Friday, May 18, 2007

Food hunting in Bangkok

This holiday, our mission was to eat in as many interesting places as possible. Eat where the locals eat, where the flavours are not adjusted to suit farang tastebuds. There were many more places we wanted to go, but well, there was only so much we could cover in 5 days.

I would like to credit's food tips and for some valuable information and tips on the culinary delights of Bangkok. From these two websites, various food blogs and recommendations from friends and relatives, LY and I had quite a long list of places 'To Eat'. Happy to report we managed to cover 90% of our shortlisted 'Must-Eats'.

This brought us all around Bangkok, from one end of the BTS line to another, river ferries, cabs, tuk-tuks. We walked. Alot. Got lost. Only to find some of the eating places were right under our noses all along. It was fun. Great fun!

BANGLAMPHU - Chinatown and the Old City (near Khao San)

Guay Jub (assorted pig parts and noodles)

Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin station (Silom line), changing trains at Siam. From there take a river ferry (18 baht) to Ratchawongse pier which leads you straight to Chinatown.

A short walk straight up Ratchawong road, and Sampeng Lane is on your right. It's wholesale accessories, knick knacks, shoes and bags galore. Kinda like a condensed version of Petaling Street.

Keep walking and you'll see a stall selling Guay Jub and Nam Song (orange juice). Guay Jub is a bowl of noodles with all parts of a pig you can imagine (40 baht). In our 'To Eat' list, we were supposed to find a stall selling these noodles about 2 blocks away. But it looked like it was going to rain, and the noodles here looked yummy. Oh, what the heck! I was hungry! It turned out to be really good. Just a little different from Penang's koay chap and very generous portions of piggy bits.

Dude putting pig parts in bowl, note siew yoke; Hard boiled duck eggs, pig skin and pig parts.

In goes the soup; Bowl of Guay Jub.

Poj Spa Kar (Royal Thai Food)

Poj Spa Kar is on 443 Tanao Rd, perpendicular to Khao San Rd. The owners are from a line of royal chefs - grandpa apparently cooked for the king. Tanao Rd is quite a long stretch, the restaurant is located a few shops before the intersection to Sao Ching Cha.

It's a very humble eatery, considering the menu was once fit for a king. The owners didn't speak English. So we pointed at the menu and ordered the stuff we remembered from the website about non-touristy sites and food. What we thought were steamed little fish paste balls on a bed of seaweed in the picture, turned out to be crispy fried fish under a bed of deep-fried kale leaves, topped with dollops of lime mayonnaise. LY looked disappointed that it wasn't what we imagined, but it was delicious anyhow. Sweet, fried fillets of fish, crispy fragrant kale and tangy lime mayo made a lovely combination.

We ordered their signature Look Rock Soup. Steamed egg tofu in a sausage casing, which created little mini burger-like bites of tofu, in a tasty soup with minced pork balls, mushrooms and coriander leaves. Light and wholesome.

There was also a 3-flavoured fried rice, served with some chicken bits in a sweet, gooey sauce almost similiar to our lobak sauce. The rice were tomato (I think) and raisin, turmeric, and garlic flavoured. Interesting, but not all that spectacular. Still, I would say this was one of the more unique meals we had. Reasonably priced too.


Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin, and hop on a river ferry to Chang pier. Take a tuk-tuk to 313 Maha Chai Rd, Samranrat, and you'll get to Thipsamai, where they say you can get Bangkok's best Pad Thai, Nam Song and frozen coconut juice.

Thipsamai's blazing woks; Pad Thai cooking.

Thipsamai (yes, they have a website!) has a small menu so we ordered 2 different types of Pad Thai and their two famous drinks. The pad thai was yummy, generous with the egg and dried prawns, chives and sprouts (25 or 30 baht depending on type of noodles). You could add prawns or order some different version for 60 baht.

Thipsamai Pad Thai; Nam Song; Frozen Coconut Juice.


Chotechitr, in a quiet little part of town.

