Photo: Typical street scenes in the old city.

Thai Tham Pig's Brain Soup

Like... subtle pork liver

Phraeng Phuthon Square, Bangkok
T: (02) 221 7612, (089) 885 2512 

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Thai Tham Pig's Brain Soup

Feeling a little slow-minded after that long-haul flight? Or maybe you’re just an unusually sophisticated zombie? Either way, you need a bowl of Thai Tham Pig’s Brain Soup. Opened in 1957, the hole-in-the-wall shop is a favourite of Chinese-Thai locals who need a little mental boost.

Makes a great breakfast.

Makes a great breakfast.

Set in a tiny roofed alley in the intriguing Phraeng Phuthon neighbourhood, the second-generation shop serves slow-roasted pig’s brains (samong muu) along with various types of homemade pork balls (luuk chin muu), deep-fried pig’s kindneys and skin, hunks of cartiledge from pig’s trotters and chunks of fried tofu that soak up the mild porky broth. It’s served with rice on the side and the usual condiments: dried chillies, chilli-infused vinegar, sugar and fish sauce.

We’d love to report that the brains “tasted like chicken” or were “unexpectedly delectable,” but really the experience was pretty much how we’d expect eating brains to be. With a consistency like soggy bread, the flavour reminded us of pork liver, but a lot subtler. It was somewhat difficult to get past the sight of three generous hunks of brain bobbing in our bowl. Bites of chewy cartiledge won’t help those who are easily repulsed.

Classic old town ambiance.

Classic old town ambiance.

We finished a whole 50-baht bowl, leaving only the tiniest hunks of brain lingering at the bottom. Complimentary ginseng iced tea helped to wash it down. When asked why the Chinese like to eat pig’s brains, a local replied: “They think it will make them smarter.” While we didn’t come up with the answer to how quantum theory interacts with general relativity afterwards, we did find that our work went a little easier than normal. And we felt a little funny in the belly.

Serious pig-brain-lovers will be happy to know that Thai Tham is not the only shop serving this delicacy in Phraeng Phuthon. Right across the lane, an old man dishes out a hot-and-sour version with similarly hefty hunks of brain. Try them both, then head over to Nuttaporn to finish your doctorate thesis while enjoying a fantastic dish of mango or coconut ice cream.

Thai Tham is situated in the western side of Phraeng Phuthon Square, along the lane closest to Atsadang Road and a 10-minute walk from the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Khao San Road. If you’d prefer Chinese-Thai roasted pork loin over pig’s brains, head to Ming Lee instead.


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Thai Tham Pig's Brain Soup
Phraeng Phuthon Square, Bangkok
Mon-Sat 07:00-14:00
T: (02) 221 7612, (089) 885 2512 

Location map for Thai Tham Pig's Brain Soup