Friday, March 4, 2016

Farewell Dinner in Bangkok. Yaowarat Road.

Yaowarat Road.

We arrived back into Bangkok earlier this afternoon. We're just here on an overnight layover as we're all flying back home to the US tomorrow. So sad that our trip is coming to and end - we've had a wonderful time!

I booked us into the Dwella Suvarnabhumi Hotel which is an airport hotel.  Arriving by plane from Yangon to Bangkok, we just had to make our way to the meeting point for the hotel shuttle.  At the hotel, we settled in and relaxed for a short while.  While Bro took a dip in the hotel's teeny, weeny pool, Ayşe and I grabbed a quick bite in the hotel restaurant. Bad food for cheap prices but it filled the empty spot.

By early evening, we decided to venture out for dinner.  My original plan for our first day in Bangkok was for Bro and I to explore Bangkok's Chinatown neighborhood which clusters around Yaowarat Road.  But as it turned out, jet lag had the better of us and we had zero energy to venture far beyond our Airbnb apartment.  So, for dinner tonight, I suggested we head to Chinatown.  We hopped into a cab and headed for the hour long ride downtown.  As we neared Yaowarat Road, I recognized a few of the landmarks from the day we passed through here on the walk back to the apartment from Wat Pho.  When I saw the sign for Hua Lamphong MRT (aka metro) station, I knew were were near Yaowarat.

We didn't have a specific destination in mind so the driver just dropped us off on a street corner.  It wasn't hard figuring out which direction to walk in.  We just had to head towards all the street vendors.

We already knew that Bangkok was all about food and eating.  It's akin to a 24 hour non-stop eatery but Yaowarat Road takes it to a whole other level!


The place as absolutely packed with people - prepping food, serving food, and eating food! 


The amazing thing is that the street vendors literally set up their pop up restaurants right next to the store fronts that were now closed for the day. 

Tables and chairs were set up for diners and where need be, there were large plastic tubs ready for washing dishes and cutlery.


If you don't have a good stomach, you'll definitely need to stay away from eating food here!


While Ayşe did a bit of shopping, Bro and I decided to go for bowls of noodle soup with roast duck - a classic Chinese dish and on Yaowarat Road, a bargain beyond cheap to eat.


We sat at a table on the other side of a jewelry store that was closed for the day.


It wasn't a fancy bowl of noodle soup but this is comfort food for us.



We polished bowls and if not for the fact that there was so much other delicious looking food calling out to us, I think we would've both ordered seconds!


I loved the fact that in addition to feeding greedy hungry diners on Yaowarat Road, many of the vendors also provided delivery services.  I tell you, it's a hopping business for them!





Bro is the fruit magnet and he loves, loves, loves durian.  His eyes fell on every mound of durians around.  This isn't the height of durian season but Thailand does have varieties that fruit this time of year.  Too bad we're leaving tomorrow or he would've bought one...or two....or how ever many he thought the three of us could carry :-)



There was literally not an inch of space on the sidewalk or curb that there wasn't either some selling food or some eating food.



The vendors obviously do this every night so they have their routine down, including making sure they have quick and easy access to their dishware.  Talk about organized!


The sight of this vendor's ingenuity at using clothes pins to hold up clusters of roasted meat made me smile.  Yes, I did put the words "clothes pins" and "roasted meat" in the same sentence! :-)


I could say, in all honesty, that if I lived in Bangkok, I would be eating out a LOT!!




I had to stop at this woman's cart.  She was selling a coconut based drink with all the jelly stuff that I like.   For 40 baht ($1 USD), you get a good sized plastic cup and you get to pick 4 items from her selection.  I got one and so did Bro.  At this point, we've spent less than $4 USD for food.  Seriously, you can gorge for less than $10 USD here!


Pagoda Mouse aka Ayşe wanted to get more money.  I don't know why since she would be leaving the country in a few short hours and Bro and I were willing to fund her last night here.  In any case, I had to take the photo of her at the ATM, with the diners sitting at tables in front of her and the ricer cooker, bubbling away, by her feet :-)


It was wall to wall eating!


On one of the side streets, I saw a vendor selling Dragon's Beard candy aka Chinese cotton candy.  In Turkey, they have a version called pişmaniye.  When I told Ayşe this, she had to try it out.  The Thai version, the candy is wrapped around some peanuts.




I told Ayşe that the candy itself would taste different because pişmaniye contains butter while Dragon's Beard does not.  Not surprising that the Turk preferred pişmaniye.



When it was finally time for us to sit down and eat, we picked a seafood restaurant.  After two weeks of Burmese food, it was nice to go back to Thai cuisine.



We ordered a couple of dishes to share and while we waited, we got a chuckle out of watching the cars go by just a few feet behind us.  Dinner here comes with an injection of car exhaust :-(


Our ginormous grilled prawns came to the table first.


Ayşe, who had barely ever even peeled a shrimp before coming on this trip, had become an expert on not only peeling prawns but also on ripping their heads off though she is still not ready to suck on them.  She doesn't know what she's missing!  That honor fell on Bro who was more than willing to take on the task.



Dessert turned out to be something very unexpected.  Durian.  We happened upon a vendor who sold prepacked sections.  Ayşe's brother had tried the fruit once before and pretty much found it disgusting.  So, when he found out that she was coming to Thailand, he dared her to try some and let him know what she thought of it.  I captured her reaction on video so she could send it to him.  I was shocked when she said it was delicious!!  The Turk loves the King of Fruit!!


She had to sniff a few of the pieces and when she didn't smell the stink that she experienced with the same fruit in San Francisco, she was convinced these were not durians.  But you can't fake out the Southeast Asians - Bro and I affirmed that indeed they are durians though they are not as stinky as other ones we've smelled.




We walked up and down several blocks and when we were down, flagged down several taxis before we found one that would agree to using the meter. 


We had a fun time eating on Yaowarat Road and I was stuffed to the gills when I rolled into the cab.  I know my future trips will bring me back to Bangkok and I'll be sure to be back here for another meal!

Goodnight from Bangkok!