Asia travel diary: Bangkok, Thailand [part 2]

Day 2 was a big and long day. Reminiscent of that one day we had in KL… but that’s what happens when ones time is short in a city with so much to do!

We left our hotel and roamed the streets on foot early morning, just wanting to see how life was like in the big city.

These food carts/stalls were set up along the street just metres from our accommodation and were operating from early morning til late at night. Many locals were having their morning grub slurping down their noodles before making their way to work or school.

bangkok, street food

We made our way over across the street to see what they were having.. hehe!

bangkok, street food
Grilled chicken

It was still a bit too early for something so filling so we went on our way and came across these food carts selling deep fried patongo, much like mini versions of Chinese donuts.

bangkok, patango, street food

bangkok, patango, street food
Patango; $8THB/$0.27AUD* for 4 pieces at $2THB/$0.07AUD* a piece !!!

A little bit further down the road, and more deep fried goodies…

bangkok, street food

bangkok, street food
Banana fritters and sesame balls; $10THB/$0.33AUD*

Not exactly the healthiest start to the morning, but it was a sufficient and super cheap snack to get us going.

We hopped into a cab (and made sure that the meter was on) and asked our driver to take us to Chatuchak Market, that cost us about $160THB/$5.33AUD* which included a $50THB toll fee plus a tip.

Chatuchak Weekend Market

The Chatuchak Weekend Market is one of the world’s largest weekend markets, the market is divided into 27 sections containing more than 15,000 booths selling goods from every part of Thailand. They sold everything here. From antique wood carvings, clay sculptures, souvenirs, Buddhist amulets, furnitures, flowers, plants, ceramic wares, clothes, silk, etc. After weaving in and out of aisles and seeing the same kind of shops again again, we needed to get out of the hot box as we were undercover in a tin shed/warehouse. We were in desperate need of some fresh air and refreshments! And food. Always food. 😛

bangkok, chatuchak market
One of the many food stalls at the Chatuchak Market

bangkok, chatuchak market, grilled pork skewers
Grilled pork skewers

bangkok, chatuchak market, fruits
Fruit station

bangkok, chatuchak market, water apples
Water apples

Look at how gigantic these water apples are! So big, bell shaped and glossy. One of my favourite tropical fruits, its texture is crunchy and juicy like an apple but not as dense, it’s more light and airy and holds a lot of water (I’d say it’s a cross between an apple and watermelon). A refreshing and slightly tart fruit.

bangkok, chatuchak market, rambutan
Rambutans

bangkok, chatuchak market, mangosteens
Mangosteens

My favourite!

bangkok, chatuchak market, mango
Green mangos

bangkok, chatuchak market, fried quail eggs
Fried quail eggs

bangkok, chatuchak market, red ruby water chestnut
A humongous bowl of red ruby water chestnut dessert being individually packaged

bangkok, chatuchak market, red ruby water chestnut
Tubs of red ruby water chestnut desserts for sale

This popular Thai dessert is coconut milk based with small pink jewel like water chestnuts that have been covered with tapioca flour, it’s served with sweet coconut milk and shaved ice and can be topped with fresh fruit and jellies.

Then… in the far distance, we spotted a line. A line up for fresh coconut ice cream!

bangkok, chatuchak market, coconut ice cream, coconuticecreamjj
Fresh coconut ice cream station

We joined the queue!

bangkok, chatuchak market, coconut ice cream, coconuticecreamjj
Coconut ice cream with red bean, coconut jelly and sticky rice served with a cup of fresh coconut juice; $35THB/$1.17AUD*

BEST. THING. EVER.

Served in a half coconut shell was a scoop of the freshest coconut ice cream with a variety of toppings available. I chose the sweet red beans, firm slippery cubes of coconut jelly and a scoop of sticky rice. Delishhhhh, we gobbled it down in no time and finished off our snack with the accompanied cold cup of fresh coconut juice.

