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Chote Chitr

Thai - $


If you can get around the tricky location and the house dogs, Chote Chitr provides quite a pleasant dining experience. There is a bit of hype surrounding this small restaurant that has been hailed by international publications for serving up some of the best—if authenticity is the gauge—Thai dishes in town.

They are made the old-fashioned way: from scratch, with increasingly rare ingredients and with a more subtle herbal spiciness as opposed to spicy hot. Though it might be unknown among the chic and the hip, during the day, the five-table eatery welcomes government officers and local regulars, while at night it becomes kind of a tourist destination where readers of The New York Times and Financial Times drop by for down-to-earth Thai fare.

On the walls are hand-scripted menus that offer hundreds of dishes to satisfy every craving. Despite the rave reviews and praises, however, the food here is a love-hate affair. Some dishes are so good they are addictive, while others are so-so at best (though you can’t complain about the prices).

Dishes like tom khaa nuea khem (galangal soup with salted beef) that was too tangy for any palate and pla nuea san (spicy beef salad with sliced eggplant and lemongrass) that was rather bland and contained chunky-but-tough beef would make you regret wading through the traffic here.

Also avoid the tourist favorite kai phad med ma muang (stir-fired chicken with cashew nuts) that made us wonder if we ordered “stir-fried” or “soup” since chicken and soggy cashew nuts were soaked in a pond of oil. However, setting those unremarkable dishes aside, you can still count on the variety of Chote Chitr’s century-old rare recipes that have made the name for the restaurant.

The famous mee krob lived up to its name and expectations, thanks to its crispness and a perfect marriage of sweet and sour tastes.

Yum makua is delectably smoky and tangy. Another crowd-pleaser is the banana flower salad with its blend of zesty tamarind, hot dried chilies and sweet and creamy coconut milk. To accompany a meal, Chote Chitr also offers yaa dong, traditional herbal liquor, whose recipe is said to help battle illness.

There are only two staff members, who greet, serve, clear tables and cook, so don’t expect much from the service—and don’t expect it with a smile.

Hygiene is also somewhat questionable: At least one of the dogs thinks his place is on the tables, and who knows how often the auntie in charge washes her hands. Still, this hole-in-the-wall is a good spot for those looking for an inexpensive meal. Just don’t forget to bring a map and watch out for the dogs!

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat noon-9pm



Getting There:

by taxi only

Address:

Chote Chitr,
146 Praeng Phuton Rd.
Bangkok
Tel: 02-221-4082

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