02 Mar 2014

Bangkok by findingmomo

2/13

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We walk down Thong Lor and stop by the aunty peddling grilled bananas outside Hoi Thod Chao Le. The bananas are sold in fives, which is more than we can handle. Because they're a steal for just 20 THB we buy them anyway.

I bite into one, and it's scalding hot and also kind of bland. Maybe we're missing something. Now we're stuck with 2.5 hot bland bananas each. That's what you get for being greedy.

We also see a sign that's very 50 shades. Hehe. #naughty

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We arrive panting and sweating at Thong Lor Soi 13, where there's a complex called Seen Space. It's home to a number of chic boutiques and eateries, and we're here for brunch at Roast.

Sadly there's an hour's wait to get into Roast, so we head to a cafe called Mr. Jones' Orphanage for some air-conditioning in the meantime. Been to the outlet at Siam Center and I think it's more gimmicky than anything, but it's the best option we've got*. The whimsical playland concept is lost on me.

While waiting for our apple and date cake (blah) to arrive we notice a tin mug filled with toy soldiers. That's when things start to get fun.

*Because I'd completely forgotten about After You cafe across the road! Ugh!

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Finally our wait for Roast is over. After the cake at Mr. Jones' we aren't really hungry but order a main and a drink each, plus a dessert to share anyway.

When my hugeeee breakfast platter arrives I realize belatedly that it comes with complimentary coffee and OJ. Together with the iced tea I had ordered I now have three drinks to myself. We barely make it through half the strawberry waffle, and I am close to exploding by the time we're done. I swear never to eat again, and manage to stick by this resolution for the next 4 hours :)

That said, the brunch items here are really good and reasonably priced. Just don't be greedy like we were.

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We flag down a cab outside Seen Space to get to the Khlong Lat Mayom floating market, and encounter our second rogue taxi driver of the trip. He takes us to a pier and tells us that we'll be able to board a boat to the floating market. The taxi leaves after we pay the fare, and we find out that the pier sells only Chao Praya river tours for exhorbitant prices (we're talking USD60 per person) and of course we refuse to buy into their ploy, walking angrily out of the place.

We then realize that we are completely lost. Double ugh. Thankfully we spot these two boys dressed in lion dance costumes who look like they're heading home after practice, and we follow them back out into civilization. We walk towards the State Tower (that towering building in the distance with a yellow dome) to ask for directions to the nearest BTS station. And to use the bathroom hehe.

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It's fun walking around Asiatique, which occupies the premises of a former port. There's nothing to buy here that you can't find cheaper at Platinum or MBK. We do however end up getting a couple of cute t-shirts for fun. Apparently it gets more crowded and vibrant at night, but it's not so bad to have some breathing space.

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We have walked from Wongwian Yai BTS station down Soi Charoen Rat 4 in search of dinner. This neighborhood has narrow roads but the traffic is constantly heavy because of its proximity to the Wongwian Yai roundabout circling the King's monument.

We were here for Somsak Pu Ob, which according to eatingthaifood.com (the Internet food guru of Thailand) serves the best goong ob woon sen (shrimp glass noodles) and pu ob woon sen (crab glass noodles) in Bangkok. Please, read more here: www.eatingthaifood.com/2013/07/thai-seafood-somsak-pu-ob-bangkok/

Apart from us everyone else was local, and they looked at us with placid amusement when it became clear that we weren't. One of the ladies speaks a little Mandarin, so she was assigned to us.

Expect a longgg wait because there's only 1 chef and he cooks just 4 pots of glass noodles at one go. I got so hungry I started crunching on the ice cubes in my Coke - a big no no at street food stalls, but my stomach took it okay.

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It's a 1.5 hour wait before our orders finally arrive. I think my stomach is beginning to digest itself (don't talk to me about science).

The extreme hunger might have clouded my judgment, but the goong ob woon sen (the prawn one) is one of the best things I've ever eaten. The massive prawns are succulent and smoky but the magic lies in the glass noodles, which have absorbed all the prawn juices they can hold, and the resulting flavor is... it's out of this world.

The pu ob woon sen (the crab noodles) is very good, but can't hold a candle to its prawn counterpart. At the moment I can't think of anything that can.

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Getting to Talad Rot Fai night market wasn't easy - we took a cab from On Nut BTS (pronounced "On Noot", in case you're wondering) and said "Seacon Square" and "Talad Rot Fai" to several drivers, even showing them the Thai translations we'd gotten the staff at the BTS station to help us write.

Took us about 15 minutes before we finally found a driver who knew where we were trying to get to. He took some seriously dark roads and I thought for a fleeting moment that we might be trafficked somewhere. Unlike the two taxi drivers we'd encountered earlier he turned out to be a decent guy, and we alighted across the road from Seacon Square, following the crowd across the footbridge and towards the night market.

The market was crazy crowded. Talad Rot Fai had a hipster slant to it, and there were things like from guitars to motorcycles to antiques being sold. Several live bands were performing in random cafes as well. There was also a shop selling lovely vintage skirts in one size only, as we've come to expect in Bangkok. When we asked about a particular skirt, the salesperson pointed at Weiqi and said "Too big", then pointed at me and said "Too small." Bahahaha rude :(

This is also not a place where you'd want to use the bathroom. Just sayin'.

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We settle down at a cafe decorated with retro ornaments for too-sweet milk tea and chocolate toast, which is blamed by Weiqi as the cause of the terrible bout of food poisoning that she later on suffers. Nothing happens to me. But it could just be me.

After what seems like an eternity, during which we have circled the market thrice, the bangles are finally ready for collection. Some girls choose to engrave their names on the bangles. Others engrave words they hold close to their hearts. I belong to the latter category.