I am very lucky to live very close to one of the most famous gai yang, som tum and seafood restaurants in the Thong Lor and Ekkamai area. The locals called the restaurant Sabai Jai; but I noticed that it has a new name; Baan Tawan Gai Yang. It is well know for its Isaan food & seafood. Whatever, they call the restaurant. It has fantastic food!
The restaurant has two sections; one open air and the other is enclosed with air-conditioning. We prefer to sit in the open air part. It seems more authentic and fun. The restaurant is loved by Thais and foreigners alike. Any given evening, there is a mixture of people enjoying the food at this restaurant.
The restaurant is not at all decorated since it has no walls. There are TVs hanging from the celings and it always has a football match or soap opera playing with the volume quite loud. Basic wooden tables and aluminum chairs make up the furniture. But who needs fancy decorations when the food here is so good.
There are always tons of young waitresses/ waiters in bright blue coloured shirt/ uniforms running around the restaurant as well as 'Beer Girl' pushing their beers to consumers. The staff are always friendly but do not speak English.
This is one of the reasons why we keep going to Baan Tawan Gai Yang. Their famous grilled chicken. I have no idea what they do to the chicken; but the taste is out of this world. The grilled chicken comes with two different sauces. One spciy/ sweet (the right) and one spicy/ tangy (the left). We only use the spicy/ tangy sauce. Its also home-made. Its stunningly good.
We also never order the normal som-tum thai. We always order the som-tum carrot. It always turns out so good. It has the perfect blend of sweet, sour, tangy and spicy.
This was the first time we tried this dish and I think it will not be the last time. We had a laugh because of the spelling of the item on the menu. It was suppose to be grilled 'beef', but instead it was grilled 'beep'. No matter how it was spelled, it arrived at the table on a sizzling plate and it smelled terrific. The meat was tender (which I was not expecting), but it was over cooked (sizzling for too long).
The next dish was mekong cat fish with pepper corns and chili. Do not worry, this was a farmed mekong cat fish. Due to over fishing in the mekong, the giant mekong cat fish is slowly disappearing. Therefore, I would not support eating an endangered specied like the giant cat fish. This specialty dish was not bad at all. This dish was very tasty and wow; spicy. The cat fish also had a nice textured meat.
Can you believe that all that wonderful food comes from the most basic open air kitchen. Everytime I pass the restaurant, I can see the chefs cooking their simple and delicious dishes. The great smells always catches my attention.
Baan Tawan Gai Yang
Ekkamai soi 1