You can’t get authentic Thai food in Tokyo south of Kabukicho — at least that’s what the conventional wisdom would have us believe. Indeed, as with any such sweeping generalization, there’s a kernel of truth to it — as long as what you’re after is hawker food that’s rough but ever ready, gentle on the wallet but suitably abrasive on the palate.

However, having recently returned from Bangkok and already suffering severe withdrawal symptoms, we were craving much more than that. Squatting at street stalls and eating pad thai laced with equal parts MSG and vehicular particulates certainly has an immediacy and charm all of its own, but one we are happy to leave for our occasional forays down to Sukhumvit or Silom.

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