Jok Prince: For first-time foreigners, it’s quickly apparent that Thailand doesn’t really have ‘breakfast’ food. It’s perfect acceptable to dive into a plate of gaeng curry or pad stir-fry - nothing’s off the table when it comes to Thai food in the morning.
However, the closest thing to a breakfast dish is jok (often called congee), a rice porridge whose roots lie in China. This comforting bowl of rice stewed in stock is typically topped with pork meatballs, slices of pork and liver.
You won’t find it difficult to buy a bowl of steamy congee in most markets across Thailand, but if it sounds like your bag, make a dash for Jok Prince, the best place to eat jok in Bangkok. Don’t expect anything fancy. This tiny hole-in-the-wall shophouse restaurant with its basic plastic tables, a scattering of Chinese decorations and a refreshingly low-key wall menu is about as simple as they come. But you’d be hard pushed to find a better version of jok.
After a bowl or two, you’ll find your own personal taste. But we recommend going all out. Along with tasty homemade meatball, be sure to top it with all the accompaniments – julienne ginger, chopped coriander, slices of spring onions, soy sauce for seasoning and a little dried chili. Then there’s the half-cooked egg dropped into the warm jok whose yolk adds rich depth to the dish when stirred in. For an extra kick, spike the bowl with a little vinegar and for added texture buy a few pa thong ko, crunchy Thai-style Chinese crullers perfect for mopping up the good stuff.
Prices: $ - Expect to pay around 55 baht (US $1.75) a bowl. Another 10 baht will score you some extra meatballs and slices of pork.
Address: Jok Prince, 1391 Charoen Krung Road, Bang Rak, 10500
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday - 6am–12pm, 4h30–10pm
Photographer: Ken Marshall