Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bangkok Food Diary: Breakfast at True Coffee

The title sounds a little cliched; with the reference to the famous Audrey Hepburn's Breakfast at Tiffany's, but this is nowhere near the theme or even the familiar (and much lusted after) blue label known to women worldwide. Classic movie fans would definitely know what I am talking about.

That does not end the beautiful story we had here, for it was purely by chance and it seems like destiny that we stumbled upon this coffee joint on that rainy morning of our third day in Bangkok.
The morning we met, was the morning I will never forget....

We were there in November, and were forewarned of the unpredictable weather with unexpected rainfall at any time of the day and though it did not dampen our spirits, we were still a little anxious as it rained so heavily that particular morning when we were preparing to start our journey to the famous Chatuchak market (read about it here and here).
We woke up especially early that morning, and was all set to explore the weekend market and had even planned to have breakfast at McDonald's. (There is just this something about traveling to a foreign country and try out the local McDonald's menu, which was said to be customized according to the local culture despite it being an international fast food chain restaurant. This is probably the factor behind this giant fast food chain's evergreen success?)
We traipsed the streets to hunt for the McDonald's outlet nearby but was disappointed to find it closed (sad, why isn't the McDonald's here operating 24-hours?)

There was a sense of letdown in each of our hearts though the blank expressions (probably due to having just woke up) hid it perfectly, and amidst the drizzling rain, we slowly made our way along the streets, hoping to stumble upon any available breakfast place open for business that morning and we will just take it. Our plan of taking that slow walk was quickly dampened by the sudden transition of the soft drizzle to the hard pattering drops of rain from the skies and in a short moment, you find five ladies making a quick beeline, though in scattered pattern to the walkways, to shelter against the harsh weather. It was then that we spotted her, with the romantic lights dimly lit and sending that friendly smile which beamed right at us from the glass windows on which the rain continues to patter on.
Without a word, we knew that this was the place we will go into; it was just like love at first sight when we met this place.

Stepping into the place just brought that sense of familiarity, as though we had known each other for years and there was just something warm and comfortable about the place. The ambiance was cosy and finding a table large enough to fit all of us, we settled down quickly while admiring her simple charms and discovering the beauty within the place.
It was not surprising that this place was already filled with the usual crowd who were sipping away at the coffee or juices, and enjoying that bite while being connected to their loves via their laptops and mobile devices with the free wifi offered here. It was a friendly place, and I was captured by the relaxing ambiance which reminded me of being on vacation, and to just unwind and lay back, forgetting anything else in the world.

Coffee was definitely the main attraction here; and it got me wondering, True Coffee does sound like an interesting name to name a coffee joint. Are they emphasizing on the message that their coffee is more original and genuine? No, in fact, the reason behind the name was just simple and nothing complicated as the founders of this place just want to show their gratitude for the truly hard work and efforts shown by everyone in the team in bringing the best service and products to delight the hearts of their customers. It was just a humble yet warm and meaningful theme which just sounds so enlightening to the ears and enhanced the beauty of this place further.
While I am not a coffee fan, I am always fascinated with the coffee and its magnetic attraction which just seems like a deadly addiction among those who just could not get it out of their daily lives.

A pie

What is a non-coffee fan to drink in a place obviously filled with coffee? She treats me well, for though I was already deeply attracted to her natural charms of her simplicity, she surprises me with a long lost drink which I have yet to find (a good one) anywhere; the Ice-blended Kiwi.
I am insane to drink something cold and ice blended on a cold rainy morning, but I didn't care, I have found this and I am content.

I am TRUE-ly amazed by this place, though they may not serve the best food in the world, there is just this something about the place which just makes her so mesmerizing.
I hate to bid goodbye, but I have to get going on my journey....but I am sure we will meet again?

Bangkok Food Diary: Fuji Japanese Restaurant (Siam Center)

No, you have not read the title wrongly, nor is there any disambiguation about the notion of having the words of Japanese and Thai both in the same sentence.
We did patronize this Japanese restaurant which my friend (who was also our guide on this trip) recommended as one of her favorite places whenever she visits Bangkok.

Fuji Japanese Restaurant was located at Siam Center and I was really (secretly) looking forward to having a Japanese meal as I am definitely a big fan of the cuisine, and we made it a point to include it in our itinerary on our last day as my friend was just dying to share the place with us. (I am more than happy to oblige with her request)
Arriving at the place at an early hour, I was surprised to see that the restaurant was already filled with the locals who were already having an early lunch there. Thankfully, we did not have to queue for long as we were placed the second in the queue and we were quickly ushered to our seats without having to go through a long wait.
Looking at the crowds, I was already convinced (or at least, half-convinced) that this was indeed a favorite place among the locals.  The menu boasted a large variety of Japanese delights; from the usual sushi to sashimi, to bento, udon, yakitori, etc and they were reasonably priced too, which further strengthened my belief in the credibility and popularity of this place.