Chotechitr is a small, charming little place in Phraeng Phuton, a little lane off Tanao Road near the Democracy Monument. It's very easy to miss if you just happen to pass by. Famous for their banana flower salad, many a foreign and local journalist have sung praises about it, as evident in the newspaper cut-outs displayed on the wall.

Chotechitr - note the little fella at our table; Banana flower salad.

The salad was quite different, with a smokey chilli and peanuty flavoured sauce. We also ordered a fish tom yam (tom yam pla) and a green curry chicken. The tomyam didn't quite taste like tom yam. The clear soup was flavourful, but more from the fermented soy beans they used. It was spicy from the chili padi, and sour from lime, but not the tom yam that we're used to. Very different.

Tom Yam Pla; Green Curry Chicken.

The green curry was a little sweet for our taste buds, but the whole meal tasted very home made. We were already stuffed from pad thai earlier, so we ended up taking away the left overs (we had quite a bit) and having it for breakfast the next day.

Two carpets; The sleeping Chotechitr Chihuahua.

Oh, the owner had two mascots of her own. Her very friendly shih tzu. And her little sleeping chihuahua under her table.

SILOM - Bangrak & Silom Rd

Thip Volcanic Mussels & Oysters

Take a BTS ride to Saphan Taksin, then a short walk along one of the main roads, Charoen Krung 50, and turn left before the Bangrak Robinson mall. It's a little shop which also sells fish ball noodles.

We ordered the mussels and oysters of course, and just as we suspected, it really was a lot like 'or chien'. But unlike its Malaysian counterpart, it's not just an oyster omelette. The batter dough is fried separately first, giving it alot of crispy bits, along with bean sprouts, mussels, the eggy omelette bit added to it, then a heap of oysters on top of that. Yummy.

Grilled Pork & Liver Satay at Silom Road

At the junction of Silom Rd and Soi Convent, are many stalls selling alot of street food. Right in front of the California Fitness gym is a stall selling grilled pork and liver satays, served with sweet chilli sauce. They sell alot of these in other parts of Bangkok, but for some strange reason, the website recommending the top 100 places to eat mentioned this one. It was pretty alright, though I felt the liver was a bit overdone. Tasty, in a very junk food kinda way. No pictures yet! They're in LY's camera.

SIAM - Siam House, Siam Center, Siam Paragon & Platinum

Siam House

Located along a row of shops next to Asia Hotel (Ratchetewi BTS), this little shop serves delicious Thai food. Recommended by JH last year, this is our second time eating at this place. From standard favourites like curries and tom yam to fish cakes, they do them well. My favourite is the deep fried catfish. Super fluffy and crispy and comes with a little tangy mango salad. LY likes the spicy pork salad and dry chicken red curry.

They have an extensive menu, and is a place you can go back to again and again for food that tastes like yummy home-cooked dishes. From the Asia Hotel entrance, turn left, walk a few steps and you should see it.

Siam Center 'Food For Fun' Food Court

We checked out the Siam Center Food For Fun food court, which was on our 'To Eat' list. It was spacious, modern and comfortable, but the food was only so-so. The food court at Platinum was heaps better in terms of variety and price.

Siam Paragon

The food court looks really impressive, with aquariums and swimming fish. The variety and food however, were quite disappointing. Especially the variety (or lack of it). Pricey, too.

However, its Gourmet Market is amazing. Lots of different snacks, and ice cream and bakeries and tea and foodstuffs you can bring home. It's quite a huge area. And if you love supermarkets, you'll fall in love with this place.

Platinum Food Court (Platinum Mall, Pratunam, Petchaburi Rd)

I love this food court. Great variety, lots of stuff you won't find in other food courts. Like this tau fu fa (soybean curd) in ginger tea. The tau fu fa here is served with crispy bits, something like mini yao char koay (crullers). The ginger tea was warming to the tummy. So comforting. Not to sweet. So delicious. I went back to the stall to try the herbal jelly (like our kwai ling gao) in ginger tea. It was okay. The ginger tea and tau fu fa combo was much nicer. Another interesting dessert was this grilled banana, which they flatten out on a skewer before serving. It was nice on its own. The dip that came with was kinda weird - a savoury tamarind-like sauce.

