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Roger McShane

Restaurants and food stalls in Bangkok

144 posts in this topic

But anyone who avoids dining around Nana (Suk 4) will miss some of the best Lebanese food in SE Asia --- Al Ferdoss for fresh-out-of-the-oven Iraqi nan bread!

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Food in Bangkok -- my favorite topic in the whole world. :rolleyes:

To maximize tasting given your limited time, you must definately have lunch (closed for dinner) at Dalat Aw Taw Kaw where you can sample all sorts of exceedingly well-prepared goodies for very little money. Here's how to get there: take the BTS (skytrain) to the end of the line at On Nut (where Chatuchak Market is).

Actually, Or Tor Kor and Jatujak Market is at the other end of the Skytrain line from On-nut. I believe the station is called Mor-chit. Or you can simply tell someone at the ticket counter that you are heading to Jatujak Market, they will point you to the right direction. I was just there last week.


chez pim

not an arbiter of taste

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okay, so i'm back. (my wife and i stopped in bangkok for a day en route to india from los angeles. )

so, we didn't (for complicated reasons) get to visit some of the more interesting recommendations here but we followed to the t the advice "find a restaurant with lots of thai people eating in it" and go eat there. so for lunch we were at this place near the world trade center (i should remember the name but it was a month ago and an orgy of over-eating back home has destroyed my long-term memory). we got a beef larb (excellent), a mixed sausage platter (also excellent), a pad thai (we wanted to see what a pad thai in thailand tasted like--not as sweet as the ones in los angeles) and finally we got something that was listed in the menu as "young bamboo shoots and prawns curry". the waitress looked at me doubtfully when i ordered it but in my folly i took this to be the standard dubious look aimed by all asians at foreigners ordering spicy food. so the curry arrives and first of all i notice that the placement of bamboo shoots before prawns in the name of the dish was not a mistake; there are but 4 prawns and many slices of bamboo shoots in the bowl. then, i notice the sharp, pungent aroma rising from the bamboo shoots. not to put too fine a point on it, they smell like ass. but then there are many things that smell like ass (or worse) but are delicious (such as jackfruit) so i blithely ladled a big spoonful of it onto a mound of rice and placed a heap of it in my mouth. it is difficult to know which sensation arrived first: the confirmation that in fact the dish did also taste like ass or the fact that my tongue was on fire. liberally applying beer to the affected area quelled the flames but the taste of ass lingered (i hasten to add here that i have little first hand knowledge of the taste of ass--this comparison is speculation on my behalf). nothing would make it go away. i tried eating the prawns alone, but they to were infused with the aroma and flavor of ripe ass. does any of this ring a bell? is this a local specialty of some sort? is this what young bamboo shoots taste like? or did i encounter some horrible mistake?

as for dinner--thanks to a screw-up with the airport transfer shuttle we had to eat at the hotel restaurant. sadly, i must report that even the food at the restaurant at a 3 star (at best) restaurant in bangkok was far superior to the best thai food i've eaten in the u.s.

we look forward to making a longer trip to thailand and eating a whole lot more--though this time i may stay away from dishes showcasing young bamboo shoots.

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It was probably preserved bamboo shoots. I haven't really found that they taste like, um, ass :wacko: ... but it's certainly a strongly flavored ingredient. On future trips you might want to avoid, at Isaan and northern Thai restaurants, bamboo shoot salad (sup naw mai), as these goodies are the primary ingredient.

What color was the curry, did it have coconut milk in it, and was it very sour? It might have been a variation of sour curry (gaeng som), which also has a hefty dose of shrimp paste.

Yeah, even the food at the restaurant in the Amari Airport Hotel (actually attached to the airport ... worth the 500 baht departure fee if you've ever got a long layover in Bangkok) is quite good (and very spicy), much better than most Thai food I've had outside of Thailand.

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What color was the curry, did it have coconut milk in it, and was it very sour? It might have been a variation of sour curry (gaeng som), which also has a hefty dose of shrimp paste.

the curry was a dull brick red in color. and it had no coconut milk--at least not enough to make any impact on the spiciness or flavor of the dish.

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Although I've never percieved it as "ass", the smell of bamboo shoots is a bit off-putting.

I often smelled it around the numerous foodcourts in Bangkok.

But, until my wife cooked up some spicy chcken with bamboo shoots, I never realized the source.

spread.jpg


For Bangkok eats, check out my Cheap Eats Bangkok

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Hi All:

Can you tell me what Issan is? I'm going to be in Bangkok in a couple of weeks and I'm gathering as much food knowledge as I can.

Thanks.


Edited by cwyc (log)

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Issan is northern and eastern Thailand.

The cuisine has heavy Lao influences.

Kai yang (grilled chicken), somtam(papaya salad) and khao neow(sticky rice) is a classic Issan lunch.

It also features other grilled meats, sausages and curries.

One of the latest crazes is the khao soy metioned in the other post.

It's a Chiang Mai thing.

While in Bangkok, stop by MBK Center, at the National Stadium Skytrain Stop.

They have a huge foodcourt on the 6th floor.

It's a "tame" introduction to Thai hawker food.

