Located on the southern coast of Bali, Canggu is known for beautiful rolling rice fields and the roar of the surf. The fast growing village is roughly half-an-hour drive from the upscale resort area at Seminyak that lies further south. Looking for good food, good vibe? Here are ten best places to eat in Canggu, from trendy café to Balinese style restaurants to cool spots to post on Instagram.
One of the favorite hangouts in Canggu, Café Organic means exactly that. Good food comes from natural farming methods. Feel the atmosphere. The interior space in shades of white is adorned with lush tropical gardens. There are healthy desserts to satisfy any sweet tooth.
A restaurant with beautiful rice field views, Warung Gouthe is well known for its home-style brochettes. The skewered meat or fish chunks grilled or roasted to perfection come in a tray with an excellent side dish of salad. You will love panini, a sandwich made with toasted Italian bread and the tantalizing aroma of a country style kitchen.
A favorite place serving breakfast and lunch, Cabina Bali is about good food, great company, and the opportunity to share the happiest moments in life. Here, food comes in a floating basket, so you don’t even have to get out of the pool. Girls in bikinis love it for the Gram.
Calm down and relax at Parachute as you take in the view of surrounding rice fields and lush vegetable gardens. If you prefer to eat alfresco, there are parachute canopies for that. Inside, coffee smells like heaven, and the aroma of baked goods will simply overwhelm you.
My Warung Canggu
Nothing beats a steak grilled to perfection. My Warung Canggu is a place to give yourself a nice treat or the ultimate indulgence. It goes together well with artistic and definitely exciting interior design. There’s even a confession room in case you think you’ve eaten too much.
It’s said that waterways are the wellsprings of civilization, and that does appear to be true. Looking back many thousands of years to the earliest prototypes of human civilization it seems they all had close relationships with and originated along water sources. Civilizations in the Nile Delta, the Huang He basin, along the Indus River, the Tigris-Euphrates, and in Thailand itself, humanity’s ways of life began with connections to waterways used for consumption, travel, and agricultural use.
The international festival of contemporary art Bangkok Art Biennale (BAB) 2018 echoes this historic heritage of civilization by exhibiting the works of artists both Thai and foreign along one of Asia’s ancient and majestic waterways. Come along today as we take you to see art on the Chao Phraya riverside, and, by the way, take a few breaks to scarf down some truly delicious food.
Saphan Taksin SkyTrain Station
Our starting point today is the Saphan Taksin BTS Skytrain station, itself an important landmark. Foreigners are familiar with it for its location in the heart of Charoen Krung district and its access to the Chao Phraya Express Boat and cross-river ferries, for travel to major points such as Asiatique the Riverfront, ICONSIAM, Wat Arun, Maharaj Pier, and many others.
For a taste treat in the Charoen Krung area, we’ll first take you to “Thip Hoi Thot Phukhao Fai,” a superb fried shellfish shop in Soi Charoen Krung 50 known for the freshness of ingredients coming direct from the sea each day. We recommend the Hoi Thap Hoi (“Shellfish on Shellfish”) for 90 baht, featuring deep fried mussels spread on top of a layer of oysters for a crispy-outside, soft-inside taste, with oysters that are delightfully fresh and juicy.
Thip Hoi Thot Phukhao Fai(Shop is in the front of the tiny 1 Khuha Building, tucked away in Soi Charoenkrung 50)
Thip Hoi Thot Phukhao Fai Restaurant Open Monday – Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Tel: 0-2233-1116
Full from our Thip Hoi Thot Phukhao Fai meal, leaving the shop we see Robinson’s Department Store, a Bang Rak landmark since 1992 and an early indicator of the commercial boom this area was about to undergo.
Robinson Department Store, Bang Rak Branch
Just past Robinson we glance across the street to see another of this area’s great restaurants, “Prajak Roast Duck.”
Prajak Roast Duck(directly across from Robinson’s)
Prajak Roast Duck has a long history in Bang Rak, and is famous for its roast duck, tender, skin crispy to perfection, and delicious. Today we’re ordering kiaow mee kung pet (“mee noodles with dumplings, shrimp, and duck”) and kiaow kung chin toh (“prawn dumplings”) with crispy-skin roast duck on top, for an intensely savory taste without needing to add any seasoning at all.
. . . continuing our walk along Charoen Krung Road, at Soi 40 we reach a major Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 location, with Festival exhibits at three venues: the East Asiatic Building, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and the OP Place Shopping Plaza.
Going up the 2nd floor of East Asiatic Building we find an exciting group of works, including Diluvium, an installation art piece which transforms the room in a uniquely disturbing way, by Korean female artist Lee Bul. Then there is Nothing Is Less Comparable 2018 by Sara Favriau, a sculptress from France skilled in creating art works from wood. Moving on, we see Pyramid Shape Sculpture, an extremely unusual and striking sculpture by Andrew Stahl, and Performing Textiles, which poses questions about various social issues, especially women’s rights, with artist Kawita Vatanajyankur using her body as a tool for “women’s work at home.”
