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A Night on the Chinatown: Street food for all!

We somehow managed to get the luckiest draw with our Airbnb hosts. They’re the sweetest retiree couple, Poonsak and Nuk, who have been so generous to show us around town 😀

No time for jetlag here! First things first, a classy lunch with the locals at the high end Siam shopping center!

They took us out for lunch on the day we arrived, and the next evening took us out for a night on the Chinatown street food scene for some classic fare.

Both Poonsak and Nuk are half Chinese, and Poonsak was born in Bangkok’s Chinatown, so they really know their way around. They come often, at least a couple times a week.

First, a quick stop to Wat Traimit, home of the largest Golden Buddha in the world that is made with a thick layer of real gold! Though it was closed for the evening, we admired the lavish exterior and witnessed a bit of ceremony honoring the highest ranking monk at the temple. We heard lots of chants over loudspeaker and saw waving flag/banners and food preparation.

With such an elaborate exterior, can’t wait to see what the inside is like. The lights shine on a large framed picture of the late King.

Nuk explained that the ancient kingdom of Thailand, Ayutthaya, had lots of gold. Because of a series of wars with Myanmar, most of the gold was stolen away to build temples over there. This particular statue was covered with plaster to hide and protect the sacred object, but apparently its underlying material was forgotten over time. It wasn’t until they moved the statue that a crack in the plaster revealed something shiny and they rediscovered the Golden Buddha hiding underneath! We’ll have to return when it’s open in the daytime.

Then off to Chinatown. Paris has an arch, Nuk said, and so does the entrance to Chinatown.

Another portrait of the late king. Nuk showed us an embedded tile/metallic square in the ground that corresponded to one on the underside of the gateway. She explained we could stand on it and make a wish.

Then we walked just one block over and found a glowing, buzzing street full of locals and tourists.

Left: These tables and chairs are spill out into the street. The money chains are donations for a temple. Right: The smell of Durian (or is it Jackfruit?) soaks the air around the cart.
Nuk and Poonsak! Yes, our table is in the street too.
Our first street noodle experience.

Appetizer of noodles with mushroom, pork, and seafood. Pooksak and Nuk know the owner of this food cart.

As it turns out, pedestrians walk in the road just as much as cars, tuk tuks, and motorcycles. After a brief ogle at the piles of people, we walked one street over to a slightly-less crowded street that had more locals than tourists. Just few minutes of waiting later, a table opened up for us.

Eat street for us. Poonsak described these streets as similar to the famed Hong Kong roads of street food. There were quite a lot of signs advertising sharks fin and/or bird nests.
This particular street restaurant is open Tue-Sun. Wait times can regularly be 30 minutes or so, we were fortunate to only wait like 5 minutes.

Nuk mentioned that the images on the menu are a recent addition, only appearing a few years ago, due to the influx of tourists. Still, there’s no way we would have been able to know what to order without Nuk and Pooksak.

Although I can’t be entirely sure what the dishes were called, I can tell you they were all fresh and delicious. Rad Na(?) is possibly the name of the first sizzler in the video, and had an amazing noodle that was crunchy, chewy, and drenched in a sauce that surprised me with its tasty sourness. It had seafood and a fried egg on top and it was my favorite. To the right on top in the vid, was another noodle dish, this time glass rice noodles, veggies, and more seafood. On the bottom right is a dish chock full of oysters and what I think is an eggy batter (and veggies underneath). They were juicy and fresh!

Sizzling platters and fresh, steaming food.

Poonsak and Nuk also seasoned the food for us, especially helpful as we have no clue which sauce goes with what dish. Nuk says that Thai food always comes with a lot of sauces, sugar, and chili on the side. Our steaming hot food was spicy, and with the heat outside, our meal came with a nice sweat session.

A short walk through alleyways of grocers that have closed for the day, peeking into some home/shops of locals with their doors open for breezes, and we arrived at our last course: dessert.

Coconut milk and strips of green jelly, a scoop of syrup with fruit, and then topped with shave ice!

Such a refreshing treat! Nuk explained the coconut milk helps with the fact that we just had a dinner full of heat.

Poonsak told us this spot has been here for over 80 years, is well-known among locals, with even the Prince/Princess coming here to eat the sweet treats.

Left: Portraits of the Prince/Princess, famed customers/guests. Right: THE dessert! Mix the shave ice and all the coconut milk/jelly and then enjoy.

A perfectly sweet note to end an amazing night out in Chinatown! Can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds.

3 Comments

  1. red red

    So fortunate to have such amazing hosts, like visiting long lost relatives! Can’t beat having knowledgeable locals as guides.

  2. eve eve

    I agree with red distant relatives. New food, new taste and new texture. Enjoy!

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