For a great dinner cruise, book #3, Riverside Bangkok's.

For under 500 baht ($11), you'll have your fill of great food and a wonderful cruise.

It's the only cruise that cooks food to order, on board.

Drinks might set you back a little more.

On the same webpage is Yok Yor Marina, #12.

Here you will find great Thai/Chinese and a fantastic show, featuring traditional dance and martial arts.

If you want a place that's nice, but not pretenious, try Anna's Cafe, 118 Soi Saladaeng, Silom.

It's a bit of a "fusion" thing.

Their desserts are great!

Try the coconut ice cream with sweet sticky rice; simple but wonderful!

The real beauty of Bangkok dining is that you really don't need to "know" the cuisine.

The best food is always the hawker stalls that line the streets everywhere.

They always cook what they cook best.

Simply follow your nose.

Like I said, hit MBK foodcourt first.

After you realize that you can survive this type of food, hit the streets and sample the really great stuff.

Have a blast!


Edited by Stupid_American (log)

For Bangkok eats, check out my Cheap Eats Bangkok

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When I was a teenager in Bangkok back in the '70's, there was a restaurant that was famous for roast duck served hacked up with white rice. It was frequented by cabinet ministers and cab drivers... does anyone remember what I'm talking about, and is there someplace like this still around? I'm going back in December and already dreaming about the food...tell me where you eat!

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There are still duck rice places in Bangkok. My favorite is the one beside the coffin shop on Soi On-Nut (aka Sukhumvit Soi 77). All they serve is duck rice and some dim sum. No air con, sorry I don't know the address - it's maybe a kilometre up from Sukhumvit on the left hand side of the soi, just past the coffin shop.

You may find that things in Bangkok have changed - a lot - since the '70s.

I did a longish Bangkok report on another board last year - http://www.chowhound.com/boards/intl5/messages/19208.html

Most of the info is still valid. Hope nobody is offended by the link - those were my pre-eG days....


Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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When I was a teenager in Bangkok back in the '70's, there was a restaurant that was famous for roast duck served hacked up with white rice. It was frequented by cabinet ministers and cab drivers... does anyone remember what I'm talking about, and is there someplace like this still around? I'm going back in December and already dreaming about the food...tell me where you eat!

I think you are talking about a restaurant called Si-Fah, the original location was in Wang Burapa. It was something of an institution. I used to go all the time with my grandfather.

The restaurant still exists, the best known location now is in Siam Square. Although I think you may find that your taste has changed. Mine definitely has, I now find the ducks there far too sweet, and not enough meat on the bone. I also now dislike the sweet-ish sauce they douse over the sliced ducks and the rice, finding the taste far too assertive and somewhat muddy the taste of the duck meat itself.

Though I admit I sometimes go there anywhere, more for nostalgic reason than anything else.


chez pim

not an arbiter of taste

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Thanks HKDave and Pim. Yes, I've googled Bangkok and the little klong-lined town I remember has changed...see http://thomasriddle.net/index.html for some panoramic shots. The only thing I recognize is the RBSC and Lumpini Park. We lived on Wireless Rd, are all the flame trees gone? Pim, I visited your blog--some great insights, and HKDave, your Chowhound posting was helpful. One of my vivid memories of that time was having dinner with my parents in the old Erawan Hotel at La Rotisserie--the Swiss/French restaurant. They had a fireplace, kept the AC at full blast so the ladies could wear their fur stoles, and served fondue.

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One of my vivid memories of that time was having dinner with my parents in the old Erawan Hotel at La Rotisserie--the Swiss/French restaurant. They had a fireplace, kept the AC at full blast so the ladies could wear their fur stoles, and served fondue.

As well, one of my fondest memories. Alas and alak, the Old Erawan is no more. Probably replaced with some multi-story monstrosity. I still have a few old Erawan wooden hangers in my closet.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Yes, sadly the Erawan was torn down to make way for a (multi-story monstrosity) Grand Hyatt. But the Erawan temple is still on that corner. And there are still flame trees on Wireless Road. The stretch of Wireless behind the US Embassy and Lumpini Park still sort of looks like it used to, if you're looking in the right direction and ignoring the traffic and pollution....

If you're looking for a good deal on a place to stay in your old neighbourhood, there are some newer 5-star service apartments on Wireless Rd and Soi Lang Suan that have quite good rates. Most of them rent by the day. You'll probably want to stay walking distance to the Skytrain.


Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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Stayed at the Conrad on Wireless 10 days ago ... very good rates available on the website, and this location is excellent for within-walking-distance eating. Eg. the Mon-Fri lunchtime food market behind Sindhorn Bldg, Sara Jane's for Isaan inside Sindhorn (better at lunch), many many food vendors and some mighty tasty fried noodle huts across from the American Embassy right next to the Diethelm Towers (and IMO one of Bangkok's best versions of muu yang -- grilled pork--sets up his BBQ by the curb at this location about 3pm), and heading up towards Ploenchit, a vegetarian prepared curry shop and a few more vendors stuck in among the travel agents. Round the corner at Ploenchit and you're once again smack in the middle of snackland, with more shops and vendors (I like to hit this area first thing in the a.m. for breakfast noodle soup).