Leaving the East Asiatic Building we encounter Lost Dog, a more than 3.8-meter-tall sculpture by Aurèle Ricard, towering in front of the Mandarin Oriental.
Turning left into the OP Shopping Plaza right next door, there is more great art on exhibit, beginning with Jrai Dew: a radicle room, a mixed-media presentation by Art Labor, a Vietnamese group of artists. Next is Listen to the voice my Land Papua, a painting on canvas by Moelyono. And there is QUALITY: quality, by Latthapon Korkiatarkul, which urges us to think and pose questions about our lives and surroundings.
OK! We’ve seen quite a bit of art! Let’s go pamper ourselves a little with a visit to the organic café “Farm to Table.” This tiny place is hidden away near the Pak Khlong flower market, with a warm and familiar atmosphere suitable for a good sit-down chill. Let’s order lod chong+ ice cream (75 baht), a mix of soft, smooth organic ice cream with the signature sweetness of lod chong dessert noodles.
Shop:Farm to Table organic café Open: every day, 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Tel: 0-2115-2625
Feeling fat and sassy after a restful stop, we exit the shop to head out again on our art odyssey. There are two more BAB 2018 exhibition locations right nearby: Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn, or Wat Pho, and Wat Arun Ratchawararam.
In the Wat Pho grounds six important art works are on display, including Paths of Faith, by Jitsing Somboon – a collection of white robes, backs embroidered with the word “faith” in Thai, Chinese, and English – and Zuo You He Che, by Huang Yong Ping, which uses sculptures of fantastic animals to depict stories based in Chinese culture.
If you get tired looking at the Wat Pho exhibitions, you can walk across Maharaj Road and into a tiny alley on the Chao Phraya riverside. There you’ll find another super-cool café hidden away, the Blue Whale Café.
TheBlue Whale Café
The Blue Whale Café is a tiny Maharaj Road district coffeehouse set in the soi opposite Wat Pho. What makes it special is the ambiance, a sky blue décor matching the name. We order the signature dish, “nom anchan (“butterfly-pea milk) for 120 baht, colorful, eye-catching, photogenic! Check in there and have a taste: milk, butterfly pea, mixed, for an incredible new taste.
Once you’ve filled yourself up with this treat, let’s check out one more place. Right near Phra Athit Pier is “Khun Daeng’s Kui Jap Yuan,” is one of the area’s best-known spots for Thais and foreigners alike, and should be experienced at least once. We suggest the Kui Jap Juan (45 baht), which Khun Daeng is justly known for: soft, viscous noodles in a mellow soup that needs practically no additional seasoning.
Khun Daeng’s Kui Jap Yuan
Shop:Khun Daeng’s Kui Jap Yuan Open: every day, 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Tel: 0-2282-0568
. . . Full of delicious kui jap but still not sated with all this art? Then hop on a boat, cross to the other riverbank and see more at the Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan and Wat Prayoonwongsawat Worawihan BAB expositions.
So, have you experienced a full menu of awesome art works and fabulous eats along the Chao Phraya riverside? Well, remember: Bangkok Art Biennale 2018’s “Beyond Bliss” is held until February 3, 2019, at a full 20 venues, not just here, but all over the city of Bangkok!
Let’s check out the coffee and tea scene along the Chao Phraya “riverside zone” for the final weekend of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 Bangkok art festival. Come connect with us at 3 more shops in the Phra Nakhon district for some not-to-be-missed café-hopping.
/// THAILAND /// Story: Taliw /// Photography: Sroisuwan.T and Wara Suttiwan
Ha Tien Café
Ha Tien Café is in Soi Pratu Nokyung, just off Maharaj Road, convenient to BAB 2018 exhibits at Wat Pho and just a ferry ride from more art on display across the river at Wat Arun.
Old-style coffee at the Tha Tien pier, surrounded by old antiques collected over 10 years in this café converted from a house that is itself an antique: what could be cooler? Customers sit and sip, enjoying the ambience with their favorite drinks and snacking on homemade sweets. There are three floors, each with a different style. Drinks are mostly coffee-based, but include added herbs and flowers that give the tastes here a unique identity. Try the Rose Latte coffee, with rose hips, or Ma-Toom Coffee, with a syrup from quince simmered to an intense rich flavor. Specially selected coffee beans give the drink an extra mellowness that brings out the flavor of the quince. The homemade cake is a perfect match for whatever choice you make.
