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My New Contributor

16 May

Just a quick introduction on my new contributor.  Mr. Baseball from Hong Kong!

Mr. Baseball (obviously not his real name) is a native of Hong Kong who has been friend of mine since I was 12

and he’s a foodie…!

Since Hong Kong is a major food hub in Asia,  I am so excited that he’s going to write about the food scene in Hong Kong and hopefully beyond.  I hope that you, my dear readers are enjoying his posts like I do.

Welcome Aboard ! 

Top 8 Thai food (According to “Daco”,Free Japanese Magazine)

28 Apr

I used to love picking up all the free magazines available in Bangkok, including “Daco” a Japanese free magazine, cater for Japanese expats in Bangkok.

Yesterday before I went to the foot massage, I stopped by a Japanese bookstore and they happened to have a new edition of DACO.  The front page basically saying “Top Eight Thai Food”

I was curious, so after I settled into my foot massage chair, I had to check it out to see what are their “Top Eight” .  So here it is,

1 )  Tom Yam Goong (Spicy Thai soup with shrimp) – OF COURSE!  Japanese are Crazy about them

2 ) Somtam (Papaya Salad) – My Ex-boss (Journalist) loved Somtam

3 ) Noodles – The Japanese are crazy about ” Bamee” or the eggs noodles

4 ) Pad Thai – Obviously

5 ) Khao Pad (Fried Rice) – They have that too

6 ) Khao Man Gai ( Chicken Rice) – They probably go to Pratunam for that.

7 )Gaeng Kiew Wan (Green Curry) – Easy choice to order in any Thai Restaurant.

8 ) Curry Crab – ….???!!!???…..

…..

I’m not sure where the Chicken Rice and Curry Crab come from, and I’m surprised that they don’t have the Chicken Basil Rice. But it’s understandable though since the Curry Crab place, “Somboon Restaurant” is very famous among  the Japanese. If you grab any Japanese Guidebook on Bangkok, you’ll definitely see the restaurant’s name in it, after all, their ex-prime minister went there and loved the place.

Anyway, What I love about how they do it in the magazine is that they dedicate the whole page to each dish, explaining thoroughly what the food are, from the background to  ingredients and how to order them, and their Thai staff’s take on each dish.

I love how they really do the research.

It would be interesting to know what your Top 8 Thai dishes are. I’d love to hear your feed back.

—————–

DACO (www.daco.co.th) is available at Japanese Bookstores (Kinokuniya, Tokyodo Book), Isetan, Fuji Supermarket and various Japanese stores and outlets in Bangkok

Checking out the street food price in BKK : Quick walk on Wireless Road

23 Apr

I’ve read more and more complaint about the rise of street food in Bangkok both from twitter and from a Thai web board, so I decided to check it myself.  I have to admit that I haven’t been eating the food from the street for a while, and when I do, I usually go around Silom, Sathon and Ploen Chit area, where the food price there tend to be more expensive than in other area anyway.

According to a survey by Adecco, who published “Thailand Salary Guide 2011” , it stated that average salary for a junior position with 0-5 year experience are between  6,200(US$200) THB  to  15,000 (US$500)THB. The minimum daily wage in Bangkok according to Ministry of Labor of is 215 THB or about US$7 per day. When I look at the figure, it is quite difficult for me to imagine living on very little money. Being a  freelancer, sometimes I have to live on a small budget, and trust me, it is tricky to survive on 200 THB a day.

Office Lady buying lunch from the Khao-Raad-Gaeng Stall on Wireless Road

I’ve read on a popular Thai web board that a plate of rice with curry, stir-fries or others on top  (Khao-Raad-Gaeng) would cost between 35- 40 baht  and if you want some kind of eggs on top, then you’ll add 8 more baht. For drink, soft drink is between 7-10 baht, iced coffee is between 25-50 baht.  When you add all that up, it’s easy to spend 100 THB for a meal.

200 THB is not an ideal budget to survive a day unless you don’t have to travel and only spend the money on food.

……………….

Yesterday I had an appointment in All Season Building on Wireless Road, after the appointment I decided to do a quick walk to check out on the street food price.

Wireless Road street stalls at lunch time

I only checked out the snacks sell around the area, as I thought it was more interesting than the rice/noodle shops. Thai office women usually buy snacks back to the office for their afternoon break, so even if they pay 50 baht for lunch they would certainly buy coffee, fruits or other snacks after as well.

