Showing posts with label Thailand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thailand. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Comfort food: Mango and sticky rice

I must admit I was a little but pleasantly surprised to see something that we enjoyed while living in Singapore that's also a delicacy in the Philippines - mango and sticky rice. We have excellent mangoes in the Philippines especially those coming from Guimaras that have also been successfully farmed in other provinces. There are also various varieties of glutinous or sticky rice and plenty of coconuts for the coconut milk (gata) that you mix with the rice during or after cooking. I have bought this from street shops in Bangkok just didn't expect to find this at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Mango and sticky rice sold at the airport. Perfect for a snack or a quick meal. They have three versions for rice - original, pandan and butterfly pea (also known as ternatea). Pandan sticky rice is colored green while butterfly pea sticky rice is colored bluish purple. Each pack is priced at 180 Baht (1.5 Peso: 1 Baht)
Yummy mango and sticky rice. The coconut milk is in a small container embedded on the rice (visible in the photo). It also comes with a plastic spoon so you can enjoy it while waiting for your boarding call.
This is definitely something to enjoy at the airport or, if you like, something to bring home as souvenir or pasalubong. I'm sure it can survive the 3.5- to 4-hour flight to Manila.
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Sunday, July 15, 2018

In room dining at Shang Bangkok

I got quite tired after walking between the hotel and Asiatique. And so I decided to reward myself for taking more than 10,000 steps with one of our ideas for a comfort meal. I ordered some Indian food for in-room dining. Shangri-La makes a good chicken tikka and this came with basmati rice and roti. The servings were quite generous so I ended up working while eating just so I can also sustain my writing.

In-room dining for the night
The Shang's kitchens are quite consistent with this item on their menus as we've enjoyed this in several of the Shangri-la's we've stayed at so far. We'll probably order this again the next time the occasion calls for in-room dining.
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Saturday, July 7, 2018

A lively and living river - the Chao Phraya

The Chao Phraya is a national symbol for Thailand and I couldn't help but be mesmerized about how alive this river is. The river is wide enough and deep enough to be navigable to a lot of vessels including those for commuting and those for freight. Here are a few photos I took from the hotel where I was staying at during my brief travel to Bangkok.

These boats are more commonly found zipping along the many canals that form a network for water transport in the city. I took this opportunistic shot of two including one that was speeding so that water was splashing spectacularly behind it.
The middle part of the river is reserved for the barge trains that travel up and down the river.
Water taxi along the river - there are many of these in the traditional design and most of them seem to be owned and operated by the better hotels in the area including the Peninsula.
If you have watched episodes of the series "Monster Fish", you would also know that the river is literally alive because there are many fishes and other aquatic life here. Sitting just beside the river as I ate my breakfast, I could see some of the big fishes almost jumping out of the river.
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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Back in Bangkok

I'm currently in Bangkok to participate in a workshop on road safety as applies to children. I was upgraded upon checking-in at the hotel; affording me this splendid view of the Chao Phraya and the pool area.

View from my room
Bangkok will always be among my favorite places as I have been a frequent visitor to this city that offers a lot in terms of food, culture and people. It helps, too, that we had our honeymoon in this city about 16 years ago. The last time I was here was 2013 so I want to get reacquainted with the city and friends. But I have to defer explorations until after my workshop is done.
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Monday, March 7, 2016

Happy Thai, Malingap Street

There are many restaurants sprouting around UP Village but we do go to our regular lunch spots as these are quite reliable in terms of the food, service and prices. One building along Malingap Street (right in the middle of the street) hosts several restaurants, many of which we have already eaten at. These include Parilla, Angus Beef, and Ally's All Day Breakfast. We were curious about the Thai restaurant beside Parilla and decided to finally eat there a couple of weeks ago.

Entrance and tables
Interiors
Fresb spring rolls with the peanut-based sauce on the side
Chicken pandan
Garlic squid
The restaurant had clean, well lighted interiors but it was also quite simple compared to other Thai-themed restaurants we have eaten at in the past. Those had distinctly Thai decors and atmosphere. The food was okay and to be fair, we ordered some 'safe' items on the menu including fresh spring rolls and chicken pandan. I couldn't say if these were better than the same items I had in other Thai restaurants and in Thailand during my past travels. I would say they were average at best. Perhaps we should order the Tom Yum or the Chicken Basil in the future to see how authentic their food tastes. Price-wise, we thought that Happy Thai was okay on the pocket.

