Mom and grandma like shopping. I like food and beer. We needed a place to go, and as I compromise I suggested visiting the Suan Lum Night Bazaar--the Chatujak Weekend Market's slightly more upscale, cooler, less crowded competitor--a place where one can find stuff to buy, and more importantly, eats.
We arrived at 6 PM, when it's still light out and the food stalls at the gigantic covered beer garden are just beginning to open. To begin, I ordered a plate of one of my fav Thai appetizers, deep-fried soft shell crabs:
A decent job here, although some of the shells weren't as "soft" as one would expect. And they also lose points for the crappy bottled dipping sauce.
When left to her own devices, Grandma is somewhat conservative in her Thai food choices, and chose the good but safe, khao phat poo, fried rice with crab:
served here with peas and corn (both hightly unusual additions), and the more traditional sides of thinly sliced chilies in fish sauce, sliced cucumbers, green onions and a wedge of lime. This dish is probably one of the most simple, but most satisfying Thai dishes, and is a necessary accompaniment to grilled seafood.
Mom is a sucker for regional Thai foods, and headed directly for the isaan (NE Thai) stall:
where she ordered a dish of tam poo, papaya salad with crab:
As for myself I stood with severe indecision in front of a variety of slightly overpriced dishes at a ahaan taam sang, made-to-order restaurant:
and eventually chose khao khluk kapi, rice cooked with shrimp paste and served with a variety of toppings:
a dish previously mentioned on these pages. This version was much greasier than it should be, and oddly used shredded cabbage in place of shredded mango, but was acceptably salty and exceptionally filling.
In general the Thai food at the Suan Lum Night Bazaar is mediocre and somewhat overpriced. For me, the highlight is the great selection of imported (mostly from Germany) beers. While mom and grandma were shopping, I spent a good 20 minutes searching for Bass Ale--an extremely rare specimen of beer that I had previously consumed at this very same night bazaar. Coming up empty handed, I settled for a delicious but under the circumstances somewhat disappointing Weihenstephaner, only to find the Bass Ale tap on the way back to my seat! Oh well, next time.
Incidentally, there are rumours (unconfirmed) that the Suan Lum Night Bazaar is closing. Apparently locals have complained that the place is too loud, but don't these people have any sympathy for imported beer lovers? If their desires are met and the bazaar is eventually closed, where do these people expect me to buy English ale and German hefeweizen? Is sleep really more important than Schneider-Weisse? People like this deserved to be fed nothing but lukewarm Beer Chang for the rest of their cruel, selfish lives.