I need to do a better job at posting on this blog, as this was from a trip to Bangkok last year….
Anyway, if you find yourself at Thong Lo, an upscale area in Bangkok with quirky cafes and plenty of Japanese restaurants, this Khao Jao Thai Restaurant is one modern eatery serving pretty traditional Thai fare worth checking out.
Khao Jao Thai Restaurant, Bangkok
The restaurant is located along Thong Lo 17 Alley, a stone’s throw away from a popular hipster watering hole that is The Commons. It’s air conditioned, tastefully decorated, and offers quite a good selection of traditional dishes to choose from (see menu below).
For the three of us, we had the prawn with petai, bamboo shoots yellow curry, a plate of vege, and stuffed omelet.
The petai came with pretty big and juicy prawns, with a strong, slightly sweetish belacan taste that was also spicy, a perfect combination.
There are two types of travelers, the one that plans for everything including transportation, hotel, point of interests, and which restaurants (and sometimes what to eat) to dine in; then there’s the type who likes to have a bit of surprises and a sense of adventure. It’s not surprise which type is me, and luckily, my brother is pretty much the same.
pork offal soup with rice, breakfast of champions
One of those adventures brought us to this pork offal soup with rice place when we went to Bangkok over CNY with mom.
This little stall is located on Soi Sukhumvit 55, the road in which we walk by on the way from our hotel to the Thong Lo BTS Station (Bangkok Mass Transit System, not that Korean boy group thingy..)
What intrigued us was how busy the stall is, and that it is seemingly a slice of time capsule wedged in between two roles of shop houses in this increasingly modern city that is Bangkok. So we did a bit of pointing here and there and had our orders for brunch.
blood, intestine, kidney, liver, and meat
As it turns out, they serve only one dish – pork offal soup with rice, and yep, just like Klang, there are people who has rice and porky goodness as breakfast.
the stall is wedged between two buildings
The soup came with a good mix of coagulated blood, intestine, kidney, liver, and pork slices, the soup is quite flavorful if slightly too salty for my taste, there’s also generous amount of cilantro to provide some balance to those fatty bits. The chili sauce condiment accompanying the dish is rather spicy too, as you’d expect from Thailand.
It was overall a rather yummy dish and one of the best meals we had in Bangkok. For 35-40 baht per bowl, this was also one of the more affordable meals too.
there’s a coffee stall next to it too
Address: Pork Offal Soup (Opposite El Gaucho) Soi Sukhumvit 55, THONGLOR KLONGTON NUA Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand GPS: 13.730904, 100.581437
Since I am heading to Krabi in a few hours’ time, it is appropriate that I write about the awesome dinners Mell and I had during our visit to Bangkok last February. Something that I shouldn’t have waited so long to do, but there’re just so many things and so little time, oh well!
this guy sells a few types of typical Thai dishes
Our first dinner at Bangkok was infact our second night there, after a long day at the city, we came back to our hotel at Reflections Rooms and decided to dine right by street next to the hotel lobby. I ordered two plates of Pad See Yew for dinner.
Pad See Yew, with plenty of chili padi if you need them
The pad see yew is basically fried flat rice noodle with vegetable, egg, pork (sometimes substitute with chicken or beef), and vegetable. Fish sauce, soy sauce, and pepper are also among the ingredients that made up this dish. I’ve had pad see yew quite a number of times, and this must be one of the best tasting I’ve tried yet.
The dinner was around 70 baht, water was free.
a stall offering variety of dishes with rice
After having a pretty tiring first day at Chatuchak, we decided to try the other stall right next to the first one we ordered pad see yew from. This is one of the many stalls that littered the streets offering a wide variety of dishes that goes with rice. They only have 2-3 tables set up by the pavement, I guess most of their business are the drive-through type.
long bean with chicken, and seafood tomyam
We ordered a bowl of seafood tomyam, and with some sign language mad skills, I managed to also ordered long bean with chicken to go with two rice.
The tomyam was so good! Very sour, spicy, and full of that authentic tomyam that is so tough to find outside Thailand. Though the ingredients were nothing luxurious (some small shrimps, a bit of squid, mushroom, ginger, green onion, shallots, chili padi), the overall taste was just superb.
yes, the tomyam were spicy!
The chicken with long bean too was a very tasty dish that goes really well with rice. Though not quite as hot as the tomyam, this vegetable dish too came with green pepper (jalopeno?) and some chili padi. The base had a strong taste of fish sauce that worked well with the chicken and provided good contrast to the tomyam.
