Thai food requires art of balancing sweet salty hot sour to bring out the best of the dish. Usually complex with different ingredients and components. The fresh acid of lime with herbs combine with grease and pungent intense fish sauce makes it ever so much more complex combined with a lingering kick of heat from fiery chillies and crunch from fried pork skin. Pow Wow Poof! Your taste buds on a whirlwool with such a diverse mix of layered flavours, each dish uniquely balanced standing out like a star. Who can ever resist Bangkok? Before you know it, you are on maximum capacity.
In a neverland city as Bangkok and it's diverse cuisine, nothing stops before an overdose. There's never short of things to eat and everything looks and smell absolutely amazing. How convenient, clubs serves up full-on meals such as crispy pork knuckles and thai naem sausages to be washed down by whisky. Savour all the fried goodness in the cab while club hopping.
I've been hearing lots of "red alerts" on how the street vendors fried up a good crisp. They add plastic straws to the oil to deep fry making it really crispy. I do not know how much truth this is, the paradox of it all, the savoury aroma of hot crispy gold is enough for me to put it as a myth. I reckon if you don't see it is okay. It's just a little plastic anyhow, shan't kill me. The aroma trail lead me to find a vendor round the corner of the hotel. However much evil laden it is, I couldn't resist not eating one. It's too delish to give it a missed. Gleamingly, I also spotted the infamous pestle and mortar for the papaya salad.
Yes! pack it all up plus that good looking crispy fish over there too.
That's my tea time treat. Preparing Thailand's iconic salad seems easy, shred some green papaya, pound garlic and chilies with a pestle and mortar. Add in tamarind juice, fish sauce, peanuts, Northeastern-style fermented fresh water, dried shrimp, tomatoes, lime juice and palm sugar. Toss in some string beans and a handful of grated green papaya.
Throughout the four days in Bangkok, it seems like I couldn't get enough of Tom Yum Gong. A Thai masterpiece teams with shrimps, mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves. The broth lightly laced with coconut milk, unifying traditional Thai tastes: sour, salty, spicy and sweet.
Raw marinated prawns, whole fried tilapia fish, their fame curry crabs, cockles, stir fried morning glory. Our first overwhelmed dinner at song boon seafood, Speechless, Alvin looked at me with hatred at those big plates on the table. This meal left us staggering back to the hotel, resting our tummies in bed for the rest of the night. No more after dinner whiskeys. Msg ladden, enough to kill us with thirst.
One little joint that Carina takes me whenever I visit Bangkok is SOMTAM at Siam Square Sol 5. They serves up fresh mouth-watering Northeastern Thai salads in little portions, so that you can savour different varieties. The sound of pounding and swish of tossing of their signature salads in the open salad bar and the queues outside this little kitchen at lunch testify to its spirited renditions of salads, the best fried chicken hiding beneath garlicky flakes, Isaan-style noodles with contrasting rings of crispy fried pork fat and laab that sings.
As popular beliefs, Northeastern Thai food is something that is though as sidewalk fare. The taste, colours and allure makes you immediately fall in love with it all. Every bite is packed with so much flavours and textures that makes your tongue dance.
Bangkok is a mecca of flavours, There are stylishly modern eateries all over Bangkok serving a mixed bag of traditional fare with fusion dishes. Influences from around the globe, the influx of tourist and expatriates, Young generations that had lived abroad bringing home new interpretations to thai food. Unlike many cuisines that accustom their taste to suit westerners where authenticity is lost through diversity, Modern thai still stay deep rooted to its traditions. This emerging pride of thai cooking is multilayered by incorporating new ingredients and cooking styles into their traditional taste. Mazing around paragon, with it's array of restaurants and cafés it's always difficult to settle on which one to go. Luckily, I am here with Alvin, BK food guide who highly recommends Café Chili. Which turns out is one such venue that marries modernity with tradition, elegantly decorated in contemporary northeastern style.
Carina & me at Somtam
-Till nest post, SS.
Labels: bangkok, cafe chill, papaya salad, seafood, siam square, Somtam, Song Boom, Travel Diaries