Som Tam Nua on Siam Square Soi 5 is one of the most popular places for som tam (green papaya salad) in Bangkok. If you come here during peak meal time, expect to see a huge crowd and/or long queue.
The nearest BTS station to Som Tam Nua is Siam. Once you exit Siam station on the Siam Square side (opposite Siam Paragon), look for Siam Square Soi 5. It should be easy to spot Som Tam Nua with its huge signs on the left hand side.
Som Tam Nua is an air-conditioned casual dining restaurant that specialises in papaya salads and Thai-Isaan cuisine. There are more seating space on the 2nd floor if you can’t find an empty table on the 1st floor.
Yingdeaw Homemade Cafe shares the same dining space as Som Tam Nua on 1st level. It serves up cookies, cakes, waffles, smoothies, coffee and tea.
We came by Som Tam Nua around 3pm+ for a teatime bite after spending half a day in Chinatown. The restaurant wasn’t crowded at all so it was easy to find a table. In fact, as we walked into the restaurant, no service staff paid attention to us and no one came around to hand us the menu or to take order even though we spotted a few of them walking around and chit-chatting among themselves. Took us quite some time to finally catch someone’s attention.
Serious lack of service.
Why does this place remind me of SabX2 Wanton Noodle? When a place finds fame, service level (if it’s ever in existence) also declines? Perhaps they don’t bother to keep it up anymore as they are overly confident that people will still come and eat? Hmm.
We liked the variety of som tam toppings on the menu. There were dried shrimps & peanuts, salted egg, salted crab, Thai pork sausage, crispy pork rind and more.
Ordered a Som Tam with Salted Egg (85 baht) that came with a few slices of cooked salted egg (like those you’d eat with Teochew porridge) on top. The salted egg white was very salty so make sure you don’t have an entire piece in your mouth.
The green papaya had a nice soft crunch. Sauce was piquant but also very spicy. For those of you who can’t take too much chilli, you may want to tell them to go easy on the chillies.
Best way to enjoy a som tam is to pair it with Sticky Rice (25 baht) that came in a cute little bamboo basket like this.
Pinch off a bite-sized ball of sticky rice and dip that into the som tam sauce. Delicious.
While the som tam here was not bad, I thought the Fried Chicken (150 baht) clearly stole the show. 4 full chicken wings divided into 3 parts each. The chicken pieces were deep-fried to a lovely crisp on the outside while the meat remained moist and juicy on the inside. Could also taste fragrant garlic bits. Seriously, this fried chicken was the BEST I ever had in Bangkok. So good, I just couldn’t resist ordering another plate.
If you would like to give Som Tam Nua a try, I suggest that you come during odd hours like us to minimise waiting time. While their som tam is good, I don’t think it’s that spectacular either as the ones we can get off the streets are just as good too. But the fried chicken here is definitely a must-order. Do not leave without trying it. ? ??
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