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Tasty Thai Treats at Any Time
Teresa Chen, The Epoch Times
10/5/2008

Thailands number one city, hustling and bustling Bangkok, offers an abundance of culinary attractions for any traveller. Its a city of over nine million people and a place where youre able to find something to eat at any hour.

Yummy fruits

For first-time travellers, going to one of the markets for tropical fruits is recommended. A local outdoor market is generally located at the beginning of a soi (lane) where everything from fruit to live chickens are sold. Prices for fruit and vegetables purchased at outdoor markets are typically lower than indoor supermarkets.

There are also street vendors who sell fruits such as guava, pineapple, papaya, watermelon and green mango. The green mangoes are quite chewy and tasty. Vendors usually have two types of fruit dips also available – a salt and sugar dip mixed with crushed chillies and nam-pla-wan (literal translation is water-fish-sweet), which is a caramelised-type dip made from palm sugar and fish sauce.

Most Thai people eat the nam-pla-wan dip with green mangoes and the salt-and-sugar dip with green mangoes, guavas, pineapples and watermelon. If you have a sweet tooth, give the nam-pla-wan dip a try. With a typical price of 10 or 20 Baht ($A0.37 or $A0.74) per fruit sold by street vendors, it is a small price to pay for such a delicious and healthy snack.

Of course, Thailand does have more exotic tropical fruits available, such as mangosteen, sapodilla (one of my favourites that is in season September–December), longan, noi naa (custard apple), rambutan and rose apple (my husband became a fan of this after just one bite).

There is also the infamous durian, which is said to have the taste of heaven and the smell of hell. People either love this fruit or hate it. No matter what anyone says, its always best to try it and decide for yourself.

If you find yourself loving the taste of durian and are unable to stop eating it, keep this warning in mind: Locals say that alcohol should not be consumed after eating large amounts of durian. Folklore has it that a man died after doing so due to the heat generated inside his body from the durian combined with the heat from alcohol. It is also taboo to eat too much durian and longan fruit. The heat from both fruits does not mix well and can cause one to be ill. Durian can be consumed with mangosteen though. Mangosteen is considered cold and balances the heat from the durian. Granted it is folklore, but myths must hold some truth, so better to play it safe.


Floating markets are a unique shopping experience. (Jan Jekielek/The Epoch Times)
Dining by the river

After walking around the hot and humid city, being able to relax and enjoy a meal next to the Chao Phyra River is a great way to unwind.

A favourite haunt of mine is The Good View bar and restaurant not far from Krung Thep (Bangkok) Bridge. Although the view adjacent and across the venue is not breathtaking, the candlelit atmosphere and live band playing mellow tunes compensates. Dining in the evening is the best time to enjoy both the sunset and, surprisingly, gentle breezes.

The Good View offers three different types of food: Thai, Japanese and European. Ive never sampled the Japanese or European dishes since my mind is usually focused on Thai food only.

The deep fried dried beef (Thai-style beef jerky) and Chiang Mai herbal pork sausage, which is a pork sausage stuffed with different types of herbs that leaves your mouth semi-spiced up, are great choices for starters.

Stir fried fish maws, charcoal-grilled seafood curry mousse served in banana leaf, baked prawns with glass noodles served in a hot pot, steamed whole snapper in chilli and lime sauce, pilot fish and cha-oom vegetable in chilli spicy soup and deep fried crispy morning glory salad make for the perfect mains to satisfy my Thai food craving.

If youre planning on going to the restaurant, be sure to make a reservation if you want to enjoy the river view since there are limited tables near the water. The restaurant is not next to a sky train or subway, so the best mode of transport is to catch a taxi.

After hours

Still hungry after midnight? Youre in luck. Many streets around Bangkok have street vendors selling food late into the night. One of the popular streets where locals like to go is Sukhumvit Soi 38. Setting up shop at the entrance of the street, these food vendors arrive around 7pm and are usually open until 3am on the weekdays and until 4am on the weekends.

Sukhumvit Soi 38 used to be known by locals only, but word-of-mouth is spreading to travellers looking for a bite to eat in the early morning hours.

Typical street food can be found here like kao-man-kai (Hainese chicken with rice), yen-ta-fo (pink noodle dish) and phad-thai. The prices are higher than other street vendor locations with dishes costing 50 Baht ($A 1.84), which is the same price found at air-conditioned food courts in malls.

So if you are visiting Bangkok, no matter what time or day it is, with all its mouth-watering Thai food on offer, youll definitely not find yourself with an empty stomach.

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