Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bangkok, October 2006, Day One

Although I do miss Australia (and to a lesser extent the States) after returning back to Singapore, Singapore does have some perks. It's great as a travel hub and being centrally located near most Asian countries, quick and cost-effective getaways are always tempting when a long weekend is creeping up. Bangkok has to be my favorite SEA city at the moment, funny how I've never been to Thailand in my whole life till July 2006 and since I've been to Bangkok three times!

Raintree Lounge at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal One. Nothing really fantastic, the spread was rather poor. They didn't even have the prepacked sandwiches in the fridge, just an assortment of rather stale-looking cakes.

They still had that wall of cup noodles but I didn't feel like such a MSG hit so early in the morning.

In the end I settled for this tall buttercup cake which sort of reminded me of those childhood overflowing tall buttercup cakes which were so tasty you would literally nibble the bits off the paper. This one was ok, not as buttery as I hoped it to be.

A nice little welcome fruit platter was waiting in the room for us. This would come in handy if I felt like eating healthy. Haha as if!

I dined at Siam House when I first came to Bangkok and it's almost a ritual for me to return at least once when I'm here. The food is slightly more pricey than street food but it's consistently good and there's air-conditioning.

Most of those who have stayed at Asia Hotel would be quite familiar with this place and even though I was not staying at Asia Hotel, I still made the effort to come back here for lunch.

Grilled pork. This tasted quite similar to the ones you get a Vietnamese restaurant. Nicely grilled, with a fatty edge and that hint of lemongrass.

Chicken wrapped in pandan leaves, these are like little bundles of tasty happiness.

I think these were actually fried and not grilled but that didn't matter because the fragrant pandan scent was still evident and the chicken pieces retained their juiciness.

Pad Thai, how can someone come to Thailand and not have a serve of this? Slightly salty, sweet and with a hint of sourish flavor from the freshly squeezed wedge of lime, this was also topped off with crushed peanuts which gave it that all-round flavor that you seem to only get in Thailand.

The ubiquitous dish in Thailand, tom yum goong. "Goong" means prawn and besides some mushroom and coriander that's all this soup had. The prawns which were freshly sweet and crunchy went extremely well with the spicy sourish soup.

Grilled beef salad. The dressing had a nice refreshing tang but the slices of beef were just a little too thick. At least they were still tender and well-marinated.

Seafood cooked in a coconut. I'm not sure what this is called but it was cooked in a coconut-based curry making it extremely fragrant and tasty.

Fried chicken wings, piping hot. Dry and crisp on the outside, tender and juicy within. Sometimes, nothing beats the simple dishes.

Pineapple rice, the generous scatter of pork floss above sort of hides the soft, fluffy rice within.

Battered fried sausages, interestingly enough these tasted a little like bratwurst.

Thai beef red curry, this actually looks spicier than it is. I found it quite mild but it still was tasty.

Pork ribs with fried garlic. It's true the garlic will give you rather foul breath but it's supposedly good for your heart and heck, it tasted too good anyway haha.

Since the pad Thai was pretty good, we decided to try their fried flat rice noodle with seafood as well. This didn't have that sweetish tang as the pad Thai but its smokey aroma and savory finish was still most welcomed.

Braised beef in Chinese sauce. This wasn't that good as it looked on the menu, the beef was a bit too tough and the sauce was slightly too sweet. The cauliflower tasted nice and fresh though despite having those weird greenish stalks.

I tried to rationalize that garnish counted as vegetable but in the end we ordered this serve of asparagus and scallops. It actually was pretty good and the scallops despite being small were fresh.

What better way is there to end off lunch than with a dessert of mango and sticky rice? The tree-ripened mango was sliced on the spot and the warm and soft sticky rice went extremely well with the rich coconut cream and sweet mango slices.

The best thing about having an early lunch is that it gives you time to psyche up for dinner. I was really looking forward to Chan0rphen Restaurant because a friend who is based in Bangkok raved heaps about it to me and was going take me there for dinner.

This place is essentially a Chinese-Thai restaurant and although some of the food looks quite Chinese, the Thai twist to it made it very interesting on the palate. This is scrambled eggs with fish maw, a very novel method of cooking fish maw as I'm more used to it being cooked in soups or stews.

These crabcakes made the "giant" ones at Morton's look puny. The amount of crabmeat in this was astounding, they must have shelled at least a few flower-crabs to make these.

Stuffed squids stir-fried in garlic, I don't know if the squids were stuffed and grilled prior to the garlic stirfry because they were slightly tough, but I don't mind a good chew and I'm one of those who prefer my squid with a little bite anyway.

Crabmeat fried rice. Funny how crab can be so different before and after its shelled. I normally won't put in much effort to eat crab but once it's shelled and conveniently laid out in front of me, it's my favorite haha.

As my friend's girl was going vegetarian tonight she ordered this tangy and spicy vermicelli which was really not too bad as well.

The other vegetarian dish was a mushroom soup. Fresh and sweet mushrooms in a sea of tangy tom-yum tasting soup, tasty but I was getting bored from the lack of meat.

This is their signature dish and is the reason why they've got that royal crest "Seal of Approval" thingy on their card. Barbecued chicken gai-yang style, the prominent taste of tumeric was evident here. Good stuff, indeed. This gets D's "Seal of Approval" too haha.

Curry crab, this is different to the Singapore style chili crab because it uses a much eggier coconut cream based sauce. Most Singaporeans would be familiar with the version served by Somboon and having tried both, may I be so bold as to say that this one is better.

I'm usually not a fish person but apparently fish is good for your brain, well even if it lowered my IQ a few notches I would tuck into this. Grilled to perfection, the crisp charred skin peeled back to reveal steaming hot, succulent and juicy flesh.

No proper meal is really complete without some form of dessert and I'm a firm believer of balanced eating haha. Therefore, all these savories warranted four desserts. This is coconut ice-cream with young coconut flesh, jackfruit and peanuts. So simple, yet so divine.

Coconut ice-cream with jelly. The jelly was pretty normal, the ice-cream was similar to the previous dessert.

Steamed coconut with gingko nuts. This was the only hot dessert of the night and it tasted just right. Not too sweet, with the occasional sliver of warm coconut flesh and crunchy gingko nut.

Very similar to the first dessert except this was served in a coconut and had some sweet vermicelli shreds on top. It was also drizzled in coconut cream, something I most appreciated.

A big big thank you to RP and his girl for making this night so particularly enjoyable, all the salt and spices in the world can't make food tasty unless it's eaten with good company.



Gracio said...

d, i totally agree with u,SG is centralise that we can just fly anywhere we want,convenient to fly to the asian countries where good foods are! :)

zhengning said...

the coconut icecream with jelly looks pretty tempting.. :D

D said...

gracio: Isn't that rather amusing though, the best thing about Singapore is that you can leave for another place more fun haha

zhengning: Jelly was soso but the coconut icecream was really quite good

Anonymous said...

"getting bored from the lack of meat" ROFL well thai food really rocks! just got onto ur site, it's good~~ how about doing an evening cooking class to make some extra moolah? i'll sign up!:D

D said...

gene: Hey thanks for dropping by, do visit the site whenever, it's updated quite frequently. My site does feature the occasional recipe but evening cooking classes are definitely out for now due to time constraints. Most of my recipes are very easy to do though, because when I'm hungry, I want to eat kickass food asap so I have to cook it asap too haha.