eating my way through Bangkok

The food in Thailand was absolutely amazing; people raved about it before I left and I was excited too. I have liked all the Thai food I’ve eaten in the US but….the reality of the food in Thailand is a thousand times better. I wish I could have eaten at more places and tried more dishes, but this trip was only four days long. The food definitely sealed the deal though: Thailand is where I want to be long term, so, starting in May I will be making my home in Bangkok!

Anyways, back to the food. Sunday the girls and I found this little Beer Garden down the street from our hotel in On Nut. It was wonderful because we were the only Westerners in the entire market, giving it a very authentic feel. I got sushi from one of the vendors, a barracuda roll, that was melt-in-your-mouth good. Then I had the most wonderful Pad Thai ever: these three ladies run a stall in the Beer Garden and have gotten Pad Thai down to a science. One lady cooks over the wok. She starts by adding a huge handful of whole, large prawns. They cook up in about 45 seconds and she scoops them out. In go the noodles and vegetables which cook for about two minutes by themselves. Eggs, baby shrimps and chicken pieces go in next. Lastly it is topped with fresh bean sprouts and spring onions and stirred once or twice through. While she has been cooking the other two ladies are portioning the large prawns onto banana leaves and putting a scoop of group peanuts on each leaf as well. The lady in charge of the wok comes over and gives each leaf a generous helping of noodles. Your Pad Thai is wrapped up for you in this cute little banana leaf so you can eat it at the Beer Garden and enjoy the music or put it in your purse and take it on the road.

This lady is amazing! She stands over that hot wok and cooks all night and I never saw her break a sweat!
This lady is amazing! She stands over that hot wok and cooks all night and I never saw her break a sweat!

Monday was all about sleep and then it became all about food. Catherine and I woke up from a much needed nap after getting up early to watch the Superbowl and decided that the evening was going to be dedicated to food. We walked out of the hotel and ate at the first street stall we came too: grilled chicken wings and spicy green papaya salad. Then we went to this guesthouse that was supposed to have tacos but they were out of the taco ingredients. So, when in doubt, order Pad Thai. It was good but not quite up to par with the ladies from the night before. Kat and Lauren met us at the guesthouse and decided to embark on our food journey with us!

We found an Italian place and split an order of bruschetta and wood-fired pizza. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t had it in awhile or just because it was delicious, but that Italian food really hit the spot, for all of us. After the Italian place, we walked around for a bit but ended up back at our go-to place for street food, the Beer Garden by our house. And, surprise surprise, I got my favorite Pad Thai again. Pad Thai twice in one day is always fantastic, especially when it’s in Thailand and it’s delicious.

We ended our night by eating ice cream. This was not normal ice cream. This stall had a frozen metal slab. You picked out which flavor of ice cream (yogurt, vanilla, chocolate, green tea or coffee), the “mixers” you wanted (think Coldstone: M&Ms, oreos, raspberries, cookie dough, ect….) , and a topping (chocolate, caramel, coffee or vanilla). I picked vanilla ice cream with double oreo and chocolate topping. Once they get your ticket they set themselves up. Fresh flavored cream in poured onto the frozen slab and the toppings are placed in the middle. Then, they start mixing away, chopping the ingredients into the cream, forming it into a nice ball. When it is deemed ready, the ice cream is spread out super thin into a big square. Then it is rolled into cute little spirals which were placed vertically into your cup. It was topped with more oreos and the chocolate sauce. And then I could finally eat it. It was the perfect ending to a food oriented evening.

The making of fresh ice cream on the street.
The making of fresh ice cream on the street.
The finished product. The best ice cream I've ever put in my mouth.
The finished product. The best ice cream I’ve ever put in my mouth.

On Tuesday we got up and moving earlier than Monday, thankfully. Catherine and I got a delicious (and free) breakfast at our hotel, consisting of a spicy chicken stir fry with rice, fruit, breads and fresh juices. Then we met up with Lauren and Kat and made our way to the Siam neighborhood, more towards downtown. Catherine got an order of these yummy little snacks: fritters filled with a sweet and savory filling. The filling was kind of custardy and was sweet but then they also had corn or spring onion in them. They were so good. For about a dollar we got twenty-four little pockets of goodness. Then, for less than a dollar I got a cup of street corn: fresh kernels mixed up with sweetened condensed milk, sugar, salt and butter. Oh My God. I wish I had taken pictures of these two items because they were fantastic and pretty. But I was too busy eating them to take pictures.

For dinner we had a dim sum feast. We ate a restaurant in China town called the Catonese House. Each dim sum item was less than a dollar. There were four of us and we went through three rounds of six dishes: BBQ pork buns, regular pork buns, shrimp dumplings, rose dumplings, spare ribs, pork dumplings, fried bananas and more combinations of dumplings. So good. Once again, to finish off our wonderful day of exploration and food, we ate ice cream down the road from our hotel. Like I said, the food was definitely a deciding factor in wanting to stay in Thailand long term. I can’t wait to be back in May and do more exploring and eating, as they go hand in hand in the Land of Smiles.

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