My first time in Bangkok, Thailand and I swore on a sacred noodle that all meals would consist of pad thai. That was the pad thai plan, but of course, after 2 consecutive heavy noodle dishes and spotting McDonald’s and its local menu (which has Ovaltine!), it took me less than 24 hours to stray away from “the pad thai plan”.
Which was all right, I reckon.
As a warning though, my Bangkok post will be devoid of sights, markets (floating and dry) and other common scenes and attractions, because our priority was to shop and eat, and sightsee falls at the bottom of the list, even after, “Check out Boot’s drugstore”. Yes, that is normal for us.
Thai will be done
Despite the Php unfairly pitted again THB and USD, the meals in the Big C food court proved to be insanely cheap. For 50THB I got Stir Fried Noodles with Shrimp, and that equates to about Php75. The cheapest pad thai I have spotted in Manila has reached the Php100 level and the proportion of bean sprouts to noodles was “pro-vegetarian”.
The Tom Yum with Seafood was another food court feast—and without the word “spicy” appearing anywhere in the menu—was a safe choice! Filling as well, with its glass noodles.
Other food court meals. And why there is French fries, can be attributed to the “pre-loaded card” that needs to be consumed, pronto.
Seeing Ronald McDonald in a prayer pose necessitates more than one visit to McDonald’s Thailand, so I went there thrice. One for the Chicken McWrap, Choco Overload McFlurry and the Ovaltine Float. I could’ve eaten all three in one sitting, though.
The McWrap was the tolerably spicy and chunky and “green”. With the sweet chili sauce, at first bite, all I could scream was sweeeet! But you get the hang of it. I wanted to buy another one for the airport but it rained so bad, I hoped and prayed there would be Mickey D’s in the airport. Nil.
The Mcflurry was typical and hideously sweet, while the Ovaltine Float took me ages to order because I can be so bad at hand gestures and “float” may have a different meaning in Bangkok. After 5 minutes of bickering with the English menu, finally I got it right. Or wait, the cashier did.
KFC Thailand has a similar wrap but disguised as the usual Twister. It was not as satisfying. Good thing they serve egg tarts (plain and choco banana) which is probably the only cool thing about the Colonel’s franchise. Oh and that Shrimp Donut I never got to take a photo of!
Another delightful wrap I encountered was the randomly placed Shawarma stand (Tombik Lavas) in Chatuchak. Unplanned and impulsive, I fell in line, ordered chicken shawarma and ate like a weary shopper—which I was. It was awesomely and flavorfully Persian, and I sat beside the condiments—that garlic sauce was life-saving!
Shabu-shabu came as a “heated” lunch treat, in MK Restaurant, which unfortunately only has the tissue holder photo. Too bad! I sat away from my camera and in front of the balls—pardon my priorities—and now I suffer no memories of that sweltering experience and green noodles! Boo.
Breakfast food in Arnoma Hotel was all right—buffet and certainly not bland. Fried noodles, muesli, homemade yogurt, salad and omelet (with mozza cheese) completed by power breakfast—though the rest found redemption in the beef stew and crispy bacon. Can’t blame them. Sometimes I wonder why the Thai don’t have much fried fish like our local daing or bangus—those would have gone terribly well with my eggs!
Admittedly, not all meals were Orientally inspired, though not committed on purpose. Occasions when hunger pangs just stripped me of common sense, I had to yield to hunger and buy whatever was on sight.
In Terminal 2 (Manila Airport) alone, I succumbed to the Egg Sandwich of Café France—which was an unwise choice since it’s similar to the staple sandwich I create at home! Still, it was nice to have someone prepare it for me—with layers and lettuce. And in PAL, local ice cream was served, Ube ice cream to be more specific! #Tbt since I can’t remember the last time I ate Ube ice cream – or if I even have!
In the Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok), still it was another sandwich escapade, the Chicken Pesto on Panini by Caffe Ritazza. I badly wanted to try The Pizza Company, but I had to buy the entire pie, and with my last remaining Baht, had only about 200THB for dinner. Hence, the Panini (plus pretzels and a banana muffin, not in photo).
Drinks were abound in Bangkok streets, side streets and anywhere you can possibly get thirsty! I never got the chance to try the milk tea and street iced coffee, since I stocked our fridge with the local version of Yakult (with Stevia)!
However I could not pass the chance to try Black Canyon Coffee, which has 2 branches in Platinum Mall alone. Too tired and bored, I ordered something with vanilla ice cream on top, something like Matcha Frap with Ice Cream—but that’s not what it’s called. I remember something more glamorous like Matcha Frap Glacier. Glacier! How can I say no to that? Unlike local green tea fraps which pile on the sugar aspect, Black Canyon’s was on the icy side—which favors the sugar-averse like me. Icy and mildly sweet—toped with ice cream—the perfect glacier.
Last on the Western cheats is the inevitable sin, Baskin Robbins. There is something about its pink andbarren store that screams: Come on over weary traveler! Come and splurge I did—with the favorite Jamocha Almond and Strawberry scoops.
Bua wanna know?
The only properly documented meal was in Bua Restaurant (Soi Convent, Silom, BKK) which was strategically planned on a Friday night. Bua is located in that “red” part of town, but all I remember were shady cab drivers, nitrogen ice cream and a sports store.
In Bua, we extravagantly celebrated our Thai survival by ordering whatever looked colorful and edible in the menu. It was an elaborate spread, mainly painted with seafood and sauces, with zealous waitresses who refilled my water whenever I waved my hand in need (which came too often).
Whilst I could no longer get into details and actually forgot the exact name of each dish, the pictures ought to suffice.
What we loved about Bua was its Fried Thai Shrimp Cakes which were adorable soft and filled with shrimp in every bite!
The Laksa with Shrimp would’ve been a runner up, had it not been too freakishly spicy, that I could no longer taste it properly—explaining my constant waving for water!
The Pad Thai (with and without the egg nest) were all right, but I believe, more Bangkok adventures would unravel more delectably prepared noodle dishes.
The Fried Fish was really just a normal dish, but was greatly enhanced by that extravagantly concocted sauce that looked more like salad than just a sauce. Together, the fish was elevated to flavorful seafood staple.
Our trip to Bangkok was peppered with some sights, to at least make this post travel-worthy.
A very brief and sheltered trip to Wat Traimit, Wat Pho, and Wat Benchamabophitr completed the tour—not to mention the random shopping destinations.
The temples were awe-inspiring and expectedly, the weather humid and streaky.
I did learn that my Buddha counterpart maintains the meditative pose, which is the opposite of the rebellious me.
I bought the same statue but gave it away—and kept the standing Buddha with the hand gesture “stop”. Or does it mean peace?
Shop till you drop
Chatuchak was accessed by train on both trips, so pardon me for saying that it was certainly an exhausting battle with the haggling, walking and getting lost—which happened 90% of the time.
What made the solo trip worthwhile though was the shopping haul that ranged from the skull bag, cheap shirts and the beaded frog—oh, and that awesome shawarma! I got into an almost fight with a shake vendor so to keep the peace, ordered water instead.
The Bangkok experience was really an incomparable and unique encounter. There were surprises, communication blunders and near muay thai incidents—all sorted out with pad thai and milo candies at the end of the day.
Should I return to Bangkok, I will certainly ride the elephant and feed it a fish stick, while sitting on the meditative pose. If I succeed in that, then that’s as good as Nirvana for me.