Not that easy to find, but tucked alongside the bustle of streaming shoppers at Chatuchak Weekend Market is Din Pao Restaurant, a truly great little place to eat fresh Thai/Vietnamese food. It's more or less 'outdoorsy' - open, but covered with tarps to keep rain and sun off your back.
Get a map at one of the market’s main entrances and find Din Pao using the address listed above. It's in the section of shops along Khamphaeng Phet 1 road, amongst clothing and home decor items. I'm not even sure there's a sign at the entrance, just look for a small barbeque stall full of satays, and make your turn past the ‘Som Tam’ mortars into food heaven.
Din Pao's satays may be the most scrumptiously delicious, perfectly barbequed, most tastily seasoned satays in all of Bangkok (chicken or pork). I'm not kidding... substantial, juicy, and meaty (not fat and gristle).
There are always one or two young Isaan chefs pounding out perfectly fresh Som Tam (green papaya) salad in the 'kitchen'. (I can't get enough of their sweet/fiery/tangy Som Tam 'Thai').
Som Tam with skewers of Chicken Satay and Sticky Rice would normally keep most hungry devotees approaching food nirvana... until you spot other diners ordering the platters of 'roll 'em yourself' Vietnamese dumplings! Pick up a pre-cut sheet of paper-thin rice noodle, place on it a smorgasbord of tiny offerings from the platter - pineapple, sausage, fresh garlic, sauces, peppers, and other earthly delights - then roll it up and savor the flavor. It’s a hands-on experience that’s fun for the family.
If you can handle more yet, Din Pao's shrimp Salad Rolls are equally fresh and excellent. Meals are served with a compliment of fresh vegetables and herbs as garnishes for the food. The staff is friendly, fast, and efficient. To beat the heat, there are fans around the tables.
There's always ONE reason to go to Chatuchak Market when in Bangkok on the weekend, and Din Pao is it. Get the bill and you'll understand just how reasonable and excellent Thai food can be, and once fully sated you'll have the rest of the day to get lost at Chatuchak.
Weekends only. Be there.
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