The Eating Guide to Bangkok, Thailand

Asia

Bangkok, at any time of the year, is a place that is hard to capture with a single idea. Masses throng the city centre as motorcycles zip past gridlocked cars on interweaving roads. At the same time, she never fails to draw the crowds like an immortal movie star. This is Bangkok; she never loses her verve. Back when things got too predictable, cafés exploded onto the scene, what with the thriving coffee trade in Thailand. Street grub is remade and intermixed with borrowed flavours. 

When night comes, the city is not ready to hit the sack. Incandescent lights colour bleary streets and the aroma from cooking pots forms a trail. As the world falls into a slumber, Bangkok is at her most vivacious. 

Look forward to: Street food

READ Café 

DSC_0609_edited

Where: 21/40 Thanon Ngamwongwan, Khwaeng Lat Yao, Khet Chatuchak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10900, Thailand
What: Pancakes
For: Breakfast

The after school coteries are aplenty at this far-flung café many miles away from the city centre. A 24 hour coffee joint within the university town of  Rangsit, READ Café’s cushy corners are where students mug and patrons eat. The menu’s to-die-for dishes are the sweet treats – pancakes dusted with granola and honeyed french toasts. 

Prik Yuak 

DSC_0605_edited

Where: Chatuchak Weekend Market, Project 2, Soi 38/3 Road, Kamphaeng Phet 2, Chatuchak District, Bangkok, Thailand
What: Stir-fried crab meat and mango sticky brown rice
For: Communal dining with friends

For unpretentious Thai eats, Prik Yuak is sure to win your heart. This rickety khao gaeng (rice and curry) shop is hidden in a corner of Chatuchak. Owner Ann does the whole nine yards – stir-fried crab meat, fish curry, fried garlic squid, garlic pork liver, tom yum kung, phanaeng pork curry, eggs stir-fried with crab meat, and brown rice. The best way to go about doing this is to go  communal dining with friends. Small dishes are shared while you have your own rice on a plate. For dessert, go for the mango sticky brown rice. 

Khao Kha Moo Truk Sung 

DSC_0613_edited

Where: Soi Phetchaburi 30, Khwaeng Lumphini, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand
What: Pig trotter rice
For: Lunch

Synonymous with local Thai fare, khao kha moo is a down-to-earth everyman favourite. Pig trotters are braised for hours, then dished over a plate of rice and served with a side of preserved vegetables. This under-the-block shop does theirs with a bowl of bitter gourd soup. The day ends when the trotters are sold out, usually by mid-day. 

Phatsaya Village Phad Thai 

DSC_0611_edited

Where: 59/79 Soi Tha Sai 1, Khwaeng Thung Song Hong, Khet Lak Si, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10210, Thailand
What: Phad thai
For: Supper

This street stall does a mean plate of phad thai with your choice of prawns,  mussels, or both. This place only opens in the night, so make it a supper visit. There are only three seats but the people just keep coming. 

P’Aor

Where: 68/51 Soi Phetchburi 5, Phetchburi Road, Thung Phaya Thai Subdistrict, Ratchathewi District, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
What: Tom yum goong
For: Dinner

The strong broth laden with prawn stock is what makes the tom yum goong at P’Aor a winner. If you are unafraid of spice, go with the option of having rice noodles in the soup. For those who go for unconventional digs, the lobster tom yum goong will win you over. Queues are wonted but they move fast; it’s not a place to sit and dawdle. 

Chatuchak Coconut Ice Cream 

DSC_0597_edited

Where: Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand
What: Coconut ice cream
For: A cooling dessert

Bangkok’s coconut ice cream can be found in the makeshift shops along the main street of Chatuchak Market. There are many in the coconut ice cream trade, but the fabled one comes in a husk, and includes two toppings and a cup of coconut water. Go for the sticky rice and peanut toppings – they are absolutely divine. 

Sukhumvit Soi 38 Wanton Noodles 

DSC_0614_edited

Where: Soi Sukhumvit 38, Phra Khanong, Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
What: Wanton noodles
For: A late night snack

Once a midnight food haunt, Sukhumvit Soi 38 has lost its lustre following a prolonged hiatus. A baa mee (wanton noodles) stall – amongst a handful of others – still stands strong, dishing out bowls of noodles into the wee hours of the night. Order a small bowl, then head next door for a mango sticky rice. 

Paris Travel Tips from Lindsey Tramuta, Parisian Journalist

Conversations with Locals

Having lived in Paris for more than a decade, ailurophile Lindsey Tramuta is well-versed in the ins and outs of the city and chronicles her Parisian life on her blog. She is a writer for Condé Nast Traveler, Bon Appétit, and The New York Times. Lindsey talks about why you should skip Chartier, where to get the best pastries in Paris, and about the museum you can’t miss. 

about-lindsey

Photo: Lindsey Tramuta

What do you feel defines Parisian cuisine?

