Bangkok Foodig

Five years. That’s how long it has been since I last visited Bangkok on a business trip. This time however, it was more for leisure and boy was I in for some shocking developments, new attractions and more and more crowds! The city has become ever more cosmopolitan with mega malls, grand interiors and swanky architecture. Correspondingly its food options.

In with the new, out with the old. That means a lot less roadside stalls, exciting late night sights and sounds along the streets, even just that sense of food adventure. (The night markets are a different story altogether!).

Fortunately Bangkok is a big city and there are still pockets of areas where development has not yet rear its monster head. In my previous post I was happy to have discovered the neighbourhood of Phahonlyothin where the streets come alive in the evening (starting from around 6pm), with traditional food stalls, vendors and hawkers peddling their goods from fashion to household items, mobile accessories, electronics and much more.

Here’s some of the ‘must-try’ f&b in the neighbourhood!#Cesebomb !

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Banana Chocolate Crepe – Yes, it’s just, Banana+Choc+Crepe and yet they get a partay starting in my mouth with every bite! Of course, there’s a long list of selections, but I am just sooo addicted to this simple yet perfect combination, I had to have one almost every other day that I was there!
Chicken Rice – When you’re overseas and you crave for chicken rice! This stall in an unassuming coffeeshop that is located right below the linkbridge to Union Mall, satisfied the craving with chunks of tender juicy chicken meat plus their version of thai chili sauce. Yum!

And no, the grapes were not from the supermarket. I decided to buy it from an elderly lady peddling fruits right below the linkbridge (on the side of Union mall) one day. She’s there most mornings and they are sold out if you get there any later!

Thailand is famous for the variety of tropical fruits on the cheap. Well, who’d expect even grapes from a roadside vendor to be this good! So fresh and crunchily sweet! Perfect pop of a snack for a hot afternoon..

Cesebon : Prices around central Bangkok and even the Pratumnan market has risen over the years. You will find the prices within the neighborhood of Phahonyothin relatively cheaper. I mean you can enjoy most of these snacks, fruits and drinks listed here for less than a dollar!

The other ‘thai essentials’ that I was addicted to (yes, I had these for the first three days consecutively;) I’m used to being asked the level of sweetness for Gongcha, they don’t customise that here so I’m really amazed that the level of sweetness was perfect for me each time. (price: less than S$1.50 with toppings)

The original, ‘original Thai milk tea’ !;) The perfect thirst quencher..

Tired of waiting in the long queue for that famous Som Tum in Siam Square? Well, I’m very happy with this homerun restaurant along the street of Phahonyothin. It is served when you order a plate of seafood fried rice. I have not tried the one at Siam Square but this is definitely mild in taste because I know I can handle a lot more spicyness. But hey, can’t complain when the fried rice is all soft, fluffy yet deliciously ‘on point’ and you get a plate full of vegetables and som tum for only S$6!! Plus, no queue.

You can find Fuji Restaurant in most of the food courts and shopping malls in central Bangkok. Again, I ave not tried those downtown but the Pork cutlet Tonkatsu set I ordered here already blew me away. The Pork cutlet was perfectly fried and very much comparable to Chef Tan-San’s Hajime Tonkatsu restaurant in Singapore. However, it was the sides that stole the limelight in this set. Much like how some supporting actors steal the limelight in a show! The potato salad, fresh greens, and even pickles combined, brings the palate to a whole new level of taste and texture such that just having the pork cutlet alone will surely not satisfy! Can’t help but compare to the miserly sides we get here most times! Highly recommended!

[Location: Tesco Building in Phahonyothin]

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What I love about Greyhound Cafe in downtown Bangkok is the sheer variety of choices in their menu. And of course, the price;) Definitely must go back to try some others of their mains and desserts.

 

Other ‘MUST-TRY’ Snacks and Khanom (Thai Desserts)
If, like me, you have a weakness for anything savoury and chewy, those coconut pancakes in the first pix will get you hooked! I actually chanced upon them inside Palladium shopping mall one evening, just when lots of stall vendors were putting out their stalls in front of the mall. There was just a collection of stalls near the entrance, so not sure if the stall is permanently available in the mall. I just love the chewy texture of the glutinous dough with the crunch and aroma of the coconut fillings inside. Perfect even when you warm them up in the morning for breakfast!