The Tha Tien district also offers a diminutive café named A Pink Rabbit + Bob that’s well known for its vintage style. The atmosphere begins with the building, a great example of the old community architecture here, and is reinforced by the vintage furniture and brash pink neon signs in the evening that seem perfect for the context. Some great delicacies are served here, not limited to drinks and pastries, but including a great food menu. This café is under the same management as the well-known “It’s Happened to be a Closet” in another part of town, so guaranteed, this is a satisfying place to eat.
A dish you really ought to try is the Custard Salted Choc, or “Lon Tan Cake.” This dish is noted for its flavorful palm sugar filling, cut with caramel and chocolate, and the cake is topped with a meringue and soft chocolate. There is also the chocolate-topped Zebra Mascapone, another signature dish of the shop. You can cut those chocolate oils with a Chinese Plum Frappé or the Iced Coconut Latte Cube, espresso and milk formed into an icy shape and served with cool coconut milk, pretty incredible!
Address: Maharaj Street, across from Wat Pho
• Time: Open every day, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Arelomdee Cafe @Khao San
This café is perfect if you’re traveling by car from Tha Tien to the Bank of Thailand Learning Center to catch the BAB 2018 exhibits there. The route takes you along Khao San Road and the Arelomdee Café, with the Learning Center just 1.3 kilometers away.
The cafe maintains a chic atmosphere, easy-going, with a rustic style that understates how chic it actually is. The ancient look of the walls fits perfectly with the neon lights. There are 2 floors, each with a different look. The first floor has the feel of a typical Khao San hangout, while the upstairs is really comfy and set up for relaxation. What to drink? you do not want to miss the Black Cocoa x Hokkaido and Melon Sprite. Hungry? Try the Yam Mu Yaw Kiao Krop, a salad with just the right chili-hot that won’t make you feel too full, great for a snack and some good chill time.
Address: Tanao Street, across from a famous Banglampoo Bakery Shop
Hours: Open every day, 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Examples of art on exhibit at the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018festival of international contemporary art, Phra Nakhon District and nearby areas
Dragon Boat by Huang Yong Ping Venue: BOT Learning Center
Dragon Boat is an installation created by Chinese avant-garde artist Huang Yong Ping, founder of the Xiamen Dada art movement. Standing 4.2 meters tall, the sculptural work that measures 16 by 4.2 meters depicts a journey by the people who migrated from China’s Fuxian region to settle in Thailand more than a century ago. Huang is passionate about the art of storytelling. Huang is originally from Xiamen, a port city in China’s southeast. He now lives and works in France. One of his masterpieces, Dragon Boat, is currently on show at the Bank of Thailand Learning Center.
Memory House by Alex Face, Souled Out Studios (SOS) Venue: BOT Learning Center
Thailand’s well-known graffiti artist Alex Face is a member of the street art troupe SOS, which is short for “Souled Out Studios”. The group includes, among other things, visual artists, videographers, and ceramic sculptors who explore questions about the end of life. Alex participates in the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 by presenting little Mardi, a three-eyed baby character with an aged face filled with disillusions. The sculptural installation shows the baby’s eyes opened wide in shock and rabbit ears crashing through the roof. Is he trying to call attention to a worrisome problem that’s happening to the Chao Phraya River? It’s left to your interpretation.
Paths of Faith by Jitsing Somboon Venue: Wat Phra Chetupon or Wat Pho
Formerly chief designer at the Thai clothing brand “Playhound”, Jitsing Somboon is passionate about marrying art with fashion design. “Paths of Faith”, his entry into the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, is a collection of white overcoats with “Faith” in Thai, English, and Chinese embroidered on their back. The items are given for people to wear over other clothing as they enter an area dedicated to a religious purpose at the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. The clothing item is part of a live installation art that’s happening with the accompaniment of sacred music and the sounds of coins hitting the inside wall of the donation bowl.
Sediments of Migration by Pannapan Yodmanee Venue: Khao Mo at Wat Phra Chetupon or Wat Pho
“Sediment of Migration” is a transportable installation by Pannapan Yodmanee, one of the few Thai artists to ever win the 11th Benesse Prize. The sculptural composition that’s her entry into the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 consists of six miniature mountains, hermit figures in yoga poses, and ballast stones taken from ancient cargo ships. Inspired by the mural paintings found throughout the temple, the exhibition is a chronicle of historical accounts of migration, trade, and religious travels between China and the Kingdom of Siam of olden days.
From the World Inside / Across the Universe by Sanitas Pradittasnee Venue: Khao Mo at Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn
“From the World Inside / Across the Universe” is a site specific installation entered into the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 by Sanitas Pradittasnee. The artist got her inspiration from miniature mountain landscapes that she saw at Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn. Her new work comes in handy as an invitation to search the mind to understand the inner self, so as to become knowledgeably aware of the goings-on in the world outside. It sends a message that's in line with "Loka-witu", one of nine rules in Buddhism. The installation consists of acrylic panels painted a bright shade of red that changes hue as time passes, a reminder that things change, people change, feelings change.
