Category Archives: chicken

Chiang Mai Diary

Aunt Tui's roses in bloom

When I decided to start research for a second book, this one for, basically, all of Thailand ex-Bangkok, I knew it would be a big undertaking. Nosing out Bangkok’s street food stalls took a year; this one … could take more. More months of 5 lunches and 3 dinners a day, more weeks registering a steadily rising number on the scale, more nights of clutching at my belly as I struggle to digest (I know, I know. Pity me! Pity me!).

Well, screw that. I’ll tell you now: I want this done by year-end. I’m no spring chicken, and I am no longer pregnant, so I can no longer hide all the extra poundage behind the “but I’m pregnant excuse!”. Maybe I don’t have that much time left before my digestive system finally rebels once and for all and explodes. Long story short: I will have to eat more, now.  What better place to start than Chiang Mai?

It’s obvious where out-of-towners eat when they come to the “capital of the North”: the usual suspects, Lamduan Faham (either branch), Samoerjai, Huen Phen. What they eat: khao soy, roasted young chili dip (nam prik num), deep-fried pork (moo tod). I decided I would do all I can to avoid that for the time being. You already know these places, right? There must be some culinary gems that all yinz guys have overlooked!

Apparently, “hidden culinary gems” means this:

Chicken rice at Khao Mun Gai Hailum

And this:

Chicken rice at Gied Ocha

Yes, I had a whole lot of khao mun gai. Inexplicably. Because, I think you all know this, chicken rice is not in any way a Northern Thai thing. It’s a “way north…er…east of Thailand” thing (my geography isn’t too good). In my defense, it’s a little different here in Chiang Mai: the rice is fluffier and less fatty, and, well, the chicken appears to be too. Two stand-outs were Khao Mun Gai Hailum (to the right near the entrance of Rotfai Road, 053-242-833) and Gied Ocha (41-43 Intawororos Road, 053-328-262-3); the former a bare-bones haven for chicken rice purists who are picky about both their rice and their chicken, the latter a sunny, welcoming favorite where the owner — a former lottery winner, yes really — still patrols the dining room, barking out incomprehensible orders to a beleaguered and obviously very clever Hainanese chicken rice-making station in front.

On the same road as Gied Ocha stands a fish noodle-and-rice porridge stand called Sa-Ard (33-35 Intawororos Road, 053-327-261) that, as full as I was, turned out to be among the most delicious fish noodle places I’ve been to (I am not a fish noodle fan). The broth, perfectly clear and a bright, fresh slick of seafood; an assorted array of fish meatballs of various shapes and degrees of deliciousness; a bowl heavy with lettuce and deep-fried garlic. What I’m talking about, when I came to and remembered to take a photo:

When I was done with my fish meatball gow low

Other good things: Isaan sausages, both stuffed with rice and with woon sen, or glass vermicelli; deep-fried bananas, encased in a lattice of batter and coconut flakes; som tum muang, or “Northern-style” grated green papaya salad, flavored with tamarind juice instead of lime (is that really what makes it Northern?); and thu-ka-ko, rounds of taro tossed in flour and deep-fried, a street snack you actually honest-to-God can’t get anywhere else, apparently.

But where’s the Northern Thai food? What am I, made of stone? Of course I had some. First, at a Disneyland-style “Northern Thai” restaurant where the food swung through some very un-Northernlike extremes of flavor to accommodate the Bangkokians who want their Northern food to be as highly spiced as Isaan; then, at a restaurant my dad directed me too, promising that the food would be just like what I would get from my Aunt Priew (this is very high praise).

Huen Jai Yong (near Sankumpang intersection, 086-671-8710, 086-730-2673) might be hard to get to, and it’s definitely a restaurant, not a street food stall, but it’s worth it to call and ask for those directions (I am useless at directions. Can you tell?) This is Northern food: flavorful yet a little mellow, yummy but not pandering  (too sweet, too spicy). Don’t miss out on the saa pak, a “salad” of minced vegetables that recalls salty and tart without overly favoring either, or the thum makuea, mashed Thai eggplant bearing a mellowness that defies its fierce appearance.

