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

BKK Bagel Bakery, tried and tasted (2)

4 Mar

So, continued from my previous post,  without further adieu let the tasting begin!  There are 5 bagel sandwich menus on the board, but….unfortunately the smoked salmon is out today,  I’ll have to come back to taste the smoked salmon bagel next week.

*By the way, this is the honest testing as the bagels are not paid for, although Eric and Tri were sharing the bagels with me.*

Tasting No. 1 ) The Show stopper(225 baht) : Turkey, Harvati cheese, bacon,  lightly brushed avocado spread (More Plssss) and whole grain mustard  served on a plain bagel

The Show Stopper

Verdict :  Loved the whole lot! I was surprised from the very first bite, The fillings are generously stuffed  (hence the price of THB 225) and you can taste everything in one bite. The only downside was that I couldn’t find the avocado spread until I dissected the sandwich.  It would be nicer to have thicker avocado smear on my turkey sandwich though.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Tasting No.2) Fin or Feather(175THB) : Homemade Tuna or Chicken Salad  lettuce, tomato, red onions, served on a whole white bagel,

Fin or Feather? I went for the fin

Verdict :  The fin was good but not great  I’d like more mayo and salt in my tuna salad. But again, everyone have their own preferences of their tuna salad sandwiches.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Tasting No.3) The Verrazano(225 THB) : Home made spiced roast beef, whole grain mustard, swiss cheese, lettuce, served on plain bagel

The Verrazano

Verdict :  I’ve been looking for real deli roast beef sandwiches for so long.. and this one is the answer to my prayer.  All I can say is “Y-u-m-m-y!”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Tasting No. 4) The Veggie Monger (150 THB) : Hummus, alfafa sprouts, tomato, carrots, avocado spread, red onion, served on poppy bagel

The Veggie Monger

Verdict : As much as I love the humus, it’s a bit strong for me, but for the vegetarians out there?  Go for it!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Apart from the coffee, bagels and bagel sandwiches,  Bkk Bagel also serves coleslaw and pasta salad.  I ordered a serve of  coleslaw (45 THB) and I was not disappointed. The mix of the ingredient are perfect, simple, fresh, tangy and crispy.

BKK Bagel Bakery is my new favorite place, with its location conveniently situated by the Chidlom BTS station and downstairs from many of the foreign media bureaus I think the future of the shop is very bright.

Now only if I can convince my mother to move from her usual place to here……..that will be my plan for the next few weeks.

 

BKK Bagel Bakery, Tried and Tasted (1)

4 Mar

Few months ago, a friend of mine was talking to me about the lacking of good bagels in Bangkok. Fast forward a few months later, here I am sitting at the “BKK Bagel Bakery” sampling almost every menu on the board!

A bite of Roast Beef Bagel, part of my tasting

The original idea of the bagel shop came from a co-owner, Eric Seldin, a long time Bangkok resident who had been craving for good bagels in Thailand for many years. After years of working as a camera person, he suffered a stroke  a few years back, his priority in life had changed. He needed something to keep himself busy. When he met  his business partner Tri Kanchanadul on twitter in 2009 the idea of opening the shop came through very quickly… and the rest….is history.

Caroline Schule, Deli manager

Apart from Eric and Tri, another main force behind the Bkk Bagel Bakery is Caroline Schule, a native of Washington DC . Eric had been a long time friend of Caroline’s father Jim Schule and originally approached Jim to come to Bangkok for the Bagel shop, but unfortunately for Jim (and fortunately for the shop!) the timing wasn’t right so he send his replacement, Caroline instead. Coming from a family where food has played a big part of her life and with a catering background, at 26 Caroline knows what she’s doing. Before jumping on a plane to Bangkok, she was in an advertising business and doing “catering on the side” from her home’s kitchen.  Now, at the Bkk Bagel Bakery,  Caroline design all the sandwiches menus as well as baking her famous “red velvet cupcakes”  For those who wonder if Jim, her father is coming to Bangkok or not, Caroline reassured me that he will be heading this way around April and the menu will be expanding real fast.

Yummy Bagels in the basket

I missed out on the grand-opening on March 1st because I was very sick.  So I decided to come in today to sample all the sandwiches. I had tried and tasted the bagels  since before it opened and was a regular customer last week for the bagel and cream cheese breakfast.  Even took home for my sister who immediately texted me how good the multigrain Bagel was, well, after all she just loves bread and bakery… what can I say.

Coming up….  BKK Bagel Bakery… Bagel Tasting,  stay tune!

Bkk Bagel Bakery :  518/3 Maneeya Centre North, Ploenchit Road ( BTS Chidlom Station, ground floor next to the Kipling shop)

Tel + 662 254 8157

Palm Oil Shortage in Thailand, a good time for me to get off fried food?

21 Feb

Earlier this evening after a day of work, I decided to go for a quick dinner before going home.  As I went pass the oyster omelette place not far from Taksin Bridge BTS station I didn’t hesitate to walk in.

The truth is I was craving for this oyster omelette for ages, and heard that this place was quite good.  For those of you who do not know what it is, basically it is a Chinese dish originated from Teochew/Fujian area with the main ingredients of oysters (of course!), corn starch, eggs and bean sprouts accompany with Sriracha or chilli sauce mixed with chilli vinegar.

exvzx.jpg

As I was halfway through the dish thinking that my omelette was not as crispy as it should be, I remember about the “Palm Oil shortage” that’s currently occurring in Thailand. In some supermarkets, the palm oil are out of stocks and the price of the bottled oil raised by about 9 THB (approx 30 cents) The shortage has become a problem that it has become under the DSI (Division of Special Investigation)’s investigation!

In many of the forums, the topic of palm oil shortage has become a concern. I mean,  many of the street food in Thailand are fried, and those fried food stalls are widely known that they re-use their oil which is very unhealthy. With the crisis now, consumers are concerned about the health factor and thinking about putting off the fried food (at least until the crisis is over), not to mentioned that many of the stalls are out of business including my neighborhood fried pork/chicken.

Reading many topics posted in the food forums, many people are asking about the recipes/menus that are not involved oil, I think people are already forgotten that original Thai food do not really involved oil. There are still other way to cook like grilled, boiled and steam. Maybe this is going to change the trend of the food we eat. Maybe we are going to go back to the original way of eating?

As I was finishing my dinner with 1/4 leftovers (it was too oily for me.. very ironic I know) I asked the shop owner how the palm oil shortage effected the shop.

“We had to cut down on using the flour as the cost price is higher”

Hmm.. not sure if that’s relevent, but he definitely said that he has to pay for the higher price of the oil.

Do you pay for the eggs by Kilo? I asked  as I was handing him 100 baht note(*Thailand had recently introduced the eggs to be sold by weight)

“No, we still doing it the old way.”

I thanked him, picked up my change and wished him luck.