Giant Twins by Komkrit Tepthian Venue: In Front of Khao Mo, Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn
Thai contemporary artist Komkrit Tepthian is well known for creating beautiful works using Lego blocks. His past works included the reconstruction of Buddha statutes that had been decapitated and the heads smuggled out of the country and sold as ornaments on the black market. His entry into the 2018 Bangkok Art Biennale is “Giant Twins”, an installation featuring conjoined twin brothers — a Chinese warrior stone sculpture and the likeness of the iconic Giant of Wat Arun in full regalia.
Making plans to see some great art in the Chao Phraya riverside zone on the final weekend of Bangkok Art Biennale 2018? Today we have an added suggestion for your trip: include some “café-hopping!” Here are 3 spots in the Charoen Krung/Khlong San area where you can stop, rest, and sip some tea or grab some coffee.
/// THAILAND /// Story: Taliw /// Photography: Sroisuwan.T and Wara Suttiwan
Our first stop is near several BAB 2018 riverside art locations: it’s only an 800-meter walk from O.P. Place, 950 meters from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and a single kilometer from the East Asiatic Building to Heijii Bangkok, a café that has the classic flavor inside and out of an old Chinese community that keeps up with the times. The menu is to die for, with homemade drinks, pastries, and snacks freshly prepared each day. For an iced drink, we recommend Hong Kong PapayaMilk or OP PlaceIce Cold Brew (Black), both with the distinctive flavor of house blend coffee beans picked seasonally. Hot coffee comes from an Aeropress coffee machine.
Address: Charoen Krung Soi 43 (where you’ll see the Poste 43 Residence at the mouth of the alley)
• Hours: (soft opening) 09:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Closed Monday
About White Café & Bistro
Another café you should know about is on Charoen Krung Road near Assumption College Bang Rak. From the first moment, friendly baristas welcome you into this space dominated by white, clean tones that give a sense of openness,. About White Café & Bistro is a great neighborhood spot to sit, chill, and rest up. Board games are provided to relax with here, too.
Recommended treats are Iced Chocolate: rich, mellow, and iced, or the incredibly refreshing Iced Mixed Berry: drink it along with a slice or two of their great cheesecake.
Address: Charoen Krung Road (Near Assumption College Bang Rak)
• Hours: Monday – Friday 8.00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
This café in the Charoen Rak/Khlong San area lives up to its name, Vacation Bangkok, and the motto, “Make every day a vacation.” A short 800-meter walk from the Peninsula Hotel, it has a simple, comfortable interior décor: sitting here feels like relaxing at a friend’s house. It feels spacious, with a plush sofa, a corner with a long table, and an outdoor area to hang out in. For refreshment there are coffee, fruit drinks, and a “casual dining” menu you can fill up on without ever getting too full. Every dish is homemade, with select ingredients and a unique recipe. There is Berry Sister, a mellow blend of fruits and yogurt, and Banana Mango Orange, with those three fruits frozen and blended with no added ice, syrup, or plain water. If you get hungry, try the Kimchi Rice Ball and/or Caesar Salad, delicious!
Examples of art on exhibit at the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 festival of international contemporary art in Charoen Krung/Khlong San and nearby areas
Lost Dog by Aurèle Richard Venue: The Mandarin Oriental Hotel
For the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, renowned French artist Aurèle Richard debuts “Lost Dog”, a giant sculpted bull terrier in a shiny golden coat. He uses the canine figure as a means to communicate the deterioration of human values that’s having devastating effects on the environment. The call to attention is manifested in “Lost Dog CO2”, an artwork made of plants – a key factor that’s central to reducing air pollution. The artist invites children to spray paint messages encouraging people to protect the environment. Nearby, another sculpture, “Lost Dog Ma Long”, is on hand to welcome visitors at the hotel entrance. Lost Dog Ma Long recently exhibited at the 2018 Venice Biennale.
Zero by Elmgreen and Dragset Venue: The East Asiatic Company Building
Working together, Micheal Elmgreen of Denmark and Ingar Dragset of Norway present an installation called “Zero” on the waterfront terrace of the old East Asiatic Company Building. Resembling an upright swimming pool circumference, the 8-meter-tall artwork is silhouetted against the panoramic view of the Chao Phraya River in the backdrop. The installation explores the relationship between different cultures, in this particular case an imagined rendezvous between the peoples of the Chao Phraya River and the Nordic Seas.
