Somboon Seafood loses its wok magic – Central Embassy, Bangkok, Thailand

When I’m in Bangkok and have cravings for good Thai-Chinese food, I will head to Somboon Seafood restaurant. This established brand is known for its excellent Thai-Chinese cuisine, namely the Fried Curry Crab. I remember clearly when I first ate eating at its Surawong branch ten years ago. Although the restaurant was simply decorated, I was too absorbed with the food that the ambience became secondary.

In celebration of its 45th anniversary this year, Somboon opens another two branches in Bangkok. One of them is located in Siam Square One, and the other in the newly opened upscale shopping mall, Central Embassy. I went to the latter. Even at 8.30pm on a Saturday evening, there was a long queue of people waiting to eat at this well-known establishment.

Somboon Seafood at Central Embassy, Bangkok

This Central Embassy branch definitely looks nicer and feels more comfortable as compared to the Surawong branch. My friends and I have visited Somboon many times and we were looking forward to this meal. Sad to say, the food quality is nothing comparable to the interior decoration and the standard has slipped tremendously.

Tom Yum Soup

For those who have had the Fried Curry Crab previously would have tasted the difference between now and then. Although the Fried Curry Crab still tasted good, the flavour is not as memorable just it used to be. I tasted the gravy and frankly, it was nothing spectacular. The serving portion was rather small considered that we ordered a large portion.

Fried Curry Crab

The Roasted Fresh Water Prawns with Glass Noodles was equally forgettable. With only one miserable prawn cut into halves, the glass noodle was the main ingredient. The noodle tasted mainly of soya sauce and lacked the depth that it previously had.

Roasted Fresh Water Prawns with Glass Noodles

Equally disappointing is the Chicken Fried Rice. The fried rice lacked “wok hei” which is key to a plate of delicious fried rice. Somboon’s fried rice was very one-dimensional and flat. This is the same for the Stir-fried Morning Glory.

Stir-fried Morning Glory

The only consolation is probably the Steamed Seabass with Chilli, Garlic and Lime. The seabass was fresh and the spicy and tangy sauce complemented the fish perfectly. It was the only dish which my three friends and I finished eating.

Steamed Seabass with Chilli, Garlic and Lime

One common mistake, which most good chain restaurants make, is that in their quest to dominate the market, they fail to maintain the standard. As a result, food quality deteriorates. After the meal, my friends and I all agreed that Somboon is no longer worth visiting.

Somboon Seafood
5th floor, Central Embassy
1031 Ploenchit Road,
Lumpini, Pathumwan,
Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Tel: +66 02-160-5965-6

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