The name of this restaurant literally means Yong Her Soy Milk Shop. Clever, isn’t it? But soy milk is available just about everywhere in Bangkok, and clever restaurant names abound. The real reason you should come here is to try authentic northern Chinese food, a relative rarity here in Bangkok. The menu spans all the doughy, starchy foods loved by the residents of China’s cold north, as well as some interesting salads, pickles, soups and oh yeah, soy milk (pictured above).
I asked the Chinese waitress what she recommended and she pointed to a menu item described in English as “Small steamed dumpling.” Despite the vague name, I trusted her, and what came to my table was actually a huge tray of xiao long bao, the Shanghainese broth-filled steamed dumplings:
I found these to be much, much better than those I had previously at Crystal Jade. The skins were just strong enough to support the hot broth without being too thick, and the pork filling was soft, tasty and not overwhelming.
Unfortunately I was on my own and didn’t get a chance to try much else, but I really enjoyed the dumplings, and the other diners’ meals looked great as well, so you can expect to hear more from me about this place.
Ran Nam Tao Hu Yong Her
68 Thanon Narathiwat (near Chong Nonsi BTS station)
02 635 0003
Khanom bueang, temple fair, Ayuthaya. Mmm…
Magnum Heads will appreciate this feature at Slate that shows a set of thematically-similar images every day.
Japanese food is big in Bangkok. Restaurants serving Japanese food can be found just about everywhere, and ‘sushi’ is even sold at my neighborhood’s Saturday market. Despite this, I generally don’t get too excited about eating Japanese here. The vast majority of Japanese restaurants take the form of characterless corporate chain-type places such as Zen, or the gorge-yourself-to-get-your-500-baht-worth buffets such as Oishi. There are also many privately-owned authentic eateries, particularly in the areas of Sukhumvit around the Emporium shopping center and Thong Lor, but these are quite far from my house. And yet another form of Japanese restaurant in Bangkok is the small informal Thai-owned and run place that put out a few standard dishes. Such is the case with Kinkoku, a tiny streetside Japanese restaurant/cafe at the Chatujak Weekend Market.
I and my friend Nick, doing research on an article about eats at Chatujak, sat down directly in front of one of those fans that blows cool misty air and started with yakisoba:
which was, well, yakisoba. Despite this, I think I enjoyed this dish the most, and the noodles were reasonably tasty and graciously un-oily. The dish contained tasty bits of browned chicken, and I liked the white cabbage (maybe because Thais rarely eat it?), especially when dipped in the salty soy sauce provided.
We asked the waitress what she recommended and she suggested the grilled mackerel with soy sauce:
I find this type of mackerel, known in Thai (via Japanese) as saba, to be almost assertively fishy and oily in flavour. Maybe I’ve just never had a really fresh one? This one was no different, although the sweet-tasting soy sauce almost concealed the fishiness. This dish was served with a bowl of Japanese rice and miso soup.
And finally we had grilled mushrooms:
For some reason they used the virtually flavourless straw mushrooms, het faang, as opposed to the more delicious (and infinitely more Japanese, not to mention appropriate for grilling) shiitake, het hom.
All in all a decent eat, and a fun break from the ubiquitous som tam and southern food of Chatujak, but certainly not worth a detour.
And on a non food-related tip, that morning I also got some pretty cool candid shots of vendors and shoppers that I’ve posted in black and white at my photo blog, The Old Main Drag.
Chatujak Weekend Market
Section 6, Soi 18
I spent most of Sunday at Talaat Nat Chatujak, apparently the world’s largest outdoor market, taking photos for a newspaper article. Between taking shots that will potentially illustrate that piece, I got several fun candid shots of vendors and shoppers. Chatujak is an incredibly crowded and busy place, perfect for visually interesting juxtapositions and situations. I decided to edit these in black and white, using the now famous Russel Brown technique. If you’ve got PS3, there’s an even easier method of going to B&W, described by the man himself, here.
Today I found myself at the food court of Carrefour Rama IV. As with most food courts, there’s a lot to eat there: Muslim food, yen ta fo noodles, Thai-Chinese eats, laad naa, curries and much, much more. All in all, it’s a pretty average Bangkok food court, albeit on a slightly grander scale. However despite all these choices, I can never resist one particular dish when I see it. I’m a huge fan of veggies, and this dish has heaps. I also love fish and spicy stuff, and they’re both there as well. And I don’t like being locked into one single taste or flavour, and this dish has lots of variety.