Diluvium by Lee Bul Venue: East Asiatic Company Building
What seems like a frightening scene is, in fact, an architectural installation by South Korean artist Lee Bul. Aptly called “Diluvium”, the sculptural composition gets its inspiration from the earth surface that’s in a constant state of change. The sophisticated thought experiment consists of multiple metal frames wrapped in reflective plastic sheets. They are welded together randomly like the crushed remains of a place hit by force majeure. Resembling a chance occurrence, the exhibit is located inside the old East Asiatic Company building that’s well known for its beautiful Renaissance Revival architecture.
Nothing is Led Comparable by Sara Faviau Venue: East Asiatic Company Building
French artist Sara Faviau is well known for working with wood, especially her unique idea of mixing old and contemporary skills. For the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, she presents “Nothing is Led Comparable”, an installation crafted of wood native to Thailand. The timber includes teakwood, Anan or Krankrao (Fagraea frangrans), and sandalwood. The artistic composition is on view at the old East Asiatic Company Building well known for its beautiful Renaissance Revival architecture.
Becoming White by Eisa Jocson Venue: O.P. Place
Contemporary choreographer and dancer Eisa Jocson is a visual artist with a background in ballet.
For the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, the versatile artist debuts “Becoming White”, a live performance that she creates to call attention to the exploitation of migrant laborers from the Philippines at Hong Kong Disneyland. The performance is given in conjunction with other shows such as video, art exhibits, and installations.
Most people probably think of the “Siam” neighborhood as a collection of super-modern shopping centers. Since it’s a giant commercial center in the heart of the city and a hub for convenient transport to everywhere else, it’s also true that many “trends” and “currents” start out here.
Today we’re going into the Siam district not for fashion or shopping, but to get a taste of art works on display at Bangkok Art Biennale (BAB) 2018 international festival of contemporary art, and focus on getting some great eats while we’re there!
We’ll start out at MBK Center, a huge shopping center in the heart of the city, and a close match for the nearby Siam shopping area. Getting there is easy, just hop off the BTS SkyTrain at National Stadium Station and walk across the bridge.
MBK is right across the street from the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC), an art exhibition hall and place to meet and exchange ideas, building knowledge and understanding about art. It is also one of the venues for the BAB 2018 exhibits on today’s tour.
Artist/Nationality: Choi Jeong Hwa (South Korea)
Display Location: Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
Artist/Nationality: Heri Dono (Indonesia)
Display Location: Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
Name:Good Girls Go to Heaven, Bad Girls Go Everywhere
The first eats shop we’ll take you to is Mont Nom Sot (“magic fresh milk”), the celebrated name of a place of legendary flavor which has stood in front of Bangkok City Hall for fifty years. This shop is unique for dishes of concentrated milk with toast and sweet-smelling steamed buns. Mont Nom Sot has expanded into other locations, with branches in Chiang Mai, at Itsaraphap Road, here in MBK Center, and other places.
Menu/Price: Steamed buns with coconut custard (75 Baht) / Red sweetened milk (37 Baht)
Shop: Mont Nom Sot
Location: 2nd Floor, Ma Boon Khrong Building (MBK Center)
Hours: Every day 11:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Another establishment is on the 4th Floor of the BACC, and you shouldn’t miss this on: IceDEA, a tiny ice cream shop bursting with creativity, one of the BACC landmarks spots that everyone’s talking about. The dessert menu is exotic and looks scrumptious. Our dish for today is mango sticky rice ice cream and/or durian ice cream on a stick, easy to walk around eating, and it looks like the real fruit dessert, not this ice cream version, cool to upload and show folks social media.
Location: 4th Floor, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
OK, great art at the BACC, delicious treats at MBK, but now let’s cut through to the Sky Plaza, which connects trade centers and major buildings around the Pathumwan intersection.
Remarkable street art by famous artists
Coming into the Siam Center, on the ground floor you’ll see more Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 international festival of contemporary art exhibits.
Artist/Nationality: Choi Jeong Hwa (South Korea)
Display Location: Siam Center
Name:Happy Happy Project: Alchemy
Artist/Nationality: Choi Jeong Hwa (South Korea)
Display Location: Siam Center
Good spots to nosh on great food in Siam Center? You must definitely not miss the amazing choux cream item served at the Japanese find at Croquantchou Zaku Zaku, which just recently opened here.
Choux Cream on a stick, crispy soft, sweet, with a great custard filling
Menu/Price: Croquantchou Zaku Zaku (75 Baht)
Shop: Croquantchou Zaku Zaku
Location: Floor M, Siam Center
Hours: Every day 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
When we’ve filled up on this, we can cut through Siam Center to Siam Square One, where there’s a famous shop servicing the taste for bubble tea that’s become all the rage in our country. Let’s definitely get over to The Alley and get in line to check out this great taste from Taiwan.
