I found Somtum Der on Yelp while looking through the recent openings. Somtum Der features dishes from Northeastern Thailand or Isan. The typical style of food in the Isan area features small-plates or finger foods that are meant to be shared. The East Village location is a branch from their original location in Bangkok and serves up authentic and genuine Thai food. Their menu, which features pictures for every dish, is super colorful – just like their food.
We arrived at 12pm, which is when they open. We were the first ones in the restaurant so we were given our pick of spots. There were a row of tables along the wall, another row of benches in the middle and two bar area seats. The place may look small but there is actually a lot of seating!
Since we were there for lunch, we opted for the lunch special, which comes in two price ranges. The first is $12.00 and features:
– Tum Thai: an original spicy papaya salad
– Sa Poak Kai Tod Der: Der styled deep-fried chicken thigh
– Sticky Rice or Khao Mun, coconut rice
We opted for the sticky rice, which is a staple of the Isan area. Almost every dish or meal in Isan is accompanied with sticky rice! The papaya salad, while colorful and fresh, was so spicy that neither the Boyfriend nor I could finish it. Hot hot hot! The chicken thigh was one of the best pieces of fried chicken that I have ever had. It was flavorful and crunchy while still staying moist and juicy. We went with sticky rice, which comes in a bamboo steamer. The rice was so good – it was fragrant and chewy.
The other lunch option is $10.00 and offers up a choice between eight entrees and two soups. Both soups are spicy – I went with the pork cartilage soup and it was so spicy that I couldn’t finish it! The cartilage was very tender and fell off the bone. I went with the Kaho Moo Tod Kratian Prik Thai, or Fried Garlic Pork with Jasmine Rice. It comes with a oozy egg on top of the rice. I popped the egg, let it soak the rice and ate a bite of rice with a piece of grilled pork. It was so good! The flavors meshed so well together and everything was so fresh and flavorful.
We opted to share a side of Grilled Sticky Rice ($4.00), which is one of their specialties. The sticky rice was very fragrant and there was a sweet, yet salty, taste to them. I really enjoyed them and could literally just eat a whole order of them.
The service was friendly and prompt. The food came out in single plates so there was never too much clutter on the table – I really liked that simple touch. I didn’t snatch a picture of it but their Thai Iced Teas are very good. It was very creamy and tasted like how a true Thai Iced Tea should taste! I will definitely be back for more fried chicken and sticky rice!