Last year, while out shopping at Central World Plaza in Bangkok, Thailand a western friend and I were famished. Looking for a Thai restaurant, we stumbled across Taling Pling, which is one of the city’s most famous Thai restaurants. Surprisingly, neither myself nor my Thai friend had eaten there so Taling Pling just had to be tried.
Where is Taling Pling? – Taling Pling is located in Central World Plaza shopping mall. Take the BTS sky train to Chidlom station and walk on the sky bridge to the mall.
Atmosphere at Taling Pling – One of the big reasons Taling Pling is so popular is the atmosphere. Beautifully-designed and lit, it’s a large restaurant that manages to be chic, trendy, traditional and comfortable, all at the same time. It’s also a popular spot for Thais, so you know the food must be good.
The Food at Taling Pling – Of course, the food is the reason most people frequent Taling Pling and that’s because it’s so incredible. On the menu, which is large, you’ll find just about every Thai dish you’ve ever heard of and a lot you haven’t. Westerners enjoy it too, as unlike many Thai restaurants in Thailand where you’re not sure what you’re ordering, at Taling Pling the menu has photographs so you can figure it out before ordering.
As so many Thais eat here, the food is more to Thai taste but, surprisingly, not as spicy as you’d expect on most dishes. This also means, if you’re a visitor to Thailand, you’re getting the ‘real deal’ and not something whipped up for tourist taste.
At Taling Pling, you should try the chicken in pandanus leaves. It literally melts in your mouth and is one the best pandanus chickens I’ve ever eaten in Bangkok. I’m a huge Massaman Curry fan, and Taling Pling’s is perfect. Also, the deep fried soft shell crab is one of their well-known specialties,and comes with a delicious mango sauce. The fishcakes are excellent, as is the Pad Thai, and , my all-time favorite, Tom Kha Gai (chicken in a coconut milk soup) with a side of rice is rich and tangy.
My only complaint was much of the food arrived luke-warm (a Thai thing), and as I prefer my food piping hot, that did spoil the taste for me somewhat.
Prices are higher here than at a lower-level Thai restaurant, as you’re paying for the atmosphere rather than the food. Even so, Taling Pling is still a relatively inexpensive restaurant, with a party of four being able to try many dishes and walk out having spent less than 1,000 baht ($33).
The restaurant also serves a wide variety of Western-style desserts. My friend raves over the Banoffee Pie and I’m a fan of the Lemon Meringue Pie, which has a meringue that’s slightly less sweet than the western version. Their cheesecakes are good too.