Wednesday, March 29

Beard Papa

B2, Takashimaya

This outlet is more renowned for its cream puffs, which are by all accounts large, luscious and extremely delightful, but I'd also heard good things about their chocolate fondant cake, and this time took the opportunity to satiate my curiousity.

Unlike others of its ilk, this cake has a crusty biscuit base, somewhat more akin to a chocolate tart. Not sure that I like the crunch, it was a bit distracting, but the chocolate was bitter, the cake firm on the outside, and on the inside just a wee bit overdone but still molten enough to be slurpy. Overall, quite a success, and at S$2.60 (US$1.60), I ain't complaining!


Monday, March 27

Wedding Sweets, Bangkok

These wedding sweets were also served to us at our friend's Thai wedding, towards the end of the ceremony. It was a variety of all things sweet - candy, cakes, peanut brittle and some other items that I was not familiar with. Apparently these are typical of Thai weddings and guests are invited to have a bite to usher "sweetness” to the newlyweds.

Fried Fritters, Bangkok

We were served these at breakfast while attending a friend's wedding ceremony at her home. They are very much like you tiaos (fried dough sticks) in Singapore, only shaped differently. They are lighter and taste fabulous when dunked into coffee. And because they are so tiny (two bites and its gone), its easy to have too many without realising it!

Vegetable Snacks, Bangkok

I spotted this at a supermarket we were shopping in – little vegetable rolls that simply looked too pretty to eat. They were packed with a dip, presumably a spicy one.

Street Eats – Grilled Meats, Bangkok

We braved the streets one day for breakfast. Thai hawkers are very mobile, appearing with their pushcarts near meal times and setting up stall almost immediately. We started with the beef noodle soup that was light unlike and a superb way to start the day, and rounded it off we a stop at a grilled meats stall that served us barbequed chicken with a fiery dip and som tam (papaya salad – and no, we never tire of this dish).

Sunday, March 26

Sukhumvit Shark Fin, Bangkok

Sukhumvit Soi 55

A friend had chanced upon this hole-in-the-wall years ago and ever since, its become a “must eat” on our trips to Bangkok. The sharks’ fin here is served bubbling hot, in individual claypots, with a side dish of bean sprouts and coriander that you can throw into the soup. We noticed that the standards have been sliding and the amount of sharks’ fin in the soup getting less with each visit. Nevertheless its still tasty.

Vanilla Restaurant, Bangkok

Playground! 818 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (ThongLor)

We chanced upon this restaurant while exploring the new “it” street in Bangkok. It looked like a class diner but with a modern touch.

We had breakfast here and were wowed by the pancakes with bananas – had a nice citrus sauce that came with it; waffles with fruit and the classic, eggs with sausages.

What didn’t impress were the scones. It looked so gorgeous when the served it up but alas the taste didn’t live up to the presentation .

Street Eats – Fruit, Bangkok

One of our favourite snacks when in Thailand is the fresh fruit. Typically sold by hawkers from a pushcart, they cut the fruit up into slivers in front of you and pop it into a bag with a side of sugar mixed with chilli, or a fragrant shrimp dip. You can have your pick of guava, raw mango, rose apples, pineapples and any other fruit that is in season. Cost of this: 20THB or US$0.60.

Tamarind Café (Vegetarian), Bangkok

27 Sukhumvit Soi 20 T. 02 663 7421

We wanted a Thai vegetarian meal and was recommended this Café by the concierge. It was very modern looking and had a menu that had both Thai, Japanese and Western dishes all with a fusion touch.

We had the a Thai coconut base soup, pad thai, a Thai style fried noodles, and the green curry that was served with rice noodles that were lovingly arranged in little piles.

My favourite part of the meal was the desserts – I opted for the binoffe, a banana and cream dessert that tasted as gorgeous as it looked. Wish it came in a bigger cup though as I could have done with more of this delicious treat. We also had a very modern looking mango with sticky rice that was equally tasty.

Greyhound Café, Bangkok

Siam Centre

I hit Greyhound Café again on this second visit to Bangkok . This time we had tea. I was wowed with the banana and chocolate cake which looked more like a giant choco-banana sandwich, that was nicely paired with a nice cup of cappuccino. Lovely afternoon break from the shopping.

Lan Som Tam Nua (Papaya Salad Restaurant), Bangkok

Siam Square, Soi 9

It took us 20 minutes navigating the alleyways in Siam Square and asking numerous people before we found this restaurant, only to be told that its another 20 minute wait for a table.

This restaurant is famous for its som tam or papaya salad. But from what we ordered, I am certain its equally famous for its fried chicken wings, fried fish, yum woon sen (vermicelli salad), spicy pork soup… The portions are small so we found ourselves doubling up everything we ordered. Nevertheless, it was a fabulous meal.

Open from noon till 9pm. Closed on public holidays.

Suckling Pig, Bangkok

Rama IV

We just had a big dinner but felt that we had room for more. So the group of us headed out to this open-air restaurant to try the much talked about suckling pig. Ok, it may look a bit scary but it did taste fabulous. It was well roasted, and the skin, which was the main part of the suckling pig dish, was superbly crunchy. We also had the pepper crab steamboat, a variation of the pepper crab but in soup form. My friends loved it but it tasted more like pepper soup to me. We also had some lovely mimosa stir-fry (right). Its similar to the “touch me nots” plant that we play with every so often as kids. Only the Thais stir-fry it with garlic and chilli. It can be a bit fibrous but is extremely tasty.

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok

It feels like de ja vu since I was wondering these same myriad of stalls just weeks ago, but the food never ceases to amaze me. We had brunch at a food stall tucked behind rows of shops selling the latest t-shits and homeware.

