A friend recently introduced me to the Little Sunshine Cafe (official Facebook page). He described it as a cafe with a menu for “healthy eating”. This description normally fills me with dread. It conjures up images of dishes loaded with bean sprouts and tofu. When I arrived I was prepared to examine the menu and pick the “least worst” dish to try to enjoy. Once I saw the menu I realized quickly…boy, was I wrong!
There was so many things on the menu I wanted to try. The problem wasn’t trying to find something to order. The problem was trying to decide which amazing dish I wanted to order! After our wonderful meal I decided to return there to explore the menu a little further as well as learn a little more about their story.
This article highlights just a few of their popular dishes (and my personal favorite dish). I think you’ll rethink healthy eating once you read about this place.
But let’s begin with the food, shall we?
Little Sunshine Cafe breaks down their lunch menu into 3 categories: Soup, Salad, and Pasta/Rice dishes. I chose to order a salad, pasta, and rice dish. By no means did I finish all of these dishes myself. I wanted to save room for dessert. I mean, I was really curious…what the heck is a “craffle”?
Their most popular pasta…
The Spicy Three Egg Pasta (205 baht) is the most popular pasta dish on their menu. In my mind I pictured the dish would be boring. I mean what’s so interesting about a pasta with 3 eggs? Again I was wrong. The eggs topping this pasta dish are mentaiko (pollock roe), tobiko (flying fish roe), and onsen (chicken) egg. This is all topped with shredded dried seaweed.
You will want to mix up all of these toppings with the perfectly cooked al dente noodles. The chicken egg is soft boiled and the runny yolk coats the noodles with a delicious sauce. This pasta dish is the most popular item for many of the Thai customers. There’s a reason for that. It’s spicy! I’m not exaggerating either. There’s real heat in this dish. You’ve been warned.
THIS is a salad!
This Grilled Salmon Mushroom Salad (240 baht) is meant to be a meal. Fresh leafy greens are mixed with dried cranberries, cherry tomatoes, almonds, pickled pumpkin, and radish slivers. It’s topped with a generous portion of grilled crispy skinned Norwegian salmon (fresh and never frozen) on a bed of marinated grilled mushrooms. They drizzle their homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing over the towering salad.
THIS is the kind of salad I like. It’s not boring. There’s a nice mix of hot and cold, chewy and crunchy, and sweet and savory. In the future if I’m craving a salad for a meal I know this is what I’m going to be wanting.
My favorite dish!
On their special menu (not found on their online menu) is my personal favorite dish (and what I ordered during my first visit), the Buta Kakuni Rice Bowl (195 baht). This rice dish is made with Japanese style braised pork belly, kimchi, pickled ginger, an organic hardboiled egg, sriracha mayo, and dried seaweed. Similar to the pasta dish, you’ll want to mix this up.
The pork belly is trimmed and marinated overnight with ginger, soy sauce, and garlic. It’s then braised for 2-3 hours so that much of the fat is rendered out yet it’s still very tender. It just melts in your mouth.
Little Sunshine Cafe uses organic eggs from a single local farmer. The eggs are smaller as they’re from younger hens (also called “pullet eggs“. But what these eggs lack in size they more than make up for in flavor. The yolks, even hardboiled, just taste “creamier”.
There is so much flavor and texture in this dish. I highly recommend it. Order it. You will LOVE it. But whatever you order save room for dessert!
What the heck is a “Craffle”?
Little Sunshine Cafe has a pretty nice dessert menu but one thing that jumped out at me as unique was The Craffles (180 baht). What’s a “Craffle”?
A craffle is basically a waffle that’s made with croissant batter. This makes it lighter, more crunchy, and flakier than a waffle. They serve them with a choice of fillings (vanilla custard (what I chose), green tea custard, chocolate, and original). It’s served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, whip cream, and homemade chocolate sauce. It’s big enough to share. Sharing is caring but I won’t judge you if you don’t want to–it’s tasty!
Very noteworthy, they have a craffle with a ham and cheese filling that they serve as a breakfast dish topped with a fried egg and sriracha mayo along with a side salad also for 180 baht. Yes, please.
A chat with the owner…
During my visit I had the chance to speak with the Little Sunshine Cafe owner, Utchi. Utchi hadn’t planned to open a restaurant, though she’s always had a passion for food. In fact, she imagined her career to be very different.
Utchi received her formal education in the USA. She went to Wisconsin to complete her undergraduate studies to become a dietician. Then she relocated to Boston to complete her graduate degree in Nutritional Sciences focusing on clinical nutrition.
While studying in Boston she was able to participate in a hospital internship program. During her internship she developed a passion for cooking healthy food (to the delight of her fellow interns and other hospital staff). After her graduate program was completed she veered off her career path to pursue her passion for cooking healthy cuisine. She moved to the Big Apple to attend the Natural Gourmet Institute.
Though she loved living in New York City, Utchi felt it was time to move back home to Bangkok. She worked in a local hospital as a dietician for 1 year. In that year that’s when she came to the decision to pursue her true passion: healthy cooking. She spent a short 6 month stint as a columnist for a health and cuisine magazine inventing menus and writing restaurant reviews. After that short period she decided to open a cafe.
Bringing a Little Sunshine to Bangkok
The Little Sunshine Cafe opened in November, 2015 as a simple cafe serving drinks and small baked desserts (her friend makes the craffles). They began to expand their menu items to include a few healthy meal options. The menu quickly grew based on her creativity and desire to create “fusion comfort food with a healthy twist”.
Utchi strives to ensure that all of the ingredients are organic, the sauces homemade, the menu MSG free, and that they only use rice bran and olive oil in their cooking. But most importantly, she tries to keep the menu interesting. The dishes are purposely created to combine different flavors and textures, and along with the main menu, she showcases a weekly organic menu based on the fresh seasonal produce available.
All dishes are prepared on order. Their mantra is that the food tastes better if you wait for the food rather than the food waiting for you. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of cooks in the kitchen and they get the orders out quickly.
I’m hungry. Where is it?
The Little Sunshine Cafe is located off of Witthayu (Wireless) Road down the tiny dead-end soi (Witthayu Soi 1) next to the Republic of Vietnam Embassy. You’ll find it next to the Consulate of the Republic of Uzbekistan. It’s an easy walk from the BTS Phloen Chit station.
They are open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. I highly recommend this place for their unique and healthy menu dishes at very affordable prices. If you go I’d love to hear your comments below!