Tag Archives: Street food

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.

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.

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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.

 

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!…

 

 

Street food on Thai’s Children Day

9 Jan

Every second week of January is Thai’s children day.  There are event held at many places around Bangkok and I managed to squeezed in three today. It was so much fun and so much food and kids around.   Because I walked so much I managed to have only snacks for lunch.

First thing that caught my eyes when I jumped off 100 baht  Tuk Tuk ride (yep a rip off ..but I allowed that because there’s absolutely no taxi to catch) was the cart that sell corns and grilled bananas.

 

Grilled Corn

When I was young, I used to love the steamed corn and grilled bananas.  The corn taste the best when dip in salt water, but the corns I saw today though were grilled and dipped in coconut milk.

 

The boy is looking at my lunch!

I couldn’t decide whether or not I should get bananas or corn, but in the end I chose the corn just because the boy in front of me did.  It was 20 baht each ( US$0.75)  Then just about few steps away from the corn stall, I saw something that made me a little bit shocked.  These were “Baluts” , a Philippines’ delicacy. Basically the Baluts are fertilized eggs with nearly developed embryo inside.  I never seen one before so I stopped by and chat to the sellers for a while.

The Bolut seller, what’s on the plate are actually Baluts, 15 Baht per set including dipping sauce!

They’ve been selling  Balut for a while around the area,  but didn’t really give me more details apart from trying to sell them to me, in which I politely declined.  They said it tasted so good, but when I asked what good about it, a girl who was probably the daughter said ” The dipping sauce”  ….Hmm….

Different stages of Balut

So, the guy busted in and trying to sell the products to me, but once again, I politely declined and walked off to much nicer type of eggs.  Seriously, I never seen them in Bangkok before. Or am I not up-to-date anymore with the street food I wonder.

Next stop for my mini lunch was quail eggs, my other childhood favorite snacks. At school I used to have it once in a while. There were 10 eggs in one serve and costed 7 bahts which I thought was expensive back then, now the serve is smaller, the price is higher and I missed the chili sauce on top.

 

Quail Eggs in the mold

To make this snack, it is very easy, it’s like making the fried eggs in the mold, and put soya sauce or Maggi on top and lots of pepper.

 

The Quail eggs in foam containers

I was about to finish making my order when all of the sudden …..

 

Hungry groups of kids

…Three very hungry boy and a grumpy little girl busted in a and took all the eggs. Luckily I was left with one serve.

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Coconut Juice in a glass

I ended my mini-meal with coconut juice.  It was 10 baht a glass, the juice seller was telling me about coconut shortage where sometimes it is hard to order coconuts and she hasn’t seen the shortage like this before.  The price of one coconut is now about 17 baht wholesell so she had to mix the coconut juice with syrup and lots of ice to make some profits.

———————–

It was fun walking around on children’s day, because there are so many cute kids around with their parents with lots of toys in their hands, but there are some kids that are not that lucky…

 

18 months old boy, a grandson of the street food seller.

This boy’s mother was very young, I’d say she’s probably in her teen and should’ve been in school rather than raising kid. His grandmother sells fried banana and raised him while his mother is at work.

 

Construction Worker's kids

These two kids were very dirty when I saw them. I learnt later that they were construction workers kids that came with their grandmother who was working nearby. The girl was so cute and even offered me her pink wafer  at one stage, but the boy looked horrified when he saw my camera.

On the way home, I was thinking about the kids I saw today, especially the construction worker’s kids, who will need to go to school soon. They will need to settle down somewhere to get proper education. However, this is tough because their parents do move around to where the work are.  All I can do now, I guess, is just pray for them and hope that they will get at least compulsory education they deserve.

 

 

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

Random Photos of the food on the Street of Bangkok

20 Dec

Just realized I had been missing in action for so long.  Have to admit that my interest has temporary shifted to finding hidden gems in Bangkok.  But don’t worry, I will be back with more stories on the street food very soon.

Meanwhile.. there are some interesting photos on the street that I took while walking around Bangkok for the past couple of weeks.  You can also look at them via Flickr too.

Pak Klong Talad Pier: Cooking Breakfast

After a long night of hard working, at 8 am in the morning, this worker at the fresh market wind down by cooking steam chicken, perhaps his first meal of the day. He said It goes well with whiskey.

French man in a Chinese restaurant

 

Found this man standing at the Chinatown’s sharkfin’s house. I was surprised to see him, and when asked how he ended up there he said,  “my girlfriend works here”

 

Salty Enough?

 

 

Walking on Khaosarn’s back alley, there are many selections of food to choose from.  I  was fascinated with this particular man, perhaps it’s because the way he set up his “shop?” or his way of pouring fish sauce into the food…