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Thailand - Bangkok and more
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  • Post #31 - January 27th, 2011, 5:20 pm
    Post #31 - January 27th, 2011, 5:20 pm Post #31 - January 27th, 2011, 5:20 pm
    Great stuff, BR...have been waiting patiently since you said you going.

    We're in the middle of planning a trip back to SE Asia this fall and Chiang Mai is getting serious consideration. It was bumped last time in order to spend more time in Vietnam, and I was starting to think that might happen again...your report may help me sway the decision maker. Very much looking forward to the Bangkok & Siem Reap reports (places we DID get to last time around).
  • Post #32 - January 29th, 2011, 1:04 pm
    Post #32 - January 29th, 2011, 1:04 pm Post #32 - January 29th, 2011, 1:04 pm
    More thoughts and pictures from Chiang Mai:

    I've always heard of Northern, Southern Thai food, etc., but you really get a better understanding of the different cuisines while traveling there, and the minute you visit the markets in Chiang Mai and see all of the fresh fruit and vegetables, including strawberries and pumpkins, you see how the cooler climate in the north (and particularly in the more mountainous regions) really affects their cuisine. This is not necessarily one of those more mountainous areas, but here's a picture looking down at Chiang Mai from Doi Suthep, a small mountainous retreat for those in the area, featuring a spectacular Wat at the top, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep:

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    You drive up most of the way to get there, and then either ascend the 300 or so steps or spend a couple of bucks on the cable car to get to the very top (and the Wat). Given that we visited in the heat of the afternoon, we opted for the cable car. But one nice aspect of the steps up is that it's a wide, winding stairway, full of vendors selling handmade crafts and plenty of great food. Even at the lower areas, there's plenty to smell and taste so we didn't miss out entirely.

    Lots of familiar (and some less familiar) fruits and vegetables for sale at the market, including strawberries and pumpkin:

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    I still don't understand how a fruit as beautiful as the dragon fruit does not explode with flavor. But I kept eating it anyway. And growing nearby, a jackfruit tree:

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    Perhaps less appealing to most, but frequently seen around the north:

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    Insects, and more . . .

    I had some of the ant eggs, but only when mixed into an omelet . . . I couldn't really even detect them quite frankly, although I'm told that they add a certain sweetness and maybe richness to the taste. Well, the omelet was great, but so were many others I tried which I don't believe contained the eggs.

    I hope you're not sick of sausage pictures (It's pretty tough to walk 20 feet in Chiang Mai and not find someone selling sausages, with the wonderful aromas filling the air - but often unfortunately sharing the air with fumes and smog):

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    Another frequently sold item at the markets, both in Chiang Mai and Bangkok:

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    In Chicago, I think I've only seen them offered at Me Dee Cafe. In Chiang Mai, I often noticed people eating the eggs with rice and/or hot sauce.

    One day, my friend wanted to try out the Chinese buffet brunch offered only one day a week at the Le Meridien hotel. It was a vast buffet, and the food was pretty good, but nothing to get overly excited about since many of the items were, not surprisingly, suited more for western palates. But one of the better items was this beautifully roasted baby pig:

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    Elsewhere around Chiang Mai:

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    nam phrik noom (the green, fishier cousin of nam phrik ong) - usually served with vegetables and crispy pork rinds

    Some of the many skewers offered on the streets - you pick one, they grill it (fish, chicken, pork, vegetarian):
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    A wonderful fried fish in a curry sauce:

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    Another great hang le curry, with pork:

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    Perhaps more in the style of Arun's, but a really flavorful fried pork toast:

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    a terrific dish of local eggplant cooked with pork and young spur pepper, and garnished with crispy pork rinds and also (I believe) crispy, fried garlic:

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    Last, it's worth noting that Chiang Mai, although Thailand's second biggest city, is a gritty city in the sense that it lacks a beautiful downtown with tall, modern buildings, you won't find vast public parks or a large, beautiful river, and there is certainly a fair share of pollution. But that's not to say that there is not a lot of beauty to be found around the area and even in the city. And there are so many great markets, both for buying locally made crafts and street food. I highly recommend a visit.


    edited to correct reference to durian - I've been informed it's jackfruit, although they look so similar
    Last edited by BR on August 4th, 2013, 11:01 am, edited 3 times in total.
  • Post #33 - January 31st, 2011, 10:40 pm
    Post #33 - January 31st, 2011, 10:40 pm Post #33 - January 31st, 2011, 10:40 pm
    Bangkok was the last stop of our journey, but by far the best when it came to eating, largely because of miles and miles of inexpensive and outstanding street food. We largely ignored restaurants during our six days in Bangkok, but I'll start my recap of Bangkok with the restaurants we did visit.