Tau fu fa with ginger tea, Herbal jelly with ginger tea, Grilled smacked bananas with weird tasting dip.

Oh, of course we had mains. LY tried the beef noodles here while I had the braised duck noodles. They tasted better than the ones at Siam Center. We only had so many stomachs so we couldn't try everything here, but among the other stuff you could eat - braised pork knuckle and fried pork with rice, Thai-style economy rice, different types of noodles (fried/soup/with pork, chicken or seafood), fried oysters and mussles (like or chien), mango and papaya salads, a Halal section, Japanese, more Thai desserts, a stall selling milk products, bread and the list goes on.

SUKHUMVIT - Sukhumvit 33 & 34

Chokchai Steak House

From Asok BTS, it's quite a long walk to Sukhumvit 33, so you might want to take a tuk-tuk or a cab. On foot, it's about 100-200m to Sukuhumvit 33, turn left and it's another 500-600m in. The steakhouse is located at Prasanmit Plaza, a really nice place, and the steaks are amazing.

The beef is dry aged (you could choose between 15 or 30 days), and come from their own farm, Farm Chokchai. You could even go there for a homestay, and learn how to make your own ice cream from their cow's milk. How cool is that? We didn't know about this earlier though, or we might have gone.

LY and I both ordered the 15-day dry aged prime rib, junior size (a smaller cut)... medium rare, of course. Anything less red and the cow would have died in vain. It came with some brown sauce, a baked potato with sour cream, onion and bacon bits, as well as some steamed veges (carrots, beans and radish). It was SO DAMN good. And at 280 baht, it's a freaking steal. You could also opt for the 30-day dry aged (double the price), and if beef is not your thing, they also have pork (chops, ribs, the works), chicken and even tuna steaks.

We finished off our meal with some coffee and their homemade ice-cream (rum and raisin) from their farm. Lovely lovely. A very satisfying meal indeed.

Amaltery Adult Ice Cream

Take the BTS to Phrom Phrong station, it's quite a walk down Sukhumvit 34, which reminded me very much of Mont Kiara. Lots of nice apartments with a few boutique retail shops in between. One such retail area is Camp Davis, which has a Starbucks and another recommended place to eat, Yum & Tum. But we were there for the ice cream.

If you want to try Amaltery the next time you're in Bangkok, they are moving end of this month to Urban Kitchen in Erawan on Ploenchit Rd. It's very near the Chitlom BTS, in one of the fancy plazas. Oh, back to the ice cream. They had lots of yummy flavours such as Margarita, Long Island Tea, Midori Sour, Blue Vodka, Banana Daiquiri, Chocolate and Cherry Brandy, just to name a few I can remember. We had the Margarita, Long Island Tea, Midori Sour and Banana Daiquiri. Super lovely! Especially after that long walk in!

For more about this holiday, click here.
If you'd like my full 'To Eat' list, just drop me a note :)


Blogger Hamster said...

Don't know if you've seen this already but if not Yu might be interested in this website.
It's got about 30 recipes each one with a cooking video to go along
Good if you like to try cooking Thai food at home

1:58 AM  
Blogger rokh said...

superbbb post!

10:51 PM  
Blogger rokh said... me the must-eat list :) I will be there again :P

10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another good site I've seen is Seems to have a lot of information on restaurants off the beaten path that only a true Bangkokian or local may know of.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Camp Davis, and the Davis Hotel, are on Soi 24, NOT soi 34, so I assume that the Ice Cream store was also on Soi 24. Correcting this three years later is probably hardly not worth it, but one must try, especially because the Tum & Yum restaurant you referred to at Camp Davis has the most incredible selection of Thai salads you will ever see. Don't miss it! Thats on SOI 24!!!!

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Blogger Ben said...

Hi there... I realised your post was in 2007, but I wonder if you have a full list of your "to eat" places in Bangkok, preferably more recent times?

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