So the next day I go for another suggestion from Dr Q and hit "Boat Noodle by Victory Monument" aka Golden Boat Noodle aka Ruathong Noodle. Right away I was blown away by the price tag of whopping 12 bahts (40 cents) so I order one, but the server looks at me funny and asks "that's it?" then he tries to sell me a curry noodle which is about 50. Yo, you working on commission brother? I was hoping to find other street grab later but what the hell.
Then my first order comes and I go Ahhhh; it's like the size of a Cup (O') Noodle. Literary three bites. Punchy, amazing, flavor-for-days kinda bites but teeny little. Then I notice many patrons have 5-6 bowls in front. Oh this is fun - then my boy's rec, the curry noodle arrives and yes, another great one. A delicate balance of rich sweetness and the heat mixed with the crisp that comes from fried wontons and sliced onions. Brother, can you hook me up with another rec of yours and a cow stomach for me to replace this one that's full?
Alas, I just have to drag this old system for one last night, and I picked night market. I knew that it would've been better with more people so you can share the variety, but as Dr. Q advised me, I wanted to see where locals hang out at night. And do they come out en masse (I know the good amount here are Chinese tourists, but where are they not?) eating big plates of grilled seafood, skewers, weird rainbow-colored grilled cheese toast, fried cockroaches, imitation crabs straight-up, huge mounds of meat-bone things, what have you. Then buy Western/Japanese flavored hipster tees and trinkets, iPhone cases and selfie sticks, get you nails and facials done, maybe a minor plastic surgery, who knows. Across the 20+ barricade are rows of rooftop bars, VW bar-trucks, bar tents, girly-bar-adjacent establishment? and one Munich-themed bar that had a classic rock band with a horrendous gender-ambiguous singer. So yeah, I'd come out here on a Sunday night till 1am if I was a local.
What I actually ate; very-carefully crafted grilled quail egg skewers that were perfect appetizers. Boiled ginko nuts in sweet iced milk (AWESOME IDEA, the sweetness rounds out the distinctively biting ginko flavor). Tapioca rice pudding thing that looked cool but tasted okay. Tiny pancake-like things with shrimp-flavored something. I don't know what it was, anything but good. That's all I could do but I'm sure I missed a lot of good stuff. More fun than expected given just 8hrs ago I was so miserable I couldn't even bluff. Fun extra as an almost-Osaka'ite was to see how takoyaki grill were used in many creative ways. Outside of regular takoyaki (comes in more variety like only dough, corn, shrip, sausages etc) they make tiny okonomiyaki things with it, aforementioned grilled quail eggs, and even some sweets. Crafty mofos.
Then I proceed to 20+ area and sit where a singer, acoustic guitar and a kit drummer were playing local pop covers among the Thai youth sang along loudly and poor Leo over ice. Wish I was online to Shazam some of these. A little ballad-heavy for my taste, but I wanna know what they like. My lime juice was very good but it was too stuffy despite a dozen fans going all directions, so I moved to a rooftop location for much-obliged "rainbow of tents" shots. A convict-looking server simply said "beer and whiskey" so I ordered a bottle, poured into a cup and did not drink. The fatigue, the crowd, the noise - had to get away and neutralize. It helped that folks next to me weren't there for chatters it seemed, mostly on their devices and cigarettes. So I blankly stared at the pretty lights and sat there motionless, almost meditative, thinking what to do with all the thoughts I've gathered on my walk of the earth.
This. Might be the largest grocery market I've ever seen, maybe next to Tsukiji which doesn't count since it's a wholesale. It would take way too long for me to go thru the entire Galapagos of food aka Or Tor Kor trying to capture everything that looks fascinating, beautiful and delicious. And half of them looks mysterious and at the same time suspicious. I am grossly inadequate to give you explanation on most of the things I see, but here goes;
Now THAT is a Tom Yum Goong; viceral, rich, spicy and sweet, refreshing and invigorating as any soup there is. The heat, in both temp and flavor, suits this warm humid Bangkok afternoon. Also a nice change from all the Chinese-influenced dish I've been injecting to my system, with so much sour and tang that hits you like a Muay-Thai elbow. #mindblown, ecstatic.
And here I come across another of my vice in Southeast Asia; fruit smoothies. I Usually prefer raw fruits but refrigeration practice on street stalls can vary, and I like them ICE COLD. And despite that they do add syrup/sugar, good ones don't overdo it like they do Amorika. I usually go for citrus family to tang-down the sweet, but this coconut smoothie was on-point. Coconut juice, meat, syrup and ice. Doesn't sound like much of a vice. Popular flavors seem to be watermelon, lychee, lime and in Vietnam they do it with avocado. Yup, and is as good as it sounds. And with that you're sure to put on some pounds. But ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Then I go get Pad Thai; was not my intention to grab two of the most iconic Thai dishes in one day, but geographical strategies worked out for me to hit this legendary establishment for the early dinner. Credit goes to Quincy aka Eat Kun Do master. I wasn't thrilled with the wait, but I overheard that you can't avoid with this place so I stood patiently. Thoroughly entertained by the open kitchen right on the street where you're lined up, #clever.
As you see this was a gorgeously put-together, well-executed version of what we get in the states. Wrapped in a thin omelette skin and the noodles cooked perfectly - I have to admit though, I might just not be a Pad Thai person. Checking back my #foodgram it is noodle soup heavy from the day one, but I still crave for more.
To be continued.
It is my fifth Southeast Asian city this trip, eigth overall. Things starting to rhyme too much. The inconvenience and incompetence of Grab system. The third network setting reset and still no cellular data. I don't feel tired, but exhausted mentally. Or did I grow so quickly jaded to this whole traveling thing?
I can't stand spending hours on the phone with tech support, but it's so hindering to be offline in such a packed city. Happened once with the big-V in SG, T-mo has been pretty good until it got sketchy in KL, got back in Penang and now in Bangkok, the tourism capitol of SE Asia and I've been offline for 6hrs.
What makes me happy though, is that where I'm staying is within a few minute walk from all the food stalls that are bustling with local energy. Wish I had 2 more stomachs like a cow to consume everything I see. I went with the stall furthest up the strip, where a stunning beauty was spinning her wok, charging 60 bahts ($2) for a bowl of stir-fried noodle with shrimps which knocked me the fuck out. There are many more stalls that I'll be checking out in the next 60hrs or so, for if I don't get online, I might not be going much further than I can walk lol
Speaking of walking, don't trust Google as much as you would in the states out here. As I was en route to the tiny bar I ended up with, the big G led me thru some weird back alleys that are not there anymore. You don't wanna walk thru someone's driveway aka front yard where they eat and their kids play when you don't speak their language. Probably better to take public transpo or Grab, but I'm dumb like that.
Amazing how a 6-piece band can fit in a tiny non-stage like this. Reminds me of Tokyo, where people learn by nature to utilize the limited space they are given. They groove alright, I'd say the bass players is real tight, but the girl on the mic is constantly flat. Which is funny cuz I've been seeing the opposite in SE Asia the whole time; singers can belt, but the band doesn't groove. Sir Gerald's in KL was one of the few exceptions. Is she not hearing herself enough? Maybe she's drinking too much. Note to self.
Another pour of generic Asian lager, my pockets are officially empty and it's not even 11. I was way unprepared for the night, but I'm dumb like that.
Soundchaser/two-time Independent Music Awards finalist. New EP "Six Songs from Insomnia" is out on all major streaming platforms.