Many of the claims about Bangkok are vastly exaggerated. But what is true, is that Thai food can be very cheap. If you have street food or if you eat where the locals do, off the beaten track, you can get incredible meals for about $1-2. Now imagine a restaurant in that price bracket, where the food is so good that even Thai people swear that it tastes like what they ate at home growing up. Mitrphāph (มิตรภาพ), which translates into “friendship”, is that place!
Tucked inside the covered end of Chok Chai 4 Market in Lat Phrao, Mitrphāph tirelessly serves the local lunch crowds. The food they serve is unassuming but it might just be the best Thai food you’ll eat. Dishes vary from the incredible beef noodle soup that you can customise with any type of noodles you would like, through noodles—including a killer pad thai, pad see ew, and dry or wet sukiyaki, to a wide array of dishes on rice. From the rice dishes, the dried red curry with tofu and kaffir lime leaves stands out as a must, closely followed by the stir-fried rice with prawn paste, topped with omelette and either shrimps or pork. Add a touch of lime, and enjoy the complex simplicity of these flavours. If in doubt, add a fried egg on top of any dish; that’s the real Thai way! If you’re feeling soupy, Mitrphāph serves one of the best tom yum soups we’ve tried: clear or creamy, with mushrooms or with prawns, you really can’t go wrong.
The tricky—and potentially stressful—part is ordering. The restaurant is run by three wonderful, elderly women and one of their husbands, and they don’t speak a single word of English between them. They have put together an English menu with some limited options, so that is a safe option. If you’re feeling adventurous, have a look at what people are having or to come armed with pictures of what you’d like to eat. They can make you any stir fry you’ve seen around, and we have yet to try something we don’t like here.
Dishes will arrive to your table as they are prepared. There is nothing ceremonial about eating in a Thai market, so don’t expect everyone to necessarily eat at the same time. When in Rome!
Mitrphāph will conquer you with its authentic charm. This will be one meal you will be hard pressed to forget.
- Beef noodle soup
- Pad see ew
- Dried red curry with tofu and kaffir lime leaves
- Stir-fried rice with prawn paste, omelette and pork/shrimps
- Tom yum soup