BKK for a couple of foodies!

Old Jul 4th, 2013, 06:14 AM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
have a good time and eat tons of good food
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Jul 4th, 2013, 03:20 PM
  #42  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,858
Likes: 0
Received 7 Likes on 1 Post
Great thread! Can't wait to try some of the suggestions in January. Thanks!
yestravel is offline  
Old Jul 8th, 2013, 06:08 AM
  #43  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 252
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just had a great meal at Jay Fai... Lard Na talay, as promised, was awesome... So was the pad kee mao talay... Auntie was dolled up ready for a night out on the town, cooking up a storm on her charcoal fueled woks. Tried for a snack at Chong Ki earlier today (I hadnreadnthat they'd be open when we were there) but after a lot of searching, and the aid of a couple of very helpful people dealing with my horrible butchering of random Thai phrases, we found it to be closed.... But we had a very satisfactory helping of pork at Sri Morakot in Hualamphong.
khtodd is offline  
Old Jul 8th, 2013, 06:16 AM
  #44  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 252
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Question - down the block from Jay Fai were a couple of pad Thai places... One is Thip Samai - very famous, but right next to it is Leung Pha pad Thai, whose claim to fame is using shrimp head fat in their version... Has anyone been there? Is it worth the time?
khtodd is offline  
Old Jul 8th, 2013, 06:31 AM
  #45  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 252
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Also, I forgot to mention that I got a big bag of mangosteens as they are my favorite fruit, but upon getting back to the hotel and trying a few, I have to say I'm a bit disappointed. I knew they were on the small side when I bought them, but upon opening, there's almost nothing in them, so there isn't enough fruit to get that explosion of mangosteenly goodness. Is it too early in the season, or did I get some inferior specimens? Last year, in Singapore closer to the mid-end of July, I bought a bunch in a random market and they were amazing. I wouldnt think the seasonality would vary that greatly by a couple of weeks, but I'm not that familiar with it, since I have no access to them on a regular basis. Is this year not a good year for them? Are there variations like that?
khtodd is offline  
Old Jul 8th, 2013, 10:04 AM
  #46  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
when naming food can you tell us in English what it is please??
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Jul 8th, 2013, 02:25 PM
  #47  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 714
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Get another bag from another place. if they are still bad, hop over to Indonesia. I had amazing mangosteens there.
Hugh sale is going on in air asia.
mohan is offline  
Old Jul 8th, 2013, 04:38 PM
  #48  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 252
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ok - I'll keep my eye out for more mangosteen vendors.... I haven't run into too many so far, unlike SG where they were seemingly everywhere (maybe a slight exaggeration). Unfortunately, going to Indonesia is not an option right now... Although it's definitely on the list!

Sorry - Lard Na (or rard na depending on transliteration) is noodles in gravy -a brown oyster sauce based sauce. Talay is seafood (squid, large prawns, tons of lump crabmeat). Pad Kee Mao is drunken noodles - a dry stir fry using wide noodles and sliced chiles. Jay Fai's success comes from two things - excellent quality and abundance of seafood, and the RIDICULOUS heat she gets on her wok from the charcoal burner. When she wants to get the wok really hot, she has a fan or something that boosts the flames to look like a jet engine!
khtodd is offline  
Old Jul 8th, 2013, 04:42 PM
  #49  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,629
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Definitely saving this thread!
progol is online now  
Old Jul 8th, 2013, 04:58 PM
  #50  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,160
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
khtodd - July is the end of the mangosteen season in Thailand with May being the best month. You probably just got a bad batch and normally they are hard to find after this month.
Hanuman is offline  
Old Jul 8th, 2013, 07:32 PM
  #51  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
go to a grocery store
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2013, 01:38 AM
  #52  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 252
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bob, I actually got those at a Tops grocery store in the basement of a Robinsons dept store, as recommended by the concierge. But, while wandering around today, I actually found many vendors selling them on the street - all the ones I saw were much bigger than what the store had, and cheaper still (35-40B for about 6-7 pcs.) I bought a bunch and once back to the hotel, I tried 4 of them and they were all great! So that was a big bonus.

Also, we went out to Polo Fried Chicken in Lumphini. First, we made the mistake of trying to walk there from the Jim Thompson store - it didn't look that far on the map.... Until we found ourselves walking down the side of the main road next to Lumphini park for what seemed like forever and then had no idea where it was! Finally, we jumped in a taxi - the driver was extremely helpful - and even though he had no idea where 'Soi Polo' was, he called the place with his cell phone and took us there with no problems... Turned out we were not far at all - the fare on the meter was only like 41B, so I very happily overpaid the driver who was especially thankful. I know he was only doing his job, but I felt like he really went out of his way to help us, plus he turned on the meter right way without me even having to ask (no less a small argument) so I like to reward that.

So about Polo Fried Chicken.... When we arrived, they very kindly ushered us into their air conditioned dining room a few doors down. great. Until once seated there was that unmistakable smell that I'm sure some of you are aware of... The smell that only exists when you have a bathroom that when you use it, you're not allowed to flush the toilet paper, but instead need to use the small garbage can next to the toilet. So,that smell permeated the entire dining room and we were seated on the opposite side of the room by the doorway! I was praying that we wouldn't smell it once the food arrived... Which turned out to be true. We got a half fried chicken, som tum Thai, sticky rice and fried morning glory. The fried chicken came, as described, covered in a pile of slightly spicy fried garlic. Awesome. The chicken itself, however, was quite dry, and while the skin was paper thin, was just on the cusp of starting to get a little leathery. I don't know if it was supposed to be like that, or if ours was sitting around for a while.... In any case, the two dipping sauces on the table were really good - one was a sweet chili sauce, the other a more savory chile sauce that tasted like it had a bit of tamarind. Morning glory was very good... The som tum was ok... Not as sweet as some can be, which is a good thing, but didn't really have the balance and explosion of flavors that a great version has.... All in all, we were underwhelmed. But please don't take this as a review, which wouldn't be fair after only one visit. We may have had an off table or something since it was getting late by the time we got there (about 2PM).