Same goes for the traditional dessert with a mixture of glutinous riceballs in coconut broth. This was found at a food fest in Terminal 21. Served warm and there’s also salted egg rice balls which you can choose not to have, but I like it as it makes it all sweet and savoury at the same time. Pretty interesting dessert.

Btw, if you’re at Terminal 21’s Pier 21 food court, don’t miss the mango stickyrice dessert. It’s served with warm coconut juice and roasted sesame. Seriously, I don’t think I’ll ever have it any other way now!

These are of course just snippets of the good food in Bangkok. (read #cesebomb!)Do check out my instagram for more!

The neighbourhood of Phahonlyothin is an up and coming area and they are building a BTS Station there, so go before it gets ‘developed’ and expensive folks! If you have any questions/comments, other #fooddigs recommendations in #BKK, please feel free to send them thru the comments below, I’ll be happy to answer.

There’s definitely more to see and do in Bangkok during my two weeks there. So stay tuned!

Happy reading! And Cesebon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My First Airbnb was a Gem

Sharing this gem of a find even tho the host probably doesn’t need it;)

I guess it’s a no brainer to book an Airbnb accomodation based on the reviews. However I wanted a quiet nice place that is far from the maddening crowd yet easily accessible. Plus I was going to be staying for more than a week hence the price has got to be very budget friendly. (also since the savings could well be channelled for that essential Shopping!;) My search led me to Oom’s place at Phahonyothin and I was almost immediately sold by all that is being said about it. Yet, it turned out to be even better!

Getting there
If you arrive at Don Meuang Airport, getting to the property is a breeze as it’s less than 20min by the A1 Airport shuttle bus. The host gives specific directions which you just need to follow.

The Apartment
After settling my local datacard at a Central Plaza, I finally arrived at the apartment block to pick up the keys at around 8pm. Being a proud homeowner myself, cleanliness is my no. 1 concern and I was so pleased to step in to a spacious, squeaky clean environment.

The apartment is nestled at one end along the busy street of Phahon Yothin. Hence it has all the convenience from the shops along the street yet away from the noise. The property itself has all the amenities you need and is guarded round the clock. There is a minimart right downstairs mend by a friendly and helpful storeowner. There is an eatery right next block as well as laundromat, however, I never need to use it as there is washing machine in the apartment.

The neighborhood is quiet, and I had the best quality sleep I haven’t had in a long while. As this was part work trip, I needed good, fast reliable internet, and had no problems at all. When there was a slight disruption, the host was quick to resolve it for me. She is always available online as claimed!

Getting Around
The nearest MRT Station – Phahonyothin, is just a 15min walk away. This can take a toll if you are staying longer however, it is only 1 station from Chatuchak MRT station where you are then connected to the BTS and pretty much everywhere else along the entire train network.

The Neighbourhood
As an airbnb stay is really for you to experience the local way of life, the neighborhood is important and it’s easy to love the neighborhood of Phahon Yothin. There are 3 shopping malls that are literally within minutes walking distance from each other and provides everything and anything you need really.

  • Central Plaza Lat Phrao : This shopping mall consists of hundreds of brand name retail shops, banks, restaurants, movie theaters, and supermarket. Much like our Bugis. It is also a popular meeting point for students, office workers, and local residents in the area. It is linked by a subway to the MRT station exit 4 and connected to the other big mall, Union Mall, by a linkbridge.
    Tip #1: Adjorn to the Central Plaza is a small side mall packed full of small units of shops selling beauty and fashion products at cheap price. Much like Far East Plaza.
  • Tip #2: The street right outside the Plaza comes alive with the a nite market and many stalls selling anything from snacks, street food, fashion to mobile accessories and electronics.
  • Union Mall : The largest fashion shopping mall in the area, offering hundreds shops of wearing apparel and fashion accessories. Prices here are actually cheaper than Pathumwan market. Union Mall is also connected to the MRT station.
  • Tesco Lotus Supercenter : Yes, the Malaysian Superstore is located right here in Phahon Yothin, Bangkok. You can find the usual wide range of daily use items at cheap price on level 2. Level 1 consists of mainly Food outlets and restaurants like Fuji Japanese Restaurant and Seefah and Mr D.I.Y, a home fixture and household goods store occupies the entire level 3.

