Yaowarat, the heart of Bangkok’s Chinatown and a major street food hub, is one of my favorite places to eat. Many of the stalls you’ll find there have been there for at least a decade or so. Every now and then, though, you get to discover something new. One of my latest discoveries is Jumbo Lobster Restaurant, a seafood restaurant that sells—you’ve guessed it—jumbo lobsters.
Jumbo Lobster: A product of passion
During the time we filmed that episode on Jumbo Lobster Restaurant, the place has been open for only eight months. It’s practically a baby compared to the decades-old family establishments you’ll find around Chinatown. But what it lacks in age, it definitely makes up in character. And within those eight months, the restaurant ranked #4 in TripAdvisor’s list of best seafood restaurants in Yaowarat.
Jumbo Lobster Restaurant is founded by Chef Chai Chalermvat. Like many entrepreneurs you’ll find in Bangkok’s Chinatown, Chef Chai didn’t start out in the food industry. He worked for an American company for some 15 years. But he had a passion for food that can’t be denied. So, he followed that passion, studied cooking in some prestigious culinary schools in Bangkok, and then opened his restaurant in Yaowarat.
One of the things I noticed about the restaurant is the way it uses technology. The servers use an iPad with a point-of-sale app. The app has pictures of all the food you can order from the restaurant. The app is developed by a Thai company, and the system is similar to the one I use at Asian Mint.
I asked Chef Chai why he chose to put up his restaurant in Yaowarat. He said that he loves food and that he loves to see people happy. To him, Yaowarat seemed like the best place to make both loves happen. He hopes that his restaurant will have staying power and stand for decades in Chinatown like his neighbors. He also hopes it becomes a legacy he can pass on to the next generation.
What’s the lobster like in Jumbo Lobster?
Jumbo Lobster Restaurant is open from Tuesdays to Sundays. According to Chef Chai, on those days his restaurant is open, it serves up around 40 to 60 lobsters a day.
Where does he get his lobsters, I asked him. He told me it depends on the season. His lobsters typically come from Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. But the lobsters can also come from neighboring countries like Myanmar and Vietnam.
The lobsters at Jumbo Lobster weigh between 700 grams to 1 kilo. A kilo of lobster cost 1,500 baht (around US$50) when I visited. It’s not cheap, but it’s certainly much more affordable than the ones you’ll get at seaside restaurants in Thailand.
And here’s the million-dollar question: What’s the lobster like in Jumbo Lobster? Oh, it’s to live for. It’s exactly the kind of food that will feed your soul.
Watch the Jumbo Lobster Restaurant episode on YouTube.