There are many reasons to love Soi Sukhumvit 26: There’s the ultra-trendy coffeehouse Casa Lapin, high-end Indian restaurant Indus, and Michelin-starred fine dining spot Sorn. Recently, the alley also welcomed a new eatery that adds to the vibrant food scene on Sukhumvit.
Specializing in “Samui-style” southern Thai dishes, Marigold has joined Casa Lapin, Taproom and Oneday Hostel at the corner of Soi Sukhumvit 26.
This second branch of Marigold is an offshoot of its original dining concept of the same name that’s housed inside the Wes Anderson-inspired Josh Hotel in Ari.
While the older branch oozes tropical vibes, the new Marigold in downtown leans on the rustic chic side, with warm, low-key lighting and an earthy color scheme. The walls are bedecked with framed pictures of beaches.
Coconuts Bangkok sat down with the restaurant’s consultant chef Varasiri “Pete” Thongtaem Na Ayuthaya, who went over the foundational flavors and cooking techniques of southern Thai food with us — and yes, they do go beyond the stereotype of simply being “extremely spicy,” he said.
According to Pete, during Koh Samui’s early days, many Chinese settlers came to the island from Hainan, which caused their cuisine blended in with that of the locals.
“A Chinese man gets married with a Samui woman but he couldn’t eat southern food that’s too spicy, so she has to make food that’s not overtly southern,” Pete said. “This is basically how Samui-style food is born, mixing both Chinese and southern Thai.”
To keep the authenticity of Samui, he said, Marigold imports several ingredients directly from the island, such as shrimp paste, baegu leaves and fennel.
Whether or not you like “Liang Curry,” you wouldn’t imagine it can get tastier with just plain coconut milk. Liang Teh Goong Sod (THB220), a bowl of coconut milk soup, gives out a nutty flavor that goes perfectly with the slight sweetness from the steamed veggies. The plate comes with a shrimp paste for those who want to spice up the flavors. (Also, vegetarians can enjoy this menu as well, just remember to tell the staff, “no shrimp!”)
Influenced by Thai and Chinese cultures — and particularly popular in Phuket — is the dish Sen Ba-mhee Khai Mhoo Hong (THB195), another star dish of the restaurant. Chunks of slow-cooked pork belly are soaked in dark soy sauce gravy, complemented by homemade egg noodles and crisp bok choy, or Chinese cabbage. The menu is served with a separate bowl of clear soup flavored with fried shallots.
But it’s this dish that’s popular among coffee-drinking customers next door (Marigold has a connected door to cafe joint Casa Lapin): Khao Phad Mhoo Daeng Bab Samui, a stir-fried rice with homemade Samui-styled roasted pork and soft-boiled eggs (THB180). The fried rice itself harbors distinctive flavor that may remind you of khao phad gun chiang, or fried rice with Chinese sausages (also called lap chueng in Chinese).
Another popular item, Pete said, that’s often ordered by customers sitting outside at craft beer venue Taproom (next to Casa Lapin) is Peek Gai Tod Nam Pla (THB180). It’s no secret that chicken wings pair perfectly with beer, but this plate is more special: The chicken is deep-fried with fish sauce and covered in a pile of crispy shallots cooked in-house.
The extended menu list goes on for pages from several kinds of curry to khanom chin rice noodles and coconut milk and chili dip. Fans of super spicy food can opt for stir-fried prawns with southern stink beans in red curry paste (THB240) and the well-known southern dish kaeng tai pla (THB210), fish organ spicy and sour soup.
Marigold currently has two branches at Soi Sukhumvit 26 and Soi Ari 4. The Sukhumvit restaurant can be reached by foot or motorbike from BTS Phrom Phong.
Marigold is at 51, Soi Sukhumvit 26, Khlong Toei, Bangkok
Open daily 11am-11pm
Phone: +662 005 0226
BTS: Phrom Phong