Som Tam on Soi Ari

Some of the best papaya salad around

Photo of Som Tam on Soi Ari

What we say: 4 stars

Some of the best food in Bangkok is often found at tiny, nameless shops.

Case in point: a modest family-run noodle shop down the alley between Ari Soi 1 and Ari Soi 2 churns out cheap yet unforgettable som tam (unripe papaya salad).

The man behind the magic can be found almost everyday pounding strips of fresh green papaya along with fresh chillies for the spicy, fresh lime for the sour, palm sugar for the sweet and fish sauce for the salty. Order som tam Thai for a slightly sweet rendition with peanuts and dried shrimp or go for som tam buu pla raa for some serious spice and a fishier flavour that incorporates salted crab. In any case, be sure to watch the master at work; he often gets a piece of dried chilli in his eye, casually removes it with a hose and goes back to work without showing so much as a grimace.

The shop also sells grilled chicken and northeastern Thai soups. Their red awning says grilled chicken in Thai but the stall has no other marked name beyond that.

To get here, take the BTS to Ari and get out at exit 3. From there walk to Soi Ari (otherwise known as Phahonyothin Soi 7). Walk to Soi Ari 2 and make a left. The food stall is on the corner of the first alley on your left hand side. The food stall has red and white signs with the Coca Cola logo.

Contact details
Soi Ari, Bangkok
T: (087) 685 2213
Open: Mon-Sat 11:00-21:00, or whenever they run out of ingredients
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