My love affair with Thai food is rampant, and I suspect it will continue to be. SS and I did a quick weekend getaway to the Thai capital with the agenda of eating top notch fare, receiving numerous massages and squeeze in a bit of shopping. I would have loved some time in the sun too, but Bangkok, like Bombay, experiences a lot of cloudy skies and wet afternoons. This was a serious food coma inducing holiday, and my love for Thai food was thoroughly satisfied. But I would readily go back again, like, now. This is how #EatingBangkok came about.
We stayed right in the centre of the action – well, in a lane just off the action. I am getting old, with the 30th around the corner. Wait. I mean 23rd. More on that later. Our home for the weekend was ultra-chic newly opened Hansar, boasting a winning combination of Thai service with western etiquette, massive suites (fully equipped with a kitchenette, fridge, freezer and washer/dryer) and scrumptious breakfasts at Eve – including these Banana, Walnut + Green apple pancakes and rich 100% arabica Elefin coffee shade-grown in Chiang Rai. They also house one of the most popular new spas in the city, which I felt extremely guilt-free to test out! While the massages were great, one thing which was out of the ordinary was their welcome butterfly pea tea (blue chai) sweetened with stevia leaves. Yes, please!
The hotel was perfectly located just off Ratchadamri, and a 2 minute walk to the Ratchadamri BTS station – but if we wanted to walk, the journey to the Central World mall took all of 8 minutes, unless like us you keep getting distracted by all the fresh pomegranate and passion fruit juices and coconut water vendors.
Exploring Bangkok’s vast and quality dining scene isn’t a breeze – not because there are SO many to choose from, but more so because of the traffic! Always use the BTS, this time we also used the MTR. Anything but the roads – unless you’re daring enough to hop onto one of the messenger motorbikes that really zip you past all the traffic in a breeze!
We managed to make it to some of Bangkok’s finest – Issaya Siamese Club and Gaggan – both of which were outstanding. Apart from these 2, all our meals in Bangkok were extremely value for money, with supremely outstanding flavour and ingredients.
But one favourite we cultivated was Nara, which was so fantastic, that we actually ate there twice in one weekend (despite having hundreds of other options!). The best dishes I’m my opinion was their mushroom tom yum soup, which used an amazing variety and sizes of mushrooms and came to the table with a burner underneath. Other must-orders included their vegetable green curry, som tam and an iced thai tea to wash it all down! [We also ordered morning glory, pad thai, spring rolls, but I didn’t love them. And yes, we are gluttons.] They have an effective coupon system to make you wait (yes, there’s always a wait) but don’t let that dodge you. Wait for it. It’s worth it! [PS- they have an entire separate vegetarian menu that you have to ask for, the regular menu will seem like there aren’t enough vegetarian options.]
And right opposite Nara was another – Din Tai Fung. 2 words: DanDan Noodles. OMG. While their vegetarian selection is limited, I would most definitely return for their yam spring rolls, these phenomenal dan dan noodles and the custard bun! [I’m drooling a little.]
Because this wasn’t enough, in between everything, we tried to stop for tender coconut water every chance we got, as well as trying these amazing coconut smoothies at the farmers market (i.e. tender coconut water, tender coconut meat and lots of ice, frappucino style) which were brain-freeze inducing but highly addictive!
I also spotted durian at the market, but didn’t get around to tasting the fresh stuff, but I did munch on some durian chips and convince myself that I’m adventurous (not!).
For me, no day in Thailand is complete without fresh mangosteen, and thai food. The mangosteen here is incredibly sweet, and each piece is perfect, not like Bombay where firstly, it costs a small goldmine, and secondly, half of them are rotten. Also sampled some mangosteen juice, which was a fail.
My weakness for Thai food extends to desert, most pre-dominantly coconut ice cream, and the authentic way of serving it street-vendor style with lots of bits and bobs works just beautifully for me!
As can be predicted, I did a decent amount of leg work before leaving for Bangkok. I came cross this guide in the nick of time, but quite frankly, I’d think twice about trusting it entirely again. One of the recommendations – Soul Food Mahanakorn, while loved up to the ‘honest cooking, serious drinks’ description, it severely lacked vegetarian options. After this stop, we hopped over to Opposite Mess Hall, where there was not even a glimmer of activity on a Friday night, despite its description being ‘where the cool kids are’. Well, you live and learn. Another source which I found incredibly informative and visually appealing was this one (and always manages to make me hungry!)