Milk tea with a sweet taste and scent: Bubble tea, with its chewy pearls
Menu/Price: Brown Sugar Deerioca & Fresh Milk (100 Baht)
Shop: The Alley
Location: 4th Floor, Siam Square One
Hours: Every day 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
And then there is . . . the light touch and soft taste of the springy pancakes served in many flavors at the well-known Eat The Street shop, in a comfortable price range. And there’s not even a very long line!
Menu/Price: Choco Soufflé Pancake (89 Baht)
Shop: Eat The Street
Location: 2nd Floor Siam Square One
Hours: Every day 00 – 21.00 น.
Stepping out of Siam Square One, we immediately run into something we’re well used to in this Siam district: a tantalizingly delish selection of street food, for example . . .
Delicious soft oden, served with Tom Yam or an original soup
Menu/Price: Oden (70 Baht)
Shop: Anyong Korea
Location: Siam Square, Soi 7
Hours: Every day 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Legendary Siamese dessert: soft coconut cups with pandanus leaf scent
Menu/Price: khanom khrok bai toei (“Coconut pandanus cups”) (40 Baht)
Shop: Siam Pandan
Location: Siam Square, Soi 7
Hours: Every day 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
To finish up our art tour today, there’s a big pumpkin “sculpture” exhibit by the “mother of contemporary polka dot art,” Yayoi Kusama, creating excitement right in the middle of Central World with a major transformation of the space.
Artist/Nationality: Yayoi Kusama (Japan)
Display Location: CentralWorld
There is more installation art nearby, this time featuring huge inflatables, calling out smiles and happiness all around. If you have time, get over to see Happy Happy Project: Fruit Tree: it’s not too far away.
In Malaysia and Singapore, the popular noodle soup is known as “Yong Tau Fu”. In Thailand, it goes by the name “Yen Ta Fo”. Different names for the same good food!
Originally a part of traditional Hakka cuisine, the scrumptious noodle soup is enjoyed by many people across peninsular Southeast Asia. Particularly in Malaysia, it has pride of place among top 100 dishes with a national heritage status.
Yong Tau Fu has been among many big hits on the menu for hundreds of years. Its various recipes were brought in by the Hakka people, one of major groups who migrated into the Region from southeastern China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
As its name implies, the recipe is made of tofu stuffed with ground pork and then deep-fried to give it a distinctive crispy flavor. It is the perfect match for a bowl of soup, good with dipping sauces, and makes a delicious accompaniment for noodle. Nowadays near-original versions of Yong Tau Fu can still be found everywhere in Malaysia.
Meantime, the Thais like their Yen Ta Fo slightly different from the original. They treat it as a noodle dish that comes either with or without deep-fried tofu. Instead, the Thai recipe features fish balls, pleasantly crisp calamari, pig’s blood cakes, and tender shoots and leaves of water spinach. Some Yen Ta Fo joints offer pork-stuffed tofu, while others may do without it entirely.
The Thai version is distinguished by the signature pink soup that gets its color from fermented red bean curd. The Thais also like their Yen Ta Fo with a variety of condiments, including taro fries, shrimp balls, jellyfish, and wood ear, aka black fungus. Some like their Yen Ta Fo the Thai way in spicy chili soups. A lot of people confuse Yen Ta Fo with a similar recipe without the pink soup. Although made with the same ingredients, the latter is known as “Kuaytaew Khae”, literally Hakka noodle.
Traditionally, a Malaysian-style Yong Tau Fu begins with first-course meals consisting of a mix of crispy fries, such as tofu, purple eggplant, stuffed meals, and sweet pepper, aka bell pepper. It’s hard to beat a good dipping sauce to start with. Then it’s time to eat them with a soup and add noodle to complement a great meal. Yong Tau Fu is ranked among Malaysia’s top 100 dishes with a national heritage status, along with other big hits such as Nasi Lemak (a rice dish cooked in coconut milk with anchovies and hot sauces), Nasi Ayam (chicken rice), and Ketupat (rice dumpling in palm leaf pouch).
In Singapore, where Yong Tau Fu is a culinary success story, rice vermicelli is served on a plate along with a bowl of spicy soup called Laksa. It is recommended to try this with Chee Cheong Fun, a rice noodle roll that comes in either dry or wet versions. There are plenty of Yong Tau Fu joints to be found. The price is reasonable, but keep in mind the line is rather long. If you are patient, it will get to your turn. Enjoy your meal!
Whether visiting Cambodia as a tourist or on business, if you want to say you’ve truly been here, there are certain delicacies you have to experience.
/// Cambodia ///
Most of Cambodia is a wide level plain surrounding a great fertile lake, both primary food sources producing a great abundance and variety of rapid-growing fish and vegetables. Until recently Cambodian food hasn’t received much international attention, partly due to a long period of foreign domination and partly because the country was so damaged by war. Now, though, we’d like to introduce you to three uniquely Cambodian dishes.