Mashed Thai eggplant at Huen Jai Yong

But as good as Aunt Priew? Sorry. No.

13 Comments

Filed under Asia, Chiang Mai, chicken, fish, food, food stalls, Northern Thailand, restaurant, Thailand

Grumpalicious

N

Lunch at Silom Pattakarn

I try to write something here once a week, because life without forcing yourself to do something is a life far too enjoyable, but sometimes, things happen. Last week, and the week before that, and the week before that one, and, oh, this week too, that thing has been the Cold Monster. The Cold Monster rarely visits, so I had little idea what to expect, but it’s a stubborn creature, and pretends to leave only to show up in fuller force when you are at your most jaunty and hatching plans to make an ass of yourself in public again. So that’s what I’ve been up to. Fighting the Cold Monster.

Obviously, I have also been eating. Alas, the cold medication that I have tried all I can to avoid is the only thing between me and utter destruction at this point, but it renders everything I eat either tinny or tasteless. There are only a few things that have broken through this cold-medication curse, and sans further verbal tap-dancing, I have listed them below. Not surprisingly, they are from my favorite kinds of places: shabby, taciturn, and ancient. They are grumpalicious.

Pong Lee (10/1 Ratchawithi Soi 9, 02-644-5037, open 11am-9:30pm)

Why I like it: My grandfather, bless him, is no longer the gourmet he once was. But there was a time when he liked nothing better than to tell other people what or where to eat, and this was invariably one of his favorite choices. It’s changed little since we took him here last — the decor is the same (shabby unchic), as is the clientele (“vintage”). Not surprisingly, the menu has also undergone little renovation. Although people like to order the deep-fried duck, our family has our own little favorites.

What I like: Old-school Thai-Chinese versions of “Western” dishes are also represented on the menu by way of Pong Lee’s deep-fried pork chop, swimming in a thick tomato sauce and peas. It sounds kind of gross, and maybe is if you are not familiar with this very specialized subset of old-style fusion food, but it is the dish my brother invariably goes for. Steamed seabass and hae gun (Chinese-style deep-fried shrimp rolls) are standbys, as is the odd vegetable dish of what appears to be canned white asparagus garnished with a murky seaweed. Sometimes (only if I am there), we order the stewed goat. Pong Lee’s specialty, however, is said to be the Hokkien-style fried egg noodles, garnished with shredded pork floss.

Egg noodles with pork floss

Sanguansri (59/1 Wireless Rd., 02-252-7637, open 10am-3pm)

Why I like it: Is it habit? Is it the food? I can’t tell anymore. Sometimes I am absolutely appalled by the service (but cannot say anything because, let’s face it, some of the servers are my grammy’s age). And sometimes I am perfectly happy to sit there, ignored, serving myself water from the counter and fighting to pay my bill. All I know is that I first came here when, well, I first came to Thailand, and eating here makes me think of that time. Also, the food seems to have only improved since then (as illustrated by the growing and increasingly-ravenous lunchtime crowd).

What I like: What can I say? It’s all about the kanom jeen nam prik. Sure, some other places also have kanom jeen (Mon-style fermented rice noodles) with vaunted reputations, but Sanguansri deserves it. Their nam prik – a mellow, chili-flecked, coconut milk-based curry — is genuinely delicious, layered and complex, sweet and mild but with an earthy undertow. Noodles come pre-mixed with greens for convenience’s sake (theirs, not yours), and sometimes they forget silverware and/or dishes, but whatever. As for everything else, it … skews sweet. Another favorite is the gluay chuem (bananas cooked in syrup), which comes drizzled in coconut milk, a further play on the salty-sweet thing.

