#SundayWellSpent: Hop on a Mini-truck in Soi Chokchai 4 (Ladprao 53)
Our previous #SundayWellSpent episodes take you to the bustling heart of Bangkok, featuring areas like Sukhumvit, Sathorn, and Ari.
This time, however, we’re taking you away from the epicenter and head to a suburban community hub. The neighborhood is full of local, long-standing restaurants, snack vendors, markets, corner stores, as well as residential areas.
The Ladprao 53 Road stretches on for about 4 km and branches into over 80 smaller Sois; it’s more colloquially known as Soi Chokchai 4.
So if you’ve got no plan for this Sunday, let us take you on a trip with this article. Treat your loved ones to delicious meals at Chokchai 4’s venues, or hop on a mini-truck and stroll around the streets. Here are our picks of 7 hotspots inside Chokchai 4 you should absolutely check out!
(In no particular order.)
Between Chokchai 4’s Soi 3 and Soi 5, just about 300 m in, stands a red commercial building. At its prominent storefront, you’ll find rows of glossy roasted duck and steaming-hot baskets of dim sums.
Tongpeng Restaurant is something of a local legend to the Chokchai 4 community; it has been open for over 36 years (since 1983).
Spanning over two floors, Tongpeng houses the main dining area on the ground floor plus private rooms of varying sizes upstairs. The interior is dressed mostly in dark jade tones, giving the place an original Chinese ambiance.
Tucked in the innermost corner of the venue is its highlight - the karaoke lounge. So you can bet Grandpa and Grandma will be able to entertain themselves while enjoying a delicious meal.
The menu is mostly Cantonese-Teochew dishes such as Dim sums, Chinese fish head hot pot with taro, Fish maw in brown soup, Stir-fried dried fruits and nuts, Peking duck, Roasted duck, and Drunken chicken. There are also a variety of Thai dishes, all starting at a reasonable price of 200 THB.
Don’t worry if you didn’t bring the whole family. Tongpeng also serves one-dish meals like Rice with roasted duck, Rice with crispy pork, Gouy See Mee, and Shanghai noodles.
We tried Hae Zhia Mee (100 THB) - stir-fried noodles with shrimp, ham, shiitake mushroom, and white Chinese chives. The dish is packed with flavors, but nothing too overwhelming.
Add some Steamed shrimp wontons and Steamed noodle rolls (30 THB each), both tasty and not too pricey, and you have a perfectly filling meal.
Located in Chokchai 4 Soi 39, Kuan-Im Temple welcomes all worshippers of Kuan-Im, Goddess of Compassion. At this sanctuary, you can admire ornamented Buddha statues and a towering pagoda; observe how architectural and ideological traditions intertwine.
The area houses two main buildings - Ten-thousand-Buddhas Pagoda and Kuan-Im Temple - each sitting across from each other. As the name suggests, the grand pagoda is home to around 10,000 statues of Buddha and Chinese gods in various poses.
Don’t leave without exploring inside the 21-floor pagoda and catching the spectacular view at the top. The pagoda also houses a massive statue of Kuan-Im in her 1,000 hands and 1,000 eyes aspect, surrounded by 108 ornate wood barrels called ‘Om mani padme hum’ barrels.
You can turn the barrels to ask for blessings, as well as pray at the nearby shrine tables.
Across from the pagoda is Kuan-Im Temple, where you’ll find a statue of Kuan-Im goddess standing on a three-legged toad. Also present are figures of 12 zodiac animals and other gods from the Chinese mythology.
The temple is surrounded by 99 bells, which you can hit to ask for blessings. This house of prayers welcomes worshipers of Kuan-Im and admirers of its architecture every day.
Chokchai 4’s Soi 78 is home to Dude Cafe’ - a loft-style café that has been open since 2014. The venue is super eye-catching, framed by black metal bars and glass panes that reveal the rustic interior.
Dude Cafe’ has a ground floor and a loft, decorated in a typical loft style with polished concrete, wood, bricks, and metal bars. The setting makes the place feels relaxed and laid-back - a perfect place to get some coffee, read, or have a semi-casual meeting.
