Amazing Green Papaya Salad and Grilled Chicken in Ubon Ratchathani – Mark Wiens – 2015

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Ubon Ratchathani is a small city in the Isaan region of Thailand, and one of my favorite restaurants in the city is a place called Pornthip Som Tam Gai Yang – Wat Jaeng (ร้านอาหาร พรทิพย์ส้มตำไก่ย่าง (วัดแจ้ง). The restaurant is well known throughout Ubon Ratchathani, often considered one of the premiere places in the city for the combination of gai yang (grilled chicken) and som tam (green papaya salad). And along with these two signature dishes, they also have numerous other wonderful Thai Isaan food to choose from.

This was my first time to visit Ubon Ratchathani, and for one of my first meals, we headed straight to Pornthip Som Tam Gai Yang – Wat Jaeng (ร้านอาหาร พรทิพย์ส้มตำไก่ย่าง (วัดแจ้ง). Although there are many different types of Thai green papaya salad to order, probably my favorite is version is called Som tam Laos (ส้มตำลาว), green papaya salad that’s named after the country of Laos, and includes slivers of green papaya dressed with lots of pungent fermented fish sauce. This plate of som tam was one of the best I’ve ever had in my life, flavored almost perfectly for my taste buds, and it included a wonderful mixture of ingredients, like a Laos olive, and a handful of sprinkle of white popinac seeds, which have a bit of an earthy green flavor – and I think they go wonderful with a green papaya salad.

Along with the amazing som tam, what Pornthip Som Tam Gai Yang – Wat Jaeng (ร้านอาหาร พรทิพย์ส้มตำไก่ย่าง (วัดแจ้ง) is most well known for throughout Ubon Ratchathani is their grilled chicken. The chicken was nicely marinated, then grilled over low heat, so it was cooked to perfection, and remained juicy with an outstanding smoky flavor. But even better than the actual grilled chicken, was the sauce that it was served with – there were two different types of sauce, both equally wonderful. The first sauce, the light colored sauce, was a combination of chilies and garlic, and I think they might have used a hint of Sprite or some carbonated drink, because it had a little zing to it. The other sauce was a combination of fish sauce and chili flakes. The gai yang (ไก่ย่าง) was marvelous.

Additionally we also ordered the tom saeb graduk moo (ต้มแซ่บกระดูกหมู), pork ribs made into a delicious Isaan style soup. Unlike other restaurants that serve tom saeb in a normal bowl, at this restaurant I liked how they served it in a fire pot so it stayed piping hot for our entire meal. The soup was wonderful, fiery spicy and filled with dry chilies, sour from lime juice, and teeming with fresh herbs like cilantro and mint. I wasn’t planning to order their sausage, sai krok moo yang (ไส้กรอกหมูย่าง), but my wife wanted to try it, so we got an order. It turned out to be just as delicious as everything else, and what I also liked about it was that it seemed a bit less fatty than other versions I’ve had.

If you ever get a chance to go to the small town of Ubon Ratchathani, don’t mis a meal or a few at Pornthip Som Tam Gai Yang – Wat Jaeng (ร้านอาหาร พรทิพย์ส้มตำไก่ย่าง (วัดแจ้ง):

Address: 136 Thanon Sapsit, Mueang Ubon Ratchathani District, Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand
Open hours: 8 am – 8 pm everyday
ที่อยู่ ที่อยู่ : 136 ถนนสรรพสิทธิ์ ตำบลในเมือง อำเภอเมืองอุบลราชธานี อุบลราชธานี
เปิดทุกวัน เวลา 08.00 – 20.00 น
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