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Three days and two nights. One agenda. Eat. Bangkok left me yearning for more at every Soi and corner. It is truly challenging to eat poorly in Bangkok. At any price point. Get a taste as I run you through my notes.
Roast Duck at Prachak Pet Yang, Charoen Krung Road
It does not look much, and there is certainly no three-course carved-at-your-table business here. Utilitarian formica tables, plastic chairs and complimentary tea (ice chargeable though) are sole courtesies extended. I paid little attention anyway after spotting amber skinned roast ducks at the shop front. They hung in a small glass fronted corner, beside a tree-trunk cutting board. It was about 1 in the afternoon. I stuck my phone in, to shoot the constant cadence of a broad knife slicing effortlessly through. Squeezed myself into a Cantonese family lunch table. Toasted a Chang with grandma. An orange t shirt came along to hand over an illustrated menu and again with a receipt tab after I placed my order. Twenty minutes (average ETA) flew by comparing Prachak to old school dhabas in Delhi, which heave under generations of local diners. Like Kake Da Hotel in Connaught Place.
Yellow Chinese egg noodles, playful and bouncy. Sliced roast duck, crisp and tender and rich. A bit of braised Pak choi for contrast. I sent it back for a quick dash of sweet and sour soy. Not much was spoken or thought till the plate was wiped clean. Prachak Pet Yang in Bangrak, Bangkok and walkable from Saphan Taksin BTS station.
Thai Satay and Fish Ball Soup breakfast on Soi 4, Sukhumvit
First day in Thailand. I set out on foot. 7 am. Nice hotel, but I cheaped out. Three hours till check-in. Walked around Sois of Sukhumvit. The party was winding up. The sidewalks at Nana Plaza played host to street side beer for those who worked through your merry night. Further ahead, an old man set shop. Sweet soy brushed Pork Satay. Served with a pouch of sticky rice. Prurience of a different kind.
A few steps ahead I spotted a Noodle-stall on the sidewalk. Steam rose from a bubbling soup cauldron in the centre. Stacks of noodles, meat, herbs and flavour-oils on the counter. Flash-boiled, and assembled in minutes. A bit of fish sauce and extra ground peanuts. Slurped down under the tarpaulin-shaded sit-out.
Thai Crepes at Chatuchak Market
Adorable little Instagram superstars. A crisp mini-taco (called a Thai Crepe). Filled with coconut cream. Green and orange rice noodles. Five in a plate though best clicked on the grill.
Coconut Ice Cream at Chatuchak Market
Everyone’s favourite dessert at the massive weekend market. I lost my way a few times. Entered an art-gallery lane and emerged at a row full of furry kind-eyed dogs. Never too far from Coconut ice cream though. More like a sorbet, best had in a coconut shell. I piled on Nata de Coco jelly, Peanuts and some tender coconut flesh.
Tub Tim Grob at Chatuchak Market
Tub Tim Grob. Sound like triplets to you too? Pad Thai or Thai Curry. Delhi, Mumbai or Chennai. Every meal at a Thai restaurant had to end with these 'Red Rubies'. Imagine my glee when I saw this assemblage at the Chatuchak Market. Of course, I asked for extra water chestnuts. Bonus: Nata de Coco!
Hainanese Chicken Rice at Prathunam
Dining time: 10 minutes. Queue-waiting time - 45 mins. At the second most popular Hainanese Chicken Rice place in Prathunam. The No.1 spot (Pink font and T-Shirts) sold out by 1 pm on a Monday. The masses moved quickly, most of them Chinese. Threadbare interiors and shared tables. Rice, boiled chicken, fried chicken, cucumber and dipping sauce. Everything tasted intensely of chicken except the cucumber and dipping sauce. I would not mind queuing up again.
Pad Thai on Khao San Road
Khao San Road post-midnight. Drunk and loud. Cocktails from buckets and beer everywhere. Slip into a calm chair right at the end, near McDonald's. Shrimp Pad Thai recommended by a Khao San Road insider. Savoury, sweet, taut and crunchy – a plate of noodle as it should be.