First off, I rarely use the word “best” in my titles. If I do it’s because this is a must visit place for the particular item I make claim that they are the “best” of (as an example, Eats Payao: The Best Khao Soi In Bangkok!). Prachak (official website) has been roasting ducks since 1909. That’s over a century of perfecting their recipes and techniques. Additionally, their hours of operation are from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm. Those are strange hours for a restaurant–but not for one that has a queue of locals waiting to grab freshly roasted deliciousness for take-away each morning. Also peculiar, a “lunch crowd” as early as 10:00 am.
Prachak – A collaborative dining experience!
My good friend and fellow Bangkok based foodie blogger, The Roaming Cook, introduced me to Prachak. He’s got a culinary background and a good grasp on where to find good eats in the Big Mango. Bottom line, if he says something’s good I listen.
For this particular adventure we decided to make the review a collaborative effort. He created a video of our dining experience and I am providing the scribbles. Thus far I’ve learned from my first video experience that I hate the sound of my voice. I mean, I knew I was no Barry White, but the kid from The Goonies? I now have tremendous sympathy for Mike Tyson.
The video is below but please do continue to read after as my review does include some things that didn’t make the video cut (duck tongue–it’s as good as it sounds!).
Now let’s eat some duck!
The star of the show is roasted duck. It’s on the restaurant signage, it’s hanging on hooks in the front windows of the restaurant, and it’s all over the menu. The meat is so incredibly succulent and tender. The fat is completely rendered from the bird so that the skin is slightly crunchy and chewy. But the sauce is what really sets it apart from other roasted duck dishes I’ve experienced. It’s savory…tangy and rich. Order a side of rice for 10 baht so that none of this sauce goes to waste.
ALL of the duck….
As I said, this was my first experience with filming a dining moment. Usually I just have my camera and a little notepad to take notes. Other diners probably just think I’ve been in Asia too long when I get snap happy with my food. When you whip out a tripod and make a production of it you tend to get more interest from other diners. One diner, Terry (from the UK), offered us some duck tongue that he’d ordered.
I’m not a person who gets thrills from “Fear Factor” food, but I don’t shy away from trying things that seem like they might be gross. If I did I would never have enjoyed escargot or raw oysters. That being said, I’m not a fan of duck tongue. The meat itself tastes flavorful but has a texture of fat. Honestly there’s not much on there either. But I will say this experience of duck tongue was still better than my first kiss.
More than duck!
There is nothing on the menu at Prachak that won’t please the palate (the jury being out on duck tongue). This bowl of egg noodles with mixed meat contains slices of sweet Chinese sausage, red pork (which is all natural with no coloring), homemade pork wontons, crispy pork, roasted duck, and another sausage (mysteriously on the menu as “mixed ingredient pork”). If you’re a solo diner I would highly recommend this dish as it basically covers the full range of Prachak’s kitchen. It’s also a tremendous value. You won’t be disappointed!
As I mentioned before, Prachak makes their own wontons. For the seafood lover, this shrimp wonton soup with crab meat and greens is quite a deal. The shrimp is sweet with a slight crunch–this is not frozen wontons heated up. They also throw in a generous portion of lumped crab meat which really makes this a hearty soup!
A savory and filling palate cleanser…
If you’re hungry and/or looking for a hangover curative or palate cleanser look no further than to this dish of stir fried rice noodles with chunks of chicken and omelet. All of the flavor comes from the wok–savory grill flavor. If you want spice you’ll want to doctor this up with the condiments provided on the table. We had it with a bit of vinegar sauce and green chilies.
Don’t forget the veggies!
I’ve had varying experiences with morning glory. This is not your watered down oyster sauce, too many or too little chili dishes. It’s perfect! Nice salty flavors from the yellow bean and oyster sauce, the perfect amount of heat from the chilies (and if it’s too much, take a bite of the noodle and omelet dish). The morning glory is fried tender but with a bit of crunch, too. You can’t go wrong fighting off scurvy with this dish!
Plenty of room, but time it right!
We were both pretty surprised to find that there was a “lunch crowd” at 10:00 am. It stayed pretty full downstairs except for a slight lull between 11:00 am to 11:30 am. That’s when we were able to take some pictures of the inside without being a nuisance. If your schedule is flexible, I’d recommend going for an early lunch. However, don’t be deterred from coming anytime as they do have an upstairs dining area (that wasn’t being used when we were there but I assume opens up when the “real” rush comes in).
I highly recommend Prachak to anyone wanting a great meal at a great value. Feel free to view their menu to see what I mean. Located on Charoen Krung Road, Prachak is an easy walk from the Saphan Taksin BTS exit 3. It’s located a little further and across the street from the Robinson’s department store. You can’t miss the ducks hanging in the window and the red signage!