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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.

Red Food and The Red Rally at Ratchaprasong

10 Jan

I had posted the blog on the Red Shirt food so many time, but it’s always interesting to walkabout the political rally and focus on something that not many people are focusing on. You guess it… yup it is”the street food!”

So..The Red Food and The Red Rally is back again for 2011…

Rachadamri Rd before dusk

Yesterday, the Red Shirts were out again and I decided to check them out. and of course, where there’s people, there’s food. There are also some interesting food I hadn’t seen in the past rallies, or maybe they just hidden somewhere and I hadn’t seen them.

 

The Red Somtam Shop

The Stall here is “Khun Dang” or ” Ms Red ” Somtam.  The papaya salad stall usually sell in Pak Nam area … it was set up quite early during the day. Her name  and the shop name definitely match the event.

 

I just bought her corn yesterday!

But there are some people who seem to go to where ever there’s events. like the corn lady.  I recognized her straight away simply because her eyebrows.

 

Making the Omelettes

Another popular dish, omelette rice. The omlette lady simply know that the omelette goes best with Sri Racha or the chili sauce. She also sells some kind of fresh made dip as well,  I forgot to ask what it was though.

Then I saw something that caught my eyes…

 

This man was picking something from the basket,and when I looked closer they were little shrimps that were still jumping!  Well, it’s because he’s selling “The Jumping Shrimps”

Mixing the live shrimps in a bowl

I have never eaten the jumping shrimps before but had similar dish called “Prawn in the fish sauce” where the raw prawns are served in the sauce made out of fish sauce and lemon juice with a bit of fresh chili. This one though he mixed the shrimps with lots of herbs as well as the fish sauce, lemon juice, chili flakes. I’m sure they must be delicious judging from the non-stop customers but I would probably stay away from it.

 

Pork Crackles! 20 baht per bag

There are plenty of other things as well… like salted pork crackles….

Esan Sausage seller

Or the Esan sausage seller which I am very impressed with the grill which made specially to grill the sausages.

The Grill

It is set up this way so that not only he can put more sausages on the grill, but the fat also don’t drip into the charcoal, how clever! The seller said he is usually set up the stall on Convent Road near where I am. I’m definitely going to hunt him down later on.

I have had a full and busy weekend and it was so much fun.  I can’t wait to see what’s on for this week!…

 

 

Interesting competition from the new US Ambassador to Thailand

6 Jan

I just came across Richard Barrow’s new blog entry on the “Fave Thai Food Contest” so I clicked on the facebook page to see what’s happening.

So, the new ambassador, Kristie Kenney  is arriving soon and she would like to try Thai food! I like her better than previous ambassador already, no I do not know Mr. Eric John, former ambassador to Thailand, but anyway… I’m interested in anyone who’s interested in food.

US Embassy in Thailand " Fave Thai Food Contest"

So lets say if I enter the competition which will be ending on the 12th January and I happen to win… hmm.. I will get to meet the ambassador?

This sounds FANTASTIC!  Now I will have to dig out the list of the restaurants. Oh wait,.. it will be a long list since it’s cover the whole country. But I guess one of the first place I’d like her to try is a place call “Sa-nguan-Sri” right in her territory on Wireless Road, probably less than 100 metre from the Embassy and her residence-to-be, so she can sneak out and walk there for quick lunch.  But being The Ambassador, that might be unlikely though.

This restaurant is a local and foreign favorite on Wireless Road and lower Sukhumvit area.  When I used to work around there, my colleagues and I sometimes go for lunch which always packed with people.  I haven’t got any original photos since I haven’t been back for years, but this blog does. I remember my favorite dishes there, especially the curry dishes. I bet Ms Kenney will find the food there divine too.

For more information on the competition, click on the US Embassy in Bangkok Facebook Page here

What my mother did with the leftover Christmas turkey

26 Dec

While I spent all night thinking what to do with the leftovers turkey we had the other night and couldn’t decide what to make out of it, my girlfriend Mel who’s spending her Christmas in London was online and suggested of making shepherds pie.