    The first was Polo Fried Chicken. There has been a fair amount written on the web about this place, although it was not originally a planned stop. We were on our way to Lumphini Park late one afternoon, we were hungry and we also needed a place to sit down. And there was Polo. We had the fried chicken, which was crisp, moist, flavorful, and topped with mounds of sweet and crispy fried garlic, making it even more delicious:

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    fried chicken topped with heaps of fried garlic

    Polo leans Northern Thai, and this delicious Chiang Mai-style sausage was about as good as any we enjoyed during our time in Chiang Mai:

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    Chiang Mai-style sausage

    We also tried this dish, which I believe was called crispy beef . . . a little too sweet and one dimensional for me:

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    crispy beef

    There's a lot of street food to be had in the area of Lumphini Park, so I don't necessarily urge you to stop at Polo Fried Chicken, but other than the beef dish it was quite good. In any event, if in Bangkok don't miss an opportunity to visit Lumphini Park - it's really spectacular.

    Here, you'd almost think you're in Lincoln Park:

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    Beautiful downtown views:

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    When was the last time you visited a park and saw a mass aerobics session break out (not joking):

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    And finally, one of the residents of Lumphini Park, out for a late afternoon stroll:

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    Moving on, the only sit-down dinner we had at Bangkok was at Chote Chitr, recommended in this thread, in the New York Times (raved about there) and a number of other places on the web. I had heard it's difficult to find, but that's putting it nicely. In fact, it was a disaster trying to find the place . . . and the street where it is found. One taxi even gave up, so we hopped in a tuk tuk. And nobody within blocks of the place seemed familiar with it.

    When we finally arrived, after a really long search, we were dismayed to find that everyone in the place was farang - no locals whatsoever. Apparently, a lot of people read the New York Times. Yet every hole in the wall surrounding this place was packed with locals. I was immediately nervous, angry and wondering why we just wasted more than an hour trying to find this place.

    Well, it ended up being a good meal, but not nearly as good as expected. The best dish by far was the banana blossom salad. I've only had this dish at Spoon Thai and PS Bangkok in Chicago, but this version was much better - fresh and crispy banana blossom pieces immediately set this version apart. Also, it wasn't as sweet as the versions I've had here, and it had a little more heat. Overall, it was quite good, although some of the seasoning paste was not properly incorporated into the dish and I tasted a large lump of it, which I didn't like.

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    banana blossom salad

    After the banana blossom salad, things started to go downhill a bit. Kaeng penang with chicken was not as complex as a couple we had tried on the street (one in Phuket, of all places, and the other in Bangkok). It was still decent, but a little heavy on the coconut and a little too soupy.

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    Penang curry with chicken

    Most disappointing was the mee krob, however. Let me start by saying that mee krob has been one of those dishes I've had in the US that drives me nuts. It's usually some overly sticky and terribly sweet dish that tastes more like candy than a noodle dish. I've never liked it. But after tasting it in Bangkok, I developed a totally new appreciation for the dish. When done right, it's a little sweet, a little sour, crispy, savory, and a little fishy-funky, and even a little spicy.

    But the version at Chote Chitr left a little to be desired. No, it wasn't overly sweet. Instead, it was a little too sour and lacking the savory and lightly sweet complementary flavors. Also, it was topped with what seemed like steamed, unseasoned chicken and shrimp that in no way was incorporated into the dish - as if it had been forgotten. While I tasted some really great mee krob in Bangkok, this version was not one of them.

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    mee krob

    If I had an opportunity to do this evening over, I would stop at one of the holes in the wall near Chote Chitr which was packed with locals. Still, not a terrible meal by any means, but hardly worth the terrible difficulty finding the place. And trust me, if you try to find it, you will have trouble.

    I'll post some more on Bangkok and my next post will be dedicated mostly to the wonderful street food we tasted.
    Last edited by BR on August 4th, 2013, 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #34 - January 31st, 2011, 11:25 pm
    Post #34 - January 31st, 2011, 11:25 pm Post #34 - January 31st, 2011, 11:25 pm
    We found Chote Chitr on our first day in Bangkok and a sign announcing it was closed for a break until later in the week. We ended up in one of the hole in the wall places nearby and had a completely forgettable (if exceptionally cheap) meal. We made the hike back a few days later and I'm glad we did, because that banana blossom salad is one of the things I remember most fondly about our time in Bangkok.

    The lizards in Lumphini Park are fantastic. On a stroll, we saw one engaged in a battle with a decent sized snake. Whenever I bring this up, my wife still makes the same noise she made when she first saw it...not her fondest memory of our trip.
  • Post #35 - February 1st, 2011, 12:18 am
    Post #35 - February 1st, 2011, 12:18 am Post #35 - February 1st, 2011, 12:18 am
    kl1191 wrote:We found Chote Chitr on our first day in Bangkok and a sign announcing it was closed for a break until later in the week. We ended up in one of the hole in the wall places nearby and had a completely forgettable (if exceptionally cheap) meal. We made the hike back a few days later and I'm glad we did, because that banana blossom salad is one of the things I remember most fondly about our time in Bangkok.