Everything came to only 110 baht, again, ice water was free.
fried egg, squid with cabbage, and tomyam
We went to the same place again for the third consecutive night cos the food was just so good. This time we asked for (by pointing and sign language yet again) fried egg that looks and tasted much like our local telur dadar; a squid and cabbage dish that for once, isn’t really something spicy, but pretty tasty nonetheless; and of course, the very same tomyam again.
It costs a something like 140 baht this time, and oh so delicious!
another stall further to the west of our hotel
Tragically, when we went back to the same place on our last night at Bangkok, we discovered the hard way that the stalls are closed on Mondays. We then walked a few minutes to the west of our hotel (still on Pradipat Road) and chanced up upon this other hawker stall that offers similar type of foods. As usual, my super limited Thai and some hand gestures came to rescue.
tomyam, pork with brinjal, kangkung with chicken
We ordered tomyam with fish, a pork dish, and a kangkung with chicken to go with rice. The tomyam was different this time, a bit more sour than previous, less soupy, and a lot more spices. I feel that I prefer the previous version but some might like the intensity of this one.
Cooked with sweet sauce, peppercorn, basil, and a type of brinjal, the fatty pork slices soaked in the flavor and made the pork dishes rather delicious. As for the kangkung, well, it wasn’t very different from what we get here, but did provide a contrast to all the meat dishes we had.
If I remember correctly, this meal was around 200 baht. A bit pricier probably due to the fact hat we had more meat dishes.
One of the reasons I chose to go to Bangkok for holiday despite being there just a year ago was the chance to stay at Reflections Rooms that I had first read from Su Ann. The other, more important reason would be the fact that Mell wanted to shop at Chatuchak.
Furthermore, due to the weird and wonderful cosmic arrangement, Reflections is located at mere 5 minutes away from Chatuchak via the hotel’s free tuk-tuk service, which makes the decision an absolute no brainer.
Lobby at Reflections, quirky and unique
The quaint little boutique hotel only has 36 rooms housed in 3 separate blocks of buildings right next to each other. Each and every room is uniquely designed with it’s own theme: color of the wall, the design of the toilet, arrangement of furniture, types of couch, floor finishing, tables, and even the shape of the room space are different. The only common thingy they shared is probably the 21″ TV and big comfortable king size bed.
There are no rooms with separate single beds, so this might not be an ideal place for 2 straight guys to share a room.
Room 202 – Hong Kong Pat
Our first room was the very quirky Room 202, Hong Kong Pat. Hong means room in Thai, and Kong “Pat” is the artist who created the room. He is also known as the “Bangkok’s Mr. Idea Man, Mr. Can-Do, Mr. How-To.”
a little balcony for outdoor chilling, mirror for the lady
The room took up the entire floor space of a previous shop lot (as many rooms were) and turned it into more of a studio apartment than a normal run-off-the-mill hotel room. It was at least 12 to 14 feet wide and probably 50 feet deep. The walls were painted dark cyan on two sides, with the remaining a contrasting white. Big canvases hung on them with original paintings barely visible underneath all the scribbles and artistic outputs from previous tenants.
3 stooges lamps, disco lights, and the awesome soft toy couch
On the bare concrete floor right after we stepped in a room there is a sofa and the very awesome little couch that is covered entirely with soft toys. There are also lamps on 3 dolls affixed in the style of coal miners and even a disco light at the far corner that we left on while going to sleep, serving as a funky alternative to the boring night light.
we leave our marks on the walls of Room 202
The toilet at the end of the room (which was quite a walk for midnight relieves) has only a shower curtain and no door. But as a bonus, it comes with 2 shower heads *wink*. Even though the room was located on the ground floor, it comes with a small balcony with a couple chairs, very handy especially for those nicotine recharge periods.
Paints were readily available in the room, before we reluctantly checked out from Room 202, we left our scribbles on the wall, just like the dozens of past temporary tenants.