Kanom jeen nam prik

Silom Pattakarn (Soi Silom Pattakarn, the soi after Silom Soi 15, 02-236-4442, open 10am-9pm)

Why I like it: Among the oldest remaining examples of Thai-Western fusion food, Silom Pattakarn specializes in something that is increasingly in danger of becoming extinct (see: Restaurant, Carlton) — Thai-Chinese versions of “Western” dishes such as “stew” (tomato-based sauce, peas, and pork, oxtail or ox tongue), corn soup, Chinese-style “chicken curry” (the national British dish), and “steak” (here seared perfectly and cooked medium to medium-well — no bleu among germ-phobic Thais!) accompanied with a simple salad in a sweet vinaigrette. There are also “fancy” Asian dishes such as fish maw soup, either cooked dry or nam daeng (“red broth”) and mee krob boran (old-style crispy thin noodles), which, unlike the lacquered khunying hair-like confections atop so many “traditional” restaurant tables today, arrives simply and humbly, mixed with minced shrimp, touched only a bit with sugar.

Old-fashioned mee krob with garnishes

What I like: Uh, I think I went over that already. But honestly, I also just love the place: it’s breezy in the wintertime, the ladies are lovely, and everything comes with a fluffy tower of white bread and ginormous pat of butter. With the loss of the Carlton Restaurant on Silom (another “fancy” place frequented by blue-hair types who remember its heyday in the ’50s and ’60s), Silom Pattakarn has possibly become the remaining purveyor of this slice of post-World War II Thailand, when the country was young and budding and the future seemed bright (I remember this time vividly, you see). The restaurant is up for sale (granted, for the past 6-7 years), so this may be the last chance you get to see, and taste, progressive mid-century Thailand.

Chicken curry and the dining room

9 Comments

Filed under Asia, Bangkok, chicken, curries, food, noodles, restaurant, Thai-Chinese, Thailand

Stuffed in Isaan

Lunch at Jay Gai Som Tum in Udon Thani

It’s 10 in the morning, and I am already stuffed. I cannot imagine what lunch holds in store for us.

Yes, I am starting this all over again. The first book, researched while I was pregnant with my second child, gave me … well, the joy of publishing my first solo effort, and 25 extra kilos. This second, well, who knows? I certainly don’t want 25 extra kilos, and I’m not sure if I could do it, even if I wanted to. My digestive system is screaming, What are you thinking?! even as I lurch my way through downtown Udon Thani. And this is only the beginning.

After landing in Udon Thani, our gracious hosts promptly whisk us off to VT Nam Nueng (www.vtnamnueng1997.com), a Vietnamese restaurant that, well into its second generation, is just about as big as any enterprise can get in Udon Thani. Every day, an assembly line churns out thousands of sticks of nam nueng (pork sausage wrapped in a flat rice noodle, lettuce and herbs and drizzled with a sweet-tart dipping sauce) and goong pan aui (shrimp mince wrapped around a sugarcane stick), later to be sold at either the restaurant, replete with air-conditioning and imposing Chinese-style furniture, or at the aggressively efficient take-out counter. There is even a hotline, where a motorcycle awaits your call should any nam nueng emergency arise. Not to mention the branches at the airport, or the various other Vietnamese-Thai restaurant chains in town, helmed by cousins or children of the original VT founder, who made his dipping sauces in a secret room so as to minimize infighting among his children.

The namesake dish at VT Nam Nueng

But Udon Thani isn’t all about Vietnamese food (though it does boast a sizable Vietnamese community, said to have fled the country during the French colonial era). Newcomers to the city jonesing for street food but unsure of where exactly to go should simply get themselves to Naresuan Road, which appears to be Street Food Central for the entire town. Here, you will get anything you could possibly want: toothsome Chinese-style rice porridge (jok) as well as the looser Thai kind (khao thom), boiled with pork cartilage to a porky mellowness; hunks of muu satay, pork slathered in coconut milk and grilled on bamboo skewers; winningly large portions of silky, golden, whisper-soft homemade egg noodles — what it must feel like to eat Jennifer Aniston’s hair, if her hair was delicious.