– Amok –
This local food is considered the national dish of Cambodia, and recommended eating for all visitors. It’s made with curry flavorings and thick coconut milk, and steamed till done. In flavor and appearance it’s very much like the Thai ho mok, but without the hot spiciness of the Thai version.
– Deep-fried Tarantula –
Its huge spider body spreads across the plate, legs and all, but no matter how scary the appearance, this is one Cambodian dish you’ve just got to try. Don’t let yourself think about how it looks, just open yourself up to an enchanting taste discovery. Some say the flavor is like a combination of cod and chicken, others like beef and crab. The bulbous abdomen has the most intense taste. Cambodians prepare it crispy-fried and spiced with salt, sugar, and MSG. There are a lot of these spiders in Kampong Cham Province, especially during rainy season, and the species eaten here is similar to varieties consumed by the northeastern Thai. It seems this dish became especially popular during the time of the Khmer Rouge regime, when the country was experiencing food shortages.
– Kampot Pepper –
Cambodia produces one truly superior product for export, and it shows up in many foods and dipping sauces, with Kampot Province’s highest quality pepper exported to Europe, America, Japan, and Korea. Kampot’s foothill geography is especially appropriate for pepper cultivation, prompting the World Trade Organization to award it a special Geographical Indication (GI). Among the many products it’s used for is Kampot pepper tea, made in combination with other herbs to give off a delightful zesty aroma. It makes a great gift, or souvenir of your Cambodian adventure.
There are many, many more Cambodian dishes worth trying: fried morning glory, red tree ants with beef and holy basil, Kuy teav Ko Kho noodles, and lots of foods flavored with fermented fish. Also there is an exceptional strain of rice, phka malis, recognized as “the world’s best rice” at a world conference of rice traders.
In a new challenge for the celebrated “hero of street food,” today Singapore’s Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, the cheapest restaurant in the world to achieve a starred Michelin rating, is opening a Thailand branch in the Asoke area of Bangkok.
From the outside, Singapore’s Chinatown Food Complex doesn’t look like anything special; but in 2016 its own “Hawker Chan,” a food stall specializing in Singapore-style chicken rice, brought a lot of buzz to the gourmet world by receiving a Michelin star, immediately becoming the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world. Already popular, the shop experienced such an increase in customer volume that chef/owner Chan Hon Meng decided to expand into a second branch. This is now tucked away on Smith Street, an alley across from the food center, under the name “Liao Fan Hon Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle.” Branch number three quickly followed in the form of an air-conditioned restaurant on Teng Street, just outside the Chinatown Food Complex. Meals there are a bit more expensive: instead of 2 Singapore dollars per plate, chicken rice is priced at 3.8 dollars.
After a lifetime of hard and conscientious work, chef/owner Chan Hong Meng himself is now known as “the hero of street food” in Singapore. His shop’s popularity has grown so much that customers have to wait in a long line that snakes all around the food center.
The added branches helped to accommodate customer volume, but it wasn’t long at all before the Hawker Chan name went international. Now the Terminal 21 trade center in Thailand hosts the latest branch, an eatery with the slogan “World’s First Michelin-starred Street Food Stall” still featuring the same basic menu as the Singapore shops: chicken with rice or egg noodles, chicken with char siu, crispy pork, and pork ribs.
A melting pot of cultures and cuisines, Penang is a must-visit for locals and tourists from across the globe. Dubbed “the Pearl of the Orient,” the island off the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia is a paradise for street food aficionados. Check this out.
Penangites will attest to the fact that Penang street food is one of the best in the country. Many flocks to the island daily for some good eats. In fact, one can eat at any time of day on the streets of the culinary mecca. Foodies are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out simply because there are plenty of choices available. Here are 10 favorite street food meals to give a try next time you’re in town.
– Char Kway Teow –
Char Kway Teow, arguably the best to be found in Penang, are thin flat rice noodles fried in a very hot wok with seafood. Anyone can fry up a plate of Char Kway Teow, but many swear by the Penang version for its good dose of the breath of a wok with savory and sweet soy sauce, pungent chili sauce, plump large prawns, fresh cockles, chives, Chinese sausage, bean sprouts and egg. Some are prepared to queue for a plate of this Char Kway Teow.
– Asam Laksa –
Asam Laksa is very unique to the palate with its distinctive fish broth punched up with lots of herbs, spices and chili. Fat translucent rice noodles along with a myriad of fresh vegetables and pineapple with raw onions and chili complete the dish along with a fishy pungent prawn sauce called Heh Ko.
– Chee Cheong Fun –
More rice noodles and it’s Chee Cheong Fun. Large flat steamed rice noodles are rolled up and cut up. Served with three sauces of sweet sauce, prawn sauce and chili sauce with a good sprinkling of sesame seed, this one is truly unique to the island.