Room 303 – Medicine Machine
Because we stayed there for 5 nights, we are allowed to change room once (unfortunately there isn’t an option to stay in a different room every night, and it’ll be too much of a hassle anyway). Our second selection was Room 303 – Medicine Machine, located on the first floor, opposite block from the previous room. The hotel staff was kind enough to transfer all our luggage to the new room while we were out.
striking orange fake leather couch makes up the small living room
Room 303 is a converted converted from an office space, slightly smaller than 202 but still at least twice the size of an ordinary hotel room. The set up is like a vintage 70s office with its orange fake leather couch and wooden tea table facing a cork board wall that serves as a place to hang cloths.
the white and almost hospital like theme with a quaintly designed headboard
The multicolored curtains filters the evening sun to light up the otherwise plain cream color walls with rays in different spectrum. The room also comes with carpeted floor, the standard TV/DVD player, and a mini fridge. The toilet is converted from a stair well, with the shower affixed where you typically have a 90 degree turn as you go up the stairs.
This room was simpler, less busy, slightly more conventional, but yet unique in its own way. It would have been a big eye opener though, if we did not choose 202 as our first choice.
a smooch on the cheek
The rooms at Reflections are priced at 2250 to 2750 Baht per night, and you can typically ask for a discount (we got 20% off) during off peak season and if you stay over a certain number of nights. There are also a DVD library you can pick movies from (we spent so much time trying to decide what movie to watch), and plenty of street foods just right outside the hotel itself which I will write about very soon.
The hotel is located at Pradiphat street, just some 3km from Chatuchak. It runs a free tuk-tuk service to the nearest BTS station (Saphan Khwai, 7 stops from Siam Central) and Chatuchak weekend market. The hotel staffs were all very friendly and attentive; with it’s unique design as well as convenient location, the entire experience was better than anything I had expected.
We definitely plan to return to Reflections and try the other rooms in the future.
Being a pair of very somewhat clueless travelers, we had forgotten about the existence of Siam Ocean World until a discount coupon was given to us upon purchasing the tickets for “The Confessions of a Shopaholic”, the movie Mell suggested we watch (which actually turned out to be good)
Well, I was the president of Aquarium Society back in high school, held an annual membership at the Newport Aquarium in Greater Cincinnati, visited the Shedd Aquarium at Chicago, as well as our very own Aquaria at KLCC. So it was natural that I shall not miss out this place, touted as the best indoor aquarium in South East Asia.
Mell walking with the sharks
While the KLCC Aquaria’s entrance fee is RM 38 (foreigner) and RM 28 (myKard holder), the tickets for this place is a lot steeper. 850 baht for adult, and 650 baht for children, which is about 3 times more expensive than Aquaria, but similarly the place is about 3 times bigger, so it was all good. Our discount was something like 30% for one of the tickets if I remember correctly.
this is like a whack-a-mole eel, you go closer, they go into hiding
Other than the usual touring the exhibits like we do, there are several other activities offered at this place, and the most interesting one would be Dive with the Sharks, as in, you get to dive for 30 minutes inside the tank with an instructor and be among the sharks (the docile yet fierce looking Sand Tiger Sharks). I think this is something I should perhaps plan to do in the next visit. If I remember correctly, that costs about 4-5000 baht.
the prawn, the salamander, and the very cute mantis prawn with x_x eyes
The other interesting activity at Siam Ocean World is the Ocean Walker. Basically you suit up and put a glass helmet over your head and walks for 15 minutes on the sandy bottom in one of the giant tanks (which doesn’t house the sharks I believe. It could be a very interesting experience especially for non-swimmers.
And for the less adventurous, there’s also the Glass Bottom Boat for a different perspective in looking at the fishes. We did not take up any of those extra activities though.
otter and some giant rodents too
The aquarium is separated into quite a few sections over 2 basement levels in Siam Paragon Mall. Right after the entrance was the “Weird and Wonderful” section with many interesting creatures such as the “whack-a-mole” eels. Next is the “Living Ocean”, and then “Rain Forest”, “Rocky Shore”, “Sea Jellies”, and “Open Ocean”, you can find out what is exhibiting at which zone on their website.
mell with arapaima gigas, the biggest fresh water fish
The variety of creatures are quite big. Fresh water giants like Arapaima Gigas to the normal aquarium fishes you find at homes. There are also jelly fish, sea horses, mantis shrimps, sharks, sting rays, red snappers, grouper fish, eels, and more.
There are also star fish, horseshoe crabs, salamanders, giant rodents, otters, turtles, and even penguins. I think the only major type of sea creature I did not see in there was living octopus, squid, and cuttle fish. But they made it up with samples of preserved deep ocean creatures though.
in another day, we would have eaten the sting ray
It was a pretty interesting experience despite the price being a little steep. I think the next aquarium I’ll be going could very well be the Melbourne Aquarium 😀