Thai omelette with rice pric

But I was surprised that amongst the snacks sold by the street, there’s a cart that sell Thai omelette.  So I took the photo of the price list.  15 THB for omelette with rice, 20 baht for adding minced pork, 25 baht for omelette only and 30 baht for 2 eggs omelette with rice.

30 baht for just omelette with rice??!!  That sounds crazy but consider the price of the eggs now is very high, it is understandable.

Corn, Sweet Potato and pumpkin seller

Now, lets check out some snacks, I walked past the lady who was selling corns, sweet potatoes and pumpkins and decided that I wanted a bag of corn already cut off from the  cob. I asked her the price, and it was 15 baht per bag, which wasn’t bad at all.

fried chicken on stick and friend chicken tendon

The fried Chicken on the stick price, how ever, I thought it is a little on the expensive side, It is 15 baht per a tiny stick where as fried chicken tendon is 30 baht /100 gram which is not much. As much as I like fried chicken I don’t think that I would be a customer.

There’s also several other stalls that sell interesting snacks, and the price over all is acceptable (except the omelette rice and the chicken on the stick) I would not mind going back there and try some of the snacks I haven’t seen before and spend more time talking to the street food sellers checking out on their thoughts on the food price hike.

That would be fun.

Bangkok: Convent Road, back to the childhood

22 Apr

The other day I was having a coffee appointment with a journalist friend who is new to Bangkok. He was running errands when I called him asking if he would like to meet for coffee.  He was up for it, and I told him to meet at Starbucks on Convent Road just off the Saladang BTS station on Silom.

I arrived early on purpose so that I could walk around the road where my primary school is. There’s a catholic school on the street and I went there from grade one to about half way through grade seven before I went to study abroad.

A School on Convent Road

When I was at the school, there used to be a rule that students were not allowed to buy food off the street outside school premise, not even at the shopping mall nearby. I think the rule was imposed on and off for a while, and for the kid like me who absolutely love food (especially the Moo-Ping or grilled pork and sticky rice right outside the school’s fence) it was hard to stick to the rule.

While I was walking along the road, I noticed a lot of changes. My coconut ice-cream uncle is no longer there nor his nephew who took over the business, the once very popular book/comic store  is  now a convenient store and my favorite noodle shop no is no longer my favorite.

An old man biking

Another thing that I noticed was that there were so many people pushing the carts, whether it was food carts, or some other kind of carts through this road to go to the main street of Silom. I guess that there must be a space where carts are being kept somewhere nearby. It’s always interesting to see them pushing the carts containing what ever inside, some of them made it look like they are moving the lightest cart in the world.

Food Sellers getting ready for the business

I arrived Starbucks first, ordered my coffee and managed to take a few photos while waiting for my friend who arrived shortly after. He is new to the city but already noticed about the price of street food rising and he also pointed out that street food that sells in Silom are mostly Chinese food.  I never thought of that before, but as I looked right outside, there’s a stall being set up, and it was a “Kueh-Chub” cart.  (click here for more details about “Kueh Chub”)

…He was right…

"Kueh Chub" - Chinese noodles stall

Apart from Kueh Chub stall, this street, around 5-6 pm is always packed with other food stalls such as, the BBQ pork stall, fish maw stall, noodles stalls, pork legs stalls and many more.  The stalls would open until very late to cater for office workers and tourists as well as the party goers, as the street is right opposite the famous Silom Soi 2 and 4.

A boy, busy pouring the soya eggs, preparing a "Kuah Chub" ingredient

I would say, Convent road is pretty good and convenient for people who live around there to get food. Not only it has varieties of street stalls, but there are also restaurants and and Irish Pub.  It is certainly one of my favorite place to go for food after work, and I would always bump into friends or even my primary school teachers who still recognized me even I left school many years ago.

Michelin Guide and Chinese Food in Hong Kong

13 Apr

I was in Hong Kong last week for a couple of days, and my first meal there was Yumcha at a restaurant recommended in the Michelin Guide, ” Tim’s Kitchen”

The sign at the restaurant's window of Tim's Kitchen can be seen in many other restaurants around Hong Kong

Sign at the restaurant's window of Tim's Kitchen can be seen in many other restaurants around Hong Kong

Now, before I went to Hong Kong, my friends, M and H said that they were going to take me to the “Amazing”  Yum Cha place. I was hoping for the traditional push cart place, but I was not disappointed about this place either. The Yum Cha was good, but not amazing like I was told, maybe I was tired or talked too much and neglect the food.