    I must say that but for the slight lack of blending, the banana blossom salad was excellent - best version I have tried. But the other couple of dishes let me down. Not sure what happened though.
  • Post #36 - February 1st, 2011, 12:54 pm
    Post #36 - February 1st, 2011, 12:54 pm Post #36 - February 1st, 2011, 12:54 pm
    Lovely, BR. Thank you.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #37 - February 2nd, 2011, 1:54 pm
    Post #37 - February 2nd, 2011, 1:54 pm Post #37 - February 2nd, 2011, 1:54 pm
    So much street food to be had in Bangkok, and all different types. Someone may have a simple cart and offer one dish, another person might have a much larger setup, offering menus, several dishes, drinks and tables and even real plates/bowls. Sometimes they have signs/menus in English, sometimes you just have to point or give your best attempt at speaking Thai. I found that most of the people we came across in Bangkok did not speak very good English - perhaps not even as well as Chiang Mai, and certainly not nearly as good as in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    Below are a couple of pictures of a steamed curry custard with seafood that I enjoyed, much like what you'd find at Spoon Thai here in Chicago. I found the versions in Bangkok to be very similar to the version served at Spoon Thai (except for the egg atop the one version) - perhaps a tad spicier, but I actually found the consistency of the custard at Spoon Thai to be a little better (silkier). Although the egg certainly made the one version quite attractive, I didn't think it added to the flavors.

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    Crispy, rich and delicious, but too rich and I couldn't eat all of the porky chunks I was given:

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    The Chatuchak Market is a weekend market in Bangkok which occupies 35 acres of space, impossible to cover the entire market, but there are maps to the market which tell you where to find what you're looking for, be it clothes, art, furniture, food or even exotic animals. I'm not sure there's anything you can imagine which is not sold at this market. But as large as it is, it gets incredibly crowded, so arrive early, plan to spend several hours, and understand that you'll only experience a fraction of the market. But don't miss the food and don't miss the live animal section. And arrive hungry because there is just so much wonderful food to taste. But the best thing I had was an order of phat Thai, which was the best version I've ever tried. I don't have a picture of the phat Thai, but here's a picture of them preparing my food:

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    Didn't have these, but they certainly looked good:

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    These crispy dumplings looked really good, but the filling turned out to be something akin to a plain hot dog, nothing special at all:

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    These preserved eggs were fantastic - great crisp exterior, kind of funky interior, altogether delicious:

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    Simple but delicious pork skewers:

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    Perhaps the three most common dishes I found on the street were phat Thai, mee krob and omelets. And I tried many versions of them all. Here are some pictures of different types of omelets, as well as the omelets being prepared:

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    The omelets were typically filled with vegetables and chicken or pork. Most were delicious. You can find various versions of such omelets all over town in Chicago: Rosded, Aroy, Sticky Rice, Spoon, Thai Aree. Best of all, you'll hardly find two which are exactly the same - some plain and topped with spicy curry, some filled with phat Thai, some topped or filled with meat and vegetables - so try them all.

    Here's a whole, roasted, salt-encrusted fish stuffed with herbs for 180 baht (roughly $6) - I badly wanted a taste, but knew I couldn't eat the whole thing and feared wasting some:

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    Roast eggs on a skewer:

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    An excellent version of phat khimao (drunken noodles) below - great because of the bold basil flavor, good seasoning and spice, and the lack of liquid, which I too often find in versions at Thai restaurants here:

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    Beautiful crabs (although I didn't try them):

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    I tried a fair amount of Thai fried chicken and below is one example. It's always served with a hot chili sauce for dipping, but while the chicken itself was always tasty, I personally prefer the American-style fried birds:

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    A charcoal grill lit, and awaiting the cooking grate:

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    There were not a ton of spots to eat right near the Grand Palace (at least where we exited), but we did find a place that served up a pretty decent phat Thai with egg and some delicious fried bananas:

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    Here's looking at you kid:

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    Making fried dough:

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    There were plenty of fresh fruit options too. Here's a small sampling:

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    And some tasty desserts too. Here are some crepes and tasty mung bean candies made to look like fruit (the latter can be purchased here in Chicago at PNA, the little store next to Rosded on Leland between Western and Lincoln):

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    I have some more pictures and details to share, but this post is making me hungry so it's time to grab a bite to eat. :)
    Last edited by BR on August 4th, 2013, 11:27 am, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #38 - February 2nd, 2011, 2:31 pm
    Post #38 - February 2nd, 2011, 2:31 pm Post #38 - February 2nd, 2011, 2:31 pm
    BR-

    Your posts and photos are fantastic. Thanks for taking us on the journey.
    -Mary
  • Post #39 - February 2nd, 2011, 2:43 pm
    Post #39 - February 2nd, 2011, 2:43 pm Post #39 - February 2nd, 2011, 2:43 pm
    BR wrote:Image

    F _k yeah! :D

    =R=
    There's a horse loose in a hospital -- JM

    I am not interested in how I would evaluate the Springbank in a blind tasting. Every spirit has its story, and I include it in my evaluation, just as I do with human beings. --Thad Vogler

    I'll be the tastiest pork cutlet bowl ever --Yuri Katsuki

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #40 - February 2nd, 2011, 7:38 pm
    Post #40 - February 2nd, 2011, 7:38 pm Post #40 - February 2nd, 2011, 7:38 pm
    In my last post, I mentioned the Chatuchak Market. I should note that not all of my photos were taken at that market. Quite a few were taken in Bangkok's Chinatown, centered along Yaowarat Road, which area has an absolutely amazing array of street food.