The Turkey meat that's about to turn into chicken noodles

Hmm….definitely sounds good, so I thought I would dash to supermarket in the morning to get extra ingredients to make shepherd pies for today’s dinner. Little did I know that shepherd pie wouldn’t be happening.

The turkey had turned into…….Turkey Noodles….THAI STYLE

Yummy noodles

I have to admit  thought that it wasn’t exactly bad. I asked my sister who seemed to enjoy the noodles A LOT how it tasted, she said it taste better than the usual chicken noodles that she asked for seconds.I have to admit that she’s right.

For the recipe of the chicken noodles, I will put it up if there’s a demand for it.

 

 

 

Laab Langsuan, the restaurant in the RED ZONE

12 Jun

The past few month had been very crazy here in Bangkok, the rally,  riot, crack down, and now reconciliation. During that time, many restaurants in the area known as the “RED ZONE” were forced to shut down. I have heard of this little E-SAN restaurant for years and was hoping to try it one day when I came across it while on location for news coverage just three days after the crack down.

This restaurant is ” Laab Lang Suan” , hidden in Soi Mahadlek Luang I on Rajdamri Road. When we were there trying to take shot cuts from Langsuan road to go through Rajprasong Intersection to Siam Square, we had to go through this little street, where we got stopped by the military at the end of Mahadlek Luang I.

After about ten minutes wait, a young solder told us that it’s a no-go zone. We decided to head back to the little street and found a group of  people  young and old, men and women lazily observing passer by, sometimes telling those people  that;

” You can’t go there, there’s bombs exploding”

We were aware of the bombs story, but haven’t heard anything.  While we were out, trying to figure out how we could get to Siam Square, colleagues at other places were constantly in contact. as we heard that the bombs were found where they were.  ..There were no bombs explosion sound …

Back to those group of people, I noticed a woman in her 40s sitting amongst a young girl and a man. We smiled at each other.  She probably wondered why we were there, but the equipments we were carrying probably gave her the answer already. She was asking if we needed water, we politely declined.  I asked her if she live in the area.  She pointed out at the restaurant opposite where she was sitting, ” I’m working there”

P’ Waaw is a cook and a co-owner of  Laab Langsuan, the E-San restaurant that had been opened for more than 30 years in the middle of the city.  She’s been working there since she was thirteen and married to the owner’s son.

She said that the restaurant was doing very well until the “Red” as she chose to call the protesters came.  I won’t go into details about what she told me about the red, but many weeks of living in constant fear.. I still could hear her voice trembling.  The restaurant that used to do so well, full of businessmen and tourists had to temporary shut down,  no customers, no access to get out.

” How did you survive?”  I asked, curious about how she would pay her employees who live with her

” I had to tell my employee that we just have to help each other. I have no money to pay them, but I said, you still have and drink”  she said as she poured us Coke from a big 2 litres bottle and handed to us.

” We just have to eat together and live together like family. I still don’t know how to pay my children’s school fee”

I just realized that the new  school term was about to start in a week.  I was interviewing her for a news piece for a foreign news company.  It was such a contrast when, as we about to leave, I asked if I could take a photo of her for my blog.  She told me that there were so many tourists and TV crew that came to the restaurant…but that day.. we were the only group of visitor.

It will take a while for her and the restaurant to cover the cost of losses during the protest. I’m planning to visit her again, she might or might not remember me, the restaurant might once again be busy. I would be just happy to see the restaurant becoming alive again.

Laab Langsuan

Open daily from 11.00-21.00 pm (close on Sunday)

Tel : 0-2252-6845

Walking Around In Time Of Chaos

16 Mar

This weekend I’ve been wandering around the Old Bangkok area or Rattanakosin trying to look around for new idea for this blog.  Unfortunately, a part of Old Bangkok area is full of people who are rallying against the government.  I will try not to be political here since this is suppose to be fun blog (my point-of-view can be found on my twitter @_willowtree_)

The Red Guards having lunch at 4.30 pm

On Friday, I was at Rajdamnoen Avenue where the UDD aka Red Shirts people were setting up for the big rally on Sunday, on the way back, I saw two “red guards” having lunch, so I started talking to them just out of curiosity.

Sticky rice and ....???