Yum Cha at Tim's Kitchen

Out of more than ten dishes I had, my favorite dish was probably the fish maws wrapped in tofu skin. It was deliciously juicy and crunchy and definitely the only memorable one out of all dishes. Apparently Tim’s Kitchen is famous for its crab claws and other seafood dishes that we didn’t have.  Next time when I’m there I would have to try the seafood at Tim’s Kitchen and find Yum Cha somewhere else.

Two nights later, I went out for a dinner and drink at Posto Pubblico with S, his friend who came out for a drink later mentioned to me on her thoughts about Michelin Guide that, she’ll definitely go to the French Restaurants they recommend but for the local? She’d rather trust her own judgement. I’m totally agree with her.  By the way, Posto Pubblico makes great mozzarella cheese!

The next day, I was craving for roasted goose,  so my friend, Mel  and I opted for a restaurant called Yat Lok on Lan Kwai Fong, without knowing, we went to another restaurant recommended by Michelin Guide. It was obviously very popular  with the locals as we couldn’t get in until about 2 pm.

Recommended by Michelin Guide

While the food was good the standard of service was on the low side,  M was not happy with the aunty serving us who chose to communicate to us in only Cantonese, despite the fact that we could speak mandarin. In the end M refused to communicate with her what so ever, but we came into the conclusion that they probably won’t care anyway.

Roasted Goose on Rice at Yat Lok

Yat Lok serves varieties of roasted dishes with limited menu in English.  I always frustrated about this when I go to the local places with limited or non-existing English menu, they should have put more effort in the menu, seriously.

I came out of the shop full but not fully satisfied, thinking of the word that S’s friend said the night before about her opinion on the Michelin Guide, next time in Hong Kong, I’d either call my local friends for recommendation or do what I always do, walk into random places and start the food adventure from there.





Food price on the rise again

7 Apr

The other night I turned on the TV to see the news anchor reading out a list of food with the rise in price  including the soybean oil and milk.  When she was reading up to the price of 800 ml milk, I had enough,  it was 2 in the morning and I shouldn’t be worry about going to the supermarket and won’t be able to afford to buy milk.

The soybean oil I can live without, though the producer wanted to raise19 baht more but the ministry of commerce only allowed 9 baht rise, but still, many of the supermarkets do not have the oil in stock, but funnily enough, from footage I saw, there are plenty of “palm oil” on the shelf (Remember when it was a shortage last time?)

Now I think I will really need to be strategically plan my grocery shopping now that the price of everything seems to be on the rise, while my freelance income just doesn’t go anywhere near it.

Ever Soneva So Chocoholic : The Ultimate Chocolate Room

27 Mar

Last Friday, I had an opportunity to spend a night at Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood, just off the south-east coast of the Gulf of Thailand.  Although the stay is short but it’s been a very pleasant experience,  I’m not going to go into details here as I’m not going to do a resort review (but it is AMAZING!)   but I’m going to tell you about my favorite facilities of this resort, “Ever Soneva So Chilled” and Ever Soneva So Chocoholic”. From the names of these two venues maybe it’s not hard go guess that they are ice-cream parlour and chocolate room!.  I only had a taste of one scoop of ice-cream out of more than sixty flavors they have but I can definitely say that the ice-cream was fantastic. I could’ve done ice-cream sample if I wanted to but I had to passed, as I had my eyes fixed on the chocolate room.

Guests enjoy picking the chocolate varieties

At Soneva Kiri,  ice-cream and chocolate are complements to guest, guests can indulge in both ice-cream and chocolate all day! I went there in the afternoon planning NOT to eat any of those beautiful chocolate but had to give into the temptation.

Easter eggs!

It seems like some of the chocolate, if not all of them are made in this room, I saw some of the chocolates being set in the molds.They even have the easter eggs as well! Now I regretted not taking one of them home.

To die for

There are so many varieties of chocolate here from the cocoa drinks to truffles, all of them are premium grade chocolate.  I was truly in heaven and couldn’t resist picking some of them to taste.

Heaven on the plate

On my plate were two macaroons, chocolate and green tea, a piece of  “rose” chocolate and a piece of “almond” chocolate and a cocoa drink.  All I could say is that I simply had “heaven” right there on my plate, there’s no other words to describe it. Period.

Ever Soneva So Chocoholic” absolutely lives up to its name and I just simply can’t wait to go back to Soneva Kiri to have a piece of the chocoholic experience again.

 

Soneva Kiri by Six Senses

110 Moo 4 Koh Kood Sub-District, Koh Kood, Trad 23000, Thailand