The Boy at the Supermarket

Today at the supermarket I overheard a conversation between a young boy of about ten years old with his mom. They weren’t Thai and were most probably expats living in Bangkok. The young boy made such a funny and pleasant remark that I want to share it with you.

As you know, ever since I lost weight around 5 years ago, I’ve become a lot more healthy, aware of what I am eating, and avoiding the fried or sugar infused foods. Growing up I didn’t really have a concept of what was healthy, or what wasn’t. My mom is a wonderful cook, but once I went off to college and worked, dinners ended up whatever was available in my fridge. My often late dinners were simple pasta and pesto. My snack at work was raisins. Hey, they are dried grapes which are fruits, what’s so bad about them? Answer: they are high in sugar.

Okay, so what was it I overheard? It started out with the mother asking the boy “What would you like for dinner today?”

The boy answered, “Potatoes, mashed potatoes and oh, I want some salad and vegetables Mom! The food at school is so sweet! They put sugar in everything even soup! I might have to stop having soup at school!”

Wow, that really hit me.

He was only around ten, but with health conscious parents, he has grown up being aware of what he is putting into his body. It’s great. He will grow up healthy.

Now it’s up to the schools to serve children healthy food. Parents really should check out what’s being served at schools and perhaps like Jaime Oliver, fight for healthier servings. No sugared pink milk please!

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Fish and Chips at the Wellington Seamarket

Wellington Seamarket Fish and Chips
Wellington Seamarket Fish and Chips
It’s Sunday night in Bangkok, it’s hot and humid with a little breeze.  I could do with a little more cold weather but for some reason today I’ve been thinking of fish and chips. Hmm.. there’s nothing quite like having hot fish and chips after a cold walk outside in the rain.  It just doesn’t taste as good in hot Bangkok.  The fish and chips in Wellington was heavenly. The first afternoon Alex and I got into Wellington, it was raining, cold and windy.  After twelve hours of traveling we were hungry. Okay there’s airplane food, but it isn’t satisfying.

So we checked in and headed out for some food.  The hotel recommended we try out the Wellington Sea Market which was on Cuba street. It’s pretty easy to see with it’s huge signs and as it’s a standalone building it’s really not hard to find.

It’s an outlet of the Wellington Trawling Company which supplies fresh fish all over the world and also to top restaurants in New Zealand.  At their outlet you can even choose your own fish and tell them how you want it cooked for a little under two kiwi dollars.  They have all kinds of fresh fish and oysters as well.  We just ordered their simple fish and chips and I have to say it was delicious!  Their fries were equally good, not greasy at all and for a reasonable price of about $4.50.  If you want mayonnaise or ketchup you pay extra.  They have small packs on the counter for 90cents or larger packs in the freezer for roughly $1.50.

What fish do they use?  They said they usually use Blue Nose or the Warehou.  I honestly have no clue but it does taste good.  You can dine in on one of their few tables or take away.  Most of the people we saw, came in for takeaways.  It’s understandable since it’s hardly a place you would go for service or ambiance. It’s a simple fish outlet shop where you come in for fresh fish and dine.  I’m sure there are many more places in Wellington selling fish and chips, but Alex and I were perfectly happy with our Wellington Seamarket and did go back for seconds before we left.  http://www.wellingtonseamarket.com  Nothing beats eating food freshly cooked. Okay I’m hungry now.

Bon Apetit!

Wellington Seamarket Outlet

The menu
The menu

Old Bangkok Morning Life

Summer is coming soon to Bangkok and already I am dreading the summer heat.  Fortunately we have a few days of cool weather at the moment so it feels as if we are enjoying a short festive season.   I love it, because it is a short reminder to enjoy the little things in life.   This morning I had the opportunity to take a little walk before work and it feels good to just walk outside, feel the breeze in your hair, watch people going out and about and listen to the birds chirp.

Early morning walks just as the city is waking up for me are always one of my favourite times of the day because you don’t get rushed, or have to feel the hurry of the morning rush hour.  Watching the sun rise, you get to observe how varying degrees of sunlight affects the way you see the colours around you.  This is especially interesting in the old part of Bangkok where traditional wet markets still exist and with it the traditional way of life in Thailand.  You see people carting baskets of fruits, vegetables and even fish to sell at the market.  You see housewives out for their daily supplies, people passing by on their way to a destination or the lone dog hoping for a kind heart to give it some food.  Markets, being typically the focus of action, often find shops and restaurants nearby.  In Thailand it’s the same with stalls selling all kinds of food not far off from the market filled with people grabbing something to eat before another long day.

Coffee and croissant is not the typical breakfast here.  No Cafe Solo nor Uma Bica.  Here it’s Fish Maw Soup, Congee, Rice with Toppings, Noodles.  Whatever you want to eat, its open since early morning.  We eat our breakfast like a King, as the saying goes.   I used to wonder how one could eat so much for breakfast, having grown up on cereal or toast coupled with a glass of milk.   I now start to understand.  If you start your mornings early since it gets quite hot later on (lets’ say breakfast at around 6am) by noon you feel like you could eat horse. A big one.  It’s best therefore to have something slightly heavier than just toast so that you don’t go crazy and bite a chunk out of your colleague.