But the standout, for me, has to be the Isaan food — fiery, acidic, deep with the bass note of the fishy and fermented, without any fancy-fingers gimmickry or sugar. At Jay Gai Som Tum, you have to pick up a number and wait in line for a gander at one of the maestro’s artfully pounded concoctions: thum pa, a jimble-jamble of fermented rice noodles, some slivered green papaya, boiled snails, green pak grachet and bamboo shoots, perhaps? Maybe a thum lao, green papaya mixed with the bewitching brew of fermented Thai anchovies (pla rah) and pickled field crabs, or thum mamuang, julienned mango topped with tiny field shrimp and flavored with the juices of an especially large mashed field crab. Or maybe you’re a traditionalist and want to stick with thum Thai, in which case — why are you here again? The point is, there’s a lot of different kinds of som tum, from the traditional green papaya version to mango, to gratawn (the sweet-tart santol) to the rice noodle, or kanom jeen-based som tums that appear to be the default setting for the som tums here  — Thai fusion in action, a Central Thai ingredient getting the Isaan treatment.

Jay Gai's mango som tum

What perfectly sets off all that fire and acidity? A simply prepared bowl of snails, a mere 10 baht per dish, boiled with kaffir lime leaves.

Udon Thani is a great town that I must visit again, but I had to venture up to Khon Kaen, today one of Thailand’s biggest, fastest-growing cities. So we girded our stomach linings and made a special effort to go to Saeb Nua (Mitraphab Road across from Srinakarin Hospital), which ended up not being street food but special nonetheless, despite its factory cafeteria ambiance. Another long menu of som tums here, as well as delicious larbs (minced meat salads, including larb goy, or raw beef larb) and nam toks (grilled, rare meats in a spicy dressing). But the stars here are the gai yang, or whole chicken, pressed flat within the recesses of a wooden stick and grilled, and pla pow, freshwater fish encrusted in salt, stuffed with an herb parcel and also grilled. There is a lot of grilling in Isaan food.

Saeb Nua's grilled fish

At night, a meal of jaew hon (Isaan-style sukiyaki, with a chili-touched broth and strong, spicy dipping sauce that leaves every other sweet, cloying dipping sauce in the dust) at lakeside stall Tik Jaew Hon and we were done, clutching at our charcoal pills and glasses of water.  A “not spicy” salad of naem (cured pork sausage) arrives looking like a crime scene out of CSI, splattered with a lurid coat of smashed red chilies. If you haven’t noticed, Isaan food also likes its chilies. Alas, I do not. I will have to return to Isaan, later. After my stomach has a nice long rest.

10 Comments

Filed under Asia, chicken, fish, food, food stalls, Isaan, restaurant, som tum, Thailand

Something Special

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I — like many of my fellow Bangkokians — am feeling a bit down. The kind of down that doesn’t bear talking about.

So why am I writing a blog post? To tell you the truth, I don’t really want to write a blog post. For something that is better done, funnier and far more likable, you should deffo check out writer/actress Mindy Kaling’s blog: http://theconcernsofmindykaling.com/, because we all need a little bit of inspiration now and then, and where better than from the author of “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” (the answer is yes).

Do you want your inspiration to come from somewhere closer to home? I am nothing if not obliging. Let me do you a favor and direct you to another something special, http://mysousvidelife.wordpress.com/. Is she not adorabun? Someone get this woman a cooking show, stat! Another thing: despite being a “flood refugee”, she is still decorating Halloween cupcakes and figuring out fun things to do with all those shmackets of Ma-Ma noodles lurking in all our kitchen cabinets (no need to front, you know you have them too).

Are you still here? Geez. Well, if you’re not up for something fun and uplifting, I’m your girl. As one would naturally expect, the floods are taking their toll everywhere, including on the sidewalk. Many, many, many of my fave vendors are MIA: the buay loy guy on Mahachai Road; the khao kluk gapi (rice with shrimp paste) vendor in front of Baan Phra Arthit; the Hainanese chicken rice people in front of Great Shanghai; the chicken and bitter melon noodles guy behind Emporium; the Sukhothai noodle guy (why didn’t he call to tell me?) next to Klong Saen Saep; and the guay jab people across from Benjakiti Park. There are more, many more whose absences I have yet to discover and mourn.

