Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Bangkok Part 2/5: Best of the rest

Last post, we covered my top 5 favourite things to eat in Bangkok. It hasn’t been an easy list to make, and I’m still not entirely sure I chose the correct top 5 because there was just so much good food there.

A few of the things we ate could easily have made the top 5 if someone else had written this blog, and this post is for them. In no particular order, here are the next 6 best things I ate in Bangkok.

Chocolate Lava Cake at After You, Siam Paragon
We had to wait about 20 minutes for a table at this famous dessert place in the basement of the high-end Siam Paragon mall. And it was a weekday afternoon – so you can imagine how long a wait you will be in for during weekends.

A taste of the Chocolate Lava Cake and we immediately understood why. It was easily the best chocolate lava cake we’ve ever had. The cake was soft and light, and had a thick, dark, super-rich chocolate sauce oozing out of it. It was not too sweet, and had a pronounced saltiness that added a pleasant savoury dimension to its flavour profile. There was more chocolate hardened and stuck to the bottom of the plate. It tasted like hazelnuts and I spent most of our time there just chipping and scraping it off the plate with a spoon.

The sour strawberries complemented the rich, sweet chocolate very nicely. The scoop of ice-cream was, however, more of a nice-to-have.

We also ordered the Horlicks Latte which was great –rich and thick, with a caramel-like sweetness. 

The stirrer gives me an idea: this would be EPIC if frozen and served as a popsicle.

But the strawberry crepe was a big disappointment. It was watery and didn’t have much strawberry flavour. Avoid at all costs.

Probably the best thing on the plate was the dollop of cream on the side.

Thab Thim Krob in Chinatown
This is such a ubiquitous item on Thai restaurant menus and we’ve obviously had it many times before in Malaysia. But the one we had on arriving in Chinatown is simply on another level. The santan is rich and thick and sweet, and the sourness of the jackfruit slices just offsets it perfectly. There were also cubes of thick but surprisingly tender coconut flesh, as well as deep red water chestnut pieces. A bargain at 40 Baht, especially compared against more expensive versions in Malaysia that’s nowhere near as good.

I would eat dessert more often if more of them tasted like this.

Chee Cheong Fun in Chinatown
This stall outside the Seiko shop in Chinatown serves up a chee cheong fun variant that’s unlike any of the ones we typically find in Malaysia. The rice noodles are incredibly light, and covered in a tasty soy sauce-based stew with tender chunks of pork, mushrooms and cuttlefish. Slices of fried garlic add just the right touch of bitterness and fragrance.

Single portions of the noodles are steamed in individual bamboo baskets.

Like all Thai eateries, this one had a holder with 4 different condiments on the table. One of these condiments – the tangy green one, seemed unique to this stall and goes very well with the chee cheong fun.

Just 40 Baht for this plateful of wonderfulness. It was so good I had to order a second one though I was already quite full at the time.
The stall owner hard at work preparing an order. If you crop out the Thai writing, this photo could easily have been taken in Hong Kong.

Pad Thai at Ban Laem
We decided to go to the Maeklong Market by train. The first leg of our journey was a 1-hour ride from Bangkok to Ban Laem. From there, we were supposed to take a second train direct to Maeklong. But on arriving at Ban Laem, we found out that the train schedule had changed and we needed to wait a few hours to catch our train.

This turned out to be lucky for us. As we were wandering around while waiting for the train, we randomly stepped into this shop that turned out to have pretty good pad thai. The noodles were nice and firm and chewy. They were a little on the sweet side but that’s easily balanced off with the condiments on the table. Add heat, salt or tang as desired and enjoy!

Our first plate of pad thai for this trip was a pretty good one.

Grilled scallops at Amphawa Floating Market
On arriving at Maeklong, we checked out the market, which didn’t offer anything special beyond the train that passes inches from your face. Once we’ve experienced that, we immediately hopped on a tuk-tuk (my first one ever) to the floating market nearby.

There were plenty of food stalls at the floating market, as well as along the narrow streets connecting to it. Of the many tasty things on offer there, among our favourites were these fresh, perfectly grilled scallops. Firm, sweet and a decent size, they came with a spicy-tangy dipping sauce that reminded me of the sauce at Nong & Jimmy back in Malaysia.

At 50 Baht for half a dozen, it was a pretty good deal too.

Century eggs at night market near Seacon Square
These eggs were coated and cooked in a spicy fish paste and came with a spicy-sweet thai chilli sauce. The black yolk was rich and creamy, almost runny. There was more heat in the fish paste coating, and it matched up nicely with the richness of the egg. This was a very interesting century egg experience - very nice and tasty but totally different from any century eggs I've tried before.

If century eggs freak you out (guess you must be a Westerner) they also sell regular eggs.

So ends part 2. Do look out for the next installment in this series of posts on Bangkok. Part 3 will be on well-known makan places that don’t quite live up to their hype. See you then!

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