A lot of people swear by the street food in Bangkok, saying that Thai food found in other places, especially in restaurants were overrated. The other day, I tried Thai food in a restaurant and was wonderfully surprised at the quality!
Soul Food Mahanakorn, a restaurant serving simple Thai food, is a 5-minute walk from Thonglor BTS station, yes, that BTS station that you alight to go to The Commons, which was a building with a collection of hipster eateries that I talked about previously. If you aren’t that keen to take that 25-minute walk to The Commons, then drop by at Soul Food Mahanakorn!
The format and interior of the restaurant is very much like a bar, so I imagined it would turn into one at night. However, on its website, it is actually a place that serves upscale Thai food with quality guaranteed. This was evident from the almost full status when we reached slightly before lunch time!
We were initially placed at the bar counter, but luckily for us, the person who reserved a table didn’t show up and N and I got to eat comfortably at the table after that.
We were at Soul Food Mahanakorn solely because I saw one of my friends sharing her dining experience on Instagram, so I was also not sure what was good over there.
Therefore, I randomly ordered a Chicken Samosa and a plate of Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Pork while N went for a Pork Omelette. As we initially thought it was a café (come one, which “proper” Thai food restaurant gives themselves a hippy name like “Soul Food”?), so our main intention there was to get our coffee fix, which we did with a cup of Americano each.
My Chicken Samosa came with filling that was very much like Chicken Floss, which made the whole samosa quite dry to the taste. Despite that, the mix of herbs and spices gave it a varied flavour and the accompanying sauce became redundant.
The surprise was its Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Pork: It was like Gan Hor (干河) or Stir-Fried Hor Fun! I mentioned before that Thai food’s stir-fried food lacked wok hey, but Soul Food Mahanakorn’s chef managed to master that technique and gave the rice noodles that burnt kick to the palette! They were also generous with the pork slices, which looked and tasted more like smoked pork than something stir-fried.
According to N, the Pork Omelette was one of the best he ever tasted in Bangkok, which I agreed fully. The egg itself was well-marinated with the soy sauce (or whatever they used to give it its savoury taste) while the pork and prawn bits added chewiness and flavours to the dish. The omelette also had some wok hey (omelettes can’t have too strong a wok hey, as it would make it metallic) to add to the fragrance of the dish!
Décor wise, the place was also decked out in heavy wooden finish, which was a bit clashing with its bar-setting if you ask me. The sugar containers also came in culture-heavy pagoda designs, which was cute, but as usual, clashed with the overall décor. If you ask me, the design choices of the interior were the only “failing” of this restaurant!
N and I both agreed that the food here was good. Add on to its wallet-friendly price, especially when compared to Ban Khun Mae, we thought that this restaurant with an obscure facade was a hidden treasure in Thonglor district!
And yes, this place is only opened for lunch on weekends; you can only come for dinner after 5.30pm on weekdays, so do make sure you factor this when you plan to dine here!
On our way to look for Soul Food Mahanakorn, we walked past a souffle place that was in the same building as Soul Food Mahanakorn, so we made a mental note to have dessert over there.
And boy was that a pleasant surprise!
The whole place was decked out in pure Japanese minimalist café design, which was a far cry from the hot and crowded Bangkok street outside! In fact, it made me feel like I was back in The Hanare, the place with souffle / fluffy pancakes just a 10-minute walk away from Namba, Osaka in Japan.
We were early, so we were one of the 2 patrons there. As only discovered it then, we didn’t know what was recommended, so we ordered its original Souffle.
After a 20-minute wait, the jiggly fluffy puffy were served before us. We had had fluffy pancakes back in Osaka, but this was totally at another dimension. It was so airy that after putting into my mouth, all I experienced was the flavour of the eggs and butter! I couldn’t tell you the texture, because the souffle seemed to have dissolved into thin air in my mouth!
That being said, this was one of those few food items where I thought adding the accompanying sauce, which in this case was the honey, enhanced the flavour. Without the honey, the souffle tasted to egg-y and savoury. Or perhaps I was just being too wilful to insist on having a sweet, instead of savoury, dessert!
There were also the options of savoury and sweet creams at the side to pile on the sinful calories. Those were also very light, which was unique on its own, but barely made an impact on the flavour of the souffle.
Is Souffle a must-go? Perhaps not. However, if you are nearby (either for The Commons or for Soul Food Mahanakorn), then you should not miss it!
Bonus 2! Fresh Mangoes!
I forgot if I mentioned this, but right across the street from Soul Food Mahanakorn and Souffle was a famous store selling fresh mangoes! Yes, even my friend who went to Bangkok on her own and stumbled upon this store agreed that the mangoes were very import-friendly!
The staff, though not that friendly, would help you choose the mangoes. And if you let them know you want to bring them back to Singapore, they would choose those that were not-so-ripe, so that it would be at the right stage of ripeness when you finally devour it in Singapore!
Oh, and they also sell Mango Sticky Rice too! In bi-coloured rice (not that it made a different to the taste, but it made the whole thing looked magical) where the dried green beans and coconut milk were packed differently (since there was nowhere in the store for you to dine-in). This is definitely a must-go, especially since this store is just around the corner from Thonglor BTS station and opened from 5am to 10pm!
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Or, if you can’t wait to read my new travelogues on Bangkok, you can read up on some inspiration on how I found hipster cafes in Bangkok that were near the BTS stations (which meant less sweating involved!). Check out my reviews of various hotels in Bangkok, like Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21 for ideas on where to stay in Bangkok.
Till then, stay wanderlust!
Soul Food Mahanakorn โซลฟู้ด มหานคร
56/10 ถนน สุขุมวิท 55 ซอย ทองหล่อ Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea
Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand
+66 2 714 7708
56/8 Sukhumvit Rd
Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana
Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110
Mae Varee Fruitshop
1 ซอย สุขุมวิท 55 Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea
Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110
+66 2 392 4804
Bonus 3! King Power MahaNakhorn
Well, in my title I mentioned King Power MahaNakhorn. For the uninitiated, it is the newest skyscraper in Bangkok that is also the tallest in Thailand. It was that lego/transformer building that you may see featured in the past year:
That, my friend, is about 7 BTS stops away and on a different line from Thonglor BTS station, which was where you would alight to look for Soul Food Mahanakorn. Same name, different place.