I go to Bangkok so often (every year) that I tend to forget to take any pictures of the sights of the city. Its one of those things you take for granted you know. So to make things more interesting, I have started to make my annual visits a themed one. This visit, my focus was on the food and a good spa. I found my spa, now I just had to make sure I found my food! :D
I also made a pit stop for a bit of religion :) This is the popular Erawan Buddhist Shrine that many people visit if you are of the correct religious persuasion. Many Buddhist shrines and temples dot the city of Bangkok but this is one of the most popular.
This trip to Bangkok, I also did something rare – I arranged to meet up with an MWS reader who resides in Bangkok! :D It was one of the highlights of my trip because I did not know what to expect, what she looked like or even if we’d be sitting in uncomfortable silence. So was it awkward?
Not. One. Bit! :D At least not for me!
This is the lovely ST with whom I’d arranged to meet for dinner the day I arrived. She came with her friend, Deun (I hope I spelt it right – Thai names are a bit hard to translate into English) and they both were the most gracious hosts! Dinner was at a little local Thai restaurant that I would never ever have discovered on my own because it was down a tiny little soi (street) and as a tourist, I rarely walk down little side streets.
Clockwise from Top: Exterior of the Restaurant, 2 kinds of fried chicken wings and spicy squid, Stirfried beef with vegetables
There is no English name for this restaurant and when I ran the Thai characters through Google, it turned up as “Rice Masters” which I’m unsure if its correct or not. If you read Thai, please confirm :)
ST and Deun explained that this was a little restaurant that served food cooked in the style of South Thailand so it was different from what I’d find along the streets of Bangkok (Central Thailand) The food tasted very homecooked and tasted pretty much perfect to me.
Top: Fried fish with ginger and fresh herb garnish Bottom: Khao Yam (rice salad)
These were 2 of my favourite dishes from the evening. The fish was absolutely delicious, especially with the flavoursome fried garnish of ginger, peppers and herbs. I would have polished off every bit of it if there wasn’t so much more food to try! The Khao Yam rice salad was very very interesting. There was some rice with lots and lots of fresh chopped herbs, vegetables and some dried shimp flakes. Pour over a flavoursome sauce and mix it all up for a super appetizing treat!
Malaysians may notice the similarity of this dish to that of nasi kerabu popular in the Northern states, which was not lost on me. I’m sure our foods from the states close to the border of Thailand do share some similarity. But it was absolutely delicious!
The Restaurant is at Soi Thonglor 17, Vadhana, 10110 Thailand and you can view directions below. Do note it closes at 8.30pm. I must make my way back the next time I go!
Since the restaurant closed relatively early, ST and Deun suggested having a drink or dessert somewhere and we ended up walking not too far away to an interesting little bakery and cafe called Mr. Jones Orphanage at Seenspace 13. I took a look at the outside of Seenspace at Thonglor 13 and its such a happening place for the young! It was super crowded and busy even till very late. Made me feel ancient :P
Mr. Jones Orphanage is a bakery and cafe done in the theme of an orphanage (I know, its a little strange). So the interior was almost deliberately scaled down to child sizes, teddy bears and toys adorned every surface. Be sure to go upstairs. The wooden staircase was tiny and when you get upstairs, you have to almost bend double because there’s no place for an adult to stand up! It was done up like a little attic room, with scaled down tables and chairs. Very very unique :D
Cakes, sweets and desserts were displayed in elaborate centrepiece style ostensibly out in the open so it was almost as if you could just reach out and swipe one. Don’t, naturally. Just order it off the menu or from the display and the waiters will bring it to your table.
Menus were presented in a most fascinating manner on hard blocks of wood with very quirky names. As you can see from the “Grown Up” menu (alcoholic cocktails) interesting names like “No School Tomorrow” almost called for you to try it (I did, it was delicious!)
Clockwise from Top-Left: Chocky Mud Pie, Orange Juice served in a tin cup, Reminder at the bottom of the cup, Macarons
Deun told me in an aside that although it was a nice and interesting place to hang out, and the cakes looked simply amazing, they didn’t taste very good (I love honest people!) so we only indulged in a Chocky Mud Pie which wasn’t very tasty around the edges but when you hit the motherlode of molten chocolate in the middle, it does taste a lot better. Not a must visit, but a very interesting visit nonetheless. Orphanages – who’d have thought they’d inspire a cafe?
Mr. Jones Orphanage
Seen Space, Thonglor Soi 13
Off Sukhumvit Soi 55
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 10am-12am
The next day saw me headed down by bus as usual, to Bangkok’s Chinatown. When I mentioned it to Deun, she warned me about the traffic, but when I told her I took the public bus, the look on her face was priceless! LOL! Like her, as a local in my own city, I rarely take the public transport since I have my own wheels. But as a tourist, I tend to rely on public transport and public buses are one of the cheapest ways to get around and to see the sights :D
Getting off the bus, one of the first stalls I came across was one selling traditional desserts. I spotted this mung bean soup dessert (“tau suan”) on the menu and I just had to have it! I love it and its not very easy to find it here in Malaysia anymore.
