Mangkon RD

Jackie McMillan
6th Oct 2023

You might associate chewy fried turnip cakes more with Chinese cuisine than Thai, but borders are porous, and just like Sydney, Bangkok has its own Chinatown where locally-geared hybrid dishes are created. You can eat rice cake seafood ($24.90) at Mangkon RD, which sits in the liminal zone between our Cantonese-dominated Chinatown and the lively flavours of Thai Town. The two-storey indoor-outdoor space opens onto a courtyard lined with restaurants. It has a long open kitchen, street-food style wooden stools, and bright, dragon neon to symbolise the connection to Chinese. Follow the path of the dragon to the upstairs mezzanine and you’ll find thirty-odd guests chattering loudly under colourful streetscapes. 

The chefs, Pongsakorn “Ken” Kantha, and Chisanupong “Jumbo” Thaweerojthanakij, are both Long Chim alumni. I taste more of Ken’s time at Soi 25 in the thick red coconut curry sauce laid over grilled wagyu beef dry curry ($28.90). The “dry” in this case refers to the meat not being cooked in the sauce. The topside slices get a bit lost among all the sauce-soaked eggplant, but no matter, there’s plenty of them laid over baked chicken rice ($22.90). This earthenware pot of yellow rice came mildly flavoured with curry powder and dotted with pineapple, cashews, egg and shallots. 

The Chinese–Thai collision brings in a sweetness that I usually take great pains to avoid with Thai food. I also try to avoid it with cocktails, so I pretty much hated the Mangkon slushy sunrise ($19.90). It was served with two glasses in a glass carafe that arrived with a single straw, making it hard to pour and even harder to properly combine. My favourite dish here turned out to be a simple plate of lightly grilled squid ($13.90) bright on the palate against green chilli nam jim.