Once we had enough of the markets, we made our way to Siam Paragon to get myself a new pair of shoes. Yup, half way through the trip and my Toms had been completely trashed and it was time for a new pair of something. Any excuse to shop really! 😉

‎After some retail therapy, we were on the prowl for lunch. We had to be smart with our choice as we wanted something sufficient, light but not too filling as we needed to prep our bellies for dinner that night. We ventured down to the food court level and settled into a booth at Ging Original Siam Paragon.

Ging Original Siam Paragon

bangkok, ging original, siam paragon

bangkok, ging original, siam paragon, asahi, lemongrass juice
Asahi beer; $110THB/$3.67AUD*
Lemongrass juice; $65THB/$2.17AUD*

I have this gravitation towards ginger and lemongrass infused flavoured things (like that awesome lemongrass ice cream in KL! *drools*, so this lemongrass juice was the perfect refreshing beverage I needed.

bangkok, ging original, siam paragon

The plan was to order a small bowl of noodles each and possibly a side or starter just for a little bit extra. But things don’t always go to plan and things generally pop out from the menu to the stranger so we ended up ordering more than we should have… oh well!

bangkok, ging original, siam paragon

bangkok, ging original, siam paragon, fresh spring roll

bangkok, ging original, siam paragon, fresh spring roll
Fresh spring roll; $140THB/$4.67AUD*

These were your typical spring rolls, minus the deep fried bit. The spring rolls were rolled up without folding the ends in and the same spring roll paper as the deep fried versions were used, but these were ‘raw’. The filling was a combination of egg, bean sprouts, chinese sausage, tofu and cucumber, and then a pool of sauce on top with a spoonful of mustard, fresh chilli pieces and spring onion.

We struggled to get through one roll and gave up (we didn’t really enjoy it!), thankfully the rest of lunch was more agreeable with our tastes.

bangkok, ging original, siam paragon, deep fried minced pork dumpling canape
Deep fried minced pork dumpling canape; $140THB/$4.67AUD*

Morsels of minced pork on a large crouton, all of which was deep fried and sprinkled with sesame seeds, served with a punchy fish sauce with loads of fresh chilli.

bangkok, ging original, siam paragon, fish noodle in hot and spicy soup
Fish noodle in hot and spicy soup; $150THB/$5.00AUD*

bangkok, ging original, siam paragon, noodle in pork soup and ivy gourd
Noodle in pork soup and ivy gourd; $130THB/$4.33AUD*

Mmmm, I always find something so comforting about noodle soups. These were both great. A clear and clarified soup in both bowls, one punchier and spicier than the other. The fish noodle soup noodles were actually made from fish! Think fish balls, but in flat noodle strands. Mind blown. Haha. The noodles in the pork soup and ivy gourd was your typical thin flat rice noodles with a bit of bite to them. The soup was a lot more subtle and simple but the flavours were still there. A very comforting and satisfying dish. You’re probably thinking we were a bit crazy to order noodle soups given that the weather in Bangkok was super hot and humid, but once you’re encased in a mall with air conditioning, you wouldn’t know if it was cold or hot outside! Hehe… there were some days when I had to pack a light cardigan with me cause it got so cold in the shops…

One more ice cream for the road back to our hotel!

bangkok, hokkaido milk, green tea soft serve
Hokkaido milk green tea soft serve ice cream; $75THB/$2.50AUD*

🙂

The list for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants was released in late April this year. Once it did come out, I had a quick scan through the list curious to see what restaurants had made it, especially which Australian ones so I could add it onto my list, haha. Whilst going through the list, I thought that I should also take note of what other restaurants had made the list in the cities we were travelling to – a handful of Asian city restaurants made the World’s Best 50 from Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong – two of which are from Australian Chefs: David Thompson from Nahm Bangkok and Tetsutya Wakuda from Waku Ghin at the Marina Bay Sands Singapore. Yup, the same Tetsuya Wakuda that owns Tetsuya’s Restaurant in Sydney that I was lucky enough to dine at for my birthday this year. <3

We decided to dine at two restaurants from the list, both of which was in Bangkok mainly due to their more ‘affordable’ prices. Yes, you read right, we ended up going to two of the restaurants that made it onto the World’s Best 50 list! 😉

First up, Nahm, ranked 13th on the World’s Best 50 and 1st on Asia’s 50 best restaurants for 2014.