The café serves light meals, snacks, desserts, plus a variety of drinks. Expect American and Western comfort food like spaghetti, french fries, nuggets, waffles, french toast. There are also dozens of choices of tea, coffee, and smoothies to go with the food.
We tried Coffee Cubes (105 THB) - frozen cubes of roasted coffee, served with milk and syrup to be mixed in before you drink. The coffee flavor is not too strong, and you’ll get more taste of mild bitterness as the cubes melt away.
Those who love to hunt for second-hand clothes should be familiar with the name Shinjuku Outlet, as the chain sells imported hand-me-downs from Japan, Korea, and the US. The Chokchai 4 branch in Soi Ladprao 55 is one of 25 countrywide branches selling second-hand clothes for only 39 THB per 100 grams.
The venue has a ground floor and a loft, both packed wall to wall with racks of men’s and women’s apparel. All sorts of jackets, coats, suits, jeans, dresses, skirts, t-shirts, shirts, tank tops - just take your pick!
If you’re lucky and/or determined, it’s possible to find practically pristine items; some might even still have their price tags. Shinjuku Outlet offers everything from cheap clothes for one-off occasions (a thick, wooly coat for a trip abroad, for instance) to plain, neutral-looking items.
Chokchai 4 Market
At the entrance of Soi Ladprao 53 sits Chokchai 4 Market - the community’s pantry. Stalls and shops start setting up around 15.00; dozens of vendors line up to offer an array of food, snacks, drinks, and fruits on the cheap.
Enjoy one-dish meals like Hainanese chicken rice, Pad Thai, Khao Rad Kaeng, noodles, and cooked-to-order plates. Of course, there are also Thai street snacks and sweets like deep-fried meatballs, grilled pork skewers, garlic chives dumplings, Khanom Bueang, Khanom Khrok, Khao Lam, and cendol.
You’re guaranteed to get your belly filled for under 100 THB.
So if you’re looking for an authentically local food market, Chokchai 4 Market is a great choice. Enjoy an easy evening feasting on Thai food with your friends before going home and getting ready for tomorrow’s tasks.
About 20 meters into Chokchai 4 Soi 44 is a wooden house canopied by trees and greeneries; a red neon sign at the front spells out the place’s name.
Bann Yay is a traditional Thai restaurant with flavorful recipes and has remained a neighborhood favorite for over 27 years.
The venue is a repurposed two-floor wooden house, and although a bit on the small side, it doesn’t feel cramped at all. The decor is simple, yet full of details that refer to the grandma who created the recipes.
Framed pictures & handwritten quotes, transistor radios, posters, and antiques can be seen at every turn, bringing together all the eclectic elements from the ‘90s.
The menu is traditional Thai, but not at all common. Popular dishes include Lon Puu Khem, Khao Tang Naa Tang, Grilled catfish with sweet fish sauce, Tamarind and salted eggs Nam Phrik, Liang curry with pumpkin and coconut cream, Sweet and sour crispy fish stir-fry, plus signature dishes from grandma’s original recipes.
We tried Baan Yay spicy salad (120 THB) - a simple menu with deep-fried shrimp and squid mixed with pork, cashew nuts, and fresh vegetables. Spicy and tangy, it’s a dish that’s perfectly enjoyable alone if you’re not going with the whole family.
Other Restaurants and Shops in Soi Chokchai 4
Throughout the 4-km length of Chokchai 4, there are eateries, snack vendors, and countless standalone convenience stores on both sides of the street. Every last one of them looks oh-so-inviting.
The decor, ambiance, as well as sweet and savory recipes at each venue are diverse and original.
Choose from a wide variety of Thai, Chinese, Italian, Vietnamese, and American food. The locale is home to a cluster of famous eateries such as Suki Kong Prab, Pho ‘54, Song Ped Pha Loh, Somyod Khao Tom Rob Duek, Jae Kiang Jok Kong Prab, Naem Nuang Khun Aor, and many more.
So if you’ve got some time to spare, come taste delicious food and feel the charms of the Chokchai 4 community. You might just find yourself a new favorite hangout.