Brunch was my all time favourite deep fried chicken wings and grilled pork with sticky rice. We also had the fiery som tam (papaya salad) with salted crab and a spicy chicken soup that was the meat variation of the tom yum. We were faced with incredible heat sitting in the maze but it didnt come between us and lunch!

Dao Ting (Cheng Tng), Bangkok

Sukhumvit Soi 55

The dao ting, the Thai variation of the cheng tng is equally amazing. This is found in the same place where we had dinner. The fun part is you get to pick the ingredients you want – lotus root, chin chow, sweet potato, etc or have the standard mix – top it up with shaved ice and a sweet clear syrup. Divine.

Mango With Sticky Rice, Bangkok

Sukhumvit Soi 55

This is a simply stunning dessert. The mango that was served with the sticky rice was nicely over ripe such that each bite bursts with sweetness while it gently glides down your throat.

Street Eats, Bangkok

Sukhumvit Soi 55

Dinner was no different; it was as lavish as lunch, if not more. Only this time, we tucked into an array of all things delicious at our favourite soi (or street in Thai). We had ordered up a storm as usual: tom yum gung (Thai spicy soup); Thai style fried rice; stewed meats and sausages, and satay (grilled chicken or beef on sticks). The food was excellent, and the stars of the meal were the desserts - the mango with sticky rice and the dao ting.

Emporuim Park Food Court, Bangkok

Emporium Shopping Centre, Near Sukhumvit Soi 24

It was 4pm when we ordered lunch and naturally, we ordered up a storm.

We had stopped for a bite at the newly renovated Emporium and found to our delight, a brand new “food court” concept at the Park Food Court on the 5th floor. It works very much like Marche in Singapore where each customer is issued with a card where all purchases are recorded onto and paid for as you leave.

However this place goes one step further: upon each order at the different food stalls, hand your receipt over to one of the many service staff at the food hall and they will bring your dish to your table. They will even help you order your drink. It’s like a hybrid of a food court and a restaurant and this seems to be the trend for most of the higher-end food courts in Bangkok.

But back to where it all counts: this was our first meal on arrival in the city (my second visit within a month) and the hungry lot of us just had to have it all. We filled our table with bowls of beef noodles that was served with the richest of broth and most delicate of rice noodles – slurppppp…; pad thai (Thai style fried noodles) that was a little on the sweet side; som tam (papaya salad) and yum woon sen (vermicelli salad) that were served with a fiery kick, a delicious tom yum gung (spicy Thai prawn soup), larb (minced pork salad) that we wiped out all too quick, and a Vietnamese grilled meat wrap that was as tasty as it looked. We washed it all down with their concoctions of tea: rose and logan. We left feeling very happy of course.

Friday, March 24

Senso Ristorante & Bar

21 Club Street T. 6225 3534

The layout of the restaurant in the former shophouse was the first thing that caught my eye when I had lunch here last year. It had a lovely courtyard after the bar that doubles up as a dining area in the evening.

I returned for dinner recently and was suitably impressed by its food. For starters, we had an antipasti of smoked swordfish and rucola salad that was accompanied by a delicate lemon dressing that got the appetite going. This was followed by risotto with Italian champagne that was light and tasty, pan-fried cod in red wine vinegar sauce, roasted lambchop with honey and thyme, and rounded off with a puff pastry filled with fresh strawberry and mint. Sure the food was good, but what impressed more were the service staff who knew their food and wines, coupled with the ambience and the gorgeous layout of the old shophouse that just takes you away from the bustle of it all. Lovely.

Thursday, March 23

Som Tam (Papaya Salad), Bangkok

Most dining places

It never ceases to amaze me how one can create a salad by pounding on it. And this is how most of the Thai salads are prepared. I suppose this is more a case of bringing all the flavours together – chilli, fish sauce, dried shrimp, peanuts, kaffir lime, coriander and a host of other spices and the juices of the salad, be it papaya or mango. The taste is always fiery and crisp. Delicious.

Yen Tau Fu, Bangkok

Food court and street stalls

This is the Thai variation of a dish we are familiar with: Yen tau fu or yong tau fu as we know it in Singapore. Here the dish is usually served in the soup version, with a variety of vegetables and stuffed tofu, fish, etc, and a pink sauce, and loads of spices – chilli flakes, sugar, fish sauce tossed in as you see fit. The final dish may look pink but it tastes pretty good. At this particular food stall, they also served the yen tau fu with a side of fried fish skin (left) that was crispy and fragrant.

Chin Chow, Bangkok

Chatuchak Weekend Market

One of my favourite desserts in Bangkok is chin chow or grass jelly drink. The fun part about dining in Asia is that all the dishes are similar and yet different. The grass jelly in Bangkok is served with chipped ice, and topped with fine brown sugar that had the texture of molasses. You have to keep stirring it to mix it all up. The jelly is firm, unlike the ones in Taiwan. And it’s a great way to keep cool in the heat.

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok

One of my favourite places to savour all things Thai is the Chatuchak Weekend Market or JJ market as the locals call it. Open only on the weekends, hence the name, it is made up of a myraid of tiny stalls – food, clothing, household goods, souvenirs, plants, pets, furniture, you name it, its sure to have it - that is sure to confuse even the most exceptional of navitgators.

With the help of my Thai friend, I was swiftly led to this stall that was packed with folks tucking-in in the mid-day heat. We started with the Thai pad thai, a plain fried noodle that is altogether different from the pad thai that we are used to in Thai restaurants. The simplicity of this dish was to serve as the “base” of the array of dishes that was to follow: fried chicken wings, that was done so crisp and fragrant, I just could not get enough of it; northern Thai sausages that were plumb and juicy; and an addictive som tam (papaya salad) that was full of the flavours of fish sauce, dried shrimp and potent chillies. We had a cold longan drink with this. The sweetness of the drink helped to calm the spiciness down a bit.