– Pork Roll or Lorbak –
Pork Roll or Lorbak makes a debut in the street scene along with a few sidekicks. Plump and moist pork rolls are cooked to order and served with chili sauce and a starchy brown gravy on the side. No man lives alone, and neither does the Lorbak as many will usually order prawn fritters, fried bean curd, braised egg and more to go with this meat roll.
– Kway Chap –
Kway Chap features pieces of steamed rice noodle in a robust spiced up dark pork and duck broth. Generously topped with shredded duck meat and pork offal, braised egg, fried garlic oil and coriander, the broth is lusciously earthy and rich with meaty essence.
– Penang White Curry Mee –
Penang White Curry Mee is very differently from other curry noodles. The curry gravy is fairly light and pale when served with the noodles, bean curd puff, squid, pork blood cake and cockles. Piled on the moreish piquant chili to turn the sweet light coconut gravy into a spicy rich curry broth.
Many think the Tropical cocktail Mai Tai is of Thai origin. At least the name sounds like the word for Thai silk. Far from it! Mai Tai comes from a Tahitian cry for “Very good!” It’s hot out there. Let’s find out which one of the tasty cocktails actually has its origin in the ASEAN Region.
/// ASEAN ///
– Singapore Sling –
The Singapore Sling is a gin-based cocktail invented around 1915 by Ngiam Tong Boon, a Hainanese bartender at Raffles Hotel, Singapore. Ngiam wanted to create a cocktail for ladies. So he mixed gin and pineapple juice, along with Grenadine, lime juice and Benedictine into a long drink. Its sweet and sour taste is perfect for summer. That’s why even male drinkers don’t shy away from ordering this rosy cocktail. Nowadays it is widely regarded as a national drink of Singapore.
Variations of the popular Tropical Cocktail abound. But the original recipe is still served at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel. Peanuts are its longtime companion there. Singaporean barflies in the Roaring Twenties went to the Long Bar and sipped Singapore Sling while tossing peanut shells onto the floor. The Long Bar was the only area where littering was permitted at that time.
– Jungle Bird –
When the nightlife of the 1970’s was swarming with delicious cocktails, the Aviary Bar at the former Hilton Kuala Lumpur launched its version of Tiki drinks. The exotic rum-based cocktail is a mix of pineapple juice, Campari, lime juice and simple syrup. It was named Jungle Bird.
The Aviary Bar is no more after the Hilton Kuala Lumpur has moved to a new location. But the Jungle Bird has flown across the globe. It has become a popular Tiki cocktail in every bar that embraces the romanticized concept of Tropical cultures.
– Siam Sunrays –
Even without a long history, the Siam Sunrays is widely regarded as “Thailand in a glass.” The long drink was created by Surasak Phanthaisong, who won the Thailand Signature Drinks Competition in 2008. The recipe is publicized as a national cocktail by Thailand’s Tourism Authority in a campaign to promote travel to the Kingdom.
Inspired by the taste and aroma characteristic of Thai food, the Siam Sunrays is a mix of vodka, coconut liqueur, kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass, ginger, lime juice, Thai chili pepper, syrup and soda water. It may look like Tom Yum in a tall glass, but it sure is one refreshing way to beat the heat. The tasty Tropical cocktail can be found at many bars and restaurants around Thailand.
As cocktails are becoming popular again in this present day, aspiring mixologists across Southeast Asia have invented new cocktail drink recipes based on experience and the taste of local cuisine. In Thailand, it’s easy to find hip bars that serve traditional Ya Dong (Thai herbal rice spirit) in a cool manner. Meantime in Indonesian, bartenders mix elegant cocktails with their Tuak, locally brewed “moonshine” from palm trees. And if you love sweets, there are cocktails that look like ABC, an acronym for the Malaysian shaved ice dessert.
The next generation recipes feature a perfect blend of fresh, new ideas and old-fashioned spirits. Who knows? One day they could rise to fame and earn pride of place in the world of mixology like those big names that came before them. Cheers, see you later!
Did You Know?
Many Thais think the Tropical cocktail Mai Tai is of Thai origin, because the name sounds like the word meaning Thai silk. Actually, Mai Tai is a rum-based Tiki drink invented by Victor J. Bergeron, the founder of Trader Vic’s restaurant. Legend had it that when he served this cocktail for the first time to some Tahitian friends, they cried out in the Tahitian language, “Maita’i roa ae,” literally “Very good!” So, he named this cocktail “Mai Tai.”
Having misunderstood it all along? No problem! You can enjoy the original Mai Tai in Thailand, too. Trader Vic’s restaurant at Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort could very well be your next favorite hangout place.