Btw, for those unaware, please don't associate the whole toilet thing with street food or shophouses type places... For what it's worth, the Men's room in the upscale Siam Paragon mall had a little trash can in each stall next to the toilet, filled with, you guesses it, used toilet paper. Don't ask what it was used for... You already know... That smell could have been weaponized and used to disperse protesters in Cairo. So, picture this: Canali, Burberry and a complete row of stalls containing little canisters of feces covered paper. Yum.
khtodd is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2013, 06:16 AM
  #53  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
great reporting
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2013, 07:05 AM
  #54  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 252
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ack!!! I just wrote a whole long thing, then hit a wrong button and it disappeared!! Damn IPad......

I'll try to reconstruct it, but I'm sure I'll lose a bit of the witticism.....

Pad Thai Showdown!!! In one corner, the venerable stalwart, Thip Samai. In the other, almost next door neighbor, Leung Pha Pad Thai. First, the ground rules - as all good experiments mut have controls. The PT should have fresh shrimp, shrimp head fat, and not be contained in an egg bag.

So without further ado, the breakdown of the results in no particular order:

Fresh shrimp cookedness - winner: Leung Pha. Their shrimp were cooked perfectly, while TS's were slightly overcooked.

Egg cookedness - Winner: Leung Pha. Their eggs were just barely set, and almost mixed themselves into the noodles, whereas TS's were slightly overcooked, bordering on hard/rubbery.

Misc components/ general flavor - winner: Leung Pha. LP uses larger pieces of shallot which retain a very slight crunchiness providing good textural contrast, whereas TS's shallots are smaller and basically melt into the noodles. Obviously, this whole thing is subjective, but this is more subjective than the rest. We also thought the overall flavor was slightly better at LP.

Noodle cookedness - winner: Thip Samai. Their noodle texture was just perfect. Soft, but retaining a little bite. LP's noodles were a little mushy.

So this is a David and Goliath moment... Thip Samai, the giant PT factory and institution versus the tiny neighbor.

Overall winner: Thip Samai. Their noodle texture was crazy good and heads and shoulders better than LP. To us, at the end of the day, PT is a noodle dish, and the noodle texture is key. The overall flavor of both were excellent, but even if LP edged out TS I n almost every category, the differences there were subtle and relatively minor compared to the textural issue.

As an aside, how come no one in NY can make a PT with shrimp head fat?? It lends such a great flavor that is so distinctive, and turns the noodles a bright orange color. At least we have Pok Pok PT that at least fries their noodles in lard and their overall flavor/texture is close.... Adding shrimp fat would put it over the top to make the comparable with these two fine competitors.
khtodd is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2013, 11:25 AM
  #55  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 714
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
how come no one in NY can make a PT with shrimp head fat?
Because nobody eats heads here, I am the only person in NY who eats shrimp heads, lobster heads and fish heads. The head is the best part of it in my humble opinion but most people won't touch it because they said the eyes are staring at them or something.
I am going to Hong Kong in 3 months to eat. Can't wait!
mohan is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2013, 11:38 AM
  #56  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
pls tell us exactly where these places are?? maybe you did but I don't see it..

I NEED HEAD FAT to go along with the rest of my fat..
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2013, 12:10 PM
  #57  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 317
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
a simple Google search will bring up addresses for almost every place that has been mentioned.
JohnH is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2013, 02:14 PM
  #58  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
ok, looked them up.. we won't be going there... no street foods for us.. I know what we are missing...
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2013, 05:39 PM
  #59  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 252
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bob, if it's of any consolation to you, It's easy to check out the hygienic practices of these shophouses places, since they do the cooking right in front of you... As opposed to more formal restaurants where things are behind closed doors and you can't see the conditions. Let's take NYC for example. Just recently the pizza place around the corner from my apt that's been there for almost 40 years was just closed by the DOH for health code violations. The question is, how long we're those practices like that before the inspector showed up? I ordered from there once a week!

Anyway, I spent a good deal watching Jay Fai do her work, and I was very impressed with her practices. All of her seafood is kept in coolers sitting just behind her and she removes the portion she needs just before going into her blisteringly hot wok. Cold storage= good. Blisteringly hot wok =good - any surface bacteria would be instantly killed as soon as they hit the wok. And this is coming from someone who knows a bit about food safety... I've designed some HACCP plans for some NYC restaurants for their sous vide applications.

I guess my point is that while I understand your stand on street/shophouses food, in my 'professional' opinion, I don't believe your concerns are well founded. From a comfort point of view is a different story! These places don't cater to creature comforts other than taste! I completely understand not wanting to deal with that. Some of my good friends feel the same way.

That being said, some street food does look downright dangerous... Like precooked food sitting around at room temp. For who knows how long.... Bad idea.... Food cooked to order=the odds are in your favor. I say odds because whenever you don't make something yourself, you run the risk of getting sick - some places the risk is higher than others depending on their practices. I actually prefer places that do the cooking in front of you because you see their practices and can judge the risk for yourself. With more formal restaurants, yourely on the health dept to make that judgement for you.
khtodd is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2013, 05:42 PM
  #60  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 252
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oh and Mohan, you're not the only one, but we're definitely in the minority of the general population. Yes, all the flavor is in the shrimp head! Just like some of the best fish meat is in the face/head area.
khtodd is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:17 AM.