Connect the dots

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chatuchak Weekend Market

If you've been following this blog, you know by now my obsession with markets. It's not that I love shopping. A market, particularly in Africa or Asia is a sheer sensory experience. I love the experience of being in a market, taking part in a local necessity. My friend Sharon told us not to miss the Chatuchak Weekend Market. And by the looks of the crowds it seems like no one (neither locals nor tourists) in Bangkok misses it. 

Clothing, from new to vintage to hill-tribe traditional is the main product for sale. Sections and sois of it go on forever. Other interesting sections are the live animals (fish and bugs) and of course, food stalls galore.

It was so hot, an old fashioned fan stall was a relief. Don't forget to pick up your 5 Baht ($0.15) popsicles to help cool off!

For those of you who continue to cling to your iPhone 3Gs, don't fret. They can get a make over with a new case for 100 Baht ($3.25). Here's mine, still alive, well and sporting a new cover.

Alex had a field day in this section. We had to pick her up (literally) kicking and screaming because she didn't want to leave. You can find every fish, turtle, and other fish tank inhabitants as well as accompanying accessories such as plants (real or plastic, depending on your preference) here.

Just in case you feel like you're not getting enough protein in your diet, come to the insect section. Have it your way: take them alive to cook at home or ready to eat, deep-fried. 

We skipped the bugs for some BBQ, crab fried rice and an icy fruit shake. 

Other tempting treats on offer...

Custom made soup

Hot dogs on white bread and grilled in a salamander
Squid on a stick

Fresh cut fruit, always the best snack
Fresh coconut ice cream served in a coconut shell

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bang(kok) Trim

This time around we didn't get away with a bargain basement deal haircut. Bangkok is much too cosmopolitan for that. Walking through the MBK mall enroute to the food court there was an offer of 250 Baht ($8.15) for haircuts. It was time for a trim.

How do I look?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Yum, yum Som Tom

I'm home. The people look like me, there's the familiar smell of fish sauce, a metro is a short walk away, and people are eating everywhere and ALL the time. No, we haven't yet made it to Manila, but Bangkok might even be better. And it's immaculate, for a big city.

Let me emphasize the food part again. Everywhere and all the time, there are food stalls, carts, courts, restaurants; on the street, on the sidewalk, in the malls, in the metro stations and everywhere in between. Thai food has got sweet, sour, salty, and spice down to an art form. They seem to balance all of these flavors in a variety of dishes.

Here's how the food went our first few days in Bangkok. 

Hungry for a quick snack? A hot noodle soup is the best antidote for that. Perch yourself on a plastic stool and dig in. Condiments on the side customize how hot (chillies!) and how salty (fish sauce) you want it. This one was a block away from our hotel and was a good way to warm up before the freezing metro ride or just giving in to the sticky humidity of Bangkok.

A great food court to curb the munchies as you shop for knock-off bags, shoes, and cheap electronics at the MBK mall. 

Cool off with the Thai version of "halo-halo". What SE Asian country doesn't have their version of the shaved milky ice?

Right outside our hotel window advertised the famous Cabbages and Condoms restaurant. In an effort to curb AIDS as wells as promote family planning, Mechai Viravaidya aka The Condom King and his organization, The Population and Community Development Association started this restaurant. His belief is that condoms should be as common as cabbages. The food was so-so but the restaurant proceeds go to their social development programs such as schools, helping villages be self-sustaining, and eradicating poverty. That alone is reason to have dinner there!
Tiger Woods in condom wear...

Condoms instead of mints with your bill!
But we made a purple street stall our dining room for the week. Pantaree is definitely worth several repeat visits if you are in the Sukhumvit area, near the Times Square mall. Constantly packed, always fresh, and open 24 hours. This is definitely my kind of place. In addition, they make the perfect Som Tom. It's a northern staple and what I consider to be the quintessential Thai dish, the perfect yin and yang of the four requisite Thai tastes. 

The magic happens all in this tiny corner kitchen
Like a vitamin, Som Tom once-a-day
Quick and easy, Pad Thai
Simple kale and pork dish
Tom Kha Gai - chicken-y, coconut milky, galangal-y, mushroom goodness.
Clean plates

This is just the beginning...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


We splurged for Alex's 4th birthday by having lunch at Geoffrey Bawa's country estate, Lunuganga, on Lake Dedduwa. What a final rice and curry - it was a feast! Even if you don't get to spend the night here, have lunch or tea and take a tour of the grounds and the beautiful gardens.