Bangkok is a city of extremes and this is particularly obvious when it comes to food. Here you can treat yourself to an extravagant and ludicrously expensive dinner on a rooftop restaurant, or eat a basic but excellent meal at a street stall for a handful of baht. Lek-Rut seafood in Chinatown is the most interesting mix of both culinary worlds, serving great food in the most unlikely surroundings you could dream of for a nice dinner: a frantic intersection of Bangkok Chinatown.
Apparently nothing differenciates Lek-Rut Seafood from its neighbouring street stalls, except that it is now famous, and of course popular. It's always packed and yet people patiently wait for a seat, standing wherever possible on the busy road. Don't expect tablecloth, silverware and air conditioning. In fact, don't even expect a restaurant! Set on the narrow sidewalk of the incredibly busy Yaowarat Road, it's a mystery how cars, bikes, by-passers manage to get past without hitting a dining table. Having diner at Lek-Rut is the perfect way to experience the way of life and culinary open-mind of Bangkok. You need to forget everything you know and just go with the flow, it's a fun and fascinating experience.
The staff are extremely efficient, very calm and friendly despite the crowd and the frenzy all around. Despite the anarchic appearances there is a logic, they are very good at remembering who came first in the crowd and you are taken to table in a matter of minutes. Once seated, the world around you suddenly shrinks to just your table and the food... Traffic noises, tuk tuk exhausts and whistling cops suddenly fade away as your full attention is drawn to the illustrated menu, which is in both Thai and in an approximate English, but consider yourself lucky, the translation is a little rough, and in some cases very amusing.
Lek Rut is an increasingly popular seafood restaurant in the heart of a big town and by street food standards it has become quite expensive, especially if you like big prawns, crabs and large fishes.
River prawns are massive and really delicious, grilled on request at the speed of light (or so it appears). Scallops stuffed with a bit of pork meat and bacon and grilled in their shells are definitely a must try, while cockles are popular among those who like this type of shells. The fried black crab in curry powder (between 350 and 500 baht according to size) is delicious if you are ready for a messy dinner: big black crabs shells are notoriously hard to break, but if you are not brave enough to fight with a crustacean, you can ask for just the crab meat. Their fish wrapped in pandanus leaves and cooked in foil is delightful (250 to 300 baht).
As mentioned earlier, for a street restaurant the price is high but it's also the most interesting experience... plastic stools, plastic plates on tin tables and toilet paper as tissue, tuk tuk noisily brushing you while cornering the intensely busy intersection of Yaowarat and Thanon Phadung Dao streets... and yet, once food is served nothing matters anymore. It's a surprisingly good dinner and we would happily go back and queue for more...
Lek & Rut Seafood
- Location: Intersection of Yaowarat Road and Thanon Phadung Dao Street