Sadly, much of Thailand's satay is uninspiring, mostly because much of it is cooked over electric grills. Not so at the third-generation Chong Kee which has been grilling pork the same way for over 80 years. If you're not doing something right in this food-obsessed city, you're weeded out long before this.
There are two choices at Chong Kee - pork loin and liver - marinated for hours in a blend of rich coconut milk and turmeric, skewered and flipped over hot charcoal which imparts a smokey flavour that's just not possible with an electric grill. Cooks here have mastered the art of juggling dozens of skewers ensuring they don't char and basting them with rolled pandan leaves doused in the coconut marinate.
Serving at Chong Kee is a simple arrangement - plates of the skewered meat, the nutty satay sauce made from roasted peanuts, coriander seeds, garlic and just enough chilli to add a kick, an ajat relish of cucumber, fresh chillis, red onions and white vinegar that perfectly cuts through the rich sauce and toasted white bread to mop up anything left over.
The space is an old-school shophouse - an open-sided no-frills joint typical of the area - where little has changed over the decades. It's a tad run down, but it's got character and soul you simply wouldn't find in one of Bangkok's modern, glassy restaurants.
A plate of either the pork loin or liver is 80 THB (around US $2.55), the minimum order being ten skewers and going up in multiples of five. It's a good first stop on a longer food crawl of Bangkok's Chinatown.