    But as I noted with respect to the Chatuchak Market, don't miss a visit to the exotic animal section. You'll see snakes, all kinds of fish and birds, dogs, porcupines, turtles . . . even squirrels:

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    And here are a couple of more food pictures from the market:

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    the photogenic camachile

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    freshly made noodles


    Bangkok is also a fantastic shopping city with a number of absolutely huge shopping malls - even ones that make Woodfield seem small. In one department store, we visited a food hall which included a grocery store. It didn't look so much different from grocery stores here:

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    One department store seemed to make shopping for a rice cooker a true adventure, with three full rows of them. Here's a picture of just one of those rows:

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    The huge shopping malls in Bangkok also have huge food courts. The word "food court" might as well be a four-letter word in the US. But not in Bangkok. At the MBK food court, we enjoyed two very good dishes. First, a nice version of Khao Soi, and the other being a plate containing fiery chicken and holy basil, white rice and omelet. Both were quite good. While the khao soi was not quite as good as versions I tasted in Chiang Mai, it was still delicious (and it's the only picture of khao soi I have). Here are pictures of both:

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    Khao soi - mix-ins (red onion, lime, etc.) not shown, and picture hardly does this dish justice

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    Chicken with Thai peppers and holy basil and omelet


    But perhaps my greatest food discovery in Bangkok was my reintroduction to mi krap (or mee krob as seen on most Thai menus in the US). I've typically hated this dish at Thai restaurants in Chicago, finding it an overly sweet, sticky mess that tastes more like candy than part of a meal. But I found it everywhere in Bangkok and decided to give it a try, and another, and another. Each time, I discovered a totally different dish than the one I hate here. It was lightly sweet, lightly sour, lightly fishy, savory and crunchy, It was really excellent and really inexpensive. The only version I did not love was the version at Chote Chitr, which I mentioned a few posts ago, but even that version was better than the ones I've tasted in Chicago. I'm now going to search here in Chicago for a version of this dish that tastes more like it should - if anyone knows of such a place, please let me know. Anyway, here's a picture of one version I picked up at one of the local street stalls:

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    Mi Krop
    Last edited by BR on August 4th, 2013, 11:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #41 - February 2nd, 2011, 9:28 pm
    Post #41 - February 2nd, 2011, 9:28 pm Post #41 - February 2nd, 2011, 9:28 pm
    great pics.
    my son was just there 2 days ago, he is going back thursday am. :mrgreen:
    he is on vacation from shanghi, work is off for then new year
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #42 - August 26th, 2011, 9:33 am
    Post #42 - August 26th, 2011, 9:33 am Post #42 - August 26th, 2011, 9:33 am
    Yep, I'm bumping a 6 month old thread. Figured I should do it before I forget this stuff, considering I went two years ago!

    Had dinner one night in Bangkok at a place called Suda on Soi 14 Sukhumvit. Recommended by a college friend. I really liked it although I don't remember exactly what I ordered! I think just basic chicken, basil, hot peppers stir fried with noodles. The som tam was really really good. We also at at the Luphini Night Market instead of the rooftop at Sirocco Hotel. We just had drinks there (Banyan Tree's rooftop bar was better!). Had some tom yum noodle soup which tasted good, but the real plus were the 2 L table toppers of Tiger, and the band playing Akon and Britney Spears with the South American WCQ on in the background. Strange.

    After we left Bangkok we went to an island called Koh Chang, which I cannot recommend enough. Stayed at a small guesthouse over the water near Khlong Prao Beach. Ate twice at a great retaurant called Ka Ti, which is the favorite on the island of the owner of the guesthouse. Least greasy Thai food I had ever had.
  • Post #43 - November 7th, 2011, 8:35 am
    Post #43 - November 7th, 2011, 8:35 am Post #43 - November 7th, 2011, 8:35 am
    On the first page of this thread, I mentioned that my favorite restaurant visited in Chiang Mai (in fact, the best Thai meal I've ever had) was Krua Phech Doi Ngam. But if not for one of the wonderful concierges at the Shangri-La in Chiang Mai, I never would have visited this place - it was not mentioned in any tourist literature, and we were the only foreigners in the place. Luckily, thanks to this article from the New York Times containing recommendations of Andy Ricker of Pok Pok in Portland, I'm sure that many foreigners will now find the place, as well as a few others that are not often recommended by tourist publications. As for eating, it's hard to go wrong in Chiang Mai - so many different types of sausages, khao soy served almost everywhere for lunch, wonderful markets with street food, and a few can't miss spots for dinner. That being said, there's only so much you can do other than eating within the general Chiang Mai area during the day . . . but in five days, imagine the eating you can accomplish.
  • Post #44 - November 7th, 2011, 3:03 pm
    Post #44 - November 7th, 2011, 3:03 pm Post #44 - November 7th, 2011, 3:03 pm
    Bluto11 wrote:

    After we left Bangkok we went to an island called Koh Chang, which I cannot recommend enough. Stayed at a small guesthouse over the water near Khlong Prao Beach. Ate twice at a great retaurant called Ka Ti, which is the favorite on the island of the owner of the guesthouse. Least greasy Thai food I had ever had.


