In the urban jungle that is Bangkok, right beside the Phrom Phong station of the BTS Skytrain, just a few steps from a 7-11 store, is a happy place. The sign says "Very Good And Cheap", and it really is. No false advertising here.
From 26 April to 13 May 2012, this is where I went for my Som Tam (papaya salad) fix. This one had chopped salted egg mixed in it which provided an unusual creamy and salty note to the usual tangy heat of the salad.
Bunny Rabbit always ordered the Khao Pad (fried rice), usually with pork. Pretty good, but I still liked the one we had in Chiang Mai more.
My first time there, I had some spring rolls, sautéed vegetables and fish fillet. The portions looked tiny, but believe me when I say that they were generous enough that I struggled to clean my plate.
My last meal there, I had Som Tam again. This time, with the freshest and most tender shrimp and squid which absorbed the beautiful dressing.
And of course, Bunny Rabbit had Khao Pad again. Actually, for three weeks he ate fried rice an average of 1.75 times a day.
I ordered some chicken with green curry which was mistakenly served to the table next to us. At first, the Japanese guy was surprised to see green sauce on his plate, but then he shrugged and tucked into MY food. I got his stir-fried seafood and veg instead. The waitress insisted they were "same-same." Er, no. But still delicious.
I am seriously missing this place. I miss the rickety orange tables and chairs. I miss the melamine plates and mismatched flatware. I miss inhaling car and motorcycle exhaust together with the sharp scent of fish sauce. I miss drinking Pepsi from tin cups filled with ice. I miss the staff who don't speak any English and keep change in their belt bags. I even miss the humidity which the chilies somehow strangely made more bearable.
Verdict: Im Chan (and Thailand in general) made me wish that I were polygastric like a cow or a pig. I could have eaten there everyday, alternating among the different excellent incarnations of their Som Tam. I didn't even get a chance to try their Tom Yam Gung, and what about my green curry?! Alas, not enough time, not enough stomachs.
Maybe I should move to Bangkok. But only if I could live near Im Chan, where the Thai food is truly very good and cheap.