COCONUTS HOT SPOT – Massage parlors on Bangkok’s Ratchada Road seem to be an ode to Western religious and cultural significance with places named Lord, Emmanuelle, Caesars and Poseidon announcing themselves with garish neon signs and marquis displaying beauties of questionable origin.
Although not quite the cup-of-tea for your average bible-thumping, God-fearing punter, it may well be heaven on earth for the less-than-righteous Bangkok soul seeking “divine release”.
However, churchgoers and those not inclined to slump into these seedy, soapy parlors fear not, Coconuts Bangkok has found a little slice of heaven all walks of man can enjoy, and it comes in the form of Noi Seafood.
Tucked away in the Huay Kwang night market, about 200 meters west of Ratchadaphisek Road on Pracharat Bamphen Road, Noi Seafood serves up some of the city’s best dishes at street-food prices.
Open until 4am, Noi caters to all types – no doubt owing a chunk of its profits to workers in the nearby “entertainment” sector.
Once staff has cleared a spot along the rows of stainless-steel tables, take a seat, order a beer and try not to be overwhelmed by the photo album (menu) plopped down in front of you.
Must-haves at Noi include the plaa neung manao (steamed fish [usually sea bass] in a spicy lime broth), which has so far proven to be a cure for almost anything that ails you, most notably lifting spirits after a day spent writhing in misery sweating out the excess of the night before.
The pu pad pong curry (crab with a mild, eggy yellow curry) with generous chunks of crab meat is also a tasty treat, but the real pleasure here – aside from the people watching – is the crab-fried rice.
Fried rice? You may ask yourself how such a pedestrian dish makes the list, but this stuff, I kid you not, is divine. Its creamy goodness suggests that it may not be the most healthy choice, as it’s likely fried in some kind of heavenly lard, but you won’t regret making the order.
Other delectables to consider are the river prawns and the Isaan food selections. The som tam (papaya salad) and grilled chicken are definitely above average.
So, next time you’re in Bangkok’s “holy land”, for whatever reason, head on down Pracharat Bamphen Road and look for Noi Seafood on the left-hand side. You may also end up buying a t-shirt, belt, jeans or even fake eyelashes along the way.
Take the MRT to Huay Kwang station, go out exit number three, cut back to Pracharat Bamphen Road and hang a left.