Sin Kwang Meng is one of the trio of Taechiu (潮州) restaurants which has dominated Bangkok Chinatown's traditional dining scene for 8 decades. Our lunch today consisted of the restaurant's favourite dishes:
- Traditional Taechiu-style raw fish, served with a sweet molasses dip complemented with chopped pickles, starfruit, sesame seeds and crushed peanuts. Wolf herring is used here, very fresh, and the soft slivers of fish, juxtaposed against the crisp greens, were marvellous.
- Cold jellied ham with goat-skin in aspic, served with asparagus (canned variety) and pineapple puree. One of the oldest and most-ordered dishes here - also available at its rival restaurants, Jim Jim and Tang Jai Yoo.
- Braised goose-webs with egg noodles. This dish is one of Sin Kwang Meng's best-known and packed full of flavour. The goose-webs were perfectly cooked, fall-off-the-bone tender. The "sen lek" noodles absorbed the flavours of the braising sauce and was very tasty.
- Cold braised pork in aspic: another house specialty and done very well here. The pork embedded in cubes of aspic was meltingly soft.
- Steamed garoupa in soysauce and scallions. The fish was extremely fresh and sweet-fleshed. Not my favourite dish of the day as I'd have preferred the Taechiu-style steamed dish over this Cantonese-style one. But a very well-done dish all the same.
- Taechiu-style crisp noodles, topped with finely-chopped ham - a cake of blanched, fine egg noodles pan-fried on a hot wok till seared - this is traditionally served during a festive celebration like a birthday dinner. It's usually eaten with a fresh sprinkling of white sugar crystals on top and a dash of black vinegar. Love this!
- Roasted suckling pig: this is freshly prepared upon order and takes one hour of waiting time. But when it's served, it was worth all the wait. Neighbouring Tang Jai Yoo had acquired some measure of international attention when Anthony Bourdain had its suckling pig. Well, Sin Kwang Meng does one which is actually better. After the crisp skin is removed, the pig carcass is brought away and further barbecued till the flesh is fragrant, but is yet moist. The pig is then served chopped up into strips, and is the tastiest pork dish I'd ever had in recent memory!
Sin Kwang Meng Restaurant
4-8 Thanon Phat Sai, near intersection with Soi Yaowaphanit
Samphanthawong, Bangkok 10100