Khao moo daeng is a favourite lunch food, steamed rice covered in roasted red pork and a sweet, sticky barbecue gravy perhaps with some slices of cured Chinese sausage, a little cucumber garnish and boiled eggs often for under a buck.
But as with all Thai street food, not all is made equal. Thanee Khao Moo Daeng does it the right way. The belly pork has a crunchy exterior above layers of fat and meat, the red barbecue pork is tender and soft, the boiled eggs are cooked to perfect consistency the yolks hovering just above runny and the whites fully cooked, and the barbecue sauce is sweet without being sugary (as many can be). It's a combination worth travelling for.
Thanee Khao Moo Daeng is in the heart of the trendy Ari neighbourhood, a place that's fast attracted a more upmarket backpacker, one who prefer the laid-back bars and coffee shops over Khao San Road's fast-paced fish bowls and raucous nightlife. It's a typically simple shophouse easily recognised by the street side display box of hanging piggy delights. Like most, the kitchen sits along the open-sided entrance, towering stacks of plastic plastics surrounding a well-used wooden chopping board and pan of deep-red gravy.
Scores of office workers pile into Thanee Khao Moo Daeng around noon, so try to avoid the lunchtime rush. A mid-morning or mid-afternoon jaunt is best to guarantee a table without waiting. Just 50 THB (around US $1.60) gets you all the meats and garnishes over rice, 120-180 THB (US $3.80-5.75) for larger sharing plates of meat.