Delicious affordable seafood
Seafood is loved by nearly all Thai people, and saltwater crab holds a special place in the hearts and tongues of most. For an affordable taste in Bangkok’s Chinatown, make your way to the no-frills Odean crab noodle shop.
Named after the colourful gate that marks the entrance to Chinatown nearby, Odean occupies a pair of narrow shophouses on an unusually quiet stretch of Charoen Krung Road, a stone’s throw from Wat Traimit. One houses the kitchen, while the other serves as simple but clean air-conditioned dining room with a few stainless steel tables. A two-page menu has brief English descriptions to go with photos of most dishes, making Odean easily accessible to foreigners.
The shop is also easy to spot thanks to the bright red steamed crab claws that “grab” passersby from a footpath display case. Saltwater crabs are sourced from a single town in Surat Thani province that’s known for the sweetness of its crab meat. With just about everything made from scratch, the shop itself is known for its attention to detail.
The signature dish is ba-mii puu nam (crab noodle soup), a comforting mix of mild broth with unusually thin and soft house-made egg noodles and a generous portion of crab meat for 55 baht a bowl. It can be ordered heng (dry) if you prefer the broth on the side. Add a dusting of chillies or lashing of fish sauce for a little extra kick.
Many choose to accompany their noodles with one of Odean’s excellent handmade dim sum or dumpling selections. Served in a traditional bamboo steamer, our chunky prawn dim sum (60 baht) rivalled the same dish as found at more famous eateries like Hua Seng Hong. Next time, we’ll give the crab meatballs or prawn wontons a shot.
Odean also does a mean crab fried rice, while those who aren’t feeling crabby (or shrimpy) can go for noodle soup with roasted pork instead. You’ll also find fried fish maw soup, which you may want to wash down with a glass of lemongrass, roselle or bael fruit juice. Those looking for a feast can order up plates of whole steamed crab claws for between 150 and 600 baht.
Address: 724-726 Charoen Krung Rd (just south of Lamphun Chai Rd and north of the Odeon Gate and Wat Traimit), Chinatown, Bangkok
T: (086) 888 2341, (084) 703 4042
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º30'45.47" E, 13º44'19.87" N
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David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
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