April 25, 2024

Scorching Bangkok day 2: Isaan with the boys

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Besides coming for the launch of Hairy Legs' new outpost in Bangkok, I'm also spending time hanging out with the Indian Hairy Legs and the boys. In addition to scheduling meals at his restaurants, he promised to take me out for some Thai food. I left the choice entirely up to him, only cautioning that my tolerance for heat is limited.

Not wanting to take me somewhere for fine dining, he chose the Sathorn branch of Baan Somtum (บ้านส้มตำ) as it's relatively close to my hotel. This would be my second Isaan meal in as many days, and I was really looking forward to it. The place was heaving when I arrived, packed with lots of people who looked like they just got off work. Vlad and Rydo made it a foursome for us tonight.

We left the ordering to the person who speaks the best Thai, which is of course Indian Hairy Legs. I am grateful that most of the dishes tonight weren't over the top in terms of fire...

Prawn coconut salad (ตำมะพร้าวอ่อนกุ้งสด) - the place is, after all, called Baan Somtum, so we would try a couple of som tum. This one with pieces of coconut flesh was nice.

Deep fried chicken wings (ปีกไก่ทอด) - who doesn't like fried chicken wings? These were pretty good, so a second order was placed by Vlad, who proceeded not to share it with anyone else.

Spicy soft boiled pork rib soup (ต้มแซ่บซี่โครงหมูอ่อน) - this was pretty tasty.

Grilled sirloin in spicy Thai salad (ยำเนื้อสันนอกย่าง) - the beef was a little on the fatty side, and definitely tender and tasty!

Salted egg in Thai papaya salad (ตำไข่เค็ม) - more som tum!

Deep fried Thai sausage (ใส้กรอกอีสาน) - I do love these Isaan sausages where rice is stuffed inside along with pork, then fermented to give it more complexity. There's also some kaffir lime here, which was a nice surprise. Of course, I didn't touch those bird's eye chilis that typically come on the side...

Deep fried spicy minced pork with herbs batter (ลาบหมูทอด) - this was basically deep-fried larb (ลาบ) patties, and I gotta say... DAMN TASTY! The batter with herbs was really nice, and looking at the golden brown color you know the outside is just nice and crunchy. I could just have a plate of this and some rice...

Stir-fried eggplant (ผัดมะเขือ) - fried with some Thai basil. Pretty nice.

Grilled chicken with Makhwan pepper (ไก่ย่างมะแขว่น) - can't come to Thailand and not have gai yang (ไก่ย่าง)! I think this one had the Makhwan (มะแขว่น) peppercorns on top, which made it particularly fragrant.

Fried banana blossom coated with red curry batter (ทอดมันหัวปลี) - I do love fried banana blossom when it's done right, and this was really good. A worthy - or perhaps even better - alternative to fried onions rings...

Black sticky rice (ข้าวเหนียวดำ)

Grass jelly topped with brown sugar (เฉาก๊วย) - I do love grass jelly, so it made sense for me to finish the meal with this.

Marian plum in syrup (มะยงชิดลอยแก้ว) - we don't get mayong chit (มะยงชิด) much outside Southeast Asia, so this was ordered for me to try. Pretty interesting and seasonal.

It was much too early to call it a night, especially when we hadn't had a single drop of alcohol, so the boys took me to one of their favorite bars in town - Smalls.

Being conscious of how alcohol inevitably aggravates my cough, I nursed my single Negroni for the whole evening... drinking the water as the ice melts even after nothing else was left in the tumbler.

I don't normally frequent places with live bands, especially jazz bands, but I do have to admit the entertainment tonight was pretty enjoyable. Really happy to have hung out with the boys tonight, and also grateful that no ass-grabbing or "skin contact" was needed...

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