Monday, January 16, 2012

bangkok's chinatown

With its small alleyways and just too many stalls. Where does one start? Last year we ventured out to Bangkok's chinatown after a long hiatus and were pleased with our kway chap find. Till we realised maybe we didn't even go to the recommended stall! Anti-climax max.
Now this time, it was a tight squeeze, a pre-empted apology for the less than stellar exterior of the restaurant but all that was unnecessary. Not since it came with a guarantee of awesome food.

Case in point: Do not judge a restaurant by its exterior.
Because you'd be missing out on this!

This was a promising start. Let me hear you say PRAWN and then if it's important to you, rolls. These morsels of deep fried goodness had crisp exteriors and ohsojuicyandyummydelish insides that held generous stuffings of prawn meat. Savoury on its own, made better with a dip into the sweet sauce that accompanied this dish.

If you want it any fresher, you are gonna have to slice it yourself. These raw fish slices simply laid onto the plate and sprinkled with white sesame bore no pungent fishy taste. Eaten together with raw pickled radish, white and red carrot strips and scallions made for a healthy treat diabolically opposite from the previous deep fried indulgence. I heard the fish skin had a good bite to it and tasted good. Of course I didn't try it. I wouldn't appreciate it for what it was worth. ;)

Peel and pop 'em prawns. No frills. Just simply boiled. And dipped into seafood sauce. There's a deep sense of satisfaction in enjoying a dish that is so simply made. :)

Goose feet. Have you tried? This brought the conversation back to dad's dear big brother. Uncle Manu who's seen me from birth, been nothing like a business partner, he was just like family. He made time to meet us every Bangkok trip till his demise. This was one of his favourites and a first I saw of dad eating it and savouring every bit of web and collagen. I wasn't adventurous enough.
Listening quietly to their reminiscing of Uncle Manu and his culinary palates, I took a serving of the egg noodles. And found that these were packed with flavour and no strong taste of red meat. It might be the stewing process in the metal pot that has infused all the flavour from the gravy into the noodles and the ginger slices that has done its job well. This was good. Very good indeed.

Hello to oysters that were everywhere in sight in this pillow of fluffy egg fried with chopped spring onions that hid a stash of raw beansprouts that would do well to take away the greasiness of the egg mixture. Take this in moderation. It's good on taste but not so good for the arteries. Of course this was easier on the body system than the ones that come with a good proportion of fried cornstarch. In any case, I always think I only live once. Actually somehow, I seem to have that thought once a meal. Hmm. :D

Teochew style. Fresh promfret. Have you seen one this size? You might have but I wouldn't want to know the big hole that would make in your pocket if we ordered this in Singapore.
A simple fish dish with thai influence that sees itself true with strong salty, sour and sweet flavours all at once in that gravy that could almost pass off as soup. Beware the appetite! :) 
The ohsocolourful toppings of pickled radish, chilli slices, garlic and parsley made for great sides to go with the firm, fresh fish meat that was in abundance on a promfret of this size. A treat for the senses. There was no need to be shy with taking bigger portions of this. It was more than enough for our table of 12.

This was a house special. I have never seen steamed minced meat on crab pincers. I don't see what this might have done for the crab meat except that it was an added layer of taste. The minced meat was liberally marinated with black pepper. A more complex version of a black pepper crab? The crab meat was well done, not sticking to the sides of the shell but coming off with a fair amount of ease. This was novel but otherwise, it probably could do without the minced meat. No loss?

A baby suckling pig! :( I was upset seeing this guy on the table. It didn't help that he was facing me because I had the camera in hand. But eventually I reached out for one piece of crisp skin. And this was crisp, crackled skin with minimal to no fat. Wow. This was some expert slicing. And if this wasn't impressive enough, check out the ears. The ears were skinned too. Impressive innit? Of course I lost my appetite and no, I had no courage to eat no ears nor the skin of the ears. I'm sorry buddy. If it was any help, your skin tasted awesome on its own, or with sweet sauce, cucumber slices wrapped in pancake skin.

And what happens to the meat? This was done with a liberal amount of salt and dark soy sauce. It was too salty and too overfried. Twice fried probably since this baby was probably grilled and deep fried to a crisp already from the start. We each took a small piece and the rest was doggy bagged.

We finished dinner with deep fried yam sticks that had an outer coating of crisp white icing sugar. I enjoyed this but please, just limit yourself to one. It's a very sweet treat indeed. And just about balanced out by that cleansing tieguanyin tea potent even with its minute serving cups.

This was all in one dinner. I kid you not. I was waddling by this time of the night.
I would've appreciated better balance with webbed feet.
If I were a goose, that could have been me served with egg noodles. If it was any consolation, at least I tasted awesome. :)

Yet another eating place for keeps next time we're in Bangkok. Couldn't have managed this without you Uncle Aek. Transport and food. Right after arrival in Bangkok. Every year I get to live a little like kings and queens in a place where I visit family, a place that's become just like home. :)

When's the last time you went exploring in Bangkok's Chinatown?
Do share if you have discovered any hidden treats!

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