Nahm

The award winning Thai restaurant is located in a contemporary Bangkok luxury hotel: Metropolitan by COMO – such a swanky looking place! The restaurant was sophisticated, modern, minimal and very spacious. There were large stone pillars in the dining room which contrasted with the glossy tiled floors and timber dining tables.

For the evening, we opted for the set menu at $2,000THB/$66.67AUD* per person which consisted of a selection of canapes, a choice of one dish from each section of the a la carte menu (relish, salad, 1 soup per person, curry; stir fried, steamed or grilled dish) and followed by a dessert each.

I’ve included the a la carte prices (at time of visit) for your curiosity, although we had smaller serving sizes due to the set menu. 🙂

bangkok, nahm, mojito
Mojito

bangkok, nahm, old fashioned
Old fashioned

bangkok, nahm, amuse bouche
Ma hor

After we got our drinks sorted, we started off with a complimentary serving of ma hor, a Thai appetiser directly translated to ‘Galloping Horses’. An amuse bouche of minced chicken, prawn and pork with brown sugar on a bite sized piece of fresh pineapple. A delightful starter with punchy flavours and a sweet and juicy finish on the palate with a touch of coriander freshness and chilli kick. I’ve even found a recipe from David Thompson here.

Our four canapes followed straight after. We were told to have the canapes in a certain order starting from the lightest to bring out the flavours in each and to prep our palate for the dinner ahead.

bangkok, nahm
Prawn and coconut wafers with pickled ginger; $320THB/10.67AUD*

Our first canape reminded me of a mini version of banh xeo, a Vietnamese crispy pancake filled with a savoury filling. These wafers were super thin and crispy with a golden hue on the outside and filled with a light and delicate savoury filling of finely sliced and chopped ingredients and hints of crunchy peanuts.

bangkok, nahm
Smoked fish, peanut and tapioca dumplings; $280THB/$9.33AUD*

A very interesting and texturally fun ‘dumpling’ of chewy tapioca, strong smoked salty fish and crunchy peanuts wrapped in a green salad leaf that played on salty and sweet flavours.

bangkok, nahm
Blue swimmer crab, peanuts and pickled garlic on rice cakes; $300THB/$10AUD*

Delicate pieces of juicy blue swimmer crab meat piled on crunchy peanuts and pickled garlic and a light and crispy rice cake and finally topped off with a piece of green chilli. Yum!

bangkok, nahm
Salted thread fin perch with ginger, chillies and green mango on betel leaves; $260THB/$8.67AUD*

This wrap was an intense and flavourful mouthful of ‘punch’. Salty fish, aromatic ginger, spicy chillies, sour green mango and a peppery betel leaf that held all the components together.

Once all canapes were demolished had, the rest of the meal came out one after another. The concept was to present all the dishes at once and share everything.

bangkok, nahm

bangkok, nahm
Grilled beef salad with cucumber and mint; $650THB/$21.67AUD*

Punchy flavours with slices of grilled beef, chunks of cucumber, a heap of chilli and mint for a refreshing finish.

bangkok, nahm
Red curry of quail with deep fried shallots and Thai basil; $650THB/$21.67AUD*

I would say that this was my most favourite dish of our meal. The curry had an intense fiery colour and it was incredibly fragrant and flavourful. There was a pile of tender quail pieces along with crispy golden deep fried shallot pieces and Thai basil leaves mixed through; all topped with fragrant thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves (love the scent of kaffir lime leaves!). So good!

bangkok, nahm
Fresh tamarind relish with minced prawns, pork and chillies with braised mackerel, deep fried quail eggs and fresh vegetables; $650THB/$21.67AUD*