They tried to explain to me that it was sticky rice and some sort of meat.  I thought it was kind of a Thai Sour Sausage (Naam) with Thai dips or something.  They probably would’ve let me try some if I asked as they were being super nice, but I had to pass either way.

15 baht Rice with Omlette

There were lots of interesting food selections at the rally and I still feel guilty for not walking around and take photos of the food which I’m sure would be interesting, as the protesters are from around the country and most of them are from the countryside, so there must be a lot more unfamiliar food for me to see. It would be interesting should the circumstance be different…anyway….

– – – – – – – – – –

Today, I went to check out the area near the rally site by boat. What I saw when I arrived at Tha Tian was that it was really quiet, apart from few tourists who probably couldn’t care less about what happen in the city. But my favourite juice man was still there!.

The Juice Man!

When I first met him, it was probably a year ago, his juice stall is just right outside of the Tha Tian Pier on the left hand side. My friend Sarah and I stopped by and bought some juice off him and we liked it a lot, so when I saw him again this morning, I stopped by for a bottle of “Dragon Fruit Juice” (30 baht) and chit-chat.  After advertised the benefits of drinking dragon fruit juice, I asked him how business was, he said it was quieter than usual.  As I quietly observed for the next 15 minutes, he was right, I hadn’t seen any other customers apart from me.

Fruit Juice anyone?

As I was asking him for permission to take photo, some how my camera didn’t work and he commented with a laugh saying  that it happened before, probably because the amulets on his neck. As soon as he finished his sentence, the camera worked again..strange…!

..lunch..

As I walked along the footpath.. I saw this guy sitting on the street, and couldn’t resist to stop and ask what he was doing, to which he answered “having my lunch”  Yup… obviously he was and he was enjoying it despite sitting in the heat, and to me he was obviously waiting to open his business. However, as every second and fourth Mondays of the month, they are not allowed to sell stuff on the footpath, so he was simply waiting for the police to leave.

Red Shirt drinks seller

Just a little bit further down, I spotted this guy wearing red, he actually had the headband in his hand as well when I approached him.  He was clearly..pro-RED.  He said he’s been to the rally for the past two days, I’m sure he’ll join them again later that night.  I asked him to pose for the photos, which he did without questioning.

As much as I like to stay and walk around for more photos…I didn’t see the point, there were not as many stalls and the atmosphere was not quite the same. I decided to take the boat back home from Tha Chang Pier,  and the boat once again, filled with tourists.

What surprised  me was that none of the passengers on the boat I took both ways wear RED…nor YELLOW.

Ingredient of the day : Fish sauce

15 Nov

Fish Sauce or Nam Pla is one of the key ingredients in Thai cooking, in fact, many other countries in Asia also have its own version of fish sauce.

In Thailand, there are many brands of fish sauce, perhaps the most well-known amongst the foreigners are Tipparos and Squid brand.  My mother who is quite picky when it comes to food (and everything else) discovered a few years ago that neither of them suited her taste but she had found what she claimed was a great fish sauce a few years ago. We use the ” Tra Choo (Tra Chang)” or “Scale” brand. It has to be specifically golden scale as well. I’m not sure how much it cost, but it’s likely that the price is a little higher than few other brands.

Mom's favourite brand of fish sauce

Recently, there’s a new brand of fish sauce which put itself in the different league..yes.. even to mom’s favourite brand unfortunately.  It’s called ” Megachef” which is a premium grade fish sauce. I’ve heard of it through various media channels, what make it interesting is Chef David Thompson of a famous Thai restaurant in London, Nahm is a brand ambassador for “Megachef”.  For those who do not know this restaurant, it is the first Michelin star Thai restaurant.

For me who is not an expert in fish sauce, when I smelled it for the first time, I noticed immediately that it smells different and when I tasted it, it tasted different to other fish sauces I’ve ever tasted before. It’s definitely my new favourite brand of fish sauce from now on!  I’m sure that Megachef is being sold in many Asian’s groceries stores, throw away or give away your old fish sauce in your pantry and stock up the Megachef!!

Megachef, the hip fish sauce of Thailand

Megachef fishsauce