Traveling Solo in BKK | Street Food

IMG_0586

I’d definitely spent my time wisely before starting my new job. Just one afternoon I decided to buy a return ticket to Bangkok, where the flight was the next morning.

Traveling with a friend is fun, but when it comes to my first time doing it solo, things became entirely different – I’m the kind of person who’s fine with staying in hostels, and would prefer down-to-earth street food that reflect the lives of locals over fancy restaurants in shopping arcades, though tasty. When on my own, I can follow my instincts, do whatever I want and go wherever I like.

I revisited a number of food spots that I love, including the street vendor near Sala Daeng BTS that sells this super comfort food: Banana Pancake (~THB30-40).

He hand-stretched and tossed the dough ball into a thin sheet, place it into the hot pan drizzled with oil, add and spread out the yolk before adding in banana slices. He then folded the four sides into the center, add a small chunk of butter, flipped to heat both sides until crispy and golden brown.

IMG_0631

“Condensed milk?” “YESSSSSSSS!”
“Sugar?” “YESSSSSSSS!”

He laughed while I was jumping up and down like a kid. I told him we don’t have this in Hong Kong, but it’s good or else I will turn into a fat girl in no time.

I also went back to Kaiton Pratunam Chicken Rice closest to Chitlom BTS. Their Khao Mun Gai (THB40) does not come in big portion, but enough for a person like me who’d like to save stomach space for other food.

Chicken meat is tender and promises freshness that’s rare to find in chicken in Hong Kong, given that most of the times they are frozen due to the avian flu that attack almost on a yearly basis. I mean fresh, safe ones are available but are limited and can be pricey.

The rice is cooked with chicken broth and oil, therefore amazingly fragrant on its own. A drizzle of the red-chilli-and-ginger-infused sweet soy sauce adds a unique Thai flavor. Chilled coconut water is a must-have after the meal.

That’s all for now!!

— Jude

Advertisements

Cravings in Bangkok! (1)

It was in mid-December 2013 I went on a 5-day Bangkok trip with my lovely friend Samantha. We have been talking about this for years (since we met in high school at the age of 16?) and finally we did it! ❤ It was such fabulous moments, and below are the first half of the recaps! 😀

9 DECEMBER, 2013

Grapefruit juice as welcome drink; Citrus Sukhumvit 22 Hotel, Bangkok

We arrived at Citrus Sukhumvit 22 Hotel, and at the check-in counter we were each greeted with a glass of welcome drink: icy cold grapefruit juice.

Mango Sticky Rice; Mae Varee, Bangkok
Afterwards, the first thing that we’d decided to do was to eat mango rice! Needless to go through again our handy travel books, we already knew Mae Varee, closest to Thonglor station, was the place to go.

We shared a pack of this Mango Sticky (Glutinous) Rice, where the rice fancily came in three shades. Topped with thick, creamy coconut milk and crispy mung beans, it looked attractive and delicious but I’m sorry to say that it was quite disappointing to taste. Though the shop’s highlight is on the tropical fruit, it cannot just ignore the quality of the rice: why name it sticky rice if it’s not at all sticky?

After a full body massage at Healthland Spa & Massage (which was less satisfying than my first experience) we went to Kaiton Pathumwan that is super famous among tourists for its Chicken Rice. In case you’re not sure if you have found the right place, the bright pink staff uniform would be the key to look for!

Smooth boneless chicken meat, rich-flavoured oily rice, together with that salty-spicy sauce of garlic, chilli and pounded ginger, it was simply superb and a place that I swear I would go to at least once in my every Bangkok trip.

10 DECEMBER, 2013

The next afternoon (yes, we had breakfast at the hotel), after some shopping here and there, we slowed down at MBK Food Island for late lunch. Different from food courts in Hong Kong is that you don’t pay at the respective food booths and wait for the food there, but pay at a counter, get a MBK card (with info of the food you wanted), then present it at the food booths.

I had a simple bowl of Fishball Rice Noodles while Samantha ordered Tom Yum Seafood Soup that is super hot, and because of that she gave excuse to herself buying another pack of Mango Sticky Rice.
Of course, we shared it!

Later of the day we took the train to Saphan Taksin station and down the footbridge to the free ferry to Asiatique the Riverfront, where after a few extra rounds of shopping we’d decided to dine at , among the many choices that the place has to offer.

Right underneath the breathtaking 60-meter high Sky Asiatique, we indulged in the live music and candle light, and started our dinner with Raw Shrimps in Fish Sauce that was sense-stimulating. Sliced red chili and garlic are always the best to complement fish sauce, which highlights the freshness in the seafood. What is so good about having this dish in Thailand is, it is always less costly than in Hong Kong while being higher in quality (most often, if not always).

Afterwards it was Thai Fried Rice with Mixed Seafood. We ordered just half of the amount since we wanted to order also Smoked Ham Pork Spare Ribs (which arrived very late…). It was a wise move since the rice was yummy but not at all impressive, while the ribs did not taste bad except having dried out a bit after cooking.

In all, the food wasn’t outstanding, but the ambiance and environment certainly did. A dining spot for romantic occasions.