In addition, there are other small eateries and coffeshops around the neighbourhood. There is a nice little restaurant right next to the 7-11 store located just outside the Condo along Phahon Yothin street, Juniors, if I remember correctly, that serves authentic local dishes, very ‘homemade’ taste and at local price ie. yes you can get authentic, yummy Somtam and pineapple fried rice served with side dishes at less than $5!!

Hence, within the neighbourhood itself, you’d be spoilt for food choices! Head on to the other section to see #whati8inBkk and the recommended outlets and food I had in this neighborhood.

On days when I don’t feel like getting out in the scotching weather, or just want to sleep in, I can even prep my own simple brekkie. Check out my instagram for more.

Take a dip in the inviting pool? Anytime!
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Overall, it has been a great experience staying at Oom’s place. Truly a home away from home and I highly recommend it to business travellers, family or anyone staying for a week or more.

Tip #3: Local data/Sim Card
Do not get it at the Airport. It will cost you at least 20-30% more. There are basically three providers. I highly recommend AIS, truly value for money.

Teatime @ Knots Living

IMG_5669So  after the bday celebration, I decided to give my friends a return treat @knots_cafe_and_living and make them exercise a bit, walking from Tai Seng to Paya Lebar Road. It is located near Breadtalk HQ.

To our pleasant surprise, what greeted us was indeed another hipster joint, but prettier! Everything that is displayed there looks instagram-ready and worthy. Its no wonder this was one of the filming sites for Mediacorp’s 118.

From the big lampshades and pendant lamps hanging from the upper storey to the vintage items, furnitures, plants and displays all round, everything seems so eclectic yet oddly harmonious. And we’re happy just to be surrounded and busk in the warm ambience all of this created. Once the orders were taken, everyone started picking the best spots and items for that essential wefie and selfies!;) It’s a perfect hang out place for friends, an afternoon delight or simply bring your favourite book, order yourself a cuppa and R&R!

The caramel macchiato was a hit with the buddies. But so was the osmanthus tea, with a tinge of osmanthus and the floral aroma that lingers in your throat as you sip!

Other Must-Try: The Greentea Lava cake – So good it was finished before I could take a pic.

Cesebon says: #cesebomb! Two thumbs up!

Birthday@The Boiler

Apart from our loved ones, having close friends celebrate one’s birthday is one of life’s most treasured event. Every year, our group of seven, celebrate each others’ birthday with much aplomb in terms of a good meal. Yes, this means we get to dine and celebrate once almost every month! The birthday girl gets to select the meal and venue and will return the treat with coffee and dessert. Most of us have been friends since our secondary school days and still counting! Cesebon!

This year, I decided to celebrate mine at The Boiler last month, as it met both my requirements – nearby and seafood. I was also quite sold after reading the review by Clara (explodingbelly). And here’s what I discovered:

Ambience  – indeed a hipster outlet set amidst an industrial site. Bright, spacious, their chic black and white industrial themed interior blends in well with the area. It was also nice that for a Saturday afternoon, it was not too crowded. The last thing you need when having a celebration is another rowdy group celebrating?!;) Not that we are rowdy..!;)

Location: if you follow directions from explodingbelly and take exit B from Tai Seng MRT, you will find yourself in the middle of nowhere. Because it is nestled amongst the different buildings with no distinct landmark, one wrong turn and you can easily end up on a different road/path, even though it is only 5 mins from Tai Seng MRT. Better to have their number handy. (I was ‘found’ by my friends!;) Perhaps they are counting on repeat customers but for first-timers, good directional signage helps!

Now, the most important part: The Food
Here’s what we ordered:

This is good for starters. The chicken wing is well done, crunchy on the outside, yet moist and tender on the inside. Everything is yummilicious with the dipping sauce!

Sample (1)
The Sampler

We didn’t go for the lobster or crab since we wanted a few mains to share. This bag of seafood was as reviewed – fresh and delicious! Especially the mussels and prawn. But the surprise was the sausage – salty, meaty, yum. This Boiler’s Duo Bag ($49++) got some of us getting some Beer early in the day just for the pairing! Cesebon!

 

They now have a selection of three types of sauces but its hard to go wrong with garlic butter so we went for the safe bet.

The portion may be alot for two persons but as one of the main course for a group, I wish it could’ve been a bigger bag tbh. Perhaps they go by weight and not no. of heads.

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For Seafood lovers!

