September 5, 2023

Bangkok incognito day 5: noodles and orange juice

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Foursheets is busy with work meetings all day, so I'm flying solo most of the day starting from breakfast. I decided to walk over to Rung Rueang Pork Noodle (รุ่งเรือง ก๋วยเตี๋ยวหมู) on Sukhumvit Soi 26 to try out this famous noodle shop.

There are, in fact, TWO noodle shops adjacent to each other - both with the same name. They are commonly referred to as the "Left Shop" and the "Right Shop". The Left Shop has been listed in the Michelin Guide for Bangkok and earned itself a Bib Gourmand distinction. The Right Shop, though, continues to do roaring business without the status.

So which shop to visit? Do I do both? I could certain do that, but it would require consuming more calories than I really need. Fortunately, someone has already done the comparison and reached a verdict. A trio including Supercharz and Super G had hit both of these spots just days ago, and concluded that the Right Shop was the one. So... I just followed their advice.

I chose to get a small bowl of kiami noodles with everything (ทุกอย่าง เกี๋ยมอี๋). The short rice noodles have tapered sharp tips on both sides, and in the pork-based (with lots of MSG, of course!) soup were minced pork, fish balls, fish cake, and offal like liver and heart. There was plenty of pepper in the soup, and the Chinese celery was pretty strong.

I got a serving of deep-fried fish skin (หนังปลากรอบ), because why not?!

I never pass up a chance to have some tangerine juice (น้ำส้มคั้นแท้) while in Thailand, and the small bottle was just THB 20. Perfect way to rinse my tongue after all that MSG!

I needed to head west for some shopping so I decided to hit a spot that has also earned itself a Michelin Bib Gourmand. It's 5 days into my trip and I have yet to try a plate of pad thai (ผัดไทย), so it's high time I did! And what better place to do this than Baan Phadthai (บ้านผัดไทย)?!

I soon found out, though, that the only people who came here were single, male tourists who would do anything for "the Gram". One guy ordered the plate with 4 or 5 jumbo river prawns (meant to be shared by 2 people), took waaay too long to take pictures and videos, then proceeded to livestream himself eating the first 4 bites. He then asked the staff to pack up the rest of the noodles since he couldn't possibly finish it by himself, then rushed off to go to his next filiming spot... at least that's my guess. Another tourist came and ordered the plate with jumbo mud crab - also meant to be shared by 2 people - and told the staff that he was hungry. I think he at least tried to finish the plate...

I had already checked out the menu before arriving, so ordering was pretty simple. First things first... a glass of Thai mandarin juice (ส้ม). This was certainly a larger serving than the one I had for breakfast, perhaps double the volume. But it also comes at 8 times the price - a whopping THB 160.

Phadthai poo: stir fried rice noodle with eggs, peanuts, bean sprouts, tofu, garlic chive, dried shrimp, crab juice, tamarind sauce and blue crab meat (ผัดไทยปู)
- temperature was warm, but not piping hot. The noodles were clumped together, which wasn't great. A lot of stir-fried diced radish, and also plenty of tofu. Otherwise, though... not especially tasty.

The restaurant is just a few steps behind Shangri-La Bangkok, which meant I could walk to the Sathorn Pier to board the ferries. For the princely sum of THB 10 - albeit with no air conditioning and we had to wait until the boat was mostly full - one could take the dedicated ferry to ICONSIAM. No worries about traffic jam.

I came back here to buy something very specific, but as it was my day alone away from Foursheets, I decided to take advantage of this to get myself some durian. Thai durians are a completely different animal to Malaysian durians, but I guess one can't go wrong with some Monthong (หมอนทอง). Unfortunately, though, pricing in a tourist-driven shopping mall is always gonna be somewhat of a rip-off. I was shocked to see that "premium grade" Monthong durian is being sold at THB 2,000 per kilo. I bought some, anyway, knowing I wouldn't be able to hit a local fruit stall for a cheaper fix.

After swinging by Corgi in the Garden to pick up more T-shirts, I doubled back for another shopping stop at the Thonglor branch of Khua Kling Pak Sod (คั่วกลิ้ง ผักสด). The 16 km ride took me more than 1½ hours. Sigh. But it had to be done.

On our last visit to Bangkok, Gaggan introduced Foursheets to the special blend of Thai crispy chili (พริกคั่วกรอบ) made by Drama Queen (ดราม่าควีน) in collaboration with Khua Kling Pak Sod. Foursheets loved it so much that Gaggan ended up delivering 10 jars of it as we were on our way to the airport. It's been 5 long years, and it was the thing we most wanted to bring home from Bangkok. I'd been looking around in different supermarkets and just haven't found this particular flavor, so I came to the restaurant to buy her a few jars.

After returning to my hotel, staff at the hotel reception told me that I had a "food delivery" - which I most certainly did not order. Turns out Gaggan had sent over more jars of the same chili flakes, and they came in yellow shopping bags from Khua Kling Pak Sod...

I desperately needed a coffee, so I strolled back to Brainwake Café and ordered myself a black citrus (แบล็กซิตริส). This is basically half Thai tangerine juice and half Americano, and when you combined the two parts together it tasted strangely like those orange-flavored dark chocolates... or candied orange peel covered in dark chocolate. I actually really like it! Gotta try this at home.

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