Photos by Siri Thaitrakulpanich
BANGKOK — In a city where one fad cafe opens as another closes, Supanniga Eating Room has just opened its fourth branch in late September, serving up both familiar and new Trat cuisine dishes with Isaan influence.
Supanniga Eating Room, a staple of Thai food in the city since 2012, has just opened its fourth branch at Charoen Krung Soi 38, introducing dishes that are at once new and familiar to Thais with its Trat-Isaan cuisine.
We tried dishes that were only available at the new branch, such as the Spicy Curry with Crispy Pork and Pineapple Offshoots (250 baht). Even most Thais will not have eaten this uncommon Trat dish before, and may be unfamiliar with eating pineapple offshoots – don’t expect them to taste like pineapples, though. They’re crunchy and savory, similar to bamboo shoots.
The salak fruit, normally seen in Thai desserts and is similar to a lychee with a more tangy taste, is also used in savory dishes like Tom Kaa with Salak and Crispy Sa-lid Fish (290 baht), where crispy gourami chunks are showered onto a coconut milk soup cooked with the fruit.
Salak is even used as part of a chili dip in the Salak and Shrimp Chili Dip with Deep Fried Nue-Aon Fish (340 baht), where shrimps and salak are mixed together with chili to make a dip to eat with fried sheatfish, green eggplants, and omelette with cha-om (acacia shoots).
A must-order crowd pleaser is the Grilled Pork Collar with Chamuang Leaves and Seared Rice Cake (270 baht), where five large chunks of pork are grilled with the sour leaves, and eaten with kao jee, or grilled rice cake. Think of it as an ultra-authentic Trat version of sticky rice with moo ping.
Want to try a new vegetable? Try the Stir Fried Lotus Stems with Shrimp Paste and Mackerel (240 baht), where the fibrous stems are refreshingly crunchy and flavored surprisingly mild.
Finally, the Stir Fried Crab Roe with Himalayan Salt and Chili Mix is a whopping 590 baht, but it’s literally an entire plate of blue crab meat and roe, an indulgent amalgam of fishy sweetness.
For dessert, we tried the Thai Tea Panna Cotta (120 baht), a firm yet wobbly blob of cha Thai sweetness, best paired with one of the tea blends such as the Supanniga Blend (180 baht for a large pitcher), which was a digestive Guan Yin tea with kaffir lime, ginger, and lemongrass.
Although drink options may cost as much as a dish, such as the Supanniga Cold Pressed juice (175 baht), cocktails such as the Tubtim Siam (280 baht for a mix of Mekhong rum and pomegranates) can spice up a family dinner. We recommend the house rosé, a 2017 Rosé d’Anjou (165 baht per glass), a refreshing fruity wine that pairs well with spicy Thai food. Laying off the alcohol? Try the Passion from Khaoyai (220 baht), made from Shiraz grape juice by GranMonte vineyard in Nakhon Ratchasima.
Supanniga Eating Room is founded by Thanareuk Laoraowirodge, grandson of Somsri Chantra (1930 –2011), who cooked many of the dishes on the menu today. Supanniga Eating Room also has branches at Tha Tian, Sathorn Soi 10, and its first one in Thong Lor, which opened in 2012. The Tha Tian and Thong Lor branches are listed in the Michelin Guide 2019. The Supanniga Group also owns Isaan restaurant Somtum Der and Supanniga Cruise.
Unlike the multi-storied shophouses of the other branches, the Charoen Krung 38 branch is only two small floors which can seat about 50 people at 15 tables. The decor is dominated by yellows, blacks, and a large wall mural made of silk tassels to represent the supanniga, or yellow cotton tree, flower.
Supanniga Eating Room is open from 11:30am to 2:30am and 5:30pm to 10:30pm every day. Parking is limited, so take a taxi directly there or take a 10-minute walk from BTS Saphan Taksin.
This review was based on a hosted visit.