Hangovers are part and parcel of any visit to Bangkok. When you are lucky enough to stay at the Atlanta Hotel, they can usually be assuaged by the huge swimming pool, and a quick visit to Ah! Restaurant for a loving bowl of Jok. However, some days facing the impervious vexation of outdoor climates is a must, and brave soldiers must put aside their feeble panic and summon a taxi.
Brim full of mouth watering expectation we sat in the back seat of the cab. AC on full, traffic crawl doing little to foam the spittle of appetites. Today our sights were set on greater elevations. We were conjuring the strength to tackle a bounty of crispy fried chicken. Replete with meticulous descriptions of what to get, and how to proceed, the taxi was left to chase shadows, and the two weary warriors entered the slightly hot interiors and chose a table far from eyes. In the background could be heard the constant chatter of a group of Americans, who discussed Khao San Road and other minor aggrievements. Attentions were forcibly turned when the large icy bottles of Leo were placed down, instructions relayed and chef woken from afternoon stupor, chasing daydreams wrapped in exhaust.
Moments later, the glistening crackle of perfectly crisp chicken was placed before us. Doused with a hundred thousand confetti like dustings of fried garlic, and a refreshing plate of Som Tum to cut through the fatty massacre.
The famous Polo Chicken (above), and the Som Tum (below).
Taking nothing aside from the perfectly reasonable Som Tum, despite it being tame on the tongue even after imploring the waitress for PHET PHET, the chicken was the star here. In gulping fury, moments before we dug in, my partner in crime uttered the scandalous words: "Ok, but how good can fried chicken really be?". Followed one split second after sinking teeth in by: "Ok, holy fuck, that is insanely good chicken". Minutes passed in carnivorous disassembly of flesh from clinging bones and flayed skin. Fingers inked with the guilty evidence of gluttony, shining with fat and contentment.
Emptying the beers to quell salty orifices, we both leaned back, patted our stomachs in religious zeal, and promised to return here as quickly as possible. This is a restaurant that any habitual visitor to Bangkok should have on page 1 of their rolodex, and every tourist should avoid to not annoy the hungover beasts in the back.
All these recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored by the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"