Omelette, a popular dish among Singaporeans and Thais alike. The main difference between both versions is the batter-I reckon the Singaporean one uses more corn starch to make it a little sticky and chewy while the Thai version is much crispier, somewhat like a fried pancake or sorts. Both are equally delightful in their own ways.
The Steamed Prawns with Garlic was a strong contender for the dish of the day, with the freshness and plumpness of the prawn, plus the light soya sauce infused with fried garlic over it.
I wouldn’t order Fried Rice usually in such a setting, but we needed something to complement the Fried Curry Crabs. Turned out to be an excellent choice (and Pari’s favorite among all our dishes) with it’s generous serving of both rice and crab. The small portion was a tad too much even for two big eaters like us.
The signature dish, the Fried Curry Crab, looked like someone threw up on my food, but the taste certainly was much better than how it looked.
We opted for the “de-shelled” version, catered to lazy folks like me unwilling to get down and dirty shelling the crab. The sauce was delightful, sweet yet savory with a hint of spiciness. This was my favorite dish of the evening, and I didn’t hesitate to finish the entire plate of sauce. The amount of crab was pretty generous as well, and tasted relatively fresh. I was a little apprehensive initially in ordering the de-shelled version, afraid that I would be served frozen crab but fortunately the taste was anything but that.
The final bill amounted to 1,474 baht (57 SGD) including tax and service charges, very affordable compared to what I would have to pay back home.
The only drawback was the massive thirst I got an hour later, likely from an overdose of MSG which must have been dumped to one if not all of the dishes by the chefs, dampening an otherwise great dinner. Somboon is certainly one I would visit again the next time I go to Bangkok.
Address: 5th fl., Central Embassy 1031 Ploenchit Rd, Lumpini, Pathumwan,(BTS Ploen Chit Station)
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 11am – 10pm (not all branches open for lunch, check their website for details) http://www.somboonseafood.com/index.php/en/branch/index
*Reservations recommended, and must be made at least 24 hours in advance on their website.
+Fresh seafood at a affordable price and comfortable environment
+Fried Curry Crab remains a dish worth coming for
+Decent sized portions
-Too much MSG used, might not be suitable for the health conscious