A trio of cuisines collides at San, the new ‘casual fine diner’ on Soi Sukhumvit 51

At a small shophouse tucked away in a quiet residential alley of Soi Sukhumvit 51 is San, a relatively new fusion restaurant has opened that combines the flavors of Thai, Chinese and American cuisines.

It’s been only a few months that San opened on this small street in the Thonglor area. Defining itself as a “casual fine diner,” the restaurant features an impressive list of creative recipes under a “New Originals” concept. With reasonable prices and a laid-back atmosphere, the eatery produces more of an approachable, warm and homey dining experience rather than trying to create an atmosphere of outright luxury. 

Photo: Coconuts Media
Entrance and dining area at San. Photo: Coconuts Media

Behind the concept of San — which means “three” in Chinese — are photographer-turned-chef Kritsada “Nick” Chintakananda and his wife Supara “Nan” Chintakananda. After having opened a successful all-day American diner named White Shuffle, the couple invited New York-based chef Jakob Bowser to collaborate with them on opening a new fusion restaurant. The rest is history: the trio created San, here on a small soi, with a firm focus on three culinary concepts.

You won’t need an excuse to enjoy pancakes for dinner, because San’s breakfast sets are served all day long. The most popular morning meal here is the Breakfast Set B (THB180) that comes with a fluffy pancake with crispy bacon and syrup. Next to it is a long platter containing sides of golden hash browns, granola and yogurt, and fresh fruits. For this set, customers can choose one drink each from two beverage sets: guava or pineapple juice, as well as coffee or tea.

Breakfast Set B (THB180). Photo: Coconuts Media
San’s Breakfast Set B. Photo: Coconuts Media

We’re all familiar with the soft white bao buns usually sold on the streets as grab-and-go snacks, but here at San, they’re deep-fried: the BBQ Pork Bao (THB99) is a crunchy bun topped with three pork belly chunks, hoisin sauce, mustard and chopped green onions. Another option is the Duck Bao (THB99) that replaces pork belly with stewed duck, Chinese celery and cucumber. 

BBQ Pork Bao (THB99). Photo: Coconuts Media
BBQ Pork Bao. Photo: Coconuts Media
Duck Bao (THB99). Photo: Coconuts Media
Duck Bao. Photo: Coconuts Media

Want EVEN MORE DUCK? Good, because they’ve got it. The Duck Dan Dan Noodle (THB250), inspired by the Chinese Sichuan noodle dish dandanmian, contains homemade egg noodles, sauteed minced duck, Sichuan pepper seasoning, garlic and sesame oil. It’s served alongside a clear soup with goji berries.

Duck Dan Dan Noodle (THB250)
San’s Duck Dan Dan Noodle. Photo: Coconuts Media

Leaning towards more of a fine-dining experience — that is, more experimental food offered on smaller plates — San does a photogenic plating of Poached Scallop, Coconut Broth and Salmon Roe (THB350). The coconut broth base reminds us a bit of tom kha, but here, it gets paired with thick, silky scallops from Surat Thani province and salmon roe, and garnished with edible organic flowers and a green herb-infused oil.

Poached Scallop, Coconut Broth and Salmon Roe (THB350). Photo: Coconuts Media
Poached Scallop, Coconut Broth and Salmon Roe. Photo: Coconuts Media

The highlight of the menu — for us, at least — is San’s Prawn, Twist Noodle, Prawn Mousse and Red Chili (THB350). The flavorful dish makes great use of the guay jub rolled rice noodle to match Chinese wine, river prawn and a creamy prawn mousse, all spiced up with red bird eye’s chili. The dish is the smoothest and strongest mash-up of the three cuisine’s foundational flavors. 

Prawn, Twist Noodle, Prawn Mousse and Red Chili (THB350). Photo: Coconuts Media
Prawn, Twist Noodle, Prawn Mousse and Red Chili. Photo: Coconuts Media

During its soft opening stage, there’s only one dessert available, but it’s a good one: the Vanilla Semifreddo (THB170) comprises of a big scoop of vanilla semifreddo — the Italian semi-frozen dessert made of whipped eggs and cream — placed on a warm chocolate cake that’s baked in-house and topped with a rich matcha cream. It’s a great way to end the meal indeed.

Vanilla Semifreddo and matcha cream on top of chocolate cake (THB170). Photo: Coconuts Media
Vanilla Semifreddo and matcha cream on top of chocolate cake. Photo: Coconuts Media

San is open from 10am until 10pm every day except Monday. It’s located on Soi Sukhumvit 51 and can be reached on foot or by motorbike taxi from BTS Thonglor.

Photo: Coconuts Media
The bar and kitchen counter at San. Photo: Coconuts Media

San is at 78/5, Soi Sukhumvit 51, Watthana, Bangkok
Open 10am-10pm daily, closed Mondays
Phone: +662 005 4085
BTS: Thong Lo

Find all episodes of The Coconuts Podcast

More of Coconuts Bangkok’s Food & Drink content:

Burapa, a train-themed restaurant serving Isaan dishes with an inventive twist 

Vistro Bangkok: New vegan fusion bistro with great plant-based dishes, desserts and homemade kombucha 

Eat Like A Local: Samui-style Southern Thai Restaurant Lands in Phrom Phong 

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