Friday, September 28, 2007

Northward

Here's today's snack/breakfast.

Sticky rice with black beans and a banana in the center; garnished with coconut and topped off with sugar and sesame seeds. I was quite excited as it looked really delicious. It was not. The rice was dense. It hit the stomach like a brick. Oh well.

I'll be away from this here blog for a few weeks while I eat and bicycle my way 'round Northern Thailand. See you soon!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New Restaurant, Old Favorite

A new chicken restaurant opened up last week just down the street from my work. Today a group of us decided to try it out.

I quickly orderd Khao Mok Gai. Yellow rice and chicken.

I eat this whenever I get the chance as until just last week there wasn't a place that sold it very near my house.

Al had a rather lackluster looking Khao man gai.

I didn't taste it. Maybe it was good.

The real star of the show was what E and D ordered.

A very lovely Khao Soi. For the uninitiated, Khao Soi is a Northern Curry noodle, not particularly common in Bangkok. It's topped off with pickled greens, onions, and fried noodles. I didn't order this only because in a matter of days I'm off to the north of Thailand for a few weeks. I'll get my fill there, though I wish I had ordered it today.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Desperation Snack


Here's a snack I've written a few words on before, but thought I should revisit. Balls on sticks are everywhere. It is perhaps the most common snack round these parts. The vendors themselves have portable carts on wheels and have a large selection of "meats." They have pork, shrimp, and chicken all in ball form. They also sell wonderful little hot dog like creations of all shapes and sizes. On occasion they also sell squid, but I prefer to go to a squid stand.

The balls are covered in a sweet and spicy chili sauce and put in a plastic bag much like everything else in Thailand. This is a snack that I call a "desperation snack" simply because you'd be hard pressed to find a less delicious snack. I only really eat this if I'm going mad from hunger and another snack is not forthcoming (very rare), or someone has given them to me of course.

Here's E enjoying a few pork balls.

Hmm. Looks good.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Street Meats


It seems that the food blogosphere is flooded with sexy food being eaten by sexy people. That is all fine and good if that's what you find interesting. I do sometimes. Conversely, I also enjoy the less sexy gutter grub. I don't eat loads of street meats as there are a lot of other things I would rather eat. That said, I do on occasion visit a meat mobile, as do many Thais. These flavors are not interesting nor complex, just a quick rich snack. There's a time and a place for this. Yesterday was such a day. On the way home from a hectic bike (as in bicycle) ride I found this stand in front of my house. It was meant to be.

What you see is what you get: Pork with a little savory seasoning. Nothing fancy. But from where exactly? Innards I suppose. Any ideas?

I took some simple pork in a bag. Six sticks helped make dinner obsolete.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bangkok Peach!?

A fruit basket arrived in the office this morning. I received a peach! There were also: apples, grapes, oranges, and a large green melon from Japan. All these fruits looked like show pieces. Here's my peach wearing a little coat:

The sticker proudly displays the country of origin which in this case is the good ole U-S of A.

After looking at the url on this sticker, I learned that this here peach was grown in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley in Kingsburg, California. A quick check on Google earth informed me that this here peach has traveled 13,028 Kilometers (8,095 miles) to get into my greedy little hands in Bangkok.

I eat a lot of fruit. I can eat a kilo a day. I buy whatever is in season and in my neighborhood. Buying fresh delicious fruit is s effortless in Thailand that buying fruit like this peach never crosses my mind. I think of fruit like this as purely status fruit. People buy it to show off; it is sometimes given as a gift. I think the numbers illustrate an issue I've raised before on this blog, so I won't rehash it. I'm off to buy some bananas.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Green Rice

Here's breakfast, or at least part of it:

Green rice with coconut; Sugar on the side. I believe the rice has been colored with pandan. I have a regular guy I go to for snacks like these, but today was different. I did feel guilty about cheating on my regular guy, but there was a woman sat down on the pavement shredding the coconut right there. I just had to buy it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

An After Work Snack

Every day after work I have to make a decision: to snack or not to snack? Today was a day for snacks...
Today I felt like some black jelly (Chao Kuay):

Black Jelly is made from a plant that originated in China. They make a jelly out of it, mix it up with some syrup and ice, and deliver it into your greedy little hands for ten Baht.
While i was buying this here cup I realized there was another vendor right behind me selling corn and sweet potatoes.

