Romancing Street Food in City of Angels, Part Three!
Location: Pratunam District
Date & Time: May 2012 @ 9am
Part III, The Finale!
I am back again with more street food from Bangkok! My third day and I got bolder and decided to venture into a different part of the area from the main market street in Pratunam. There was an alley opposite the junction where I walked out of the street of my hotel, Citin Pratunam.
As soon as I walked down the alley, I was extremely pleased with my decision as I saw a small food market filled with lots of people. There were loads of stalls selling noodles and rice with small table and seats along the road. The whole market is quite shaded with umbrellas and tent so it was quite cooling despite the humid weather.
First sight was set upon a kaleidoscope of vegetables, pork and fish! This stall was selling Grilled Pork Sausages, Fried Fish Cakes, Fried Fish, Marinated Sausages (Sai Krok), Thai Salads, Fresh Vegetables with Nam Prik Kapi and Sticky Rice. Sai Krok is Thai style sausage meat mixed with glutinous rice, ginger and pepper. This is best eaten with raw greens hence these are also available neatly packed.
Check out this huge bubbling pot of Stewed Pork Trotter (Khao Ka Moo) and all its glorious sidekicks! Usually served over rice, the luscious fatty pork leg is stewed for hours in an aromatic soy sauce broth filled with star anise, cinnamon and other spices till its soft and falling off the bone tender. It is often served with boiled greens and a spicy pungent garlic chili sauce.
The stall next to the above was selling Pork and Seafood Noodles… choose your ingredients and noodles for the seller to whip up your own bowl!
The market actually has another walk way through and I discovered more street food! First up was a small mobile cart selling Fresh Cow’s Milk beverages. I saw the crowd and decided it’s a good sign to order a coffee. The seller worked so fast that I couldn’t even capture a proper picture… J
A huge bowl of fresh cow’s milk was simmering gently over low heat beneath. Although there is a menu but it’s in Thai so I decided to use the universal hand language and order an Iced Coffee.
Besides drinks, he had a little basket of neatly wrapped Sandwiches. These sandwiches looked really interesting and check out the amount of filling it has… unlike most of our sandwiches here that we could only see the bread more than the filling. Jam packed, I spied hotdogs, meat floss, ham, tuna, and salad fillings.
My Iced Coffee cost 250 baht and taste less thick than the other ones I had before. It tastes more towards a latte I guess since it has almost half cow’s milk in the concoction. It is still pretty good in terms of flavors and aroma. I actually went back to this stall after half hour to discover that it’s gone… boo hoo hoo…
Then I saw this interest cart holding two baskets with one piled high with bamboo. Curiosity had me inching to find out what this was and I was glad to see one basket holding packets of Sticky Rice and Black Beans (Khao Lam), coconut glutinous rice sweetened with syrup and studded with black beans. It is roasted in bamboo trunk and the bamboo is then cut to half to remove the sweet sticky rice. Very interesting but I didn’t managed to try this since I didn’t really know what it was when I saw it.
I did a double stop when I saw a cart full of hotdogs, painted bright blue and a seller was busy cooking something in the distance. It looked like a thin pancake rolled up with hotdog. A quick research and I found this Hotdog Pancake (Ka Nom Dtoh Gieow) to be quite popular in Bangkok. Some are even filled cream and cheese.
A thin batter is neatly placed on a hot plate to cook and once it’s almost done, the hotdog is placed and rolled up neatly. Before roll up, the pancake has been sprinkled with some sauces for flavors. I did bought one and thought its decent snack.
I also saw another cart selling Dim Sum. Selling four varieties of Siew Mai with original, vegetable, seaweed and a yellow one, the cart was quite popular with ladies. I kept seeing a few ladies patronizing this cart non-stop.
Then I struck gold… another small food market area was also heavily packed. Leading the pack upfront was a seller busy making Fried Banana (Kluay Kaek) and Fried Sweet Potato (Mun Kaek). The fritters looked really crispy and thinly coated which is something I like since it showcased the banana or potato better. Thai style batter is slightly different from ours as it has grated coconut and sesame seeds in the batter. These have a good coconut aroma as they are being fried.
Another peculiar UFO was this Crispy Basket! I stayed around to see what it was and it was actually banana. The seller would drizzle and sprinkle a huge amount of batter into the hot oil to form a net of blanket and then placed a huge chunk of banana in the middle. He then proceeded to fold up the whole blanket to form a basket. Interesting…
Along the narrow lane, I spied a few stalls selling loads of delicious looking breakfast! I bought a packet of Pork Porridge (Khao Tom Moo) and went back to the hotel to chow down. It was so good, I literally dragged my whole family back to this place for more.
We went back and order Rice Noodle Soup (Guay Teow), a flat rice noodle soup filled with fish balls and pork balls, Stuffed Bittermelon (Tom Mara Yat Sai Mu Sap Wunsen) and another bowl of the divine Khao Tom Moo! The Guay Teow was simple but thoroughly flavorful. Stuffed Bittermelon was gloriously sumptuous, tender bittermelon filled with minced pork and glass noodles cooked in a pork broth passed with flying colors, even with my mother-in-law! We had to stop ourselves from ordering another one.
My family adored the Pork Porridge, a rice soup rather than the smooth silky porridge, topped with savory minced pork, pickled vegetable, fried garlic, fresh ginger, coriander, sesame oil, chili flakes and pepper. It’s just pure bliss eating this dish even though the weather is fairly humid. Definitely breakfast of the champions!!
Along the market, we pass a small temple filled with lots of bells with words. Apparently, it’s an act of prayer by the locals.
Towards the afternoon after half a day of wondering and shopping, we were on the way back to our hotel before we spied a few new carts. Succumbing to the aroma and sight, we caved in and order a few dishes before our planned dinner in Chinatown.
The first stall was selling an array of dishes to go with rice. Almost every tray looked tantalizing but somehow we managed to hold back and select two dishes for some snacking. Deep Fried Pork (Moo Tod) and Fish Cake (Tod Man Plaa) were our choices… and we were certainly very very pleased with them!
I also spied a red fiery Chicken Curry (Kaeng Phet Gai) but resisted by justifying that we were not going to order rice since dinner was only an hour away…
Next stall was busy churning up Thai Style Fried Rice Noodles (Pad Thai) and we decided to also order one. While waiting for the Pad Thai, the lady was making Mussel Omelette (Hoy Tod) for someone else but it certainly got me hooked and before I realize it, I started pointing to the omelette to order it… hehehe… I am hopeless when it comes to food!
My Pad Thai had loads of ingredients from garlic, dried shrimp, beancurd, egg, beansprout, garlic chives and chili with a half a lime.
The Hoy Tod looked yummy from the start. The omelette was neatly folded over stir fried beansprouts and packed up in paper.
The flavors of the Pad Thai were only mediocre and not impressive at all. However the Hoy Tod was delicious as we all fight for the last bits. Fluffy eggs with bits of mussels are contrastingly beautiful with the light crunch of bean sprouts. It was the saving grace to the earlier Pad Thai.
The Moo Tod and Tod Man Plaa were also lip-smacking good. Although the Moo Tod was slightly chewy, the juicy fat and lean bits were really tasty and spot on. Yum…
And thus, ends my Bangkok street food journey from my four day trip. The mornings of the trip has certainly opened up my world on street food in Bangkok. Each day brought new excitement and anticipation of what I will find on the humble streets in Pratunam. I am now hooked to come back to Bangkok to find out about other areas of street food… and soon….but one’s things for sure… You Can Never Ever go hungry in Bangkok!!
More to come but it will feature another side of Bangkok!
*More pictures in my Facebook: ChasingFoodDreams