This Fish n Chips was disappointing! Too dry, too much batter. They need to get the proportion of the batter and fish right.

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We also ordered a spicy Pasta dish which was greasy and too spicy for some of my friends.

Cesebon says: Not as good as reviewed. Inconsistent food quality. Still, at prices one-third of what you’ll be charged at East Coast and/Jumbo, this is a good option for seafood lovers or even that occasional craving, in a relaxing, cozy setting, right in the neighborhood!

Overall it was a good dinning experience and celebration, with the ambience, friendly staff service and novelty of it all. As one of us said, “the last time we ate with a bib was when we were a baby?!”

If not at all, go for the finger lickin’ fun!

About last night

IMG_3007After all that’d happened, the women of the family finally sat down together to have a meal. It was good enough for the daughters but not the mum. She was disappointed this is not the ‘original one’. Nonetheless, thankful for a trip down memory lane and the get-together. #notjustaboutdinner

我仍信,一家人,没有一顿饭解决不了的事。有的话,就‘大志’大条了!#具乐欢

Shake Shake MilkTea

Firstly – you do not need a shaker for this, I use an old flask with a tight cap, pour 3/4 of the beverage and shake.

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It turned out rather refreshing and using the entire packet would be too sweet, for me. You can always add the remaining to taste.
Price: $1.00
Available: 7-Eleven

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Cesebonblog says:  I am addicted to Gong Cha’s Matcha Latte. Hence this is a good alternative. However, it’s not as rich and the green tea flavour kinda flats out if you leave the drink for a while, more milk than tea.. But hey, can’t complain at that price can you?

Well, hopefully, I won’t be needing an alternative soon! .Yes!;)

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Almost, old world

As one of the oldest mature estate in Singapore, the neighbourhood centre at Lorong 1 Toa Payoh is anything but ‘old’ or ‘sleepy’ on a rainy Friday afternoon. Getting off from Braddell MRT, the row of shops opposite Singapore Press Holdings was teeming with activities and students getting back from school, especially since its the only ‘shop’ with an alfresco that stands out with its 24hr sign and awnings – yes, it felt strange yet almost gratifying that this MacDonald’s seem to blend in outstandingly, amongst the compact row of shops.

With the curiosity and even excitement, as a first-time visitor to the area, I soon found myself hopping in and out of these old-style shops. It’s rather amazing how the shop owners can pack so much stuff within such small spaces with low ceiling. Almost all of them from those selling daily necessities, fruits, to sundries and furniture had their goods displayed right out the shopfront; it’s hard not to stop and have a look see!

There’s even a Phoon Huat and Redman, for the bakers or baker-wannabes like me;) Time also seemed to have stood still for the 7-Eleven store from when they first set up branches around the island – with racks and boxes of unpacked goods lined along the nooks and corners of the shop wherever there is space. Unfortunately, it’s managed by staffs who are unnecessarily suspicious! As I went trigger happy for the blog, I noticed strange, suspecting glances from a staff right from when I entered. As I mull over a new drink on the shelf in a corner, an ‘unusually friendly’ cashier started greeting me aloud from the counter, offering that “if you need me to take anything down just let me know ya!” Next thing I know, she came telling me, poker-faced that “Mam, you cannot take pictures here”. “Why?”, “I’m just taking pictures of the packaging..”; “No, you cannot take pictures here.” she repeated. “Ok, fine.”

Then, “Please delete what you just took.”

“What?! You mean this?!”

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Feeling like a criminal caught red-handed?!? I decided to pay and buy this home to try! Check out my review here.

Anyway, relac lah dei, it’s just drinks okay!!? And since when is it a crime to take pictures of drinks that are displayed on the shelves?! If that’s the case, maybe 7-eleven should just keep all its goods unpacked and safe in their nooks and store corners.

Despite the unfortunate incident at 7-Eleven, the place with its eclectic mix of tenants, has its own charm, though not the old-world-charm. I went to try out the 吃Western’s raved smoked duck salad, got some unexpectedly good deals from Phoon Huat, try out new food, drink and even got a $3.80 hair cut, all in one rainy Friday afternoon. Cesebon!

So which old neighbourhood is worth spending an afternoon next? Does anyone have any recommendations?

Cesebonblog says: old town HDB neighborhoods that are near MRT Stations, with interesting mix of shops or unique charm welcomed.