A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.

Monthly Archives: July 2009

Phat Thai Ratchawong

Posted at 6am on 7/1/09 | read on

Phat Thai to go, served in banana leaf cups, Phat Tha Ratchawong, Bangkok

I blog about phat Thai on occasion, but mostly for you people. I realize it’s huge abroad, particularly in the US, but to be honest, I’m not such a big fan of the stuff. Generally find it kinda stodgy and greasy, particularly when compared to a lot of Thai food out here.

But occasionally I’ll meet a vendor that changes my perceptions of a dish. This was the case a while back when I went to Chinatown with my friend Be. She was born in the area and wanted to take me to some of the places where she ate when she was a kid. One of these was open-air stall serving tiny dishes of phat Thai on Thanon Ratchawong.

I had walked by this stall heaps of times previously, but had never stopped by or noticed anything in particular about it. It took Be’s help and a closer look to reveal what I had been missing. To begin with, the couple, like many vendors in Bangkok’s Chinatown, fry the dish over hot coals:

Making phat Thai at Phat Tha Ratchawong, a stall in Bangkok's Chinatown

which provides the dish with a subtle smokey flavour. The noodles that they use are thinner than regular phat Thai noodles, and are chopped into short lengths. They’ve also been cooked beforehand, having been previously fried with most of requisite ingredients (sliced shallots, dried shrimp, bits of firm tofu, seasoning, egg). To order, they pull out the pre-cooked noodles and then heat them up with bean sprouts, chopped Chinese chives and additional seasoning. To go orders are served in krathong, the tiny banana leaf cups shown at the top of this post.

The couple work pretty slowly, and there are usually lots of to go orders, so this isn’t exactly fast food. But if you’re patient, you’ll be rewarded with a phat Thai that is rich and liberally-seasoned rather than stodgy and bland (Be reckons they use duck eggs, which could contribute to this).  And despite being re-fried, the dish isn’t particularly oily either. Not quite sure how they accomplish that.

Phat Tha Ratchawong
Thanon Ratchawong
Most nights, 7-11pm

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Nay Mong

Posted at 1am on 7/7/09 | read on

Or suan, a type of oyster omelet, at Nay Mong, a restaurant in Bangkok's Chinatown

I last blogged about this shophouse restaurant in Bangkok’s Chinatown back in 2007, but after several recent meals there, feel compelled to do a re-run. Actually, despite my numerous visits, I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that I’ve only ever ordered one dish at Nay Mong: or lua, a crispy oyster and egg omelet (shown here). It eventually took the help of a couple newbies to get me out of my rut.

Visiting the restaurant on a recent eating tour of Chinatown, Hock’s father in law, P, was clever enough to order or suan, the ‘soft’ version the dish (shown above). I’d had this dish elsewhere, but Nay Mong’s take was simply head and shoulders above anything else. Like or lua, the dish combines just four ingredients: oysters, egg, green onions and a sticky batter (and of course, seasoning). But in this case, the ingredients are deftly fried, resulting in a light creamy texture that seems to emphasize the eggy and salty flavours of the dish; a profound contrast with the starchy, sticky, heavy pancake that one finds at most places.

I still love or lua, but there is definitely going to be some serious indecision on my next visit. And to add to this, I’ve also been told on good authority that Nay Mong does a very good crab fried rice.

Maybe next year.

Nay Mong
539 Thanon Phlapplaachai
02 623 1890

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Nay Yong

Posted at 6pm on 7/9/09 | read on

 Green curry with freshwater fish dumplings and white radish at Nay Yong, a stall in Bangkok's Chinatown

After a long hiatus, I find myself yet again spending quite a bit of time in Bangkok’s Chinatown. This is mostly due to some photo assignments I’m working on, but I’ve also been making some eating trips as I now live only a couple metro stops away. As always, I’ve got my own repertoire of favourite stalls and dishes, but I’m also making an effort to discover some new places.

My most recent discovery is Nay Yong, a streetside curry stall on Thanon Yaowarat, Chinatown’s main drag:

Curries at Nay Yong, a stall in Bangkok's Chinatown

It’s very similar to the exceedingly popular Jek Pui, located just around the corner, and likewise is associated with mild Chinese/Thai-style curries such as kaeng karii. I chose green curry served with look chin plaa kray, freshwater fish dumplings, and hearty chunks of white radish (shown at the top of this post). The curry is served over rice or khanom jeen noodles (I chose the former), and I also ordered a side of deep-fried kun chiang, a type of Chinese sausage, a traditional accompaniment to this dish. The curry is tasty but mild, and definitely benefits from the optional condiments of sliced fresh chili and a sweet soy sauce. The kun chiang here is also quite nice, and is not as waxy and bland as elsewhere.

There’s another “branch” of Nay Yong virtually across the street, in the cluster of street stalls near the entrance to Talat Kao.

Nay Yong
Thanon Yaowarat

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Back in the SRV

Posted at 11pm on 7/29/09 | read on
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Iced coffee at a streetside cafe, Saigon, Vietnam

The Socialist Republic of Vietnam, that is.

Motivated by an open schedule and a temporary lack of work, I’ve decided to spend a week in Vietnam. Starting in Ho Chi Minh City, I’ll be taking the Reunification Express north, with a stop in Hoi An (and possibly Hue), before terminating in Hanoi. It’s a bit of a whirlwind trip, and having relatively little time to explore each destination, I’m relying on the generous consul of guidebooks, websites and blogs. Luckily, there’s some great eats advice out there, and I’ll be posting my pics from various meals and markets as often as I can get a decent WiFi connection.