You’ve just got to keep your eyes open. Khao soi, the northern Thai curry noodle dish that every foreigner seems to love, is in fact available in Bangkok. My most recent discovery was on Thanon Sukhumvit, an unlikely place to find good, let alone, regional Thai food. A small family-run shophouse outfit, Yuy Lee has been serving khao soi for a couple decades. Despite this, the product of their labour:
is, in my opinion, decent, but not exceptional. The broth could have used a bit more oomph, and the noodles were regular round bamee noodles, not the flattish noodles typically used in khao soi. The deep-fried crispy noodles were also of the cheap, packaged variety.
Much stronger was the khanom jeen naam ngiao (pictured above). The broth was fragrant and deliciously sour (from the addition of tomatoes), and loaded with deep-fried crispy garlic. If I went to Yuy Lee again, I would probably go straight for this rather than waste time with the khao soi.
For a cutting edge dispatch from the heart of khao soi country, check out The Last Appetite’s recent post, which in a bizarre circle, also links back here.
Yuy Lee (Google Maps link)
25 Sukhumvit Soi 31
02 258 4600
10am-8pm, closed Sun
I recently made my first trip to Australia to attend a Lonely Planet writers’ workshop (ta Tony and Maureen!). The workshop was held at LPHQ in Melbourne, but I touched down near Byron Bay, at a place called Brunswick Heads. My friend K lives a short walk from the sea, which, I’ve been told, is good for a variety of things, in particular easy access to excellent fish and chips:
It was also a pleasure to discover that Australians consistently do excellent coffee:
although the nomenclature is a bit difficult to get one’s head around. In Australia, an espresso is known as a ‘short black’, but at the coffee bar above I mistakenly called it a ‘small black’ and received a blank stare as a response!
After a long weekend of relaxing by the beach, I flew over to Melbourne for the workshop. I only had an afternoon free to explore the city, so armed with tips from Phil and Hock, I headed directly to the amazing Queen Vic Market:
I really loved the deli section (above) that has all that good stuff that is so hard to find, and/or too expensive here in Bangkok.
This was followed by a delicious lamb souvlaki at Medallion Cafe in the Greek district (apparently Melbourne is the largest Greek city outside of Greece), immensely filling Western-Chinese at the brilliantly named Supper Inn, and a mini pub crawl to Transport (which boasts 150+ kinds of beer including the excellent Crackenback Pale Ale, and the local brew, Mountain Goat Pale Ale), and Hock’s old haunt, Troika.
Melbourne has to the be most Asian ‘Western’ city I’ve ever visited, and seeing as LP HQ is in Footscray, home to the city’s largest concentration of Vietnamese, J, one of my former editors, took some of us out for a Vietnamese lunch:
where we had huge bowls of a very tasty vegetarian pho:
Phil’s recent post at The Last Appetite reminded me that I’ve yet to post a few additional images from our recent mini Southeast Asian bloggers summit. The pictures in question are of khanom pang ping sangkhayaa, toast topped with a kind of coconut custard (pictured above). I’m not entirely sure what is responsible for the orange colour, but whatever it was, it tasted as artificial as it looked.
There was also nom naam daeng:
chilled milk mixed with naam daeng, a syrup-and-food-colouring mixture that all Thais seem to love, and that I thought went very well with this employee’s outfit:
Despite garish colours involved, I actually like this restaurant. It’s called Thian Song, and is an old-school Chinese eatery-slash coffee shop in a fun part of town, minutes from the Giant Swing. It’s probably favourite place to drink iced coffee–just stay away from anything bright.
Thian Song (Google Maps link)
168-172 Thanon Din Sor
02 224 4554
What is Menu for Hope?
It’s when food bloggers from all over the world join together, and take leave from our usual obsession with our own stomachs. Throughout the year, we tend to wank on about food, beer, wine and other such visceral pleasures, but for two weeks every December, we pull together a bunch of excellent prizes and ask you, our readers, to help us support those who are not so lucky, to whom food is not a mere indulgence but a matter of survival. This Menu for Hope is our small way to help. All proceeds go to the World Food Program.