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Simple pleasures in Bangkok

My recent trip to Bangkok afforded me some opportunities to take some photos of street vendors and the various foods they sell. Many of these like barbecues and fruits are quite similar to the street food being sold here in the Philippines. However, I noticed some stalls selling full meals as well as popular Thai food like Tom Yum and their version of spring rolls. The street food are very popular among the Thai and many tourists may be found also enjoying the food. It is said that one cannot claim to have been to Bangkok and not sampled and enjoyed their street food.

Various barbecues sold by vendors along Silom near the National Stadium Station of the BTS Skytrain. Street food is very popular in Thailand and is quite safe. Many are pretty much similar to street food being sold in other countries in Southeast Asia. There are also fruits and drinks for sale at these stalls or stands and you can have a full meal out of the variety being sold here.
Mangoes and sticky rice are among my favorites and is popular throughout Southeast Asia. I enjoyed versions of this combination when we lived in Singapore and when once we traveled to Malaysia. Of course, suman (sticky rice) and mangga (mango) are a favorite merienda (snack) or panghimagas (dessert) in the Philippines. In fact, in the city where I live, celebrated every summer is the Sumaka Festival. Sumaka stands for suman, mangga, and kasoy (cashew), for which the city is well known for, and which visitors often get as pasalubong (souvenir or present from a trip) when they go home.

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Ootoya: Katsu in Bangkok

While re-exploring the Siam Center area, I decided to have my early dinner at the Discovery Center, which is just across the intersection from MBK. I was already a bit tired from walking around so I decided to check out the restaurants at the Discovery. I ended up eating at a Japanese restaurant at the upper level of the mall where also located is the Madame Tussauds wax museum in Bangkok. I didn't go in the museum as it was not my type of museum (I prefer the science museums and art galleries.). Anyhow, the restaurant's name is Ootoya, and the branch is supposed to be a part of a chain of restaurants you'll also find in other countries including, of course, Japan.

A pestle to go with the bowl of sesame seeds
Rosu katsu set includes miso soup, rice, lettuce and shredded cabbage
Why eat in a Japanese restaurant when in Bangkok? Well, for one, I already had my full of Thai food and didn't want anything spicy before I flew back to Manila. Another reason to eat Japanese food in Thailand is the fact that there are many good Japanese restaurants in Bangkok. This is in part due to the many Japanese visitors who go to Thailand that basically increased the demand for Japanese food. Of course, I have been to Thailand many times in the past so it's not like I haven't tried Thai food. In fact, I even ate at Thai restaurants while traveling in the US one time, preferring Asian food to burgers and steaks. So for those visiting Thailand for the first time or maybe the second, I strongly recommend their trying Thai street food and food courts (they have these in the malls) rather than go to some fancy restaurant. Eat where many Thai eat and don't risk it at a possible tourist trap.
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Monday, December 2, 2013

Indian food in Bangkok

I anticipated Thai food being served for our lunches and the Welcome Dinner for the conference I attended in Bangkok. So when our group decided to have a very late lunch or very early dinner at the nearby MBK, I opted for Indian food instead, and got myself Tandoori chicken and saffron rice to satisfy my late afternoon hunger. I didn't plan to go out for dinner anymore, deciding in advance to have a light supper, have a good night's rest and in the morning eat a hearty breakfast before proceeding to the conference venue.

Tandoori chicken and saffron rice with different sauces provided for the chicken

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Inflight meals

I don't usually take photos of the meals I've had during flights. This is so even in cases where the temptation was so strong to take a souvenir shot or two because I was impressed with the service even though I was flying economy. Such were the cases every time I flew Singapore Airlines, which I believe is one of if not the best airline I've flown to any of my destinations. Previously, I thought the economy class meals on Japan Airlines and Asiana Airlines were the better meals I've had inflight. However, I've always exercised restraint in taking photos mainly due to the dyahe factor because there was another passenger seated beside me. But as temptations go, I finally gave in during one return flight to Manila when I was all by myself in my row inside the plane.