 

Not available right now

These people spent their working lives making us happy; now they are gone, with nothing to mark their absence except maybe a shuttered storefront or, more disconcertingly, nothing at all. They have vanished into thin air.

Then there are the people who are stubbornly sticking it out. They deserve special plaudits, because they are idiots*. Riverside, prey to the fickle lords of high tide? Sign me up! Alongside the beef noodle folks at Nai Soi and the famously taciturn Roti-Mataba is Khao Na Gai Ha Yaek (085-124-5511, open 10-19.00). Just steps down Phra Arthit road from Roti-Mataba, this chicken-and-gravy on rice vendor is quietly packed most lunchtimes, but inspires none of the usual fanfare, which makes it very special indeed. Yes, there is the khao na gai (35 baht), as well as versions with gun chieng (sweet Chinese sausage, 40 baht) or runny fried egg (42 baht), or best of all, both (47 baht). There are also noodles topped with chicken gravy, deep-fried noodles with chicken gravy, and sticky rice with red pork. But the namesake dish is the best.

Wandering down the road at high noon, unable to find ANYTHING I once loved in a landscape that looked familiar but wasn’t, this plate of chicken gravy on rice crowned with torn fresh coriander, fried egg and sweet sticky sausage was a godsend, the best thing I had eaten in weeks. I forgot I wasn’t supposed to be hungry, and ate it all.

*Obviously, I don’t really think they are idiots.

8 Comments

Filed under Asia, Bangkok, chicken, food, food stalls, rice, Thai-Chinese, Thailand

Useless election-pegged food quiz

Passing vans blare loud music, election posters mark every signpost. Thailand is officially in the throes of Election Fever, once again.

Some people seem to be unsure of who to vote for. But more pressing matters await our contemplation. Maybe, if you are like me, you need a little quiz to figure out whether your political allegiances dovetail with your food stall choices? After all, quizzes tell you everything you need to know! I once spent an entire afternoon taking a plethora of “Which Hogwarts House are You?” questionnaires (I am a Hufflepuff, of course).

So in honor of looming elections, here’s a quiz that pretends to sort out everything for you via highly inaccurate and gross generalizations, without really telling you anything! Remember, it’s all in good fun! *laughs nervously, then runs away*

 

1. When you were in grade school, you were known as:

a. The great big nerd who told on everybody and cried when I (I mean she! I mean you!) got a “B”

b. The daydreamer who frequently got caught staring off into space

c. A big ol’ bully

d. Sort of a rebel, like Judd Nelson in “The Breakfast Club”. No, I do not have more recent cultural references. Too bad for you, Person Born in the 1990s!

e. You were home-schooled

 

2. Who do you find more handsome?

a. P’Mark. He went to Oxford and everything!

b. Richard Gere. He is a Buddhist who still managed to make tons of money out of “Pretty Woman” and then, against all odds, “Runaway Bride”!

c. Russell Crowe, now

d. Russell Crowe, “Gladiator” era

e. Yourself

 

3. You most value:

a. Tradition and stability

b. Tolerance and kindness

c. Law and order

d. Equality and fairness

e. The right to dress animals in clothing. Oh wait, what?

 

If you answered mostly A’s, you like … 

BLUE

What does blue stand for again, aside from how I feel when I’m standing on the scale? I forget. Anyway, congrats! You like blue. And people who like blue can do worse than heading to the blue plates of Nai Peng (20, Chula Soi 20, Suan Luang market), where delicious guaythiew kua gai (chicken fried noodles) are the order of the day. You can even throw caution to the wind and order “taro” (processed squid strings) instead of noodles! It’s a crazy night out for you! Go insane!

Flat fried noodles with chicken and egg

 

If you answered mostly B’s, you like …

WHITE

With a color like white, you like everything and nothing. Because of this, who really cares what you eat? But if you must be pressed for a choice, then why not opt for the warm, comforting embrace of the Chinese-style rice porridge at Jok Samyan (245 Soi Chula 11)? It’s like a mother’s hug, only gooier. And that’s what you’ve been secretly yearning for all along, haven’t you?