The dish is naam phrik kapi, a ‘dip’ of shrimp paste mashed up with garlic, sugar, chilies and lime juice. The dip is served with rice, fresh vegetables, including green beans, wing beans and eggplants, par-boiled veggies, including cabbage, buap (a type of gourd), pumpkin, Chinese greens, and deep-fried battered eggplant, an omelet laced with cha om (a pungent herblike green), and perhaps most importantly, an entire battered and deep-fried mackerel.
Nam phrik kapi is a very Thai dish that tends to be served at people’s homes, rather than at restaurants. It’s also a dish that I don’t see too many foreigners eating. If you happen to be at a food court and see something that looks like the above, do try it. You might find the naam phrik spicy, but you can always just take a bit less. If you don’t happen to have a Thai food court at hand, recipes for naam phrik kapi can be found here and here.
I spent the last three days in the resort town of Pattaya with my former students, the Satit Kaset IP Class of 2006. At 19 and 20 they’re pretty much adults now, which seems strange to me as I first met most of them when they were in 6th grade! Apparently I had a good influence on them, as a few of them are now totally camera obsessed, and based on the meals we had, they generally seem to have pretty good taste in restaurants.
I’ll be blogging on a couple of the places we ate at, but will start with our first meal, and the primary reason Thai people visit such places: seafood. Varawit led us to Tankay Restaurant, an open-air seafood joint located smack dab in the middle of Walking Street, Pattaya’s sleazy go go bar area, an area he’s apparently intimately familiar with.
There we consumed plaa meuk khai:
Grilled squid, including its eggs. I always like grilled squid, but don’t really care for the eggs, which honestly have little if any flavour, and a spongy texture.
Plaa kraphong neung sii ew, fish steamed in soy sauce:
which included heaps of shredded green onion and ginger in a pleasantly salty broth. Very nice, apparently, as Chanon appeared to eat virtually every last fish molecule:
Somebody ordered thord man koong, deep-fried shrimp cakes:
and steamed crab legs:
and perhaps as a result of feeling a bit too carnivorous, I also decided to order some greens:
flash-fried morning glory, which was done exceptionally well here.
The meal was accompanied with three huge plates of crab fried rice (first pic above), the usual carb accompaniment to Thai seafood feasts.
All in all a very good Thai seafood meal, although considering the area, I imagine the atmosphere might be quite different at night!
Walking Street, Pattaya
038 710 447
Immediately after eating copious amounts of seafood at Tankay, we obviously required dessert. This turned out to be a no-brainer, as just across the street from the restaurant were two interesting looking gelato bars. Peach, Leew and I decided to try the one called Time Out, while all the others went into Italia, mostly because Mr. Noo described it as having a more “milky” smell.
Here’s Peach and Leew choosing their flavours at Time Out, a process that involved considerable time and tasting:
I had rum raisin, as always, and found it more than acceptable. I’m pretty sure the girls enjoyed theirs.
And back at Italia, Pongston also appeared to enjoy his decision:
I wish there was more of this kind of ice cream in Bangkok…
Walking Street, Pattaya
06 341 3500
I had eaten at this modest isaan restaurant on my only previous visit to Pattaya several years back. The place is well known, and the memory of the som tam thai I had back still lives strong: crispy, chilled strips of green papaya gently coaxed with tart lime and barely smashed tiny cloves of garlic… I always wondered if the place was still around, and was excited when, arriving at the grilled chicken restaurant Songdet recommended, realized it was the very same place. I told you these guys have good taste in food.
This place is all about the som tam, in particular, the som tam thai:
which is som tam made with bottled fish sauce, and topped with peanuts and dried shrimp. It was every bit as good as I remembered; the papaya crispy, and the dish sporting an assertively tart flavour.
As a counterpoint to this central Thai dish, someone ordered the very northeastern version, tam sua, isaan-style som tam with khanom jeen noodles:
complete with the northeastern-style unpasteurized fish sauce known as plaa raa and pickled field crabs, I was surprised these Bangkok kids could eat stuff like this.
There were isaan staples such as laap muu, pork laap:
tap waan, ‘sweet liver’:
three dishes of khor muu yaang, grilled pork collar:
and an entirely too sweet wing bean salad:
which according to him, is marinaded in honey.
And finally Peach, for some strange reason, decided to order som tam khao phot, corn som tam:
a bizarre mixture of corn and carrot. She said wasn’t very nice. It didn’t look very nice. Everything else was wonderful though.
Som Tam Naa Mueang
Thanon Pattaya Nuea (near the Tesco-Lotus)
038 423 927
A few more random street shots I’ve taken in and around Bangkok in the last couple months.
Jomtiem Beach, Pattaya.
Thanon Charoen Krung.
Selling umbrellas, Siam Square.
Selling Buddha statues along Soi Cowboy, a red-light district.