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Motormouth From Ipoh

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chinatown, Bangkok - Night and Day

From previous chapter of Best Pad Thai, Lamphu House & Khao San Road .....

Complete with neon lights, gaudy architectures, cabs plying the route non-stop, and tuk-tuk terrorizing the streets .... Bangkok's Chinatown lights up come sundown.

Chinatown (or Yaowarat Road) is a part of Bangkok that's rather famous come sundown, aside from the perennial favourite of many (hehe); Patpong. But of course, for all the RIGHT reasons, as opposed to the RED light district aforementioned. ;)

T&K Seafood Restaurant @ Chinatown - With the cheerful workers all decked in GREEN. Such nature lovers these Thais are .....

Thanks to sc, we managed to manoeuvred our ways to one of Chinatown's best offerings, the seafood restaurants. We took a cab from somewhere around Khao San Road (we were fresh off the river taxi ride from Wat Arun) to Chinatown, telling the driver that we were on the prowl for seafood at Chinatown. And hey, no perfect Engrish necessary, as Chinatown (or better known as Yaowarat, referring to the name of the road) is well-known to locals and foreigners alike. 100baht/RM10 per way, and don't try to bargain unnecessarily. (Trust me, I did and nearly got rolled over at Chinatown!!)

Tangy tangerine juice, sweet coconut juice fresh from the shell, and the condiments - sweet, sour and fiery

There are two VERY prominent seafood restaurants in Chinatown, by the roadside. But of course, you can choose to sit inside, with air-conditioning in times of near-heatstroke. One of them being T&K Seafood, with workers all decked in lime GREEN T-shirts, while their stiff competitor wears RED, directly opposite of each other, named Lek & Rut. At each other's throat or not, I don't know. But one thing for sure, both outlets were packed like sardines the moment we were there for dinner. And it wasn't even a weekend or public holiday.

Juicy, succulent LARGE prawns barbecued @ 150baht/RM15

Most impressive dish in their repertoire is their BBQ seafood, from crabs to prawns, and fish to squids. Fresh, succulent supplies grilled to perfection, retaining most moisture, and freshness. The prawns for one, reminded me of our very own Tanjung Tualang's BIG-headed river prawns, only a little larger at T&K. From 150 to 300 baht per serving. Very juicy, sweet & fresh. Smokey flavour imparted from the grill, the prawns can be eaten plain or with the accompanying dipping sauces. One being the sweet Thai chilli sauce, another was the slightly sour & spicier green chilli dip.

Fried Meat Crab with Yellow Curry Powder @ 300baht/RM30

The crabs cooked with the thick, almost gelatinous curry powder and beaten eggs fared not too well though. The curry paste being a little overwhelming and rich, while the crab (only one, for we ordered the small portion) was nothing to shout about. (300baht for Small, 350baht for Medium, and 400baht for Large).

Oyster Omelette/Or Chien @ 100baht/RM10

Unlike sc's version, this one did not come on a bed of bean sprouts, but instead akin to the average fried egg omelette commonly found everywhere. Not crispy at all, with meagre servings of oysters. Served with a sweet chilli sauce. Forgettable.

Steamed Squid with Garlic, Lemon Juice and Chilli @ 150baht/RM15

Fortunately, the steamed squids fared so much better. Springy, fresh squids complemented perfectly by the zesty sauce. Almost resembling the type of gravy used in steaming fish, Thai-style.

Tom Yum Seafood @ 100-150baht/RM10-RM15

The Tom Yum came brimming with fish slices, prawns, squids, mushrooms and such. Surprisingly not spicy at all, given the country's notorious fiery dishes. Maybe because it was Chinatown? But the combination of flavours worked wonders, especially paired with the fluffy white rice.

See the small, confined seating area? In fact, there are FIVE storeys to T&K, climbing the steep staircases endlessly til you find an empty table!

The meal was priced at 1035 baht/RM103, including drinks for the four of us. Reasonable, but not dirt-cheap. But still, with prawns, crabs, and squids all present (albeit in small portions), it's a steal, really.

Location : T&K Seafood Restaurant @ 49-51 Phadung Dao Rd, Chinatown, Bangkok.
Tel No : (02) 223 4519. Opens daily: 4:30 pm – 2:00 a.m.

(info taken from sc's blog HERE)

Hop over after dinner, for some cooling desserts .......

Chinatown in Bangkok's not only famous for the seafood, but also for the many shops selling cheap bird's nest soup, shark's fins soup, as well as outlets selling typical Chinese dried goods.

Sweet, cooling and soothing .... who cares if they're real or made from jelly? :)

We passed by Nam Sing, a few shops away from T&K Seafood, and instantly drawn to the two shoplots, air-conditioned restaurant serving shark's fins and bird's nest soups. Of course, at Chinatown, you can savour a full bowl to yourself, at almost dirt cheap prices.

The accompanying ginkgo, red dates and longan in syrup

At Nam Sing, we were served with cooling chrysanthemum tea the instant we sat down. Welcomingly refreshing, given the hotter than ideal weather in Bangkok right then.

