Having lived in Thailand, I’m quite fussy with my Thai food and I really judge a place if it doesn’t have Som Tam on the menu (spicy green papaya salad).
I’d been wanting to try Som Saa for a while, but unless you have 4 or more, you couldn’t book and would have to chance a potential queue in order to get in. I really don’t like having to wait to enter a restaurant, especially when you have no idea how long you might have to wait!
So Som Saa serves traditional regional dishes without a Phad Thai or Green Curry in sight. Dishes are supposed to be shared, which is the way Thai food is supposed to be eaten, not ordered individually per person. So I was glad when they encouraged this.
I can handle my spice more than most, but I know I’d have to compromise on dishes with heat, especially when I checked Instagram the night before and saw someone call the guinea fowl jungle curry “The hottest thing they’ve ever had”. Instead, we opted for: Thai style grilled chicken leg with tamarind dipping sauce, grilled quail with crispy garlic – both were small dishes to be shared.
For the slightly larger dishes, we chose the stir fried morning glory with crispy pork and the whole deep fried seabass with roasted rice powder and issan herbs from the Wok section.
Now for the som tam, there were two options of Bangkok style or country style with the differences being dried shrimp in the Bangkok version and apple aubergines and ‘pla raa’ (fermented fish seasoning) in the country version. Bangkok style is what I’m used to, with plenty of spice…my favourite!
Finally, we ordered the five spiced soy braised beef cheek with chilli vinegar sauce and then some sticky rice and jasmine rice to soak up all the goodness.
We felt for four people, we could have ordered one more dish, and we did try to order one after we had devoured the other dishes, but the wait became too long and we cancelled the order. Desserts in Thailand aren’t my favourite – usually too sweet and sickly, but Thai fruit is great. There was a choice of three desserts: salted palm sugar ice cream with banana, perfumed syrup with Thai fruit, coconut and pandanus ice or fruit. We weren’t too keen, so decided to forgo the desserts.
All in all, this has quickly become one of my favourites, with authentic Thai food, in a lovely warehouse style environment and wasn’t too crowded. Definitely keen to go again!