There are just some things worth travelling for and Ya Chaem's Kanom Bueang Yuan is one such thing. For 80-plus years and three generations this tiny alleyway street stall has been cooking up crispy stuffed Vietnamese pancakes and omelettes for Bangkokians.
The arrangement here is as simple as they come. A tabletop mise en plus and a couple of fiery charcoal Thai stoves topped with a metal woks. It's astounding the level of cooking possible from just a few implements down a shady backstreet, perhaps the reason for their enduring success. There's little appetite with younger Thais to take over street cooking from their parents so who knows how long vendors like this will still be found in the city.
Omelettes and pancakes are cooked in aromatic coconut oil which fills the alleyway with a pleasant fragrance. Combinations of tofu, bean sprouts, pickled turnip, stir-fried coconut and small shrimps. Everything is tied together with a tart homemade pickle of onions, ginger, chilli and slices of fresh cucumber marinated in white vinegar and sweetened with a touch of coconut sugar.
The budget-friendly fare is 50 THB (around US $1.60) with egg, 40 THB (US $1.25) without. There's no seating next to Ya Chaem's Kanom Bueang Yuan, but if you walk further up the alleyway it opens up into Nang Loeng Market proper and there's shared food court tables in the middle.
Ya Chaem's Kanom Bueang Yuan makes for a good starting point for a food crawl through Nang Loeng, a market that's been feeding the hungry since the late 19th century.