Red and Green seafood. No, it’s not a Christmas-themed dish. They are the two nicknames of the two most popular seafood restaurants in Bangkok’s Chinatown (also known as Yaowarat). These are not street carts nor the higher-end air-conditioned restaurants with parking lots and valets. Think street corner with metal tables and some plastic stools. In fact, two street corners: they face each other. I call them dueling seafood grills. Red is actually Lek & Rut Seafood, and the formal name at Green is T & K Seafood. Which one is better? Who can say? Other than the color difference they are like mirror images of each other. And I’d rate them as two of the best affordable seafood restaurants in Bangkok. (If you are looking to spend lavishly, there are other options, but I am not convinced they are worth it.)
One corner’s tables might start to fill up first and then whoever shows up to eat next just fills in across the sidestreet. Fresh seafood, lying out on ice, is grilled up right there on portable grills which appear sometime just before the dinner hour on an otherwise unassuming street corner along Yaowarat Road, Chinatown’s main drag you might say.
The staff rush around in their appropriately colored shirts. In fact, the places both fill up fast as soon as they have set up. If they are both full, there is a staff person with a clipboard and a waiting list, and you can stand around or sit on a few extra plastic stools in the street.
Any kind of rivalry is all in fun. Green might call to the customer lingering uncertainly at the edge of Red’s territory; Red might offer a menu to the tourist still staring at Green’s side. But none of it is the hard sell of a hawker. It has the bustling atmosphere of Chinatown as the setting and the taste of a good grill. Whichever side you choose, you aren’t going to be sorry.
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