Tag Archives: Thai 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.

 

Restaurant:Krua Chao Praya – A great find with fantastic view

19 Feb

I feel bad about not posting anything for the past few weeks.  The problem is that I’ve been busy (yeah!!) so I didn’t have time to concentrate on the blog.

For the past 2 weeks, I was doing some location scouting for a project and was looking for a place with a great view of Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn as one of the locations for shooting. Crew who flew from the States loved  the photo of the temple I took and wanted to have the temple as a background.

Temple of Dawn at Noon

The Temple of Dawn

When thinking about the restaurant overlooking the Temple,  the fist name that came to my mind was ” The Deck” at Arun Residence.  Unfortunately when I called it was a Valentine’s weekend and we were supposed to shoot on the Saturday and the restaurant was fully booked.

So I called several other restaurants until I found a place called ” Krua Chao Praya”  or Chao Praya Kitchen.  (www.chaophrayakitchen.com) a restaurant in Tha Tien area with a fantastic view of the temple. It is located at the end of  Tha Tien Road where the Chaopraya Cruise ships are docked.  It’s because I did not get to see the place before the shoot, I do not have photos of the place, but I could tell you that it’s very chilled and better alternative than the famous “Arun Residence” as it’s quieter and more low key.  The food were good but what I liked was the ambiance  and the music the owner choose to play. The owner whom I didn’t get the name said that the music plays in the restaurant is varied but mostly with jazz, blues or country music.

The only downside of the restaurant is that,the dinner cruise boats are park right in front of the restaurant, blocking the view of the temple, however, customers can request to have table set up on the boat if they are not on hired. …That’s what we did, set up the shoot on the boat to get the clear view of the temple which turned out to be absolutely fantastic. Most importantly, the jet-lagged and overworked crew were very happy.

Unfortunately, the restaurant will be shut down and moved to Nonthaburi province in April because of the demolition of the area. I’m planning to visit the restaurant again soon to take more photos of the place.

To book the restaurant : called  085-238-6886

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

The Boat Noodles

4 Jan

Since my external HDD crashed last week, I was frantically looking through photos that are left storing in my different memory cards.  Unfortunately my external HDD can not be rescue, so, I’m picking it up today and will have to think about whether to depart from it nicely or just hammer it down.

While I was searching through folders after folders, I realized that there is a topic I want to blog about but did not for some reasons, it is Kuay-Tiew-Rua or “The Boat Noodles” The dish got its name because it used to be sold on a boat in the river or canals.  Travel by boat used to be the main transportation means for people in central part of Thailand, so it’s not uncommon to see people selling food on the boats.

Boat Noodles' original boat

In the past, when people used to live along the river, the boat selling food would stop by the pier and people would gather around and order the food.  The boat noodles were like that too, the one of the characteristics of the boat noodles is that they are served in a small bowls enabling the customer to hold  in one hand, while using the chopsticks on the other hand.

The boat Noodles

Usually a portion of boat noodles is equivalent to 2-3 portion of the normal bowl of Thai noodles so on average, people can eat about 2 to 4 bowls. The flavor of boat noodles are quite intense, the dark color of the soup is from the fresh pork’s blood that gives strong thick flavor. The dish is usually comes with sliced beef or pork and often added the beef balls or pork balls and various part of the beef/pork (liver, heart etc)  as well as bean sprouts and Chinese morning glory.  Personally, I like the rice noodles stick or Sen-Lek with just sliced beef and vegetables, and the taste usually already good so there’s no need to add on any condiments…unless there’s pork crackles available.

People enjoy the noodles by the river

A few months ago, a friend took me to his favorite boat noodles place, apparently it’s quite famous, but I didn’t know about this.  I thought it was quite cool to sit by the river and enjoy the scenery (people eating noodles) as well as watching the old man making noodles.

Boat Noodles on the Shore

Judging from his look, he must’ve been in late 70s or early 80s and he probably used to sell his noodles in the canal before. I would’ve loved to stay on and chit chat with him, but unfortunately I could not as we had to rush off for a meeting. So after 2 bowls of noodles each, we said good bye to him but it won’t be the last time for my visit.  The noodles cost us about 60 baht or US$2.00 so it was like $0.50 each!  Definitely worth a second visit.

 

 

Coconut shortage in Thailand…what will happen to my Curry?

29 Dec

I am in panic!

Thailand is one of the biggest exporter of the coconut milk, and now it’s facing crisis.

I just can’t believe it! We are talking about coconut price rising from 7-8 baht ( US$1 =28-29 baht) to 24 baht!  ALMOST A DOLLAR…. and a kilo of coconut milk is 60 baht.

Maybe that doesn’t sound much, 60 bahts is about $2 USD but for the Thais 2 dollars mean 2 bowls of noodles. (that’s how I compare the standard of living in each country by asking how much does a simple meal cost)

It will probably mean that either my next meal of  green curry will be more expensive or will be very watery.

 

Coconut milk milking machine in a fresh market, many shopkeepers are facing crisis now

There are many factors that attribute to this, one huge factor is the natural disaster that hit Thailand this year both drought and flood and then the insects that the farmers can not seem to get rid of.  But for me, the main factor that contribute to this is that, the decreasing in coconut farms.

For the Thais, when talking about coconut, the first place that came into mind is Koh Samui.  The scenic island used to be known as the land of coconuts, but these days you can hardly see coconuts anywhere. The coconut farms are turned into resorts and hotels. Prachuabkirikan province near the beach town of Huahin also known to grow about 40 per cent of all coconut cultivations in Thailand also faces the same crisis, coconut farmers are either sell their land to the investors or decided not to grow coconut but other crops.  Those who still cultivate coconuts will face the crisis too which is the shortage of coconuts. The authority already speaking of importing more coconuts from Indonesia!

 

Shredded coconut is commonly use for many Thai dessert

That will effect the price rise in the Thai food here in Thailand including the famous curries that use coconut milk as one of the crucial ingredidents.  It’s also includes the dessert as well, usually I can pay 10 baht for a little bowl of dessert of  soyabeans and coconut milk (Tao Suan), but after this crisis, I’m not sure how much it will cost, probably doubled. That doesn’t sound very good, especially for those with lower income.

 

Coconut milk also used as one of the dessert ingredients

It will be interesting to see how the government and private sectors involved tackle this problem. The recent news was speculated that the producer of famous coconut milk brand ” Chaokoh ” is looking to move its factory somewhere else as they can not bear with the deficit. If that’s true then we as a coconut producing country will most likely be in trouble.

And I am writing about coconut in term of the effect on food alone and excluding other businesses that involve with coconuts such as coconut oil productions or other products made from coconut shells. It will be interesting to see how the future of the coconut in Thailand will turn out and  I am waiting for that.