Tag Archives: Street Food

Eating my way through Bangkok

Bangkok was…interesting. I didn’t dislike the city while I was there by any means; it was the retrospective comparison to every other place in Thailand I visited thereafter that made me feel glad I didn’t spend so much of my time in Bangkok itself.

I’m sure some people absolutely love Bangkok, more power to them. Between Khao San Road and a few other famed attractions, I felt that my couple of days in Bangkok were just, if not more than enough to run around the city. I largely stuck to my go-to method of enjoying any new location: exploration via FOOD!

Touched down in Bangkok late evening and took the metro as close as I could get to my hostel.

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A peaceful moment in Bangkok traffic ft. my finger. Pro-photographer move there Jasmine.

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More evening views

I was running out of sunlight, so I dropped into the nearest restaurant I could find for dinner.

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SO I know this looks horrible. Every shot I took looked like a different plate of up-chuck. (It’s yellow curry with crab meat.) I tried. Looks aside, the curry was absolutely delicious; it definitely got me excited for the rest of my time eating through Thailand. Not only that, at 110 bhat (roughly 3 dollars), I thought it was quite the steal. Little did I know that I could get the same plate for well under half the price elsewhere. Oh well! Ignorance is bliss, I was a happy camper.

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Closed out with a dim sum dessert. (Yeah yeah eat Thai food in Thailand) Couldn’t help myself. The dim sum place I frequent at home NEVER has the thousand layer cake so I jumped at the opportunity. Soft bao-like dough layered with salted egg yolk custard. Heaven!

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Got to my hostel and promptly passed out. Not bad!

The next morning, I set out bright and early to do some exploring: read eating. Learned quite quickly that this was no small town in Myanmar. Rather, Bangkok was the epitome of a ‘tourist-city.’ For every local I saw, there were five backpack-toting, map-weilding, Birkenstock-wearing tourists looking absolutely bewildered at the street signs written in Thai. (I was one of the latter beauties.)

And for every tourist, there was a tuk-tuk or cab driver waiting to scam them. Yet another harsh reality. Cab drivers often tried to quote prices up to five times higher than what it would normally cost, to which I’d have to reply, ‘Pae paeng! Meter ka?’ (Loosely translates into: so expensive! Meter please?) The drivers would often grumble and then turn on the meter; lo and behold, it would often read a fraction of the quoted price at the destination.

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Scam man. I would advise to generally avoid tuk-tuks as there are no meters to accurately guage the pricing. I asked this driver to take me to the train station so I could buy tickets to Chiang Mai, to which he initially agreed. Halfway through the trip, he told me the train station was closed at the time and that he would take me to a nearby tourist center to buy tickets. These drivers often get paid commissions on the tourists they bring, so watch out.. SCAM! I hopped out and walked the rest of the 4 km to the stations, but not before the tuk tuk driver tried to charge me 150 baht. We settled for 40, though I’m pretty sure the actual fare was closer to 20. Now, paying 5 dollars as opposed to 50 cents for a cab really isn’t the end of the world, I guess it was just the constant scamming that got to me. After a couple of different encounters, I decided to take the bus thereafter.

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Woo! First time on a local bus in Thailand. The fares ranged anywhere from eight to thirteen baht depending on the quality of the bus, which I loved. However, buses were often late or strayed from the indicated route a surprising number of times. Either way, it was a relief to not have to argue with a taxi driver over one or two dollars.

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Traffic was crazy in Bangkok. It was actually faster than both bus and taxi to walk most of the time. I just had to be extremely mindful; traffic signals seemed to be taken as more of a light suggestion than anything.

Some pictures from my aimless wandering on Day 1:

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Braised pork legs and…eggs? Interesting.

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Tom Yum soup with shrimp! Perfect balance of spicy and sour.

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Sticky rice and mango station!

Waiting for my delicious creation..

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The masterpiece. Sticky rice soaked in coconut milk with a side of perfectly ripened mango, and topped with salty fried mung beans/sesame seeds. So SO good.

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I love seeing is how different countries put their own twists on franchise businesses. In addition to the typical vanilla and chocolate in Thailand, popular flavors included passion fruit, papaya, durian, and dragon fruit.

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Motorcycle taxis

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Street eats!

I started lagging on taking pictures at this point..

Ran around Khao San Road for a bit later that evening as it was not a long distance from where I was staying. Khao San Road was exactly what people described it to be. Neon lights, blaring music, an endless supply of bars and drunk tourists alike, and good-but-not-great street food. It was fun to witness the festivities and whatnot, but I retreated to my hostel once the scene started to get a bit tiresome.

Round 2 tomorrow!

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Welcome to Myanmar!

I touched down in Yangon from Osaka the following morning, and the extreme heat was the first thing to hit me. Gone was the perfect 75/80 degree Japan weather, Yangon on that specific day topped nearly 100 degrees. Fun!

I’m not going to lie, I barely did anything that first day because I think I was in some kind of culture shock.. To go from Japan to Myanmar was quite the drastic change.

The first thing I did was walk down the street that my hostel was on. 

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It was humid, congested, noisy, and smelled like a combination of fish sauce and dog doo doo. Am I painting a vivid picture? Between the street vendors peddling their goods, wandering dogs that weaved in and out of peoples’ legs, and men spitting some kind of chewing tobacco juice everywhere around me, I felt like I was suffering from claustrophobia.

I made it out onto the main street in search of something to eat. There were people sitting on tiny plastic chairs eating what looked like rice and curry served out of huge vats. Further down the street there were some fresh fruit and noodle vendors. Two things kept popping up repeatedly:

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Fried crickets and..

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Miscellaneous meat skewers! I was later told that intestine was a popular street snack in Yangon. I didn’t have the courage to try either of these, maybe one day.. 

I kept wandering, and finally came across an Indian restaurant that advertised as  ‘Lonely Planet recommended.’ I know I know, boo you Jasmine) , going all the way to Myanmar and eating Indian food. I trust Lonely Planet-a tiny bit more than my judgment of a random street vendor- so I decided to head into the small shop. To my surprise, the owner of the shop was speaking in Malayalam (my native language) to one of the patrons. I asked him if he was a Malayalee and we chatted for a while about Kerala and things to do in Yangon and whatnot. That small interaction really helped ease the anxiety that had been slowly building.

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Kerala-style meal, on the house! I chose a veg thali plate as I was still hesitant of the meat..

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Grabbed some papaya off the street on my way home. Dumped the rest of my water bottle into the bag and gave it a good shake. I’m sure that did next to nothing in terms of safety, but the effort was reassuring. The papaya was delicious and fingers crossed, I haven’t gotten sick yet..

Back at the hostel, I had a brief self-scolding session where I realized that I might as well have stayed at home if I planned on being uncomfortable in new environments. It was a hard day, but definitely something to learn from. With that in mind, I told myself I would give Yangon my best shot the following day.

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