Our next dish from the ‘relish’ category was a little bit different and new to our palates. Pictured above is the second half of the dish: braised mackerel, deep fried quail eggs and fresh vegetables, and below is the fresh tamarind relish with minced prawns, pork and chillies – so much chilli! We weren’t too fond of the braised mackerel and fresh Thai vegetables but the deep fried quail eggs which were battered around a vegetable was interestingly light and crispy. Almost like having fried kale chips. Heh. The relish was intensely flavoured and paired well with the fresh vegetables which balanced out the flavours. We chickened out on eating the fresh chillies and wasn’t game enough to taste how ‘hot’ it was… even for myself who is an avid chilli/spice lover!

bangkok, nahm
Soft shell crab stir-fried with chillies, holy basil and green peppercorns; $650THB/$21.67AUD*

bangkok, nahm
Coconut and chicken soup with deep fried garlic, green mango and chilli; $280THB/$9.33AUD*
Clear soup of roast duck with Thai basil and young coconut; $260THB/$8.67AUD*

We got to order a soup each but as per usual, we ended up sharing anyway. 🙂 The coconut and chicken soup was surprisingly our favourite, and you wouldn’t be able to tell, but it was rather light and not as ‘creamy’ as it looked. Tender pieces of chicken contrasted well with deep fried garlic pieces and a nice punch and kick from green mango and chilli.

bangkok, nahm
Mango, sugar, salt and chilli

A complimentary palate cleanser to prepare our tastebuds for dessert! Loved this mango, sugar, salt and chilli hit; something I’m definitely keen to replicate at home.

bangkok, nahm

bangkok, nahm

bangkok, nahm
Coconut ash pudding with poached bananas; $280THB/$9.33AUD*

So yummy! Sweet poached bananas in a light coconut milk concoction paired with coconut ash pudding wrapped in banana leaf. Oh that pudding! Visually striking and so so tasty. It was sticky and chewy with a few coconut pieces and crushed peanuts.

bangkok, nahm
Durian and white sticky rice; $320THB/$10.67AUD*

I couldn’t go past their durian dessert. The king of fruits paired was surprisingly paired with the queen of fruits: the mangosteen! The durian was rich, creamy and super sweet, it sat in a small bowl of white sticky rice underneath a pool of coconut milk.

And to think we couldn’t fit anything else in, a plate of petit fours came out!

bangkok, nahm
Petit fours

A colourful plate of bite sized confectionary goodies to round off our meal was presented… I couldn’t fit it in, no matter how much I mentally tried so I was left staring at its prettiness… look at that touch of gold leaf!

Our bill was $6,500THB/$216.67AUD* which included food, drinks (sparkling water and multiple cocktails), 10% service charge and applicable government taxes. And this was at Asia’s number one restaurant in the world! We could easily spend that much on a normal dinner back at home so suffice to say, we thought it was a really affordable meal at a highly regarded restaurant.

On a side note, how pretty were the plates and crockery used? A mixture of wooden and ceramic pieces. Beautiful!

After dinner, we popped next door (literally next door!) to Vertigo and Moon Bar at Banyan Tree Hotel to savour the city views at the roof top bar.

We had to take multiple flights of stairs to reach the top but once we made it… WOW!

bangkok
Check out the view!

My pictures don’t do this bar justice, just google it and be amazed!

bangkok
Roof top bar

We were literally on the edge/side of the rooftop… my stomach did churn a bit… haha!

bangkok
Old fashioned

-d

Chatuchak Weekend Market
Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road
Chatuchak Bangkok

Ging Original Siam Paragon
Siam Paragon
Rama 1 Road
Pathumwan 991 Bangkok 10330 Thailand

Nahm
Ground floor, Metropolitan Hotel
27 South Sathorn Road
Sathon 10120 Thailand
P +66 2 625 3388

Banyan Tree: Vertigo & Moon Bar
Banyan Tree Hotel
21/100 South Sathorn Road
Sathon 10120 Thailand
P +66 2 679 1200

*exchange rate at time of travel $1AUD=$30THB

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