The following is a snapshot of the stuffs we tried at this restaurant:-

Sushi platter; it's like a customary dish at most tables for it is a more commonly favored dish compared to sashimi (as there are those who do not like raw food).

Pork rolls (I am not sure of the name of this dish though)

Katsu Toji Set

Salmon Shioyaki (Salt-grilled salmon)

Smoked Salmon Salad (This was really good! I adore smoked salmon, but I am particular with the taste. Done the right way, it is just perfect; like this one!)

My friend recommended this Fuji green tea; which is a product of this restaurant I suppose?
The Fuji green tea comes in variants of normal green tea, less sugar and fit versions, for those wanting to watch their waistlines.

I happily enjoyed a glass of freshly squeezed watermelon juice (I do love how the fresh juices are easily available in Bangkok, and at really reasonable prices too, even in restaurants!)

Overall, I can see the reason behind the popularity of Fuji, as the variety and prices are definitely the attractive factor but the tastes which are suited to the local Thai's liking are probably the magnetic factor which attracts the diners to the restaurants.
I am also bookmarking this place for my own reference too!~

Bangkok Food Diary: Mango Sticky Rice

There seems to be no end to this dessert when I was in Thailand; with a friend who was obsessed with the Mango with sticky rice.
I have heard of the fame, and how it tops the must have list when one travels to Thailand and it is always customary to do touristy things and eat the oh-so-local type of food (which the locals don't really bother with most of the time), that this automatically lands a spot on the list of our travel itinerary in Bangkok.
As it is so famous, and probably common too, we learnt that there is no need to search for the dessert in particular as it could be found anywhere; yes, almost everywhere we went. It was that common.

For instance, at the food court in Terminal 21, there is a stall which is practically made of, I meant, covered with mangoes.

The first mango sticky rice she tasted...and she was on cloud nine for having satisfied her cravings and curiosity of this local dessert.

I am sorry to say I do not share in her obsession or sentiments for this dessert, or even the fruit.
Yes, it is weird, and I know you are about to shout aloud, what kind of person does not like mango?
I am, in fact, one of those who does not fancy mango, at all (another of my weird picky style)
So, what is one non-mango lover about to do when surrounded by mango obsessed fans?
I take photos, of something I do not eat, but warrants a mention since it is so famous!

Another round of the dessert in Chatuchak market, which was supposedly cheaper compared to the food court (obviously, as this was on the streets!)

There was just mango with sticky rice overload during this trip, if you ask me, but it was all for the good fun and humor. Just when I thought we were done with the dessert, then we spotted it at the airport while waiting for our flight and my mango obsessed fried was still contemplating whether she needs another dose before leaving the country.
Yes, she was that big of a fan, but thankfully, she dropped the idea upon realizing that it was overpriced at the airport :-)

How about you, are you a fan too?
To the point of almost having it at every meal? LOL~ :-P

Note: The mangoes are famous in Thailand and are said to be really sweet and juicy; compared to the local mangoes found here in our country.

Bangkok Food Diary: Suki at MK Restaurants

MK is no stranger to the local Thai food industry; having established her name and outlets all over Thailand. Serving the Thai Suki, or simply known as suki, it is the Thai version of the shabu shabu or Chinese steamboat (hot pot) although the name bears resemblance to the Japanese sukiyaki.
The resemblance to the Japanese version ends in the name, as the Thai Suki is more similar to our local hot pot with variants of fresh raw vegetables, meat and seafood to be cooked in a pot filled with soup prepared before the serving.
Just like the Chinese hot pot, one may select from the types of soup available; clear, spicy, chicken soup, etc.

Having heard of the fame this chain of restaurants had garnered nationwide is enough to pique our interest and without question, it became the unanimous choice for dinner on the first night upon our arrival in Bangkok. (When traveling in a group, it is inevitable to have different opinions on the itinerary and choices of food, never mind the specific preferences, BUT, I was indeed fortunate to be traveling with this group who just went with anything and there was no trouble at all. It made the whole traveling experience a less-stressful one, definitely!)

We visited this particular outlet located in the popular shopping mall famous for its quirky interior design, Terminal 21.

