Unlike our previous days in Bangkok, we didn’t have much of a game plan for our final full day in the city. All we knew was that we wanted to eat and walk around a bit to feel less guilty for stuffing our faces every half hour.
We eventually settled on visiting Wat Arun, a temple located on the west side of the Chao Phraya River, and exploring more of Chinatown. We once again boarded two skytrains and a water taxi to arrive at our destination. The transportation system in Bangkok is fast and efficient.
The water taxi dropped us off at an outdoor market similar to the one before, but smaller in scale and variety. Before making our way to the temple, The Astronomer and I shared a green papaya salad (25 baht). The salad was assembled to order and contained tomatoes, peanuts and green beans in addition to green papaya. The ingredients were coated in a vinaigrette of fish sauce and lime juice. I think the vendor intentionally left out all the spices because she knows our type a little too well. As a result, the salad tasted fresh, but dull.
Following the salad, The Astronomer and I shared a plate of Pad Thai (30 baht) made by the hefty and sweaty gentleman above.
The Pad Thai tasted sour and contained tomatoes and leafy greens. Clearly, N.A.R.P.T.—not a real Pad Thai.
The Astronomer concluded breakfast with a stick of quail eggs wrapped in crispy wonton wrappers (10 baht). The eggs were served with a sweet and sour sauce that paired nicely with the wonton wrappers. The use of quail eggs in South East Asia is deliciously widespread.
After our three course breakfast, we finally headed to Wat Arun, which boasted a spectacular view of the city and vertigo-inducing climbs that reminded us of Angkor.
Following our temple excursion, we made our way toward Chinatown. On our walk, I purchased a bag of fresh cantaloupe. The fruit was served up rare, which is customary in these here parts, so it was light on sweetness and heavy on crunch.
Lush and The Astronomer couldn’t pass up an opportunity for protein and grabbed some pork on a stick dipped in a peppery sauce.
As we walked through an outdoor market of sorts in Chinatown, I ducked into a stall selling duck noodle soup (30 baht). The eatery was packed with locals slurping down noodles, so I knew we were in for a treat. The noodles were served in a dark brown duck broth deeply infused with star anise and celery, and topped with pieces of shredded duck. The dish reminded me of mi vit, a Chinese-inspired Vietnamese noodle soup that I often eat at home in San Diego. The Astronomer and I were immensely impressed with this noodle soup.
As I scanned the small dining room, I noticed that many of the local patrons were digging into some “spring rolls” (25 baht) along with their soups, so I decided to do the same. The rolls contained tofu, Chinese sausage, bean sprouts and cucumber. Scrambled eggs, cuttlefish, chilies and a sweet hoisin sauce were served on top of the rolls. The texture and taste of the roll’s wrapper was similar to the pancakes served with Chinese moo shu. This dish was really different from anything we had eaten prior in Bangkok and we were once again quite impressed.
The Astronomer ordered a dried shrimp dumpling (7 baht) from a different stall and had it delivered to our table. While we generally like greasy dim sum, eating this dumpling alongside the noodle soup and spring rolls made for a lesser experience.
Before saying goodbye to Chinatown, Lush and I each purchased a tall cup of Thai iced tea (10 baht), which tasted a bit like an icy because of the ice’s texture.
Meanwhile, the Astronomer picked up a beautiful, golden drumstick (15 baht)—looks like someone on the street got a hold of the Colonel’s Original Recipe… and his steroid-juiced chickens! The flavor was rather one dimensional; the Astronomer declared that the fried chicken he ate near our hostel was better.
Who has no thumbs and was sad to see us leave Chinatown? This guy.
Sadness! This sign was posted in the metro station.
For our final dinner in the city, we headed to Baan Khanitha (36/1 Sukhumvit, Soi 23, Phone: 0-2258-4128). My high school cross country and track coach, who has traveled extensively throughout Thailand, recommended this eatery, which has been voted Bangkok’s best for a number of years.
I think one of the strangest experiences of my trip to Bangkok was constantly eating and enjoying food even though I wasn’t hungry. This sort of behavior wasn’t sustainable, but it was a lot of fun while it lasted.
We started off our meal at Baan Khanitha with a complimentary appetizer called “mieng kham.” We were instructed by our waiter to make a funnel using a single leaf and to fill it with the sauce and the ingredients in the little dishes, which included dried shrimps, shallots, chilies, diced limes, ginger and peanuts. Although no singular ingredient was spectacular, when combined together the flavors melded into a satisfying bite. Awesome.
Next, we shared a serving of “yam woon sen,” a glass noodle salad with squid, shrimp, pork, tomatoes, shallots, spring onions and peanuts in a vinaigrette (180 baht). Light and refreshing, the salad was just what we wanted this evening.
For our main course, we shared “gaeng phed ped yang a ngun,” a roasted duck curry with grapes and pineapples (280 baht). The duck was pleasingly sweet and meaty, while the fruits eased the spiciness and brought bursts of sunshine to the curry.
After dinner at Baan Khanitha, we paid a visit to the roti vendor that we had spotted prior.
The Astronomer had one without bananas (7 baht). Man, those things are so bad for you, but they taste so good! I’m pretty sure that if I lived in Bangkok I’d gain a few kilos from eating too much roti.
Our final stop of the evening was at a night market The Astronomer read about in the Lonely Planet. The market turned out to be a lot smaller than we expected and mostly catered to tourists. Boo.
Lush and I passed on the offerings, but The Astronomer went for a plate of BBQ pork over rice (40 baht). The pork looked delicious, but I was too stuffed to try.