The bird's nest is segregated into 4 different classes, with 1st class being the most pricey (1000baht/serving!), and the 4th being cheapest (200baht/bowl). We picked the 3rd class (hehehe, being 3rd world mentality and all?) at 300baht/RM30 per bowl. Enough to be shared amongst two, served with sides of either longan, or ginkgo nuts in syrup. A lovely end to the meal, and call it placebo effect if you would; We felt soothed, refreshed, and radiant almost instantly. LOL.

Location : Nam Sing Bird Nest @ 39-47 Soi Texas, Phadung Dao Road, Yaowaraj, Bangkok, Thailand. Various other branches elsewhere, even in Pattaya, and Hong Kong! Opens from 9.00am - 2.00am.

Daytime in Chinatown .... a little lonely, but not without its charm

Then one fine morning (after we've moved to a boutique hotel in town - more on that in later posts), we've lost all opinions on where to have our breakfast. Sure the omnipresent 7-11 was tempting, with cheap hot dogs, burgers, pizzas and buns, but we practically had them for breakfast almost every single day during the last trip, 3 years ago.

Wat Traimit in Chinatown, still under construction it seemed

So, for something completely out of the ordinary, we ventured to Chinatown for some good old dim sum breakfast. Yup, read that right. Dim Sum in Bangkok. We were near locos, nearing the end of our trip. Side effect of over-paranoia (no thanks to H1N1)?

Temples at almost every corner in Bangkok. Nothing to do after meal? Let's Pray! Enough of shopping and walking around? Let's Pray! ;)

But dear taxi driver was probably not very familiar with Chinatown area. As we requested to stop at any good dim sum outlet, and though he nodded, we alighted from the cab directly in front of a hotel. Or sorts. And thinking "Wah .... so posh meh ... go hotel's dim sum restaurant?!" Only to be shamed as the hotel does not permit entry to outsiders. Whoops.

A corner lot at Soi Sukon in Chinatown, serving typical Chinese hawker fare.

And so, round and round we went on foot, desperately seeking for a dim sum place to satisfy our hunger. We woke up rather late that morning, since it's a Sunday after all.

But to no avail. Most shops were not even opened that early, and directions from the locals ain't helping at all.

Chicken Rice, Popiah, Pork Noodles and Pork Congee for breakfast -Simple, yet effective

Thankfully, as the locals spoke Mandarin fluently around the area, one lady guided us to Soi Sukon for breakfast. Or wait .... that has to be brunch, by that time.

A very old and classic coffee shop, it reminded us of Penang's typical kopitiam, with several stalls all around, lining up to satiate the hunger pangs.

We had some hawker grubs, particularly memorable was the porridge with pork meat balls, and a raw egg, and the unassumingly-delicious popiah (julienned vegetables + pork slices wrapped crepe-style, served with a sweetish sauce).

This uncle was even featured in the papers! Frying some Or Chien/Oyster Omelette

Nice, crispy edges gave the Or Chien some crunch, with lots of bean sprouts, chives and coriander. And of course, plump oysters. But if I'm not mistaken, mussels were used instead.

The Or Chien/Oyster (or in this case, mussels) omelette was scrumptious, miles better than the one at T&K. A little greasy, but negligible given the extra crisp in exchange. No wonder the uncle was frying the omelette non-stop that morning!

The meal costed a mere 193 baht/RM19.30, for everything including drinks.

Location : Corner shoplot No 342 (facing a corner 7-11 Store), on Soi Sukon 1, Samphantawong, Bangkok, Thailand. Here's a Google Map of the place.

Sweet, sweet Bananas on a High !!!

Ever heard of roasted bananas? They're sweet, they're filling, they're cheap, and they're everywhere in Bangkok !!! Located in front of a 7-11 Store, opposite the aforementioned No 342 Coffee Shop.

And that wraps up the Chinatown segment of our Bangkok 2009 getaway .....


worldwindows said...

Brings back alot of sweet memories of 2 years stay in Bangkok. Those big head fresh water prawns are very succulent. Street food is the best!

J2Kfm said...

worldwindows : you stayed there before? aiya ... should've asked you for recommendations also!

KCA said...

wei.. good job, motormouth!!! ^^
wrap up all in ONE.. haha!! wat post next?? :)

ai wei said...

fun! it's so much fun with lots of food!~!

ahlock said...

Interestingly, my sis also went to Thai for a holiday with a few friends.

Except for the barbequed banana, there are no similarity in the photos she took. Hers include all sorts of insects and stuff.

Selba said...

You really make me miss Bangkok a lot!!! So nice to see all these pictures :)

J2Kfm said...

KCA : erm, not sure lah. rest from Bangkok posts first i guess. overdose .... hahaha ...

ai wei : yeah, food brings ppl together ya?

ahlock : insects we only managed to bump into one solitary roadside stall in town. not even in Khao San Rd anymore. wonder why ... not in season?

Selba : you really do love BKK, dont you?

iamthewitch said...

I miss tom yam already! The soup looked LOADED with goodness! *yum*

Grace said...

This is exactly the kind of place I want to be a part of. Colorful and alive. Thanks for sharing to us the photos. :)

J2Kfm said...

iamthewitch : loaded right .... and not too pricey, the tom yum.