    I went there for a vacation 15 years ago, it was incredible. I am taking the family (with kids) to thailand this spring, and debating between north (and a 3 day elephant safari) and Koh Chang. but the beach was spectacular when I was there.
  • Post #45 - January 14th, 2012, 10:46 am
    Post #45 - January 14th, 2012, 10:46 am Post #45 - January 14th, 2012, 10:46 am
    We just returned from a great trip to Thailand. We started off in Bangkok, then headed south to Ko Phi Phi and the interior of Krabi province, then north to Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son and Soppong (an area known for great caving near the Burmese border). We had some terrific meals and lots of terrific snacks, particularly in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. I'd thought I'd get started on reporting about our food-related experiences in Bangkok as I know of at least one LTHer heading there this winter.

    It may be apparent from my previous posts on this board, but I am a big David Thompson fan. So, I made sure to secure a reservation to Thompson's relatively new Bangkok restaurant, Nahm. Nahm is located in the swank, modern Metropolitan hotel. The restaurant interior fits well with the modern, minimalist decor of the hotel. We opted to try the tasting menu--each diner gets to sample 4 appetizers, then each chooses a soup, salad, dip, curry and stir-fry and dessert to be shared family style. It was very reasonable by US standards at $65 for a LOT of food. We didn't drink alcohol as the meal was early in the trip and we were still a bit jet-lagged.

    Nahm: table setting

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    Appetizers:

    Ma hor (galloping horses)--pork and palm sugar stir-fry served on a pineapple wedge:

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    Miang kam (one-bite salad) with shrimp and pork--a 'do-it yourself assembly dish' with betel leaves as the wrapper. Definitely in the top 4 or 5 dishes

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    I devoured the grilled mussel dish prior to getting a photo--It was great though.

    Sakoo (tapioca dumplings) with smoked trout filling: We enjoyed trying this with the trout as opposed to the more commonly seen pork or chicken (though I will probably continue to make these with pork in the future).

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    Crab curry cupcakes: The crab curry was served in an edible, crispy shell. This was probably my favorite dish of the night
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    Soup:
    I think I forgot a picture of one of the soups. The one pictured is the Tom Yum with chicken. Weirdly, it was a complete miss--overwhelmingly sour. I would have tried to get a condiment tray to doctor this up but there was so much food on the way, we just left it after a taste.

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    'Entrees'

    Red curry of crab--very reminiscent of the cupcake appetizer (which, happily, we loved). We left a lot of food on the table due to the amount we were served. This was the dish I was saddest to leave. Coconut milk, coconut cream and a pile of crab meat. What's not to like?

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    Lemongrass salad: I loved this dish (probably my 2nd favorite). Bright flavors, perfectly balanced. I will definitely try and replicate this at home (probably in the summer with home grown lemongrass)

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    Fermented fish relish: After we ordered this, our server came back to warn us it was very spicy. But it was actually pretty tame in terms of funk and spice (and not the spiciest dish we had). Maybe the chef decided to tone it down for Farang palates, which was a shame. It was good but not especially memorable.

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    Kurobuta pork with yellow bean sauce: great ingredients but a fairly bland dish. Not one I'd order again

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    Palate cleanser:
    Rose apple with palm sugar--this really helped 'clear' the spice before dessert. I may have to try this (maybe subbing apple or plum for the rose apple).

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    Black sticky rice in coconut milk with fried taro. The fried taro (which looked a little like mi krob) was fantastic! I'm not generally a big Thai dessert fan (with the exception of mango and sticky rice which I wolfed down at every opportunity this trip) but I thought the desserts at Nahm were really interesting, in a good way.

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    Tapioca dumplings in coconut milk with bananas on the side

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    Green mango with (?lime) sugar
    Very refreshing after a big meal

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    Mignardises (I was so full at this point--I have no recollection of exactly what these were).

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    So, in summary, we thought the food at Nahm was very, very good. It was probably our second favorite meal (after My Choice--a very casual place). We really loved the opportunity to try this type of innovative high-end dining, especially since there's nothing like it (to my knowledge) in the U.S. There were a couple misses, but overall, it was a great meal.

    I'll post on our other Bangkok experiences soon.
  • Post #46 - January 15th, 2012, 12:29 pm
    Post #46 - January 15th, 2012, 12:29 pm Post #46 - January 15th, 2012, 12:29 pm
    Our favorite meal of the trip was at My Choice restaurant at 5 Sukhumvit road soi 36 (at the far end of Soi 36, away from Thanon Sukhumvit). . Kasma Loha-Unchit recommends the restaurant highly on her website. We probably would have gone more than once if we had found it sooner. We loved each of the four dishes we had (though the catfish salad a little less than the other 3).

    We had:
    Wing bean salad-Yum tua pu(which I have since tried to duplicate at home, fairly successfully) with a coconut milk, nam prik pao, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar dressing a la banana blossom salad), topped with loads of crispy fried shallots.