The one I had in Bangkok came served with a generous topping of sweet coconut milk which made the dessert sweeter than it was, and much more creamy. Cost me THB20 but brought back lots of memories of childhood when this was a little treat at a street vendor on some weekends.
After doing all I had to do in Chinatown, I hunted down this restaurant that my family had told me I had to try for their delicious Crab Tang Hoon (glass noodles). My brother has this blissful look on his face everytime he talks about it and I never found the restaurant on my previous trips so this time, I had to do it!
Clockwise from top-left: Hua Seng Hong Restaurant menu, Crab with glass noodles THB1050, Braised Fish Maw soup THB300, Greedy PB!
This was an expensive crabby dish but one I thoroughly enjoyed. There was a relatively large meaty mud crab stirfried with loads and loads of garlic and topped with stir-fried glass noodles. As you can see from my greedy expression, that was the size of the claw – huge! I have a tip for you if you choose to try this. Remove the crab from the pot and then toss the glass noodles in the bit of sauce at the bottom. It tastes absolutely divine, and you would be hardpressed not to slurp up every bit of it :)
Do note that if you sit inside where its air-conditioned, they tack on THB60 to your bill. I didn’t know till the bill arrived which I thought was rather sneaky but it was a terribly hot afternoon and I really wanted somewhere cool to sit in. If you aren’t fussed, opt to sit in the outer section which is not air-conditioned.
Hua Seng Hong Restaurant
371-373 Thanon Yaowarat,
Samphanthawong, 10100, Thailand
Later that evening, I took the MRT to Or Tor Kor Market (Kamphaeng Phet Station Exit No. 3). Or Tor Kor Market is a wet market selling all sorts of local Thai produce from food to fruits and snacks. It is very clean and everything is well laid out. I read that the best of Thai produce is sent down here to this market but Deun warned me that prices was about double of what I could get in downtown Bangkok and she was right!
The fruits look amazing. Mangoes and apples were about the size of my head and everything was so clean and well ordered and even well packed! I saw tourists buying durians and the vendors were busy packing them into boxes and then wrapping them with plastic so it didn’t smell and I must say, they know how to pack their stuff. It was near closing time when I arrived so it was quite quiet and I didn’t really see many things there. Maybe I’ll go back next time in the day, when its busier and more stalls are opened. I’m told I can eat all the street food I want there and giant prawns!
Instead, I took the subway pedestrian tunnel across the road to the popular JJ or Chatuchak Weekend Market. Again, it was in the evening and I had no intention to shop, so I mostly checked out the street food on offer :D
Clockwise from Top-Left: Thai Summer Rolls, Coconut shells for coconut ice cream, Coconut Ice Cream topped with nata de coco and sweet pumpkin slices, Spicy seafood salad
I love Thai Summer Rolls and I usually buy them from the food market in Siam Paragon but when I saw a little stall selling this, I could not resist. The rice sheet rolls are stuffed with minced meat and vegetables and served with a spicy green chilli sauce. I don’t like sharing when I have these! :D
I’d read a lot about this famous Coconut Ice Cream stall in Chatuchak market. Its just outside the MRT Station (Kamphaeng Phet) when you exit and as you wait, you are served complimentary ice cold coconut water. You choose 2 toppings of your choice and enjoy. Yes, its pretty good and perfect on a hot way or a warm evening.
Clockwise from Top-Left: Stall selling fried squid eggs | Delicious OK!, Fried squid eggs, Waitfor Chicken noodles, Grilled meats on sticks
I spotted this stall selling Fried Squid Eggs and was quite intrigued, but what intrigued me more was the sign that said “Delicious OK!” So naturally, I had to try it to see just how delicious it was :D A small pack was THB30-40 (I can’t recall) and it was fried with eggs and garlic and spring onions, and served with a spicy sauce. Was it delicious? It was, actually. It tastes like fried flour and a little like an oyster omelette (or chien).
As for the grilled kebab thingies, here’s a funny story. My friend had bought a couple of sticks of grilled meat and one that looked like chunks of chicken. I ate one piece, and found it rather fatty, with some crunchy bits. It didn’t taste bad, but just a little fatty for my tastes so I mentioned it and after I’d swallowed it, I was told that what it was, was the chicken backside! :P I would have spat it out if I had not swallowed it, and although it was an honest mistake, I was pissed! Thankfully it didn’t taste bad but its one of those things that is going to stick in my memory and scar me for life :P
And on that unpleasant note ends my gastronomic feasting through Bangkok from cafes to the street foods on offer. Until next time, that is :D Oh I didn’t shop in Bangkok this time around (I know, shocking!) so no haul posts are to be expected :)
Do you have favourite places to eat in Bangkok? I’d love to know of course!
As I mentioned, one of the highlights of my trip this time was meeting ST who is a regular in the comment box. It amazed me that we could chat like old friends about so many things! Here’s the interesting bit – not one word about beauty or makeup crossed our lips that evening! There was so much else to talk about :D I would naturally love to meet more regular readers from time to time so this first time will not be my last ;)