Chinese-style rice porridge with preserved egg

 

If you answered mostly C’s, you like …

GREEN

Look, eating on a rickety stool while taking exhaust-fume farts in the face from passing buses is not your thing. There is nothing wrong with that. No need for any pretense otherwise. We are all non-judgmental here, to your face. So go ahead and spring for the panorama of deliciously stir-fried  greens at Nakorn Pochana (258-260 Chula Soi 11), where the crab fried rice and deep-fried crayfish are city-renowned, the beer flows plentifully, and the air-conditioning is on at full blast.

Garlic chives with pork liver

(Photo by @SpecialKRB)

If you answered mostly D’s, you like …

RED

Red is the color of passion and of fire. It is also the color of hot, hot chilies. You know where I’m going with this, right? Of course you do!  Just two, er, three (or more) words: Hai Somtum Convent (2/4-5 Convent Rd., off of Silom).

Somtum Thai, with minced pork salad in background

 

If you answered mostly E’s, you like …

YELLOW

Yellow is the color of sunlight and (some) butterflies, and cookies. Also, snow that you shouldn’t touch or eat. Also, bananas. Yellow is such an all-purpose, useful color! Do you know what else yellow stands for? That’s right: bamee, or egg noodles. And where better to have some delicious egg noodles than on Sukhumvit 38, close to mom’s house? Make sure you arrive close to opening time (20.00) if you want a good parking spot for your luxury SUV. Haha, just joking! That’s the driver’s job!

Bamee at Sukhumvit Soi 38

Leave a comment

Filed under Asia, bamee, Bangkok, chicken, food, food stalls, Isaan, noodles, restaurant, rice porridge, seafood, Thailand

What your khao mun gai place says about you

Have you ever read those stories promising to tell you all you need to know about yourself, based on something completely random, like, what’s in your left pocket at that particular moment, or what ice cream you had last week? I certainly do! Aren’t the findings always totally arbitrary, and frequently infuriating? Yay, random generalizations!

So let’s pass judgment, even though we know absolutely nothing about each other! Where do you like to eat your Hainanese chicken rice?

Montien Hotel Ruenton Coffee Shop (54 Surawongse Rd.)

You like tradition, and stability, and saying you know more than anyone else. You like big portions, and creature comforts, and stuffing your face. You are kind of boring and your friends are only pretending to listen to what you say. You also really like good chicken rice. For the record, this is my favoritest chicken rice, EVAH, still, after all these years. I like this chicken rice almost as much as I, like, commas.

What makes it isn’t really the big tranche of plump, tender chicken meat (dark meat or breast), topped (or not) with a sliver of skin, nestled next to two slices of congealed chicken blood and resting atop sliced tomato and cucumbers. It’s not even really the rice, glistening with chicken fat. It’s the sauce. People who really like sauce will LOVE this dish, which comes with not one, not two, but FOUR sauces: sweet thick, slivered ginger, brown bean/garlic, and soy sauce/chili. Yum!

Khao Mun Gai Gwon Oo (at Thalad Gow, Yaowaraj)

You are straightforward and like simplicity and honesty. You dislike and mistrust frou-frou, complications and anything overly ornate. This means you are a little bit like a hobbit, or other magical little creature that people idealize without actually envying.

I like the chicken rice here because it is about pure chicken flavor. The boiled chicken is presented simply, shredded and without skin, on top of rice carefully cooked in chicken stock and set off by slivered cucumbers for texture. The sauce and soup are almost like afterthoughts. This dish is about substance, not bells and whistles. It’s almost … wholesome (for a dish where chicken fat plays a starring role).

Gai Tawn Pratunam  (Petchburi Soi 30)

You like nostalgia, reminiscing over your plate of food with dusk threatening, headlights sliding past you as you contemplate next week’s work project. You are social and trusting and tend to believe the best in people. Also, you are sort of old.

Random enough for you? Honestly, this place is pretty good, even if I don’t get to it as often as I could. I would totally have included it in my book … if not for the, uh, 50 other food stalls that I put in it. So there’s that. They are proud of their dish and take care in selecting and presenting the best chicken (non-egg-laying female chickens, to be precise) that they can. The soup has good flavor and service is efficient. It has all these things going for it. They don’t need little old me anyway. We can still live together in harmony.