I opted for corn that was topped with coconut. A nice local touch for this New World delight. Sugar was also included on the side, but I didn't add it; good corn is already sweet enough.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What's this?


I find sweet snacks, or maybe they find me. This here was a real doozie. It was a coconut, a very mature one at that, with a lot of rich meat. The confusing part was that is seemed syrupy, but I watched the coconut lady open it up and introduce only sugar. I've eaten many coconuts in a number of different countries, but this one was different. The price added to the mystery as well. 40 or 50 Baht if I remember correctly.

This was very sweet and rich. It gave me both a headache and stomachache. For some this might sound like a recommendation, to others a warning. This was procured about 60 Km south of Songkhlaburi on the side of a very beautiful stretch of road. Happy hunting.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thod Mun Pla

This here snack is called Thod Mun Pla, or fish cakes as I call them.

Well that's a scary shot now isn't it? I used to really dislike this snack due to the quality of the ones i ate at my place of work's canteen. They were often cold, undercooked, or poorly spiced. But after trying them on a few more occasions, I really warmed up to them. They are made by mashing up fish with chili, green beans, kaffir lime leaves, and some other spices. They're made into cakes and fried. They're served up with a sweet sauce and cucumbers. It makes a nice before, during, or after work snack.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Kuppa


Read any Bangkok publication about where to get the best coffee, and without fail Kuppa will be bestowed with the title. After being confronted with this consensus again and again, it seemed like it was time to go.

Here's what greets you as you enter: the daily food specials and weekly coffee specials. A colonialist's delight! A list of imported delights that a small fraction of the world can enjoy. Kuppa represents a dining experience and a diner that doesn't and may never consider the word "imported" a bad word. Imported doesn't mean fresh, and it doesn't always mean better.

Kuppa has some very nice seating. It also has some very poor seating. Upon arrival we were given a choice table in the latter category. As we tried to find a different table complete with couches by the tall windows we were told that those ones were reserved. We were told that as tables opened up we could move. As tables opened up, we were informed that they too were reserved.

Kuppa roasts its own coffee once a week. It was not being done while we were there. Pity.

Kuppa water and sugar!

We had some nice food:

This was a tasty pene with a blue cheese cream sauce topped with rocket.

Cheese souffle with onion jam. One made with wine, the other with balsamic vinegar.

Based upon the food alone, Kuppa makes the grade. The coffee is good, and the food is good as well. But I don't base my opinions upon these things alone.

Kuppa is in five words: Good food for bad people.
Bangkok is full of pretentious dining and pretentious diners. Kuppa serves the blue blooded ruling class and the international jet set. Spending a couple of hours in Kuppa gives me my weekly, er monthly dose of self loathing. At least it can show me just the kind of people I don't want to have as my friends. Kuppa is purely a pleasure palace for the fabulously well to do. It does not cater to local sensibilities, but rather as a product of globalization, keeps the ruling class sated with their delicacies.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Som Tam Nua

In and around Siam Square, there are a plethora of Som Tam restaurants. Today lunch was eaten at Som Tam Nua.
I have a hard time not ordering Som Tam Thai. Here's a pretty straight forward version. The papaya was very fresh.

Next was a mushroom salad. A limp, uninspired dish, but also a lazy and uninspired order on my part.

The highlight was a crispy fried fish. I love the limey sauce with mint, onions, chilis, and crushed rice. Not unique, just very good.

My only real gripe was the lack of fresh veggies to munch on with my meal. I am accusotomed to getting: basil, cabbage, young morning glory, and long beans. Nowhere to be seen. Hmph.
The address? Somehwere in Siam Square. But don't worry: there are many other restaurants like this in the area. If you don't find it, another will find you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Bun


Buns like these can be purchased all over Bangkok. They are of Chinese Origin, but as I have never been to China, I have little point of reference. I will say this: these are the best I've had in Thailand. I've purchased them in Chinatown, but never with great success. Today, two were purchased. The black bean version was consumed before the camera could be produced. Highly recommended.

Here's the other offering:

The exterior was nice and flaky, while the insides were sweet, but of uncertain origin. The woman said some kind of bean; Maybe mung bean (thua ngok), but I'm not so sure. Any ideas?