The heartwarming idea of going to grandma’s house for some traditional home cooking is something that transcends boundaries and is exactly the kind of feeling you get at Ban Khun Mae Restaurant. Ban Khun Mae – or Mrs Mae’s House for the literal translation – is actually a bit of an anomaly, located in the heart of the Siam Square, the uber-cool shopping area popular with young city kids and university students. The exposed timber, hand painted murals and large collection of charming ornaments gives the restaurant a rustic, old-fashioned appeal that contrasts with the young, hip vibe in neighbouring restaurants and shops.
Ban Khun Mae is a great place to visit if you are trying famous Thai dishes for the first time as the chef flavours dishes to suit stereotypical Western tastes and nothing is overpowered with spice. Tom yum kung, chicken with cashew nuts, som tam, and spring rolls are all firm favourites here and are popular with tourists but also with a few locals – always an encouraging sign. However, there are also a couple of fairly rare, interesting Thai dishes on the menu that you would struggle to find elsewhere, such as steamed seafood curry paste served inside a young coconut husk which has a soft texture and delicate flavour; a good choice for adventurous foodies.
The marinated chicken wrapped in pandanus leaves is a great option to share, served with a sweet, sticky dipping sauce on the side. The pandanus smell lingers on the palette and the leaf also keeps the chicken succulent. Baan Khun Mae Restaurant offers a series of set menus at differing prices for groups of five or more, starting at 350 baht per person, all the way up to 800 baht for a 16 dish banquet. For those visiting for dinner there is a musician playing a khim (a traditional Thai instrument) from 19:00-21:00 every night that adds some light background entertainment to your meal.
The antiquated décor and ‘grandma’s cooking’ mood is perhaps a little contrived, but the staff speak excellent English and the menu is a pleasing mixture of famous ‘must-try’ Thai dishes with some others you will probably never have heard of before which makes this a great option for either lunch or dinner in Siam Square and makes a pleasant change from the modish franchises found nearby.
Ban Khun Mae Restaurant
- Address: 458/6-9 Siam Square Soi 8, Rama 1 Rd, Patumwan
- Tel: (+662)250-1952-3