Shanghai Chicken Rice (Rama IV)

You yearn for adventure, newness and surprising others. You hate convention and conformity, and like to be onto the Next Big Thing before anyone else. However, your tendency to tell people about the Next Big Thing helps to undermine you, and can sometimes threaten to make you look like an asshat. You are probably a food blogger.

Because this place is open 24 hours, you are also probably a bit of a night owl. Nighttime is good for you, because this place is a lot less crowded when it’s not serving lunch. You have your choice of steamed or fried chicken, rice with Chinese seaweed, or “Shanghai chicken rice” with a dipping sauce liberally flavored with chili oil. For you, variety is good, and the possibilities are endless.

15 Comments

Filed under Asia, Bangkok, chicken, food, food stalls, restaurant, rice, Thai-Chinese, Thailand

Taking it for granted

Allow me to get a little personal with you today. It’s been only a few months, but I feel like I know you already.

I could tell you a long and boring personal story, but I have been told it is far too long and boring to torture readers with on this blog. So I will tell you this: I am in the process of distributing my book. It has seen interest from everyone we’ve talked to, but I have to leave it at that because I’m superstitious and can’t take anything for granted until the ink on the forms is dry (although I can say all the paperwork for distribution at B2S is done! Yay!)

It’s a good book, one that a lot of people worked really hard on. It was a first time for all involved, and I am proud of the work we all did. The stalls are all excellent, and you should definitely try them out.

The problem: I left something out. Namely, this.

 

Bamee Asawin from Bamee Gua

I first went to Bamee Gua maybe 15 years ago. I was not yet Bangkok Glutton, and despaired in the lack of air conditioning, in the small portions, in the silent, elderly diners around us. Known by some as “Bamee Asawin” after their signature dish, Bamee  Gua is the very best type of egg noodle shop: clean and efficient, with enough confidence in the kitchen to offer a wide variety of noodle- and rice-based dishes.

But I turned my nose up at the bamee asawin, delicately flavored with bits of thang chai (pickled turnip) (35-45 baht). I ignored the buttery, silky e mee topped with strips of ham and chicken (100-160 baht, available only on Saturdays). I didn’t even see the delicious khao na gai (rice topped with chicken and gravy, 30-35 baht) or khao moo yang (grilled pork rice, 30 baht). I basically acted like my 9-year-old daughter now acts when we drag her to a street food stall. Like I was counting the minutes to Burger King.

Chicken and gravy rice with Chinese sausage

Since then, Bamee Gua’s e-mee has become a weekly habit, picked up every Saturday to reward myself after a punishing workout. I bow down to the excellence of their egg noodles (ranging from 35 baht for regular yentafo, or pink seafood noodles, to 55 baht for egg noodles with chicken, squid, pork, fish dumplings and fish meatballs). I acknowledge the buoyancy of their fish meatballs (40 baht with pork dumplings). Their minced pork-topped flat noodles, accompanied by a single raw egg yolk and accented with lots and lots of cumin (35 baht), are absolutely delicious.

My Saturday lunch

Are they in the book I just released? No. I know, I know. I know! I took them for granted. I plum forgot about them, writing about other places as I chomped down on their hammy ambrosia (to be fair to me — because we must always be fair to me — there is a whole bunch of awesome street food in this city, ESPECIALLY when it comes to egg noodles). I hope they don’t cut off all ties in retaliation, denying me the pleasure of my typical Saturday lunch. To make up for it, please allow me to say: Go here. Eat at this place. It tastes good.

Bamee Gua (full name: Bamee Gua, the originator of “Bamee Asawin”)

On Lang Suan, across from the Kasikornbank building

02-251-6020, 02-251-9448

Open Mondays-Saturdays 9.00-14.00

15 Comments

Filed under Asia, bamee, Bangkok, chicken, fish, food, food stalls, noodles, pork, rice, Thai-Chinese, Thailand