How did the business start?
"The business started in 1988 when my sister started selling Sai Krok for 1 baht each at the corner of Naebkhehard Road and Naebkhehard Soi 5 (a continuation of Soi 51). As these became more and more popular, she added Som Tam to her menu. As her popularity increased, she moved from just selling take away Sai Krok and Som Tam, to offering roadside dining, with chairs and tables."
Is your sister still involved with the running of the business?
"No, unfortunately she passed away after losing her battle with cancer. I now run the business with my 2 nephews. I give all of the profits to them."
The Restaurant Opens Som Tam Thanon Tok 51 (ส้มตำถนนตก51)
How did it eventuate that the business moved from a roadside stall to this restaurant?
"Around 2 years ago, the roadside stall was getting so much business that local restaurants like Coco 51, at the bottom of Naebkhehard Soi 5, began to become angry at the lack of parking for their customers. A shop became available further up Soi 51 and around 2 years ago we opened our doors as Som Tam Thanon Tok 51."
We agree that this decision seems to have paid off in spades and has seen the restaurant go from strength to strength, with weekends seeing as many as 20 or 30 people waiting in queues outside for a much prized table for lunch.
"I am originally from Baan Saphan Noi in Prachuap Khiri Khan," she answers, "but the food is all from Isaan."
What is your most popular dish?
"Our most popular dish is Kor Moo Yang (ยำคอหมูย่าง)."
Kor Moo Yang is grilled, marinated pork neck. The neck is one of the cuts of pork having the right combination of muscle, lean meat and fat. It is an extremely popular cut in Thailand.
Why do you think the restaurant is so popular?
"We use only the freshest ingredients available. Our menu hasn't changed since opening our doors 2 years ago. The flavours are the same as when my sister owned the business selling on the streets."
"Consistency is also key for us. We have fast, efficient and friendly staff. This makes the experience here very nice for our customers."
When are you open, Khun Gaysorn?
"Our normal opening hours are 10am to 8pm, 6 days a week. We have one day off a week, which varies depending on family needs; it is normally a Wednesday that we close."
Som Tam Thanon Tok 51
22 Hua Hin Soi 51 (Dumrongrat Road)
Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan
Telephone: +66 (0) 92 8844 989