Thursday, 15 May 2008

Bangkok - Part 1

Bangkok is renowned for its food, especially its street food. Everyone in Bangkok seems to be eating something every moment of the day, whether it be simple grilled chicken or a simple tom sam papaya salad. 
The only thing I hate about Bangkok is that is so hot and horribly humid. I really am not a hot weather guy. But it does give me an excuse to drink a lot of very cold beer. Always up for that.
We were only in Bangkok for a few days, as heading more or less straight away to Cambodia.
We ate pretty well, nothing spectacular to note about any place we ate at. I think there are too many places now, where they dumb down the heat in the food for us farang's. Which is a shame as I am addicted to spicy food.
One place that I had heard about was the Seafood Restaurant and Market. So I found the address on the internet and decided to give it a bash. This place is huge, they say it can seat over 1500 people, and I believe them.
Just by the entrance you can stand and watch the chefs cook the food for you. Really a joy to watch. Lines of chefs wok cooking over some serious gas burners.
You are shown to your seat, where someone explains the whole set up to you. You basically grab a shopping trolley and go shopping. You can have a personal shopper to help you choose the seafood, and help you on ideas for certain fish etc. We decided to shop alone. Their motto is "If it swims, we have it", and they are not joking. I’ve never seen such a line up of seafood. Really very impressive. 
So in true gutsy fashion, I picked too much. Well I consider 1 squid, a handful of scallop meat, 2 of the biggest prawns I have ever seen, and there were bigger, a bag of clams, and a few crab claws. Oh and a big bunch of Morning Glory, yeah not a lot. I could of carried on picking, but luckily Lina had her sensible cap on that evening and stopped me. 
You then go and pay, and believe me this place is not cheap. In fact it’s a bit of a tourist trap.
You then go back to your table with your ingredients and the waiter pays you a visit to advise you on how you would like your purchases cooked.
They are not very open to ideas on how they should cook your food. We asked if the clams could be cooked in a lemongrass and chilli broth. No was the answer, as we were told they do not do it that way.
In the end we let him advise us on the dishes from then on. Although I asked for the prawns to be grilled and the crab claws to be cooked with a black pepper sauce. 
After a while the food started coming and coming and coming. It’s at this point we realized how much food we had ordered. Doh !!!
The Morning Glory came fist, cooked with garlic and oyster sauce. Then the scallops and mushrooms again cooked in oyster sauce. Not what was agreed.
The Clams were cooked in a sweet bean sauce with an aromatic vegetable. Then the Prawns came, those giants were cut in half and grilled. So so so so very meaty.
The Crab Claws turned up nicely decorated on a plate and last but not least the grilled squid came on as a finale. 
All were fantastic but the crab was not that good to be honest. But the prawns were the star of the show. I would return just to buy 4 of them and let them be grilled. May just do that when we return in a few months.
After you’ve finished eating you pay for any drinks and the cooking techniques and any other ingredients they used. So it turned out to be one very expensive meal, but very memorable. 
Unfortunately no photos as the batteries ran out on my camera as we went to take a picture.

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