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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!

Pad See Yew at Bangkok
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 near Reflections Hotel, Bangkok
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.

Bangkok Tomyam Hawker
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.

Tomyam near Reflections Room Hotel, Bangkok
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.

Mellissa and KY having some spicy tomyam
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.

egg, squid with cabbage, and tomyam
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!

Dinner by the streets, Bangkok
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, Vegetable, at streets of Bangkok
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.

Map to Reflections Rooms Hotel, Bangkok
map of Reflections Rooms Hotel

Address:
Outside Reflections Rooms Hotel
224/2-18 Pradipat Rd.,
Samsennai,Phayathai,
Bangkok 10400 Thailand
GPS: 13.790110,100.545947

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.

Reflections Rooms hotel at Bangkok
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.

Reflections Rooms 202 - Hong Kong Pat
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.”

Reflections Rooms 202 - Hong Kong Pat
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.

Reflections Rooms 202 - Hong Kong Pat
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.

Reflections Rooms 202 - Hong Kong Pat
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.

Reflections Rooms 303 - Medicine Machine
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.

Reflections Rooms 303 - Medicine Machine
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.

Reflections Rooms 303 - Medicine Machine
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.

Reflections Rooms 303 - Medicine Machine
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.

Siam Ocean World
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.

Siam Ocean World
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.

Siam Ocean World
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.

Siam Ocean World
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.

Siam Ocean World
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.

Siam Ocean World
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 :D

On the first full day at Bangkok, Mell and I decided to head downtown to Siam Paragon as it was a Friday, and the most important destination, Chatuchak, only opens on weekends. We took a the Skytrain from Saphan Khwai, the nearest station to our hotel, all the way down to Siam Central, seven stations away.

Siam Paragon Skytrain station

I really like the Bangkok train system, they’re fast, efficient, and people are pretty friendly. For example, strangers would adjust and leave two side by side seats when they saw us walking in as a couple. Kapkun kap!

Tony Romas at Siam Paragon, Bangkok
Tony Romas at Siam Paragon

We did a little bit of shopping and walking around before catching the show every girl has so eagerly waiting for – Confessions of a Shopaholic. I must admit that the movie was actually pretty good (especially for a bimbo show). The cinema at Siam Paragon was also the most luxurious cineplex I’ve ever sat foot in, and the royal theater our movie was screened in could seat 1,200 movie goers. Very impressive.

Baby back ribs at Tony Romas, Bangkok
the real deal: baby back ribs

After the movie, we decided to have an early dinner. Walking around the ground floor of siam paragon, we arrived at Tony Romas. Well, we do have this again alongside TGIF and Chili’s, but there is a crucial difference. In Thailand, the baby back ribs that made Tony Romas name so recognisable is served with it’s original ingredient – pork.

Tony Romas's onion ring loaf
onion ring loaf, bread and butter

Naturally, we can’t pass up such an opportunity. We stepped into the restaurant and ordered ourselves a full rack of ribs and half a loaf of their unique onion ring to share between the two of us.

Service was commendable despite the odd hours (it was just before 5). A yeast roll was served with butter to get us starting while our dishes were being prepared, and they were pretty delicious. Slightly hard on the outside and soft and warm inside.

KY and Mellissa at Tony Romas, Bangkok
KY & Mellissa at Tony Romas

Next up was the onion ring loaf. Even though it was their smallest portion, the serving was still rather big. It tastes like a cross between the normal onion ring and those you get from banana leaf rice accompanying deep fried dishes. Very delightful with the dipping that tasted rather like thousand island dressing.

Then came the ribs. Full rack of baby back goodness with a perfectly prepared baked potatoe topped sour cream and bacon bits.

The ribs were absolutely fantastic! Tender and flavorful, with the sauce that complement the meat so brilliantly. We literally sucked the bones dry. It was truly worthy of the reputation.

If you are in Thailand or Singapore, give this a try and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Now why can’t we have a just one Tony Romas at home that is non halal? Just one, please?

It is often my mission to taste food that are not available locally whenever I travel to another country, and that usually means eating by the streets and at some of the more dodgy areas the locals frequent.

However, unique perhaps only to Malaysia in this part of the world, there are several big restaurant chains that altered their menu to be Muslim friendly (Tony Romas, Subway), or skip the country entirely. One of such example would be Mos Burger.

Mos Burger at Siam Paragon
Mos Burger – Japanese Fine Burger & Coffee

Mos Burger is the 2nd largest fast food restaurant chain in Japan after the ubiquitous McDonald’s. In addition to the native country, they also operate in Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The major difference between Mos Burger and the usual McD/BK/Wendy’s is the availability of their rather unique rice burger, and of course, the liberal addition of pork in their menu. (which was exactly why I went there in both my Bangkok trips)

KY and Mell waiting for Mos Burger
KY & Mell waiting for our Mos burgers!

On our 3rd day at Bangkok, we found ourself at the biggest Mall in town, CentralWorld , Mell and I decided to have a go at Mos Burger for lunch.

The menu at Mos is rather big for a fast-food restaurant. There are hotdog, prawn, fish, chicken teriyaki, beef patties, beef teriyaki, unagi, and of course, pork burger (not available in Mos Singapore, sigh)

Naturally, we went for two different pork burgers. I chose the ginger pork rice burger, while Mell ordered the pork cutlet burger set. We paid and then sat down patiently and waited for the burgers to be served.

Mos Burger at Siam Paragon
ginger pork rice burger & pork cutlet burger

The rice burger “buns” and the ginger pork was rather awesome. The feeling was rather like having a ginger pork bento with Japanese rice, but in a convenient burger format. I can eat this kinda things 3 times a week. Mell’s pork cutlet burger was equally impressive as well. Soft buns, generous amount of shredded cabbage, and the delicious pork cutlet with the savory sauce. The lady was well satisfied.

Our sets came with soft drink and a small serving of fries. The fries are slightly thicker than your standard McDonald’s, and less salty too. They’re probably healthier, but I wasn’t too impressed with them. Then again I was never a fan of fries since I the stint with McD over 10 years ago.

Mos Burger at Siam Paragon
some other burgers and dishes from my previous trip

The set meals we ordered were 109 and 129 bath, or roughtly RM 11 and RM 13. A little bit more than BK and McD’s but the quality of burgers more than made up for the prize difference.

If you find yourself at the center of Bangkok, head to CenterWorld and give this a try. There is also a branch at Siam Paragon’s food court level.

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