Monday, October 6, 2008

Bangkok Delicious

The first of my Thailand posts! I spent the longest time in this country on my Southeast Asia trip, and the cuisine here was by far the most memorable. In fact, I've steered clear of eating Thai food ever since I returned to the States, because it's just not going to taste the same. Kind of like how I went on a ramen hiatus after studying in Japan and avoided gelato upon my return from Venice. You just need to give your taste buds some time to forget how good they had it.

I traveled with a lovely tour group from Intrepid, but also booked a couple extra days in Bangkok so I could explore the city on my own. So, with the help of a hotel map, some friendly locals, and a curious stomach, I set out to see and taste what Bangkok had to offer.

A good day begins with a good breakfast, and the buffet at Viengtai Hotel was a great way to wake up. Scrambled eggs, sausage links, ham slices, french toast with honey, fresh fruit, and pad thai. Yup, pad thai for breakfast! And of course, endless cups of coffee and pineapple juice.

With a satsified stomach and a boost of morning energy, I started to wander around the area. Luckily, my hotel was only a short distance from many tourist attractions, including the Standing Buddha and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.

Constructed by King Rama IV in the mid-1800s, the Standing Buddha was an astonishing height of over 100 feet. I was happy to see a roughly equal number of tourists and local Thais paying respects here.

The Temple of the Reclining Buddha had a similarly impressive statute of Buddha, about 150 feet long and 50 feet high, reclining on his side with his head propped up on one of his hands. His facial expression was intensely peaceful and was meant to capture his passage into nirvana. The temple grounds contained over 1000 images of Buddha, along with colorful spires and marble slabs.

I wouldn't mind living in one of these pretty spaces.

My favorite place in Bangkok, however, was the Grand Palace, a large complex of gorgeous buildings that served as the royal residence from the 18th century to the mid-20th century. I loved the architecture, which mixed Thai and European styles.

The Grand Palace

With so much sightseeing, my stomach was always growling pitifully by lunchtime. My hotel was also a block away from the famous Khao San Road, where tourists flocked to enjoy the numerous restaurants, bars, and street shopping.

This was a yummy green chicken curry I ordered at a restaurant on Khao San Road. It had the perfect blend of spicy green chili, sweet coconut milk, and fragrant basil. I love spicy food but unfortunately I often have to keep putting out the fire in my mouth. And what better way to do that than with ...

... a nice cold Singha beer!

While walking around during the day could get tiring, I never went hungry, thanks to the street food vendors who always seemed to appear when I was craving a quick and cheap snack. Or maybe it was just that every time I saw them, I immediately got hungry. A whiff or two of the tantalizing scents, and I was in line forking over baht for my street food and discarding my mother's warning of food poisoning.

Take your pick of noodles!

Finished pad thai - cheap and delicious!

These meat skewers were so tasty that I had at least one per day.

I wanted to get a bird's eye view of Bangkok, so I spent some time one day tracking down Breeze Restaurant in the State Tower. The open-air dining area had breathtaking views of the city, along with a spectacular glass Sky Bridge.

Dinner was always a good time to wind down with more great food, look through the ridiculous number of photos from the day, and reflect in only the way that travelers can.

Chicken fried rice

Pad see yew with chicken

And for dessert ... fresh sweet mango with sticky rice! The sticky rice, a.k.a. Thai sweet rice, is bathed in coconut milk and goes well with the sweetness of the mango slices.

Stay tuned for more entries about Thailand!


Passionate Eater said...

I would choose all of the above noodles! What an amazing trip, Taste Tests.

foodhoe said...

wow, I shouldn't be looking at your blog right before lunch. but now I have to have noodles! Looks like you had a delicious time in bangkok

Bangkok Hotels Thailand said...

Thai food make everyone enjoy eating with spicy and tasty. I am the one who like thai food so much.....