Pe Aor is famous for its Tom Yum soup. Once you get a glimpse of the giant rock lobster and seafood version that is their specialty, it’s easy to see why. At [1200 Baht] (£28) this is by no means a typical Thai street food dish and typical street food prices but it comes packed with high quality, fresh seafood and this is reflected in the price. While there is no doubt the soup is very ‘Instagramable’, it is by no means a gimmick. The Tom Yum at Pe Aor is known in Bangkok as one of the best in the city.
Giant Lobster Tom Yum
As well as the whole rock lobster, you get squid, mussels, fish, prawns, and in an unbelievably rich, creamy, sour tom yum soup. The soup also comes with a mound of rice noodles in it which makes it a very filling meal. It can easily be shared between four to six people depending on how much you can eat.
If you’re heading there alone, or don’t want to pay [1200 Baht] (£28) for a soup, you can try the Tom Yum Koong Sod - spicy, sour soup with fresh river prawns. You’ll get two pretty large river prawns in the same fatty soup broth as the lobster version, with your choice of noodles for a fraction of the price [60 baht] (£1.50). This happens to be my dish of choice when I visit the restaurant by myself as, at that price, you’d be hard pushed to find a better Tom Yum soup in the whole of Bangkok.
It's all in the Broth
The main thing that sets the Tom Yum here apart from other places in Bangkok is the soup broth. In most cases, the soup for Tom Yum is made quickly. Often it is with powdered stock with large chunks of lemongrass and galangal floating about at the bottom of the bowl. This can be a bit of a nuisance to eat around. At Pe Aor, they take their soup to another level. The stock is made by gently boiling down mounds of lemongrass, galangal, and lime leaves with the heads and shells of fresh river prawns in a massive pot, rather than the usual one saucepan at a time method that you will find at most roadside eateries. When it comes to serving the soup, all that's needed is adding the broth (meaning all the flavour without the bits), spicy Prik Pao (roasted chili paste), and creamy evaporated milk.
Another must-try dish at Pe Aor is the Yum Woon Sen Talay - spicy glass noodle salad with mixed seafood. This is a fantastic version of a classic Thai salad. It’s spicy, salty, and extremely sour from a large amount of lime juice they use to make it. With the amount of fresh seafood that comes with the salad, the [100 baht] (£2.40), the price tag makes it an absolute steal.
The shop itself is a no-frills, classic Thai restaurant, tucked down Soi Petchaburi 5, behind Phaya Thai BTS Station. The easiest way to access the road is to cut through the car park at Phaya Thai Plaza. Right next to the BTS station.
Guest post by street food expert The Roaming Cook.