The great thing though is that food is available 24 hours a day in Bangkok.  It still fascinates me how in Thailand, food is available everywhere no matter what time of day it is.  It can be 6am or 4pm, you’ll find restaurants open for business with people inside.  I used to ask what meal they were eating, now I find myself sometimes eating at odd hours of the day.

Watching life reminds us how special and wondrous it is.  Each person has their own life story to tell.  We have ours to tell so to live one’s life is indeed a blessing.  Each and everyday, look at the life around you and think how lucky you are to be alive.  Life is precious. Tomorrow there may be no more markets,  no morning chaos nor dog wagging it’s tail…

 

Bangkok Dining: Krua Mae Yui @ Arisumpun 1

Happy Songkran everyone! It’s the Thai New Years now and how wonderful it is to have a peaceful one filled with sounds of laughter, happiness and splashes of water. It’s a great way to cool down during the hot summer weather where the sun burns in the mid thirties (Celsius). I won’t dwell on Songkran today but want to take you to this cosy traditional Thai restaurant that I have just had the opportunity to go eat even though it has been opened for years: Krua Mae Yui. The name literally translates to Mother Yui’s kitchen.

It’s a restaurant that is tucked away in a corner of garden belonging to a large compound at Soi Areesumpun 1 not far from true Ministry of Finance. I suppose it must have started as a simple project but its good food and garden view and atmosphere in the middle of the city makes you feel at home and instantly relaxed. There’s something about seeing green that calms my nerves.

It’s a garden atmosphere so there are no air-conditoned rooms for those who prefer cooler air, however, I didn’t feel hot at all under the green green trees.

What food do they serve? Interestingly a mix of Thai food and western food ranging from noodles, fried rice, kao chae, to spaghettis, grilled rack of lamb, apple crumble and even panacotta. Its a restaurant for families or groups who want to eat all kinds of food together.

I opted for the special of the month, which is most often eaten during summer in Bangkok, called “Kao Chae.” It means soaked rice. If you’ve never seen it you must wonder what is this soaked rice? It is basically cooked Thai jasmine rice soaked in iced water incensed with jasmine. This is accompanied by fried small balls of shrimp paste, fried stuff pepper, sweetened pork floss, fried onions and some other ingredients. You eat all this with the rice in iced water. It sounds strange but it is indeed delicious. The smell of jasmine calms you while the coolness of the rice makes the summer weather more enjoyable. The accompaniments all go together well with the rice. The dish was good here, but not the best I’ve had in town but it’s atmosphere certainly make up for it.

Writing the makes me want some, but I have been eating way too much this weekend.

Other dishes we ordered included pork satay, fried noodles and simple Thai pork noodles. All were good as well but not the best in terms of taste. However, it’s atmosphere was cosy and in tune with nature. You also get a chance to have local Thai food in a somewhat nicer atmosphere (rather than in a hot shophouse).

Pricewise? Noodles were 50-95 thb, 10skewers of pork satay 140thb. The Kao Chae was 200thb. Western dishes range higher starting at 150-520thb.

Would I go back again ? Yes I will. I might even take some non-Thai friends there for a change of air from all the air conditioned restaurants and shopping malls.

There is a little parking lot further into the soi but it’s a residential area so don’t expect convenient parking. 🙂

http://www.maeyui.com tel: 02-619-9952

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Japanese Sweets: Maple Snaffles from Hokkaido

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I wake up in the wee hours of the morning (4.30am) for no apparent reason today with the thought of Maple Snaffes in my head.  The thought of it won’t go away, my brain wants to have some, but helas we don’t have any and so I will just have to write about it instead.  Continuing from my previous posts on Snaffles from Hokkaido, where I talked about the original cheesecake flavor and chocolate favor, I have to say that my new favorite one is the Maple Snaffes Cheesecake.

The Maple Snaffles cheesecake have the same soft and feathery texture of the original cheesecake flavor but it has an added tinge of maple syrup.  The great thing is that you can taste and smell the maple syrup but yet it does not overwhelm the cheesecake.  It makes the cheesecake aromatic (I like the smell of maple syrup, don’t you? )  Too much of the maple syrup would make it too sweet, too little would not be enough to make it aromatic.  The Maple Snaffles, have the amount just right.

If you’ve never tried the Maple Snaffles, I think you should try it.  The chocolate cheesecake one is for chocolate lovers and if you don’t like the smell of maple syrup, then the original cheesecake one is good for you.

I suddenly have a craving for some rich maple syrup now writing about this.  Maybe today I shall go buy some and make some pancakes!

Have a good weekend everyone! 🙂

Bangkok Dining: Sendai Ramen Mokkori Silom @ Narathiwat Soi 1

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I love it when friends take me to off the beaten track eateries.  Little treasures that just make you wonder what other secrets lay hidden waiting to be discovered.   This latest discovery came quite unexpected for it was a chance meeting and we took the opportunity to go grab a bite to eat.  In search of somewhere not too far from Silom, Narathiwat and the Rama IV area my friend navigated me to this little japanese eatery called “Sendai Ramen Mokkori Silom.”