Parisian cuisine today isn’t hemmed in by Escoffier, heritage or ethnocentrism but rather an openness to outside influences and cultures. The food scene has never been so refreshingly diverse.

What is the one local dish you feel travellers can’t leave Paris without trying? 

As a pastry fanatic, I’m keen to cite a handful of exquisite desserts or treats. The chocolate and pistachio escargot from Du Pain et Des Idées, the Lily Valley from Carl Marletti, the ricotta cheesecake with seasonal fruit from Acide which is also available at Fou de Pâtisserie, the Ispahan croissant from Pierre Hermé, sablés from Bontemps Pâtisserie. As you can see, it’s impossible to narrow the selection to just one speciality!

What about your favourite restaurants?

Many of them are concentrated on the east side of town – Tannat, Le 52, Anahi, Le Richer, Café Méricourt, La Fontaine de Belleville. But I do have a few favourites elsewhere – Kitchen Ter(re) on the left bank and Balagan near the Tuileries Gardens to name a couple. 

26381206_1601497003266139_2989093330148655104_n

Café Méricourt. Photo: Lindsey Tramuta

20394042_171275953416518_1012609978223034368_n

Kitchen Ter(re). Photo: Lindsey Tramuta

Name one Parisian dining etiquette most travellers miss

Making a concerted effort to speak French, at least greeting restaurant staff in French. It isn’t all that difficult to show them you’re trying your best.

What is one travel tip you would give to travellers heading to Paris?

Go beyond the obvious. My book dives into so many other neighbourhoods that are worth exploring. 

Name one best kept secret of Paris

The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature. It’s in all the guidebooks and yet it never seems to earn the attention it deserves. It’s unusual, for one – it’s the hunting and nature museum. On top of that, it feels like a cabinet of animal curiosities. It’s fascinating! 

What do you feel are the most common misconceptions about Paris?

There are two – that it’s a city that never changes and that Parisians are unfriendly. I’ve had plenty of chilly service in London and New York! 

21827223_336381086823804_6897712744322039808_n

Photo: Lindsey Tramuta

Name some tourist traps travellers should avoid in Paris

Please please please stay away from Chartier off the Grands Boulevards. Go to Bouillon Pigalle instead. Chartier has terrible quality food, comically poor service, but because it’s an institution, it still gets traction. 

What’s your favourite day trip to take from the city? 

I love going to Chantilly for the day, walking around the gardens and visiting the Château

What should travellers bring home with them from Paris?

Something French! The new gourmet food hall from Printemps department store, called Printemps Du Goût, offers a selection of 100% French products so you can be sure to take home something, whether it’s caramelised hazelnuts from the south of France or a small jar of regional honey, truly unique. 

 

WHERE TO EAT IN PARIS


Du Pain et Des Idées
Where: 34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris, France
For: Chocolate and pistachio escargots

Acide Macaron
Where: 24 Rue des Moines, 75017 Paris, France
For: Ricotta cheesecakes with seasonal fruit

Carl Marletti
Where: 51 Rue Censier, 75005 Paris, France
For: The Lily Valley cake

Pierre Hermé
Where: 72 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris, France (and others) 
For: Ispahan croissants

Bontemps Pâtisserie
Where: 57 Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris, France
For: Sablés

Tannat
Where: 119 Avenue Parmentier, 75011 Paris, France
For: French fusion food

Le 52
Where: 52 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010 Paris, France
For: Tradtional french food 

Anahi
Where: 49 Rue Volta, 75003 Paris, France
For: Argentinian food

Le Richer
Where: 2 Rue Richer, 75009 Paris, France
For: Bistro food

Café Méricourt
Where: 22 Rue de la Folie Méricourt, 75011 Paris, France
For: Brunch

La Fontaine de Belleville
Where: 31-33 Rue Juliette Dodu, 75010 Paris, France
For: Breakfast

Kitchen Ter(re)
Where: 26 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75005 Paris, France
For: Set menus

Balagan
Where: 9 Rue d’Alger, 75001 Paris, France
For: Shakshuka

Bouillon Pigalle
Where: 22 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris, France
For: French food
 

WHERE TO GO IN PARIS


Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
Where: 62 Rue des Archives, 75003 Paris, France
For: Museums

 

Printemps Du Goût
Where: 21-25 Cours de Vincennes, 75020 Paris, France
For: Local French products

Oahu Travel Tips from Katherine Lou, Blogger of Wander Hour

Conversations with Locals

Cali girl Katherine Lou is the blogger of Wander Hour, and has called Hawaii home since five years ago. Katherine divulges where to go for poke, Oahu’s snorkelling spots, and why you should not miss out on Oahu’s Chinatown. 

IMG_1601

Photo: Wander Hour

What do you feel defines Hawaiian cuisine? 

