Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Floating Market
Dumnoen Saduak

Although now mainly a tourist trap, the original Floating Market in Dumnoen Saduak still packs enough colour and vibrancy to attract first time visitors. Located about 110km west of Bangkok, the vendors who ply their trade here sell mainly thai souvenirs, fruits and food cooked on floating kitchens (sampan boats). So don't expect to find for sale items normally associated to the market place eg. cuts of meat, fish or fresh vegetables.

During the one hour boat ride, make sure you don't miss out on the Vegetarian Crispy Popiah and Khanom Buang which are very good. Khanom Buang is a crispy taco-like dessert that is filled with a generous spread of coconut cream topped with shredded coconut. Most of the food and drinks sold here are priced at 20 Baht, including a very refreshing fresh coconut juice.

Winter Beer Gardens
All Over Bangkok

Drop by Bangkok between the months of November and January to witness first-hand an explosion of al-fresco beer gardens, literally popping up on the streets all over town. Here one can enjoy inexpensive beer of popular brands like Asahi, Heineken, Singha or Chang, with a jug selling for less than 150 Baht. The Thai version of the renowned Oktoberfest is held to usher in the 'winter' months. Most beer gardens include live rock bands to serenade the night.

Som Tum (Spicy Papaya Salad) with Salted Crab
Food Court, GF @ Siam Paragon
Rama 1 Road.

The Food Court located on the ground floor of Siam Paragon is enormous and offers a very comprehensive collection of eateries from local Thai fare to time-tested international food chains that should satisfy most tastebuds.

Of the local fare available here, Som Tum, a spicy and sour salad dish (popular amongst the Thais) caught my attention. Fairly simple to prepare, an assortment of shredded green papaya, green beans, shredded carrots, cherry tomatoes, peanuts, birds eye chillies, dried shrimps and garlic is tossed into a traditional clay mortar and pulverized to release the flavour before being served in a dressing concoction of fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar. I would avoid the Salted Crab which I felt was a salty distraction to an otherwise excellent salad dish.

Fuji Japanese Restaurant
Food Court, GF @ Siam Paragon
Rama 1 Road

Expect to queue for your table at Fuji, a popular Japanese chain restaurant that can be found in most Bangkok shopping malls, as the crowds are drawn to their hugely popular bento boxes. Other selections in their extensive menu do not disappoint either.

The best thing about Fuji is that their prices are much cheaper than back home.

Chatuchak Weekend Market

The Chatuchak Weekend Market is definitely in a league of its own in terms of size. I have yet to come across a flea market anywhere in this world that can match the size of this outdoor shoppers' haven. A visit to this weekend market is mandatory for all visitors to Bangkok. Here the traders sell anything and everything from fashion accessories to furniture.

Food stalls too are in abundance at Chatuchak. Keep an eye out for stalls selling Pad Thai (the Thai national dish), which closely resembles our Char Kueh Teow except that it is fried with a dollop of palm sugar and served with a pinch of peanuts, sugar and chilli powder on the side. And for dessert, I recommend a large scoop of coconut ice cream served in a coconut husk, with coconut flesh on the sides and crushed peanuts on the top. I also chanced upon one stall manned by two young Thai men who were drawing in the crowds with a 'boleh-lah' performance of teh tarik (tea pulling) and roti canai flipping. The roti canai here is sliced into bite-size pieces and served with a splash of sweetened condense milk.

Street Food
Outside Central World
Ratchadamri Road

Game for Street Food? Look no further than the stalls located on the main road outside Central World. These stalls are usually crowded during dinner time, so they won't be difficult to spot. Fresh seafood and roasted meats decorate the front portion of these stalls.

More locals than tourists can be seen dining here - a positive sign that one will get food that is value-for-money. One of the popular dishes that you will find on most tables is the grill fish - a whole fish wrapped in sea salt and grilled over charcoal fire, and served with a dip concocted from lime juice and cili padi.

Silom Thai Cooking School
68 Silom Soi 13, Bangrak, 10500 Bangkok

Want to eat Thai favourites like Tom yam Goong and Green Curry Chicken? Why not learn to cook it yourself? Bangkok Cooking Schools like the Silom Thai Cooking School offer a truly unique experience, a journey that begins at the marketplace where participants shop for fresh ingredients and then into an outdoor kitchen where participants learn to prepare the ingredients and cook hands-on a complete meal of 5 courses under the watchful eyes of a friendly instructor.

Amaltery Adult Ice-cream
Urban Kitchen @ Erawan Bangkok
Ratchadamri Road.

If you fancy both ice cream and alcohol, then Amaltery may just be the right place for you. Amaltery is an ice cream bar that serves alcoholic ice cream blended from familiar cocktail names like Margarita, B-52, Mojito, Sangria, Long Island Ice Tea.


2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

I was well aware of this gems scam before my recent trip, yet out of curiosity, still decided to make myself a "victim" to experience it first-hand.

Interestingly enough, their modus operandi never differs.

Well-dressed indivudals who are fluent in English (the middlemen) will help to "negotiate" with the tuk-tuk drivers to take the victims to multiple tourist attractions within the city for a mere 20 Baht. In our case (in two separate incidents) one claimed to be an off-beat policeman and the other a school teacher. Both were very helpful and pleasant.

The attractions will include a stopover at a "Government-run" gems store. Once there, the salesman will entice victims into parting with their money by cooking up a story (eg. one day only sales for tourists, limited edition jewellery design of famous brand names, Thai distributor for Poh Kong etc).

To the untrained eye, their gemstones do indeed look like the real thing!

Anonymous said...

Hello. Excuse me just a question. I heard talking about Thailand here. I'm about going on holiday to Asia. I would like some info on Pattaya in Thailand. I would know if It's a good place to go with family or should I choose another place? Thank You so much.

2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

Dear Anonymous friend, I've not been to Pattaya and won't be able to offer any sound advice. Sorry.

But if it is the outdoors you are after while in Asia, do check out Sabah (east coast of Malaysia). Sabah has some of the best dive sites in Asia (if not the world), the highest peak in South East Asia and genuine rainforest complete with unique animals like the Orang Utan and Proboscis Monkeys. The kids will have a blast!

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