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    Crispy catfish salad (Yum pla duk fu):

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    Green curry beef with roti. I generally prefer red curries to green but this was outstanding (and inspired me to make green curry with brisket this weekend). Truly transcendent. Probably the best thing we ate on the trip (though it's a tough call)

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    Fried whole fish with herbs, kaffir lime leaves

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    My Choice has a very extensive menu--I would have loved to explore it a bit more.\


    We didn't eat very many sit-down meals in Bangkok (because we were too full from the street food) but we did ate at one Western/Continental restaurant called Eat Me recommended by a friend of a relative living in Bangkok. The food was solid but I think this place probably appeals more to ex-pats missing foods from their home towns. Eat Me has a very cool interior and a welcoming owner and staff (the owner is from Australia and offered us a free drink on our way out). The appetizers were the highlight of the meal for us.

    Eat Me interior

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    Bread service (toasted bread with dukkah)

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    Black chicken salad with coconut

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    Pumpkin soup with seared scallops

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    Goat cheese ravioli with fig reduction

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    Filet with blue cheese (not sure why we ordered this--we both generally like beefier cuts than filet but it was good for what it was, namely a big hunk of meet covered in blue cheese)

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  • Post #47 - January 15th, 2012, 12:50 pm
    Post #47 - January 15th, 2012, 12:50 pm Post #47 - January 15th, 2012, 12:50 pm
    Polo chicken:
    We had fried chicken at the much acclaimed Polo chicken on soi Polo near Lumphini park. As BR pointed out, it's hard to go wrong with fried chicken topped with shallots. We had much better fried chicken on the trip, the best (by far) was at Huen Phen in Chiang Mai

    Press for Polo:

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    Fried chicken

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    We never ate at one of the Mont Milk and Bread cafes but we were amused by the idea. The Mont shops were apparently among the first cafes in Bangkok to serve the exotic delicacy--milk. Now they sell milk (plain and flavored), tea, and toast slathered with unusual (sweet) toppings like coconut custard and creamy taro.

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    We didn't eat at McD's but we appreciated Thai Ronald's politeness (shown here performing a wai)

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    The street food in Bangkok was unreal. After reading extramsg's post upthread, we headed to the stands around soi Convent. Lucky for us, this was on our walking rout to the Sky Train and we could stop for a second breakfast on our way to various sights.

    BR did a beautiful job documenting Bangkok/Chiang Mai street food but here are a few favorite breakfast snacks:

    Kanom krok--coconut cupcakes (I love these--I detailed my experience making these at home here).

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    Kanom buang--little Thai crepes and (my favorite) coconut 'pikelets' on the left (the small pancakes made with black or white sticky rice flour.

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  • Post #48 - January 15th, 2012, 7:49 pm
    Post #48 - January 15th, 2012, 7:49 pm Post #48 - January 15th, 2012, 7:49 pm
    Great stuff thaiobsessed, and I'm looking forward to seeing a lot more. Amazing how much there is to eat in Thailand - I wonder how much more time I would have needed to try it all (obviously at least a couple of more weeks). Well, another reason to look forward to a return visit one day.

    While I can't specifically recall the fried chicken you speak of at Huen Phen, I do recall having one of my two favorite meals in Chiang Mai there (the nam phrik noom pictured in my post near the top of this page is from Huen Phen). And going through my photos, I apparently have proof that I ate fried chicken at Huen Phen:

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    fried chicken at Huen Phen


    I also recall Huen Phen being quite the beautiful restaurant. This service vessel for rice was just one example of that:

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    If anyone else is planning on visiting, this information might help some:

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    In going through my photos, I noticed I didn't really post anything from my visit to Phuket. Overall, I was not much of a fan of Phuket. One exception was a day trip to Phang Nga Bay (aka James Bond Island, from the Man with the Golden Gun). Aside from a boat trip to that island, we had a lunch stop at a floating Muslim fishing village where we had a pretty good lunch (everything well prepared, although spices tamed for us westerners).

    We also strolled through a small market in the floating village where the prepared shrimp paste and various shrimp paste and dips mixes and preparations. The shrimp preparations were usually spread out on tables, some in the sun to dry. Needless to say, the smell was quite pungent. Below is one picture I have of one of the tables at this market.

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    Last edited by BR on August 4th, 2013, 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #49 - January 29th, 2012, 12:09 pm
    Post #49 - January 29th, 2012, 12:09 pm Post #49 - January 29th, 2012, 12:09 pm
    Thought I'd post a little more about our recent trip...

    Chiang Mai:
    Since we're on the subject of Huen Phen (nice pics, Br)...
    Huen Phen is apparently two restaurants, one behind the other (this may account for the differences in how memorable the fried chicken is).. The more dive-y version (the interior/table setting looked nothing like the above pics) is a local lunch spot. We were advised by some locals to go at lunch--not sure how it differs from the dinner spot, but we loved our lunch here. We were actually on our 5th meal/large snack of the day when we arrived for a late lunch, but we still managed to pack everything away.