Native Hawaiian cuisine differs from local cuisine in Hawaii. Therefore, I feel there are many things that define the cuisine of Hawaii. When I think of native Hawaiian food, I think of kalua (pig) and poi (taro) amongst many other things. The type of food that you find in a traditional luau is more in tune with Hawaiian cuisine. Even better, family parties here serve some of the best native Hawaiian food and they put so much love in their dishes!

When I think of local food, which is entirely different from the native cuisine, I think of the melting pot of different cultures that contribute to it. There are strong Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, etc. influences in the local cuisine here. Overall, both native and local food are delicious. Most places are big in using local ingredients, so very often, the food is fresh – especially the fish!

What is the one local dish you feel travellers can’t leave Oahu without trying? 

You cannot leave Hawaii without eating fresh poke, shave ice, and haupia (coconut pudding)! 

What about your favourite restaurants?

My current favourites would be Maguro for their spicy ahi poke, Marukame for their fresh udon, ARVO for their cute coffee and aesthetics, and Helena’s for the Hawaiian food. At Helena’s, I love their pipikaula which is a type of dried beef and their haupia. For shave ice, I love Waiola.

IMG_6634-C

Waiola Shave Ice. Photo: Wander Hour

Name some tourist traps travellers should avoid in Oahu

There aren’t many to speak of, but don’t spend your entire week in Waikiki. It has its charms but venture out! There’s so much more to see! 

What is the one activity travellers should do in Oahu? 

When you go to Honolulu (in Oahu), put aside some time to hike the many trails! 

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

Photo: Wander Hour

What about the best spot to catch the sunset? 

The best place to catch the sunset in Hawaii would be from the North Shore, which is about an hour’s drive from Honolulu. If you’re in Honolulu though, Ala Moana Beach Park might be a good place!

Where are some of your favourite snorkelling spots? 

When the water is calm during the summers, Shark’s Cove in North Shore is a good place to snorkel! Hanauma Bay is also good! Always be aware of your safety even if it’s summer. A lot of visitors and locals underestimate the power of Mother Nature! That said, I wouldn’t recommend snorkelling at North Shore around winter time. During winter, the North Shore gets some of the biggest waves and lots of surfing competitions happen around this time. 

tidepools

Photo: Wander Hour

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

Photo: Wander Hour

Name one best kept secret of Oahu

The best kept secret would be Chinatown! Tourists normally don’t head to Chinatown in Honolulu but you can find some of the best restaurants there like Maguro which is my favourite place for poke, The Pig & The Lady, Livestock Tavern, and Lucky Belly. There are also cute boutiques, bars, and coffee shops in Chinatown! 

livestock1

Lobster roll at Livestock Tavern. Photo: Wander Hour
luckybelly4
Lucky Belly. Photo: Wander Hour

Describe the perfect day trip 

If you’re staying on the island, a perfect day trip would be driving east from Honolulu and around the island, and stopping at one of the many beaches. Continue towards North Shore and stop by the shrimp trucks such as Giovanni’s, then head back down to Honolulu.

If you’re feeling real adventurous, hop on a plane to Maui! Just a short 40 minute flight to Kahului from Honolulu, you can rent a car and drive around the island. My favourite stops would be Ululani’s for their shave ice. Drive up to Haleakala which is out of this world – it literally looks like Mars! If you leave early enough, check out the waterfalls on the Road to Hana. The whole drive can take about 6 hours back and forth depending on how many stops you make! 

hnl2

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. Photo: Wander Hour

 

 

WHERE TO EAT IN HONOLULU


Maguro Brothers Hawaii
Where: 421 Lewers St, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
For: Poke bowls

Waiola Shave Ice
Where:2135 Waiola St, Honolulu, HI 96826, USA
For: Shave ice

Helena’s Hawaiian Food
Where: 1240 N School St, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA
For: Hawaiian food

Marukame Udon
Where: 2310 Kuhio Ave #124, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
For: Udon

ARVO
Where: 675 Auahi St, Honolulu, HI 96825, USA
For: Coffee

The Pig & The Lady
Where: 83 N King St, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA
For: Vietnamese food

Livestock Tavern
Where: 49 N Hotel St, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA
For: Lobster rolls and burgers

Lucky Belly
Where: 50 N Hotel St, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA
For: Ramen and dumplings

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
Where: 66-472 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712, USA
For: Shrimps
 

WHERE TO GO IN HONOLULU


North Shore
Where: North Shore, Waialua, Honolulu, HI, USA
For: Sunsets
Ala Moana Beach Park
Where: 1201 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814, USA
For: Sunsets
Shark’s Cove
Where: Pupukea, Oahu, Honolulu, HI 96712, USA
For: Snorkelling
Hanauma Bay
Where: 100 Hanauma Bay Drive, ueber Kalanianaole Highway, Oahu, Honolulu, HI 96825-2005, USA
For: Snorkelling