Note: I have revisited and updated this post a few times over the years.
Sutunthip Vegetarian Restaurant
If you're looking for sit down comfort in the Khlon San district of Bangkok, look no further than air conditioned Sutunthip restaurant. At least one member of staff spoke and understood English when I dined here, so I was able to question the extensive menu. Typical mealtime hours are are very busy (i.e. you will wait for a table), so either arrive during off hours or be prepared to wait for a little while.
The menu is a typical combination of Thai and Chinese foods, made vegan, and has enough to please both fans and haters of mock meat. While not on Bangkok's tourist trail, it's well worth crossing the river to eat at Sutunthip. Their mock duck lap alone is worth the trek.
Made up of crispy fried yuba, carrot, green papaya, chilli, peanut, Thai celery, and lemongrass in a sweet lime and soy sauce dressing, this flavoursome salad is a bit like a mint and coriander free larb. I found my spicy threshold with this dish! While my mouth realised its seemingly permanent fiery state, my mind realised this as one of my favourite dishes I've had in Bangkok.
Served with a similar but saltier sauce to balance the sweetness in the fruit, the fruit som tam is comprised mostly of apples, but also includes carrot, tomatoes, and an unidentifiable fruit or vegetable on which I wasn't at all keen. I suspect I'd have enjoyed this better as a light snack on its own as opposed to alongside a similarly flavoured dish.
My last visit to Sutunthip in 2017 was during the Thailand Vegetarian Festival, and the restaurant was brim filled with happy, hungry diners. Alas, this meant many of the menu items were finished for the evening. I'd wanted to introduce an uninitiated friend to gaeng liang so she could try lemon basil in a cooked dish. We were recommended to try to the orally combustible jungle curry, or gaeng pa as an alternative (an untamed curry of bold spicing and herbal notes, sans coconut milk).
Sutunthip has earned its place at the top of anyone's must-do list on visiting Bangkok.
Take a look at the Sutunthip Menu (this is out of date by a few years, so there are more dishes now).