Having tempted plara (fermented fish) and chili-loving taste bud in Saladaeng as well as some international mega cities, Somtum Der recently opens the door to the second domestic branch in the heart of bustling Thonglor.
If the name Somtum Der doesn’t ring a bell, the Isaan-food parlor is perhaps the world’s most famous somtum specialist. Having founded the first branch in a small Saladaeng alley, the humble eatery became an overnight sensation and led to the first overseas outlet in Manhattan, which also turned out to be a howling success. Somtum Der in New York received Bib Gourmand recognition in the Michelin Guide New York in 2015, and a year later, became the first somtum eatery in the world to receive a Michelin star.
While customers at the popular Saladaeng headquarter are often left waiting with empty stomach for seats during peak hours due to limited space, the Thonglor outpost is a much more spacious dining room that maintain signature designs of the somtum parlor we’re accustomed to — the eye-catching red wall, blond-wooded somtum bar and quirky chicken coop-shaped lamps. The wall on the second floor is stylishly decked out with modern-styled black-and-grey linoleum mat with chic traditional pattern.
Entice your palette with uncompromising-yet-well-rounded Somtum Der greatest hits overseen by Sakon Nakhon-born chef Kornthanut Thongnum. Beginners can start off easy with somtum koong sod — the papaya salad with the tossing of crispy coconut shoots and prawns (B110), and rice noodle-studded somtum sua freckled with pla dook fuu (deep-fried minced catfish B90) giving the somtum delicate crispy texture. To appease your protein craving, we recommend the heavenly tender, coconut milk-brined grilled pork served with tantalizing jaew dip and the rice noodle salad with salty Thai mackerel with fermented fish sauce (B165). Another showstopper is gaeng oam pork, coming with generous portion of Isaan herbs contributing to the broth filled with umami flavor (B110).
In the neighborhood studded with Western eateries and cocktail bars, the branching of Somtum Der is truly a breath of fresh air (well, with the fragrant smell of pla ra we actually like).