    Huen Phen
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    Fried chicken
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    My dining companion had to make a grab for a piece before I could snap the picture (I would have done the same)
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    Chiang Mai sausage
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    Green mango salad
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    We also followed BR's suggestion and headed to Krua Phech Doi Ngam. We had quite adventure getting there (we tried to walk and it's off the major highway to the airport--luckily, we found a tuk-tuk and a very kind driver who called the restaurant to help us get there). As Br pointed out, the restaurant was recently featured in a New York Times article about Andy Ricker, the owner of Portland's Pok-Pok. The word still hasn't gotten out--we were the only Farangs there and the restaurant staff seemed surprised by our presence.

    The menu is quite vast and we did not order well. Our sour fish curry was about the funkiest dish I've ever been within a one block radius of. However, a very nice Thai couple (one of whom had lived for a few years in Milwaulkee) generously shared some of their dishes with us. The highlight was a whole fish topped with herbs--outstanding. I would definitely go back here if I was in Chiang Mai--would love to get through more of the menu (which had some very interesting-sounding dishes).

    A page of the vast menu at Krua Phech Doi Ngam (the last dish--the fish with herbs--was outstanding:
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    We loved the herb salad we ordered:
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    Their Nam Prik Ong was also very good
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    We didn't love the sour/fermented fish soup/curry:
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    The spare rib and jackfruit curry was just o.k.
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    Chiang Mai had a great variety of street food. We stayed in an area of town that has a large Muslim population (and thus lots of Roti stands where we could enjoy a second breakfast).

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    Our chicken curry roti in the works...
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    Perhaps due to the holiday season, there were lots of food vendors within the gates of Wat Phra Sing

    Ingredients for Nam Khao Tod (fried rice ball salad)
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    Spare ribs, sausage, Gang Haeng Le
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    We had to have Khao Soi while in Chiang Mai--we sought out one of the famous shops, Khao Soi Islam--really awesome, check out the nice oil pools glimmering on the surface:

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    On the way, we passed this place:
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    While we weren't in the mood for a Chicago style dog, we did have a nice chat with the owner (who used to have a fast food place in the Austin neighborhood in Chicago).

    Edited to add: we tried a very interesting version of Kanom Krok with different fruit flavors in Chiang Mai. I think I'm more of a purist when it comes to these but I appreciated the variety.

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    I'll post about Soppong/Mae Hong Son when I have a little more time.
  • Post #50 - January 29th, 2012, 12:46 pm
    Post #50 - January 29th, 2012, 12:46 pm Post #50 - January 29th, 2012, 12:46 pm
    Fantastic pics thaiobsessed - amazing that I spent about 5 days in Chian Mai and missed some of that. I never had a savory roti (very, very sad right now and feeling like I need to jump on a plane). And never knew that Huen Phen doubled like that . . . but the fried chicken looks fantastic and I loved what we had there. That Khao Soi also looks great - we went elsewhere at the advice of someone from our hotel but did have a great bowl. Very funny about the Chicago place.
  • Post #51 - March 21st, 2012, 6:44 pm
    Post #51 - March 21st, 2012, 6:44 pm Post #51 - March 21st, 2012, 6:44 pm
    Eating Chicken Butt in Bangkok

    Wandering around Bangkok this afternoon, I spotted a vendor selling a number of grilled items, including small skewers of the chicken's triangular tail section.

    I’d asked the nice lady at the hotel to write down for me, in Thai, the request: “Hello, how much is your delicious food.” I presented this paper to the young woman behind the grill, and she giggled and said “Five baht.”

    With baht at 30 to $1 US, I got two three-piece skewers of “chicken butts.” Seemed a like a good deal.

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    The young woman grilled two skewers for me and put them in a plastic bag, which seemed odd (the bag started looking a bit melty)…

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    …but which turned out to be a good delivery system because it enabled me to ladle in some counter-side hot sauce and use the bag as a dipping pouch.

    The butt was surprising, I mean really surprisingly good. At home, this part of the chicken usually goes into the stock pot, but there is a lot of fatty flavor in it, and balanced with hot sauce, it’s an excellent street snack. Each lightly caramelized section must be eaten slowly, however, as there’s a chunk of gristle in there that you have to nibble around.

    Later, I spotted some beautiful salt-encrusted, herb-stuffed fish on a grill:

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    This nosh was a much more expensive (about 250 Baht), but that included some filleting:

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    On the ride into the city, I had asked several people where I might find good street food in Bangkok, but that was a silly question: it’s everywhere.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #52 - March 22nd, 2012, 9:49 am
    Post #52 - March 22nd, 2012, 9:49 am Post #52 - March 22nd, 2012, 9:49 am
    Hammond, really enjoying your dispatches from the grand tour.

    Chicken ass is the king of yakitori for good reason. If you ever make it to Torrence, try it at Torihei:

    http://www.torihei-usa.com/menu/food/ya ... jiri-tail/
  • Post #53 - March 24th, 2012, 8:17 am
    Post #53 - March 24th, 2012, 8:17 am Post #53 - March 24th, 2012, 8:17 am
    Cool pics DH! I ate lots of skewered things in Thailand but I don't think I had any chicken butt.

