R & L Seafood and T & K Seafood

Red shirts or green shirts?

Photo of R & L Seafood and T & K Seafood

What we say: 4 stars

On one side of scraggly Soi Texas off Yaowarat Road are the 'red shirts' of R & L, and directly on the other side are their rivals, the green shirts of T & K.

We're not talking Thai political demonstrators, but rather mouth-watering street seafood joints. Both R & L and T & K get it done with stainless steel tables on pavement and open-air kitchens where jumbo prawn, crabs, clams, mussels, squid and whole fishes of varying sizes sizzle in woks and on the grill. This is the way dining in Chinatown was meant to be done.

Both the red and green sides offer voluminous menus in English and Thai with pictures to help you choose. Both also serve ice cold beer. Seafood is the name of the game, but morning glory or Chinese kale drenched in salty brown sauce does well to break up an otherwise protein heavy meal. Seafood dishes range from 100 to 400 baht, and owing to the restaurants' high volume it's some of the freshest you'll find anywhere.

Both the greens and reds get packed every night, but both are adept at fitting everyone in to what feels like a chaotic but delicious game of musical chairs. Large groups will probably have to wait (or fight) to sit, and those seeking a private and refined atmosphere won't find it here. Bring a few friends, don't hold back when ordering, and expect to get your hands dirty.

We've made the red shirts our go-to seafood spot in Chinatown, but only because we like red better, and they're curry powder crab is sublime. But seriously, both are great -- just pick a colour and indulge.

Hours are on the odd side, but both are for night owls -- if you show up between 19:00 and 02:00 on any day, one or both should be going strong. If you take a cab, ask for Soi Texas on Yaowarat Road, or look for the lit-up 'Texas' signs.

Contact details
Phadung Dao Rd (Soi Texas), Yaowarat Rd, Bangkok
About the author
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton and he spends most of his time in Bali, Indonesia.

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