September 4, 2023

Bangkok incognito day 4: noodles and home cooking

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Another morning, and another breakfast. Foursheets wanted some boat noodles for breakfast, and we wandered back to Brainwake Café for it. But first... time to get myself some cha yan (ชาเย็น).

Beef boat noodle soup (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือเนื้อน้ำ) - with an extra order of crackling (กากหมู) that is de rigueur. OK la... Craving satisfied.

Gaggan picked us up from our hotel and took us to lunch. We would make two stops across town, for two different styles of noodles. First would be Ta Chai Sukhothai Noodles (ตาชัยก๋วยเตี๋ยวสุโขทัย), where the daughter has put themselves on Instagram to try to spread the word.

We had a choice of noodle type, and I picked what Gaggan chose - hand-cut noodles for their bite.

So we get our bowl of soup on the side, since these noodles come tossed so the soup comes on the side.

The Sukhothai noodles (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวสุโขทัย) came with minced pork, char siu, bean sprouts, and diced string beans.

This style of noodles came with a little acidity thanks to the vinegar used, and flavors weren't so heavy. I did, of course, asked for "not too spicy"...

Our next stop was Aunt Pien's Stir-Fried Chicken Noodles (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวคั่วไก่ป้าเพียร), which is located along the banks of a canal near Wat Ratchabophit. Peak hour had passed by the time we arrived, and Auntie Pien gave a warm greeting to Gaggan, as he's been bringing different groups of people here lately.

We had a choice of protein, and rather than the signature chicken - which I knew Foursheets would find boring - I chose braised pork. And of course we needed a ton of pork crackling on top!

I really loved these flat noodles, stir-fried with eggs and very little oil, which gave us some beautiful charred flavors.

We were pretty full by now and could use a walk, so I suggested to the Great One that we hit Natthaphon Coconut Ice Cream (นัฐพรไอศครีมกะทิสด) a short distance away. While we would sweat a little from walking in the sun, the reward of a good coconut sorbet would make the trip worthwhile. And yes, it was as clean and pure and refreshing as I remembered from a few years ago.

I wanted to look for some goodies to bring home, so Foursheets and I hit centralwOrld and we found ourselves at Tops Food Hall. I thought it would be a supermarket that locals patronize, and I would be more likely to find stuff that I was looking for. I couldn't be more wrong. I didn't see anything I wanted.

But I did manage to pick up a couple of khanom buang (ขนมเบื้อง) from a stall called Khun Dao Thevet Thai Crispy Tacos (ขนมเบื้องไทยคุณดาวเทเวศน์). These were OK.

I took us 70 minutes to travel back to our hotel in a car, for a total distance of less than 5km. Bangkok traffic on a Monday afternoon.

Vlad came by and we were off to Gaggan's new digs for some home cooking. Foursheets was ecstatic that she got to see (and play with) Matcha again. He's going through a bitey stage, but as a dog owner myself I'm OK with that. My fingers survived.

We had a few simple dishes of seafood and vegetables, which was perfect for the ladies.

Pink guava and sweet potato - with some lime juice and salt.

White asparagus with French mustard - and a dash of Meinklang Prosa.

Crab meat curry - Gaggan explained that these are known as "Jay Fai size" and more people are paying up for them these days. Got some heat here.

Hamaguri from Kanazawa - cooked with stock made from chicken wings, along with Meinklang Prosa. Love that broth with some heat from chili.

Rice with striped jack, corn, asparagus, and spinach - using aged rice again, of course.

Very simple and very clean.

Burnt Basque cheesecake - from the local franchise of Jérôme by Jérôme Quilbeuf. Very nice.

Vlad also opened a few bottles, but we were pretty restrained.

2017 Emilien Feneuil Les Ruisseaux, dégorgée le 10 Decembre 2020 - definitely tasted like a meunier on the palate. The nose was fragrant and kinda ripe, with a little sweet vanilla. Good acidity on the palate.

2008 Hospices de Beaune Corton-Clos du Roi Cuvée Baronne du Bay, elevé et mis en bouteille par Lucien Le Moine pour Juli Soler, ⟪Rte. El Bulli⟫, en magnum - very fragrant nose, plenty of sweet fruit, almost a little floral, and perhaps a little savory as well. After opening for more than an hour, the classic toasty notes came out on the nose. NOW it's a rich white Burg.

2013 Henri Bonneau Cuvée Marie Beurrier, en magnum - decanted about 1½ hours after opening, this wine finally opened up after about another 1½ hours in the decanter. Fragrant nose with woodsy notes as one would expect. Softer on the palate now.

Bonnet-Ponson Griblanc - very metallic on the nose, like an Anjou pear. Acidity was pretty high on the palate.

It was so nice to spend some quality time with Gaggan and Vlad. Some interesting stories were traded and we got updates on the culinary scene in Thailand. I hope we can see each other again soon.

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