YANG GAO GORN
By : KEN BARRETT
16 August 2017
For the first three years of its existence, Yang Gao Gorn has occupied one of the most eccentric locations imaginable for a Bangkok restaurant. Deep into one of the sois off Paholyothin, near Ari BTS station, one would find a futsal court. Passing through the crowd of players, one ascended the staircase of what was little more than a concrete framework, and on the upper level would find the restaurant.
The décor was no décor. There was a long counter, and a bare room with salmon-coloured walls. The only visual distraction was the futsal being energetically played on the court below, visible through the large windows.
On our most recent visit, Peur Pirom was preparing to move to a new premises in Phaholyothin Soi 14. The new place is an attractive old house, and the restaurant will have seating on two levels. It will open later in September.
Business has been good, because despite the strange location, Yang Gao Gorn has been attracting lovers of traditional, home-cooked Thai food. The restaurant name translates as “like olden times,” and is jointly owned by Peur Pirom and his father, who had collected all the old recipes that had been passed down through the family. The idea was to preserve the authentic Thai cooking of earlier generations.
We opened with a salad of jicama (160 baht), or yam bean, the rooty vegetable that grows underground, and which was prepared here shredded and served with celery, cucumber and mint leaves; the taste was light and crunchy and slightly sweet, with a citrus flavour to the dressing.
A dish of sun-dried beef (180 baht) that had been pounded and then grilled had a nicely dry, fatty-flavoured quality that went well with the cold beer. Fermented pork sausage (160 baht), a favourite dish of the north and northeast, was fried in breadcrumbs, adding a crunch to the familiar pungent taste. Roasted shrimp paste (150 baht) that had been prepared with coconut milk and is scooped up with cabbage leaf and cucumber slices was one of those simple items that are hard to stop eating.
Horseshoe crab (180 baht) was served as a mild pineapple curry, and sprinkled with little green roe. Duck egg with stewed fatty pork (60 baht) floated in a rich brown sauce, and sun-dried beef that had been finely sliced and stir-fried in coconut milk (220 baht) had a gentle, almost dessert-like quality. We ended with two small mullet fish (220 baht), deep-fried with lots of fried garlic, a robust dish that left no room for anything else except a dessert of toddy palm in syrup with crushed ice (35 baht).
Peur had told us on an earlier visit that when he and his father first opened Yang Gao Gorn, they had no idea how to run a restaurant, but that if it proved popular they would like to move to a new and more attractive location. That day has now come, and our prediction is that the restaurant’s reputation will be greatly enhanced. This really is the true taste of Thailand.