Somboon Seafood Restaurant (建興酒家) comes highly recommended based on the number of raves and positive reviews it receives online.

Somboon Seafood Restaurant – The Original Fried Curry Crab

We decided to put it to the road-test since we were in Bangkok. Thankfully,   Somboon Seafood Restaurant (Banthadthong Branch) is just a short 10 minute walk from Mercure Bangkok Siam, our hotel in Bangkok.

How to go to Somboon Seafood – Step-by-Step Guide

Here’s a map of the Somboon Seafood (Bantadthong Branch) retrieved from Somboon’s website for easy reference. If you are staying at Mercure Bangkok Siam like we did, just cross the overhead bridge outside the hotel and walk along the Rama 1 Road. If you are not staying at Mercure Bangkok Siam, you could take the BTS to National Stadium Station on the Silom Line and get out from Exit 2. Follow the steps down from the station and you would now be along Rama 1 Road.

You will pass by the National Stadium on your left. Turn left at the traffic junction and walk along Bantadthong Road. You would be able to see Somboon Chinese Restaurant (Somboon’s sister restaurant) along the road. Follow the directional sign outside the restaurant and turn into Soi Chula 8. You should have no problem locating Somboon Seafood restaurant by then as there is always a big crowd of outside the restaurant, probably waiting for their friends before entering the restaurant for their meals.

Somboon Seafood (Bantadthong Branch) Bangkok
(Credits: http://www.somboonseafood.com/index.php/en/branch/4)

Somboon Chinese Restaurant when you reach Soi Chula 8. Notice the street sign with the number 8 in the centre of the photo. That’s also an indication that you have reached the alley. Just turn into the alley and you will soon see Somboon Seafood Restaurant on your right along the alley.

Follow the directions and walk further into Soi Chula 8.

Fresh Seafood at Somboon, Thailand

Walking along the dark alley (Soi Chula 8) towards the entrance of Somboon Seafood Restaurant, you’ll find the place lined with activities of the restaurant – workers unloading fresh seafood, tanks after tanks of lobsters, fish, and crabs, and even a space for roasting suckling pigs!

Reservations list displayed at the restaurant.

Discover Book Travel Tip:

Make sure you reserve a seat online with Somboon Seafood at least 48 hrs beforehand to ensure you get a seat.  Due to the large numbers of dinner crowd, some branches will not accept any reservations for 7-9 pm.

In stark contrast to the dark alley outside the restaurant, the interior of Somboon Seafood Restaurant is actually a welcoming and surprising change.  Despite the large crowds that frequent this place, there is no sign of chaos, although the waiters do look very busy and takes a while to serve us.

The well-used main menu and the dessert menu. All prices on the menu are inclusive of 7% VAT. There is a service charge of THB $10 per person.

Famous Fried Curry Crab at Somboon Seafood

Somboon Seafood has been around since 1969.  Since then, its reputation, especially that of its famed Fried Curry Crab has grown tremendously, allowing it to expand to 5 outlets today.

The famous Fried Curry Crab – the signature dish that Som Boon is renowned for.  When you are at Somboon, take a quick glance around and you’ll find that most tables have a dish of the Fried Curry Crab!

If you don’t like curry, Somboon has many other options of cooking the crab, including pepper or marinated too.

If you don’t like crabs totally, you might want to try their other recommended dish, the steamed fresh water prawns with garlic.

This is the real deal – Fried Curry Crab (THB $320 = SGD $13). We ordered the smallest portion for all dishes and this comes nicely as the right size for 2 persons (Somboon offers the dish in small, medium and large sizes).   Whether you like the Fried Curry Crab or not really depend on the individual.  For instance, Tommy would slurp up all the sauce and declare it a unique dish, whereas I find it only mediocre, choosing to focus on getting the crab meat out of its shell instead.   The dish is not too spicy and is suitable for mild taste buds.

While I am not so charmed by the Fried Curry Crab, I am very much more impressed by the chilli sauce instead!  This is the perfect combination of spicy-ness and sourness topped with a wonderful tangy taste.  Beware, those without a strong taste bud will find it too spicy for their liking!

Another of our favourites – Steamed Freshwater Prawns with Garlic (THB $425 = SGD17).  There are only 4 prawns, each sliced into half.  I must say, the garlic and the sauce were made very nicely, complimenting the freshness of the prawns perfectly.

Fried Morning Glory (THB $100 = SGD $4).  To this day, I still do not know what a morning glory is, I always thought that it is a flower that hangs around on fences.  It tastes the same as a spinach (or kang kong as the Chinese likes to call it).

Orange Frappe and Watermelon Frappe (THB $70 = SGD $2.85 each).  It seems that Somboon had mastered the art of making Fruit Frappes.  The ice is grinded so smoothly, it feels just like drinking ultra cold fruit juice.  This is perfect after a day out in the sun.

Cantaloupe Frappe with Sago Dessert (THB $60 = SGD $2.40).  As if we didn’t have enough of Frappes, we ordered a Cantaloupe Frappe to share between us.   Just as refreshing as the fruit frappes..definitely no regrets.

Final Verdict

The total bill for a dinner for two came up to THB $1115 = SGD $45.  Somboon Seafood Restaurant certainly does not disappoint.   We won’t say that the prices are low, but for the quality of food, the amount we paid is certainly worth it.  The same meal in Singapore will likely cost us a lot more.  We will certainly be back again when we visit Bangkok.

Scam Warning

Do note that Somboon Seafood is available only in Bangkok and there are only 5 branches.  Due to its popularity with tourists and locals alike, some taxi drivers have resorted to bringing their passengers to other restaurants with similar sounding names and earn a generous commission from the fake restaurant.  It is for this reason that we decided to stay at Mercure Bangkok Siam, a short walking distance from Somboon Seafood (Banthadthong Branch) so that we can trust ourselves to walk to the authentic Somboon Seafood Restaurant.

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