Hi I'm Grace : you're most welcomed. Thailand's great, vibrant and lively. with lotsa delicious food to boot.

Tummythoz said...

Oh no. Shdoulf I do Thai food or the 'Kings' this wkend? Think sudden combustion can be caused by over heatiness?

jason said...

The seafood place you went at night... is which one? I went to the one on the right side previously and food were quite good, especially the oyster omelette.

email2me said...

Feast like a king!

J2Kfm said...

Tummythoz : you just sidai in HK and China, rest 1st. hahahah's raining here anywya.

jason : erm, the green shirts one. another one is red shirt. dunno which one right or left, since you can come from both directions.

email2me : yeah, and came back heavier than a loadsack of potatoes.

thule a.k.a leo said...

The most memorable moment for me in Bangkok was my trip to Chinatown.. it took me two attempts before reaching here (the first one we caught in a REALLY BAD JAM from Bangkok city centre)...
Then my friend in Bangkok took me here... forgot the name of the restaurant but the food was damn good! Very large fresh oyster, fish and lip-smaking delicious roasted pork knuckle... sigh!!!

mboy said...

So funny whn think bk student days we ate the 4th class Bird's Nest..And now 3rd pclass pulak..Hahaha...Actually the matter of eating 1st class shud be no prob as the reason here is whether "seh mm seh tuck" eat only =)

Hulk said...

I've been to Bangkok 3 times & still unable to cover up that much place as u.
Yes..I do like thier exotic taste of food especially fried bugs.

J2Kfm said...

thule : yuh, talkin bout pork knuckle got me salivating now! strange enough, we did not eat much pork when we were there.

mboy : true lah, but at RM100 per bowl, I'll have doubts whether true or not ... bird's nest in Chinatown? :)

Hulk : ooohhh, i like them bugs also! but cannot find so easily nowadays lah!

Big Boys Oven said...

hahaha just pure awesome . . . .drooling looking at them! lol! food heaven indeed!

foodbin said...

fun! fun! fun! good and cheap food.

kevinchung said...

It seems that they like to grill and roast^^
The dessert! that bowl of bird's nest really makes me drool :p

By the way, fried bugs? you mean the real bugs?

Reanaclaire said...

aiyoh..beh tahan la... great stuff, wonderful pictures, delicious food.. no wonder u said came back poorer.. but it is worth it!!

Elin Chia said...

Hi J2kfm,
It's Elin here, I have passed the Best Blog Award to you. Please check it out from my blog. Thanks.
You deserved the award :)

hcpen said...

Wow...i miss bkk so much...AND THE FOOD....damn..i need to return there soon...the pork ball porridge looks so tempting from here...i wish they had it where i live:-(

J2Kfm said...

BBO : yeah, indeed.

foodbin : eating from the streets is an experience needed to be felt, and savoured.

kevin : yeah, kevin, REAL bugs. pity I didnt snap any pics of the stall. but the previous visit, we did try some, and they were delicious! almost like fries.

reanclaire : came back poorer, and fatter. well worth? you bet!

elin : thanks Elin for the award. :)

hcpen : the hawker fare resembles our very own Chinese hawker food. being chinatown and all. from chicken rice to noodles, and porridge to even Or chien.

ck lam said...

Definitely this is post that I will refer to when I am going for a holiday...thunmbs-up!

Unknown said...

wow, all the delicious foods. Yum! Yum!

kampungboycitygal said...

my bangkok trip got canceled. suppose to go on the 1st. can only sulk looking at ur delicious photos :(

msihua said...

Oh Boy... *continuous drool*

I'm so hungry right now... Waaaaaaaaaa

BBQ Banana's... hmmm.. maybe if I chuck some on the barbie here, the ang mohs might think I'm mad?

Rebecca Saw said...

BKK. Somehow nothin beats the sheer variety, the lifestyle and the food, (PlUS shopping!) here better than anywhere else!

kevinchungx said...

Oo, fried bugs like spiders, beetles? No peculiar taste?

J2Kfm said...

ck lam : thanks, ck. but this one not a comprehensive guide to most attractions. as we went to most during our 1st trip way back then.

Food paradise : yum alright! :)

citygal : oh no! yeah, you told me. cancelled cz of the flu?

msihua : nah, you can try. hehehe... just wondering who's gonna be the takers?

TNG : true. BKK has almost everything. good food, great ppl, and wonderful places.

kevin : we went for the fried worms, and the cricket, or beetle. I cant rmbr as we didnt take photo back then. very heavily seasoned, hence no awkward taste.

Unknown said...

ooo... GORGEOUS FOOD!!!!

I love the crabs.
I love the shrimp.
I love the sweet soup.
I love the Bird nest soup.

I used to buy bottles of bird nest soup like this at home as it is healthy and convenient:

But if i have time again! I will go to Thailand once more!!!!!!!!

Thailand is AWESOME!

Anonymous said...

Well i missed BKK Chinatown chicken rice.

Unknown said...

mann i love bird's nest soup too even IF its made from spit!!! <333

i eat it like once every monthish and used to bought from website sometimes, my mom went back to hong kong and bought a full suitcase of it cause its cheaper there XD