We continue an extension of the Thailand series which will focus on some of our memorable dining out experiences. Other posts in this series include Som Tam Nua.
It's unusual for me to go back to the same restaurant twice when I am traveling.
After all, I usually only have a few days at a particular destination. It's hard enough to squeeze in meals from all the new places I want to visit. Why would I repeat?
There are several reasons why we decided to return to Taling Pling after trying it once near the beginning of our trip.
First of all, it has a huge menu. The menu represents so many different aspects of Thai cuisine. The first time we went, we probably saw twenty things we wanted to try. We may have ordered five or six (the dishes are reasonably small), but we left wishing we could have tried so many more dishes.
Second, the prices are very reasonable and the food is excellent. We loved how different aspects and variations of Thai cuisine were represented throughout the menu. Additionally, we were exposed to so many unusual and interesting ingredients we had never tried before.
Finally, the restaurant has a pleasant, modern decor and the service is fast and efficient. The one we went to was located in a very popular shopping center, which makes it all the more convenient.
For all these reasons, both locals and tourists flock to this place (there are several around Bangkok), which explains why there is often a wait to get in.
Definitely consider getting one of their drinks. I fully enjoyed a tall glass of lemongrass tea, which I believe is just lemongrass steeped (or cooked?) in water and mixed with simple syrup. It was refreshing and I loved it. I actually think I may have ordered a second glass - something I virtually never do at restaurants.
The person who originally recommended the restaurant told me "you have to try the Crispy Pork Lardons Omelette if you've never had anything like it before."
It's basically a deep fried omelette that's filled with crispy pork belly bits and topped some sort of pickled vegetables. The crispy edges of the fried egg were delicious and definitely quite addictive.
Though we had ordered it just to taste a bite or two, we ended up virtually finishing the entire omelette.
Yes, it's quite good.We loved this simple Noodle Roll with Pork and Bean Sprout, which had elements of spicy, sour, salty, and sweet.
The crushed peanuts added a nice textural contrast as well.
We also had another really unusual dish that we had never seen anywhere else before. It's "A23" on the menu and it's a salad made of deep fried kaffir lime leaves, hollow heart greens, chilies, and fried garlic.
Sticky rice is a common side, especially when enjoyed with Isaan (Northern Thai) dishes. We ordered a side of sticky rice, which came mixed with a darker, black rice (maybe forbidden rice?).
We often encountered vegetables we'd never heard of, like "Stir Fried Cowslip Creeper Florets", an unusual green flower stir-fried with vermicelli, prawns, and egg. The dish was quite tasty and not too spicy, which was a relief for me (I can't handle nearly as much heat as Bryan can).
We really enjoyed these Stir Fried Ivy Gourd Leaves in oyster sauce with minced pork. It was lightly seasoned, healthy, and pretty tasty. We actually ordered this both times we went.
Another interesting new ingredient was the Stir fried "Sator", which was served with prawns, minced pork, and chili. This dish was on the salty side but was very flavorful. We ended up eating it with rice, which made it much better.
After trying the reportedly best Pad Thai in Bangkok, it's not a surprise that we were a bit disappointed with the version we tried here. Granted, we did try a modified version, made with glass noodle and crab. This version had a very strong pickled radish flavor, which tended to dominate the dish. It was still good, but not nearly as good as other ones we'd had in Thailand.
Overall, we had a ton of fun trying many of the dishes at Taling Pling. I think it's a great place for a foreigner to quickly gain exposure to many different types of Thai dishes. The restaurant provides a full color menu that includes descriptions in English, which is invaluable for those who cannot read the Thai language.
The food is excellent here and the prices are very reasonable for this level of service. It is very popular, so you may have to wait to get seated. Thankfully, there are several locations peppered throughout the city, so it should be pretty easy to find one that's close by.
I highly recommend this restaurant and most certainly would be tempted to return if I ever visit Bangkok again. In fact, the woman who recommended this place to me told me that she always visit Taling Pling whenever she returns to Thailand.
I can totally see why.
The Entire Thailand Series
Thip Samai, Best Pad Thai in Bangkok?
Raan Jay Fai, Best Drunken Noodle in Bangkok
Street Foods of Bangkok, Part I
Street Foods of Bangkok, Part II
Fun Fruits in Thailand
Maeklong Railway Market
Floating Markets (Damnoen Saduak)
Cooking Classes + Recipes
Somphong Thai Cooking School
Som Tam (Papaya Salad)
Thai Panaeng Curry Chicken
Bananas In Golden Syrup
BaiPai Thai Cooking School
Larb Gai (Laap Gai)
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