11 DECEMBER, 2013

Day three of our trip was when we spent basically the entire day wandering around in Siam, eating. After a simple breakfast at the hotel, we went to Siam Square to check out two super well-known eateries: Som Tam Nua and Mango Tango, of which their names already suggested what kind of food you can find there.

“Som Tam” is Green Papaya while “Nua” means North, suggesting the dish was invented by Northern Thai. There, we devoured two Green Papaya Salads, one topped with deep-fried pork rind and the other with cherry tomatoes. Both were tossed and mixed with exciting, hot spices that tingled our tongues. Quite delicious, but the hygiene condition freaked us out for there were so many flies around… and in fact way too many!

P.S. a stall at Jomtien Thepprasit Night Market, Pattaya makes WAY better salads

After that, just a one-minute walk we crossed the road and arrived at Mango Tango! There we ordered for the third time Mango Sticky Rice (just couldn’t have enough of it!) and it was so far the most delicious. From that lively yellow colour you can already tell that the mangoes were so ripe and decadent; and we really appreciate the effort it places onto making the glutinous rice even though mangoes are the main focus.

The Mango Pudding was too to be crazy about — can’t miss.

Later, on the street, I randomly came across this hawker stall and decided to treat myself with something comforting and sweet: Banana Pandan Crepe with Chocolate Syrup! The banana reminded me of the Banana Pancake with Condensed Milk, that heavenly, ultimate indulgence that… I had sadly no chance to eat during this trip.

(watch this, the same stall I bought from at Pattaya: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOVQWtvL2eQ)

Nara Thai Cuisine was where we had our lunch afterwards, a place that made Thai food with promising quality and is no wonder awarded as one of Thailand’s Best Restaurants in 2013.

With a high ceiling and walls made of dark wood planks, it provides a spacious, comfy, slightly exotic setting for local dishes. First it was the Prawns Carpaccio in Fish Sauce Marinate (the same thing but named differently on menus) which were bigger in size, firmer in texture, sweeter and fresher in taste when compared to the ones at Top View, nothing but superb as an appetizer.

Then we had the Chicken Pandan, wrapped in pandan leaves to infuse their very unique flavour into the meat during the frying process. I’ve had the same dish in various Thai restaurants back in Hong Kong but it was never as moist and supple.

Moving on, we’d picked the Fried Rice with Thai Herbs as the photo on the menu looked really attractive with the purplish-blue rice. Expect a subtle, almost elegant herbal taste to the dish though the colour pops.

The phrase “time flies when you’re having fun” is just so true. Only a few rounds of shopping it already got quite late. Our original plan was to visit Manna on the ground floor of Siam Paragon, but we arrived too late and had to leave it for next time.
(Our travel book says it offers traditional Thai cuisine that locals used to cook and eat in the old times, nothing like Tom Yum or Raw Shrimps)

Therefore, we dragged our tired feet to the Food Loft on the same floor and chose a stall for some quick and easy dinner before heading to Red Sky Bar, where we had a bowl of Pork Noodles each, and Samantha had an extra Tom Yum Soup to kill hunger.

Red Sky Bar is, needless to doubt, one of the hottest rooftop bars in the city. Taking the lift to the 55th floor, a part of Centara Grand Hotel (which is also a part of the enormous CentralWorld mall), we got through the door to the open area, walked up the stairs to face the iconic multi-hued neon arch.

Under the urban and chic atmosphere complemented with mood-arousing / sensational live music, as well as the 360-degree panoramic night view of Bangkok, Samantha got herself a glass of White Sangria while I, after scanning through the cocktail descriptions, decided to go for the fancy Star Light, Amarula Fruit cream blended with Crème de cacao white, Butter scotch and light cream.

It’s indeed a great place to hang out at because you’re allowed in as long as dressed in smart casual attire. Who cares if you have your arms fully loaded with shopping bags? (Not TOO many of course, not to the point where you might cause disturbance, knock drinks off the table or fall off the stairs…)

/ / / / /
Mae Varee

1 Soi Thonglor, Sukhumvit 55 Road, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Thong Lo)
+66 2 392 4804

Kaiton Pathumwan
Petchaburi Soi 30 Road, Pathumwan, Makkasan, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Chidlom)
+66 2 252 6325

MBK Food Island
6/F, MBK Center (BTS-National Stadium)
+66 2 620 9000

Top View Seafood & Beer Garden
Asiatique the Riverfront, Bangkok, Thailand (Underneath Sky Asiatique the Ferris Wheel)

Som Tam Nua
Soi 5, Siam Square, Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Siam)
+66 2 251 4880

Mango Tango
Soi 5, Siam Square, Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Siam)
+66 2 250 0182

Nara Thai Cuisine
B702-703, Beacon Zone, CentralWorld, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Siam)
+66 2 613 1657

Food Loft
UG/F, Siam Paragon, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Siam)

Red Sky Bar
55/F Centara Grand @CentralWorld, 999/99 Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Siam)
(Walk through CentralWorld, look for the lift in the cinema that leads to the hotel)
+66 2 100 1234

Cheers,
Judith