SPICEGASM.COM My travel tales and food hunting

December 31, 2011

Unexpected experience in Thailand’s Chinatown

Filed under: Food,Thailand,Travel — Alex @ 12:49 pm

I was browsing the net for some cool places to go eat in Bangkok. I stumbled upon a site which offers a food tour in Chinatown. In order to join the tour, one got to book half a day in advance. I have to admit that I suck when it comes to doing things that is scheduled. I am more of the spur of the moment guy. So I did not book the tour and went to sleep.

I woke up the next day at 7am and I really felt like going to Chinatown and get the taste of Chinese Thai Dim Sum. The thing with Chinese food in the region of South East Asia, every country has its own special twist to it. It is normally a fusion mixed between Chinese cooking and the local style. So I thought would be a cool idea to go sample some Chinese Thai style Dim Sum. My friend Zach is still sleeping and I thought would be a good idea to invite him as well.

Busy street with many roadside vendors in Chinatown, Bangkok

Wen Zach woke up, I told him about my idea. He said yes and we should do it. So we were thinking whether to take the MRT or taxi. Since Chinatown does not have an MRT station nearby, we decided to take the taxi. How bad could the traffic be at 9.45am in the morning. We stopped a cab and the driver was more than happy to bring us there. That’s when our ordeal began!

I have no idea why the traffic was so bad on that day. It took us 2 hours to reach Chinatown from Ratchada. I bet without any traffic, it would probably take us less than 20 minutes to be in Chinatown. We had to go pee so badly while in the cab. By the time we reached Chinatown, our man pipes feels like is going to explode. I gave the taxi driver extra 100 baht on top of the meter charges and frantically trying to look for a restaurant. To my surprise, I didn’t see one single restaurant near the area where we were dropped off. It was all shops selling various merchandises. There’s a lot of street food though, mostly selling “Wan Ton Noodles”.

Street food in Chinatown, Bangkok

We walked frantically for another ten minutes looking for restaurants with toilets. My mind is no longer thinking of Dim Sum. I no longer feel hungry. Finally out of desperation, we thicken our face and asked a Thai lady vendor in our halting Thai – “Where’s the nearest toilet. She gave us some directions in Thai. We quickly thanked her and walked as fast as we could. “Thong Pai, Liaw Sai , Liew Sai, which means go straight, turn left and left again.”

We were so happy to have found a run down restaurant which has a working toilet. Is not 5 star quality but under the circumstances, this is more than welcome. I went first and asked Zach to sit down like we are customers. I have no idea why at this old age, I still feel embarrassed to use the restaurant toilets only and not eat there. Zach is no better than me when it comes to having a thick face. I guess no Dim Sum for us, whatever the shop sells, we will consume it.

This is the front of the beef noodle shop

When I got out of the toilet, I only realized that the run down shop is selling beef noodles. This is the kind of shop that I love. Run down shops in Asia always serve the best food, most of the time based on my personal experience. Judging from the crowd, the shop must be really popular. The waitress came to us and asked us what we want. We couldn’t understand a word and upon sensing that, she told us in Thai what they have. We could only understood the word noodles and beef. I just nod my head and put up a peace sign, indicating TWO please. I have no idea what we are going to get but at times is fun to eat something different in situation like this.

Customers waiting for their beef noodles

Beef balls that is really crunchy and bouncy – awesome!

My second round – beef tripe, tendon and more beef balls

Gelatinous goodness – beef tendon

She brought us two bowls of rice and another two bowls of soup with beef meat and beef balls. The serving is pretty small and after finishing my bowl of soup and rice, I wasn’t satisfied. I knew beef noodle shops would definitely have the cow innards like stomach, tendon and tripe. I went to the area where they prepare the dishes and just pointed to all the innards that I wanted, together with their awesome beef balls.

Can’t understand Thai, but it seems like this is a recognition poster by a TV station for serving excellent food.

After the meal, we walked a bit in Chinatown and as usual, like most other Chinatown in the world, is pretty busy. Rows of shops selling clothes, toys, hardware and many other products. The afternoon heat was pretty intense on that day. After snapping a few pictures, we decided to hop on a tuk tuk and go to the nearest MRT station. The ride was just less than 10 minutes and the MRT ride home was less than 20 minutes.

Rolex anyone?

Toy vendor

Rows of shops most likely own by Chinese Thais

This is the main reason I want Dinemates to be successful. I wouldn’t have to tell my friends in the future that it took me 2 hours to go to Chinatown to pee and eat beef noodles only.

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