soul food mahanakorn, bangkok

I’m getting a leg up on this last bangkok post – I’m literally buried under the weight of all the food I’ve been having in singapore but haven’t shared! I’ve also saved (one of the) best for last – this popular hideaway of a trendy restaurant in thonglor that’s been gaining traction in blogs and fashionable magazines.

it’s seemingly contrary that this abettor of thai cuisine was set up by an american – but the food is great, the cocktails extensive and decent, and the vibe rather yuppie-ish – but in a very laid-back and non-annoying manner. it’s filled almost entirely by expatriates and tourists (as we were), but it didn’t detract from our enjoyment at all – let’s not argue about authenticity and all that bejazz in the face of such lovely dining, eh?


I don’t want to go too much into the provenance of this place – I’m pretty sure a quick google will turn up far more than you wanted to know – so let’s concentrate on the eating.

it’s set in the casual neighborhood of thonglor, a small restaurant done up in wood and cement, and reservations are highly recommended for it was packed that night – you sit down to dimly lit tables and start with one of their famous cocktails (we got a pineapple type one, but I can’t remember anything apart from how easily drinkable it was).

it’s not a complicated menu at all – it sounds very much like what we’d seen countlessly before – but well executed.

the banana flower salad is a must order – crunchy and fresh and sweet, with a lovely drizzle of cream to add richness – and our pork larb a savoury (maybe slightly too-salty) toss of minced meat and a sharply-and-very-enjoyably-sour dressing.

the pork ribs and sauteed vegetables that followed were just as good; the ribs had a sticky tamarind glaze that was sweet and tangy – I quibble by telling you the meat could have been a tad tenderer and fall-off-the-bone – but those vegetables were plain lovely.

I have an addiction to thai-fried vegetables, and I ain’t afraid of it. they are crunchy and fresh and green and all that lovely garlic? delicious.

isn’t it such a lovely space?

we finished with two desserts: the partner couldn’t resist the scoop of durian ice cream on offer – but it was an unsuccessful rendition that was unacceptably clumpy and unattractive. a strong durian flavor was present, but I also detected a slightly floury after-texture that quite put me off it. skip this, and head for the mango sticky rice –

which was both generously portioned and flavored. I’d be hard-pressed to tell you if I enjoyed the mango sticky rice here over that at korpanich, as both are very good. the rice here was slightly softer (which I do like), and paired well with the soft ripe mango and coconut milk.

we hadn’t much time this trip to visit as many restaurants as I’d wanted, and I had rather hesitantly picked this one over nahm for its glowing reviews – it turned out a great choice for a slightly-dressy date night, fun and very inexpensively so.

Soul Food Mahanakorn
56/10 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thong Lor)
Bangkok, Thailand
tel +66 85 904 2691
$$.5: four dishes + two desserts + a cocktail = < seventy sgd

p.s. if you guys have been to nahm, or any other restaurants you loved in bangkok, I'd be very glad if you shared. I'll be back there in december – can't wait!

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