Hia O Khao Kha Mu is an old-school street stall in Bangkok's Chinatown whose signature dish is slow-braised five spice pork over rice.
This is Bangkok of old - a cluster of shaky tables and a metal pushcart shaded from the city's midday sun by colourful awnings and a scattering of parasols. The narrow Mangkon Road is fringed by faded Chinese-Thai shophouses criss-crossed by telephone lines and dotted with wooden shutters and rogue plants sprouting from the rooftops.
Khao kha moo is a much loved Thai dish whose origins lie in Chinese cuisine. The secret Teochew recipe at this second generation street stall in Yaowarat is a deep dark stew of tender pork knuckle braised in garlic, coriander root, soy sauce, star anise, Chinese five spice and palm sugar. A little side of Chinese mustard greens and (if you follow other Thais) some raw garlic cloves give extra kick.
Hai O perfectly demonstrates the complexity of food that can be cooked in a small space. Not only do they churn out an excellent braised pork, there are fine double-cooked soups like pork spare rib and bitter winter melon, hard-boiled kai palo eggs cooked in Chinese five spice and soy sauce, and deep-fried Chinese sausage.
The spot is often overlooked by foreigners who come to the street to try the more famous curry rice from nearby Jek Pui. But Hai O is well worth the journey alone. It's open daily from breakfast through to lunch or until they sell out which they often do. Plates of the good stuff start at 35 THB (around US $1.15) with larger portions costing 50 THB (US $1.60). The soups and sides are similarly priced.