RealThai and all other excellent and gracious foodblogfriends have managed to add to the global prize pool….prizes are:
Dinner for 2 @ Bangkok’s premier destination restaurant Bed Supperclub Bangkok (value 3500 baht)
12 bottles of deliciously good 42 Below Vodkas to see you through 2008 courtesy of the kind kiwis at 42 Below (value 12,000 baht)
6 bottles of 42 Below Seven Tiki Rum. Also from the kiwi crew. Makes perfect mojitos (value 6,000 baht)
One night accommodation at hip hotel Dream Hotel, Bangkok (value $280++ USD). Donate and sleep in peace in their sumptuous DREAM Beds
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA PRIZES
One night accommodation at uber hip hotel Hotel De La Paix, Siem Reap (value $235 USD)
One night accommodation at boutique hotel in the heart of Siem Reap’s charming laneway Be Hotel Angkor subject to availability (value $150 USD)
Market Tour and Cooking Class with Joannes Riviere, Khmer food expert and author of La Cuisine du Cambodge avec les apprentis de Sala Bai. He knows all the women at the market, speaks fluent Khmer and can teach you how to make a mean samlor machu
Wild Jungle Honey Collecting Tour with Angkor Conservation Centre for Biodiversity Sustainable Bee Program. A once in a lifetime experience. Trek into the jungle with experienced guides, collect wild honey and taste the magic that is freshly harvested bee pollen (value 200 USD)
To Donate and Enter the Menu for Hope Raffle
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from our Menu for Hope above or at the global prize list site
2. Go to the donation site at First Giving and make a donation.
3. Please specify which prize you’d like in the ‘Personal Message’ section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code.
Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02 – 2xEU01, 3xEU02.
4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.
5. Please check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we can contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.
UK: The Passionate Cook and Cooksister!
US: West Coast:Rasa Malaysia
US: East Coast: Serious Eats
US: Central: Kalyn’s Kitchen
Canada: The Domestic Goddess
Asia Pacific, Australia, New Zealand: Grab Your Fork
and, last but not least, our special Wine Blog Host: Vinography
Check back on Chez Pim on Wednesday, January 9 for the results of the raffle.
Thanks for your participation, and good luck in the raffle!
the images I got of actors getting ready for a ngiw performance in Bangkok’s Chinatown are still pretty cool. Some more can be seen at my photo blog, The Old Main Drag.
Wandering about Bangkok’s Chinatown as I often do, I tend to pass by lots of good eats, usually immediately after I’ve finished eating. I always make a mental note to come back, but it’s not often that this happens.
A couple weeks ago I finally made it back a shop that I had noticed several times. Thai Charoen, a tiny family-run place along Thanon Charoen Krung, sells equal parts Thai (curries, spicy stir-fried dishes) and Chinese (stewed veggies, fried noodles), and dishes, such as the stuffed squid shown above, that seem to straddle both cuisines.
I had eggplant stir-fried with fish dumplings (another Thai-Chinese ‘fusion’ dish), and a bowl of jap chai, a Chinese vegetable stew.
Both excellent, and I would recommend stopping by. And on this note, I realize Bangkok is a big, confusing town, so from now on, I’m going to try to link all my restaurant writeups to Google Maps. Hope this helps!
454 Thanon Charoen Krung (Google Maps link)
02 221 2633
Mr. Mong makes the best hawy thawt, fried oysters, in town. Actually, don’t tell Mr. Mong, but I prefer it when Mrs. Mong is at the stove (see above). Her dish is greasy, has little nutritional value, and honestly, doesn’t look very attractive:
but it’s delicious, which is what counts.
To make it, they fry a flour and egg-based batter over a coal-burning stove until it resembles crispy and nearly burnt pancake:
They then toss either mussels or oysters on the stove and along with some spring onions, soy sauce and a corn starch wash, fry until just done. These are then used to top the crispy batter.
I’m told they also make an excellent fried rice with crab.
Naay Mong (Google Maps link)
539 Thanon Phlapplaachai
02 623 1890
In the words of the great Mr. Cooke, I’d like to announce some significant changes coming to RealThai. In the next couple days, those visiting this blog will automatically be redirected to a more general foodblog at my online portfolio, www.austinbushphotography.com/foodblog. RealThai has been just as international as it has been Thai for while now, so you can expect to see no real change in content. However I thought thought that integrating my blogs (I’ll also have a photography blog, www.austinbushphotography.com/photoblog) with my online portfolio would make a unique ‘hub’ of all my work. I hope you’ll agree, and I also hope you’ll take the time to check out the new images that form my portfolio, as well as my photography blog. Enjoy!
Khao man kai, Hainanese-style chicken rice is a dish you can find just about anywhere in Bangkok. The hard part is finding a good one. Working on vague word-of-mouth instructions, my food detective friend Aong and I found ourselves near the Victory Monument confronted by two identical-looking khao man kai restaurants. Employing an innate ability to find good eats in Bangkok that has yet to fail us, we chose Jay Wa. Good choice. The rice was perfectly-cooked (not too soggy or to dry), and my favourite part, the sauce — a mixture of tao jiaw (fermented soybeans), ginger and vinegar — was also wonderful.
In the course of our gluttony we discovered that Jay Wa also does a wonderful kuaytiaw yentafo (a noodle soup combining fish balls and a red, spicy broth).
Khao Man Kai Jay Wa (Google Maps link)
02 640 9891
lunch & dinner