Sunday, 29 December 2013

Bangkok Part 4/5: Tasty discoveries

You can find good food simply by wandering aimlessly around the streets of Bangkok and stopping by wherever looks or smells good. This post covers the food we stumbled upon that we really liked but didn’t make it into our best-of list.

Pork noodle at floating market
This shop is one of the most unique ones I have ever seen – the dining area is quite long but only about 3 feet wide, with a long table along one wall and just enough space to sit. There isn’t even room for people to walk behind seated diners. It was empty when we were there, but I imagine that when it’s full, diners will have to pass the bowls from the kitchen (situated in a roomier part of the shop) down the table to others seated further away.

Anyway, the noodles. They came in a thick, dark gravy with some meaty bits mixed in. The flavour was deep and rich and strong, tasting of aromatics and pork that’s been stewed till the meat and collagen disintegrate into the gravy and thickens it. On the table was also a special chilli paste that added heat and even more body to the gravy.

It was well worth squeezing into that cramped space for a taste of this bowlful of joy.
Floss crepe at floating market
There was a guy selling these sweet treats off the back of his bicycle, all his ingredients and gear stored in a tiny storage box mounted over the rear wheel. We took notice because of the neverending crowd of customers gathered around him, waiting patiently for their orders. The ‘crepe’ was actually miniature versions of popiah skin – the really thin, circular type used by popiah hawkers, not the thicker square kind sold frozen in supermarkets. And the ‘floss’ was like thicker versions of cotton candy, taking the form of shards that were hard, brittle and melt-in-the-mouth. It was not too sweet, and tasted like it was made out of soy milk. It was very enjoyable and light, and tasted healthy to boot.

This extremely basic 'stall' looked like it was decades-old.
Like a cotton candy dessert taco.

Orange slush at floating market
I saw this stall and suddenly had a hankering for orange Slurpee. Well I bought one and was thrown off by the taste a little. I thought it wasn’t orange, or orange mixed with pomelo and lime or something. Many sips and wrong guesses later, I realised with intense embarrassment that what I was tasting was orange all along. It was all-natural, freshly squeezed orange juice, with the distinctive taste of pith. I was so used to all that artificially flavoured crap we get in bottles in Malaysia that I didn’t even recognise real orange flavour when I tasted it. Absolutely shameful.

Tastes so natural I didn't recognise it.

Coconut near floating market
We were walking away from the floating market when we saw this stall down a side lane. There were a bunch of guys there, chattering away and nonchalantly carving coconuts into smooth, perfect little shapes for sale. Their knives were seriously sharp, as was their skill. The coconuts they sold were a bargain at only 10 Baht each, and were filled with lots of sweet coconut water and thick but tender flesh. It was a delicious and refreshing treat made all the more enjoyable by the coconut-carving master class happening in front of us.

A really good bargain at just 10 Baht per coconut.

Grilled sausage
We were just walking along the back streets near our hotel when we saw this lone pushcart grilling up delicious-looking links of sausage. Each link was only about a mouthful in size, but packed some really nice big flavours. The skin was firm and popped nicely when bitten into, the meat firm and springy, overflowing with juice, and there was a very nice hint of lemongrass and heat. Whoever you are, anonymous sausage grilling guy, you certainly made our walk highly memorable.

As a bonus, the stall was also situated across the street from the cool-looking brick wall in the background.

Insect larvae
One of my main must-eat items in Bangkok was bugs, so I was really happy when we stumbled upon this stall selling them around the Pratunam area. Tried a sample of crunchy baby cricket, but ended up buying these larvae, which the vendor reheated in hot oil and spritzed with a vinegary dressing. The outer carapaces were nice and crunchy and the insides had the rich taste and consistency of the deep-fried fish eggs I usually order at banana leaf restaurants. It was a good, nutritious and healthy snack which even Lady Fartsalot found enjoyable, once she got over her queasiness.

I'd take these over caramel popcorn any day.

It’s taken far longer than it should, be we will be wrapping up this Bangkok trip report soon. Part 5 is coming up shortly…

1 comment:

  1. With a slice off the outer husk of the coconut to scrape out the meat... that's classic. Reminds me of old times. :)