Plaza Athanee is also on this strip of Wireless ... 5-star and good rates.

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We also used to go to a place called Royal Kitchen up around Sukhumvit Soi 47.

Fantastic baw bia tod and a chicken & rice dish served inside a pineapple. Is it still in existence?

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Royal Kitchen ... do they serve Chinese food as well? If so it is still in existence, on Soi Thonglo (Sukh 55). I've not been

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Yes, sadly the Erawan was torn down to make way for a (multi-story monstrosity) Grand Hyatt. But the Erawan temple is still on that corner.

I went to school just down the road from the old Erawan hotel, and used to go there almost every afternoon to the bakery to get a Palmier (called Pi-Sueh, or butterfly in Thai). Fond memories indeed.

The Grand Hyatt building is indeed a monstrosity, though they have a pleasant-ish lobby lounge area. My family had a christmas lunch there last year. Yes, we are buddhists. And yes, that would qualify as odd. :laugh:

But if you're looking for a pleasant lounge to have tea and little bites between mad rushes around the Ploenjit area, I suggest the lobby at the Regents (Four Seasons). It is such a lovely and serene place to get away from the hustle bustle just outside the door. The serve ok tea (I'm a tea snob), and nice pastries.


chez pim

not an arbiter of taste

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I remember the eclairs at the Erawan bakery being very good too. I think the Regent/Four Seasons is built on the site of my classmate Janet Steenhuis's old house. It was a beautiful wooden Victorian villa, one of many that lined Rajadamri Rd. BTW, I'm going to Bangkok with a friend who has never been to Asia. What soothing place can I take him to that will be a good introduction to Thai food? I've heard good things about Celadon at the Sukhothai Hotel...

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Celadon is very nice, and if you want a 'white tablecloth' Thai restaurant it would be a good choice. I was there a few months ago with a large group and they did an excellent job on both food and service. Most of the other 5 star hotels also have expensive 'soothing' Thai restaurants - the Regent has Spice Market (not my favorite, but others like it), the Oriental has Sala Rim Nam (good food, if you like dancing shows with dinner). It would be hard to go too far wrong for a first-timer in any of them. They all tend to err on the mild side as far as seasoning goes, so specify if you want it otherwise.

Hopefully your friend will adapt to Bangkok quickly and you can start to feed him outside of the hotels...


Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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Don't worry--Day 2 we're going to the stall where they sell fried water bugs!

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Here's a scan showing some of my recs for Bangkok.

Yok Yor Marina and Restaurant has great food and a wonderful dinner show.

MBK's 6th floor foodcourt is a good spot to expose a first timer to hawker food.

Because it's inside, it seems more "hygienic"!

At least it is air conditioned.

Kaiton is my favorite for khao mun kai (chicken rice).

Lek Seafood, although now dicovered by those dreaded farang, has good seafood at great prices.

You can still pack it away for a couple hundred baht per person (food).

This photo is taken from the rear of Lek, facing towards the Skytrain stop.

"Pu pad pong kari" (curried crab) is my favorite spot for the dish.

The shop is across from the Lumpini Police station.


For Bangkok eats, check out my Cheap Eats Bangkok

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little klong-lined town I remember has changed...see http://thomasriddle.net/index.html for some panoramic shots.

Actually, the town has changed since those pictures.

Sadly, the Siam Intercontinental has been torn down to make room for the Paragon; a new mega shopping center.

Just what Bangkok needs!


For Bangkok eats, check out my Cheap Eats Bangkok

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If you have some Thai friends, you might head over to ROYYIM STEAK HOUSE, in Thornburi.

It sort of reminds me of a Thai cowboy bar.

Lots of off duty cops, military and moto taxi drivers.

But, it has some of the best "Thai food" I've had.

You'll find families mixed with the surly lot!

Also, in the evenings, there's live "pop/rock/country" entertainment.

Heard a great redition of "You're Cheatin' Heart"!

I almost lost it when they did "Risten to the Lythm of the Fawreen Lain"!

BTW

I don't believe I've ever seen "steak" there!

I did see one other farang once.

On Soi Saladaeng, off Silom, behind the Dusit Thani, is Anna's Cafe.

The food is thai/intl and decent.

But, the desserts are great!

It's also a nice atmosphere.


For Bangkok eats, check out my Cheap Eats Bangkok

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I went to school just down the road from the old Erawan hotel, and used to go there almost every afternoon to the bakery to get a Palmier (called Pi-Sueh, or butterfly in Thai). Fond memories indeed.

When we lived in Thailand (granted, I only lived there for the first 5 or 6 months of my life, but everyone else was there longer) my mother used to go there often for the Palmier. She also loved them. The first time I went back to Thailand I sent some back to Canada for her and she said they were just as good as she remembered, even after more that 25 years (at that time). For some reason, when we went last year we never made it there, though it was on our list.

My dad and I had Peking duck at the Chinese restaurant at the Erawan/Grand Hyatt. It was much better than any Peking duck I've had in North America, and even better than that I've had in Hong Kong (which was much too fatty, and I like fatty duck!).

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