    Your post reminded me to post some of my pics from Northern Thailand. We loved Mae Hong Son and Soppong in the north of Thailand. There's a strong Burmese influence (particularly Shan near Soppong) given the proximity and we really enjoyed the food there; unfortunately, I didn't take many pics in Mae Hong Son.

    Soppong has a terrific weekly market and I was tempted to try and sneak a couple ingredients back to the States...

    yams/kindling
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    kitchen implements
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    assorted dried fish
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    the disks in the center are 'tua nao', dried fermented soy bean paste. I've tried to find them here without success
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    assorted fried things
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    Naem (fermented raw pork sausage), fried chicken skin
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    donut relatives:
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    We went hiking near Soppong. Our guide brought along a great picnic lunch, which he spread out for us on some leaves: fried chicken skin, northern style larb and sticky rice. Probably the best hiking/picnic I've ever had:
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    Fried fish with herbs in Mae Hong Son
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    Assorted sticky rice packets (black bean, banana, pumpkin)
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    Few more market shots from outside of Krabi town (southern Thailand):
    Fried shrimp and sweet potato
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    Khao griep bpa maw (steamed dumplings with rice paper wrappers--I love these and Su from P.S Bangkok taught me how to say this somewhat correctly and the vendor looked a little surprised when I asked for them by name).
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    Fried bananas and sweet potatoes
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    Tamarind, curry pastes:
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    Green mangos, Thai eggplant, lemongrass, young ginger in background
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    Shrimp paste, picked radish
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    Cilantro, how it's meant to be sold (while I was taking a picture of this, the stand's proprietor brought me to her neighbor stand to have me take a picture of the insects there).

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  • Post #54 - March 24th, 2012, 10:30 am
    Post #54 - March 24th, 2012, 10:30 am Post #54 - March 24th, 2012, 10:30 am
    terrific stuff thaiobsessed - do you know what that is in the picture below the picture of the bananas and sweet potatoes . . . it's pictured just in front of the eggs? It looks delicious, but I can't tell if it used to fly, swim . . . or both?
  • Post #55 - March 24th, 2012, 10:34 am
    Post #55 - March 24th, 2012, 10:34 am Post #55 - March 24th, 2012, 10:34 am
    BR wrote:terrific stuff thaiobsessed - do you know what that is in the picture below the picture of the bananas and sweet potatoes . . . it's pictured just in front of the eggs? It looks delicious, but I can't tell if it used to fly, swim . . . or both?


    Thanks BR...it used to swim ('butterflied' dried fish)
  • Post #56 - April 10th, 2012, 1:42 pm
    Post #56 - April 10th, 2012, 1:42 pm Post #56 - April 10th, 2012, 1:42 pm
    Hey thaiobsessed, the shrimp and sweet potato melange looks like it would taste pretty good (especially, perhaps, with a shot of chile sauce). I'm guessing it's eaten out of hand rather than mixed with something else (like rice)?

    I could easily have spent another two days eating off the street in Bangkok, but for some reason the whole experience made The Wife crabby ("overload," she kept saying, as I smashed more chow into my gob).
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #57 - April 11th, 2012, 8:12 pm
    Post #57 - April 11th, 2012, 8:12 pm Post #57 - April 11th, 2012, 8:12 pm
    David Hammond wrote:Hey thaiobsessed, the shrimp and sweet potato melange looks like it would taste pretty good (especially, perhaps, with a shot of chile sauce). I'm guessing it's eaten out of hand rather than mixed with something else (like rice)?


    We scarfed them down out of hand. They were very good. There was some sort of green in there but I'm not sure what it was.
  • Post #58 - April 11th, 2015, 7:21 pm
    Post #58 - April 11th, 2015, 7:21 pm Post #58 - April 11th, 2015, 7:21 pm
    Bumping this. Will be headed there in October. Already scouting the food situation. Is nahm still the place to go? Plan to eat a ton of streetfood as well!
  • Post #59 - April 11th, 2015, 8:20 pm
    Post #59 - April 11th, 2015, 8:20 pm Post #59 - April 11th, 2015, 8:20 pm
    pinkydapimp wrote:Bumping this. Will be headed there in October. Already scouting the food situation. Is nahm still the place to go? Plan to eat a ton of streetfood as well!


    Youngest daughter leaves end of the month for a year or so in Thailand, so we're planning to return for Xmas. The street food selections were blindingly abundant. I could live there, I think, and might.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #60 - April 12th, 2015, 4:55 pm
    Post #60 - April 12th, 2015, 4:55 pm Post #60 - April 12th, 2015, 4:55 pm
    David Hammond wrote:
    pinkydapimp wrote:Bumping this. Will be headed there in October. Already scouting the food situation. Is nahm still the place to go? Plan to eat a ton of streetfood as well!


    Youngest daughter leaves end of the month for a year or so in Thailand, so we're planning to return for Xmas. The street food selections were blindingly abundant. I could live there, I think, and might.


    I am falling in love with it and i havent yet been! This thread makes me drool!

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