I was rather fascinated with their cutleries, to be honest, as they came in unique designs and shapes!

The Menu; with a 3D-like effects on the front cover. Obviously, it was designed in a way to attract and to tempt your taste buds ahead for a tantalizing experience. It is always a good marketing gimmick to play with the vision and minds to stimulate the appetite of the diners.

Another interesting and cuteness factor overload in this little yellow duckie multipurpose holder; for signages, pamphlets, tissues, and toothpicks.
It is definitely not only for cute display, but proved that cuteness and functionality can go together!~

Setting up of the hot pot with the clear soup we had ordered; and the pot was filled with the clear chicken soup.
It was a better choice to go for a non-spicy version on the first night of our trip to minimize the risks before embarking on our adventures for the next three days in the city.

Platter of raw seafood and meat

Putting all the raw ingredients into the soup

The boiling soup indicates the food is ready to be consumed (cooked), and the table is designed with the tabs/buttons to turn the cooker on and off, or to adjust the temperature to the customers' preferences.

The dipping sauce is one of the important parts of enjoying the suki; the nam chim is also prepared to suit the local Thai tastes with the combination of chilies, coriander leaves, lime to make it spicy and flavorful to the Thai's liking.

Besides the suki, the restaurant is also famed for their Roasted Duck and Crispy Pork which my friends ordered in a small platter.

There are also dim sum on the menu, and we decided to try their Prawn Dumplings (Har Mai) which looked rather good in the pictures shown in the menu.
(Another marketing gimmick, did you realize how the food photos in the menu always look good? It would be luck if the actual turned out to be exactly as they were, but then again, the photos are always tagged with the disclaimer that they are for illustration purposes which probably meant heavy editing to make them look good.)

Still, we were not that unlucky either, as this did turn out to be quite good too.

Overall, I would say the dining experience in MK was not a bad one and was rather satisfying.
Price wise, it was also reasonable as it is after all, an air-conditioned restaurant (with a fame) and additionally, it was located within a shopping mall (higher rental prices for the shop).

The only thing was the unique factor; as this may be a Thai version of our local hot pot, and it is good for an experience of taste, but you don't travel all the way to another country to enjoy something you can make at home, right?
That aside, there are still plenty of other things to try on their menu, which is worth considering and besides, the plus point is also the hygiene which is definitely better in a restaurant compared to the streets.

My personal opinion? The Thai Suki may not be much different from our hot pot, but I am a fan of steamboat/hot pot anyway, so I'd definitely enjoy this anytime~ :-)

Bangkok Food Diary: Travel Eats and Local Finds

This post is a compilation of the food diary from my trip to Bangkok last year, all the posts from the trip can be found on my travel blog here (I have posted some of the food photos on my travel blog too, but this is just the remaining ones which are interesting and more food relevant for this blog.
This will be a quick list with lots of food photos, and places where I stopped by while on my shopping cum relaxing trip~

Arrival Day: Dinner at MK Restaurants (a Chain of restaurants famous in Bangkok)

Clear soup steamboat - a healthy way to start off our trip and to keep ourselves in the best state before the trip really starts on the next day.

Their famous and signature Roasted Duck and Crispy Pork

Steamed Har Mai (Prawn dumplings)

Day 1: Platinum Mall Food Court (on the highest level)

Fish Noodles

Tab Tim Krob (a famous Thai dessert with coconut milk and shaved ice, along with water chestnuts and red rubies)

Pork satay

Day 2: Breakfast on a rainy morning at True Coffee

Hot Latte

I found my favorite Ice Blended Kiwi here! 

A Shepherd's Pie my friend ordered

Day 3: Lunch at McDonald's, Siam Paragon

Day 3: Dinner at Siam Paragon's Food Republic

Fish Noodles with special Thai Sauce

Pattaya style Fried Rice

Tom Yam Goong 

Pork Noodles

Pad Thai

This was really funny, we ended up trying this Malaysian Ice Kacang!
Alright, after trying it, there is no way it is anywhere near our local favorite :-P

Day 4: Brunch at MBK's Food Court

Thai Vegetarian Food
One word - Spicy!



Ice Blended Coconut is another refreshing drink I tried in Bangkok, and it was an absolutely new favorite! :-)

BBQ Pork Bun (Char Siew Bao) from a Hong Kong style stall - again, never try anything non-Thai in Thailand.

And I will not leave, yes, absolutely will NOT, without having another round of my favorite and beloved Ice Blended Kiwi drink :-) 

To be continued....