Don’t ask me what the name means. I only know “Ramen” and “Silom”(road name.)   It’s one of those eateries you find in the least expected places.  It’s at the base of an old-fashioned condominium at Narathiwat Soi 1.  It seems to have been around for quite some time and probably well-known to those who go to that area, but for me it was an area I hardly go to and a street I’ve never driven into.

What’s surprising is that walking out of the condominium parking (you can get your parking ticket validated at the eatery) you do not see the eatery right away.  I saw another Japanese place and almost went there, but lo and behold suddenly this one appears.  It’s surrounded by a lot of things, and it the daylight it’s not easy to spot, but when the lights come on, you see it clearly with the red lanterns and the lights shining from inside.

It’s small and simple inside.  A wall full of photographs of the owner with celebrities and well-known people decorate the shop and japanese writings also adorn the walls.  I always wonder if they have something unique that’s not on the menu.

The menu is dizzying.  The large B5 sized menu is filled with pictures of many types of ramen, rice dishes and other japanese favorites.  Too many makes it hard for me to choose and so I go with my favorite Mabo tofu with ramen. (It’s ramen with tofu sauce) and of course the tonkatsu (fried breaded pork) with japanese curry.    The portions are HUGE.  Not somewhere to go if you are on a diet, but a great place to go if you want to just eat and enjoy.

I liked the fact that the atmosphere took us out of the typical restaurant vibe we get in downtown Siam.  It’s less hectic and probably because it was a lazy Sunday evening one could just chill and relax without feeling pressured to give up our table to the waiting customer.   (I don’t know what it’s like on weekdays since it’s near to the business district)

The food was good and delicious for its price even though the ramen noodles were not made in-house. It wasn’t the best ramen I’ve ever had, but I think it is not too far off from the authentic ramen noodles I’ve had in Japan.  (The owner is japanese and appears on the menu cover and on the photos on the wall) The tonkatsu was crispy and lean. However if you ask me to compare the tonkatsu to that at Saboten (another japanese eatery), I have to say Saboten still wins.  The thing is, food at this eatery is roughly half the price of Saboten.

Dishes were around 140-250thb each which is a pretty good deal compared to other japanese restaurants downtown where a medium pork loin at Saboten can cost you around 290thb.  The portions are large, the flavor authentic and the atmosphere unique. I could be somewhere in Soho.

Would I go back again? Yes I will.   It’s one of those places that isn’t pretentious, the food good and a nice hideaway from the crowds of Bangkok city.  Itadakimasu.

Bangkok Dining: Pizzazo Bistro


It’s been awhile since I reviewed any restaurants or travel places and my brain tingles thinking about all the different options I have available. There are many new and good places to write about and thinking about them is making my stomach growl. (My brain is literally sending eating signals to the rest of the body.) Tonight, Pizzazo Bistro wins. It’s a French and Italian casual dining place that offers both french food and pizzas.

It’s a fairly new place that opened towards the end of 2011 and I have to say that even though it was new, service was already good. I didn’t have to sit around and wave my hands looking for some service or note how they were new. The service was well trained and they stood at just the right distance waiting to be called, but not to make us uncomfortable. Wonderful. There are not many casual dining places that offer good service. Oh, I have to mention that even though we had brought along a birthday cake from elsewhere, the restaurant put it on a lovely plate for us and even decorated the plate! That is what I call good service. Thank you. It’s these little things that matter.

What about the all important factor to a restaurant..the food? The food was as the description calls, a mixture of French and Italian casual dining. They had a wide variety on the menu ranging from cheese salads to pizzas, calzonies, and risottos. My favorites I have to say were the black squid ink spagetti, risotto and cheese. The pasta was done al dente, the sauce just good, and the presentation beautiful. The pizzas were good also if you like thin crusted pizzas and are health conscious (they have whole wheat options), but I have to admit nothing yet beats the pizzas at Limoncello or the truffle oil infused mascarpone foccacia at Biscotti. Those I have to say are the best in town.

Ambiance? It’s a renovated house from the 1960’s so you have the lovely home atmosphere but with the added modern kitchen outfront that lets you see the food being cooked. I went there during lunch and I found it very relaxing, especially if you want a quiet restaurant away from all the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. They have outdoor seating also if you like the outdoors, but I think that better be saved for cooler days. I haven’t been in the evening, but some friends have and I they seemed to like the atmosphere. I suppose with the big trees in the garden and the lighting, it must be a cosy restaurant to go to. Maybe a nice romantic quiet dinner this Valentine’s 🙂

What about price? The pizzas were around 300-400 baht, and the spaghetti and risotto I think around 200-300 thb. The price nowadays at most italian dining places.

So if you want somewhere relaxing to stop by for a dish of spaghetti or pizza, then go to Pizzazo Bistro. Here’s their website: http://www.pizzazobistro.com The great thing is that they also have some parking so its quite convenient for get-togethers. Buon Appetito!