Chicken, mushrooms and noodles c/o Thai Airways
Perhaps I should try to take more inflight meals later just for comparison. My next chance would probably be on my upcoming trip to Hong Kong when I will be taking our flag carrier, Philippines Airlines.
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Monday, October 15, 2012

Commuting using the Bangkok subway

I have gone around Bangkok in the past using the BTS Skytrain, buses, taxis and once using the tuktuk. I have only used the subway once as it has only one line and in the past trips to Bangkok I really didn't need to use it considering most of my destinations were within walking distance of a Skytrain station or required the services of a taxi. And so I took the opportunity to take some photos at the Bangkok Metro during one commute to meet up with a friend.

Descending from the Skytrain station to the entrance to the subway station
Directional sign pointing towards the subway station
Descent to the subway station plaza
User interface for the Bangkok subway - commuters who can't read Thai may opt to go for the English option.
The station is spacious and there seems to be still few passengers using the subway - Fares have been criticized before for being expensive compared to bus and Skytrain. As such, the system is not as crowded as Singapore's MRT or the Philippines' elevated rail systems.
Platform doors are synchronized with the train doors, ensuring safety for commuters.
Turnstiles are similar to those in Singapore and Japan
I think the Bangkok subway is still a good option along the corridor it serves though it would be better if it is extended to increase its reach and consequently its ridership. Issues on interconnectivity with other modes especially the Skytrain have been addressed to some extent but remain. Its most difficult challenge pertains to fares and is something that would probably be difficult to tackle given the financial implications but is necessary to encourage more people to use it regularly.
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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Renewing friendships over sushi in Bangkok

I take advantage of my trips to Bangkok to get reacquainted with an old friend from my stint in Japan. Terdsak was my junior (kohai) at our laboratory at the university and we were at the time the only foreign students at our laboratory. Of course, there were many others at the other labs but you don't get to see the other regularly except perhaps during lunch time when most of us would congregate at the shokudo (canteen) to exchange stories including life in Japan. 

It is no surprise that we ended up having dinner at a Japanese restaurant considering I already had my fill of Thai food over the past days of my stay and there are many good, authentic Japanese restaurants in Bangkok. We decided to go to a sushi bar, which had sushi plates going around for the selection of diners.

Sushi bar
Sushi just the way we like it
Heiroku Sushi may be found at the top level of the Central Plaza Rama 9 mall
My good friend and I had a good chat over dinner where I learned he is now married to a dentist who works at one of the top hospitals in Bangkok. It's been quite a while since we last talked, only learning about what's going on through Facebook. We eventually parted as he was to fetch his wife from work and I had to take advantage of the break in the rains to get back to my hotel.

I will relate more about our adventures in Yokohama and at YNU later. Of course, such stories won't be complete without reference to our other friends especially Mohsen, Ioan and Some.
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Monday, October 1, 2012

Rabbit card for commuting in Bangkok

I was in Thailand for at least once a year during a certain stretch in the last decade as I represented our University to the ASEAN University Network - Southeast Asia Engineering Education Network (AUN-SEEd/Net). Whenever I was in Bangkok, I bought a one-day pass for me to have practically unlimited use of the BTS Skytrain for a day. Those times in the past, there were no IC or stored value cards for use in commuting in the Thai capital. And so I was quite happy to see the availability of a stored value card when I familiarized myself with the Skytrain last week.

The Rabbit card, as it was called, is a stored value card that still has limited use for commuting and other purposes. At present, it can only be used for the BTS Skytrain and a few shops. It cannot be used for buses, taxis or the MRT (Bangkok's subway). There are three variants for the Rabbit card - one for students, one for senior citizens, and another for adults (all other people).

Rabbit card for adults
Back of the card where pertinent info for its use are written in both Thai and English
The Rabbit card is not yet as useful as Singapore's or Japan's version of the stored value card. Still, it is an improvement that will surely and steadily have more uses in the future. And so I look forward to the next trip to Bangkok when perhaps my Rabbit card will be useful for other modes of transport as well.
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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dog-friendly hotel

I was surprised when a Labrador Retriever suddenly appeared beside by table as I was eating breakfast at the hotel we were staying at in Bangkok. One of the hotel staff approached the Lab and his/her owner to guide the man, who was blind, to his seat at the restaurant. I wanted to get a photo of the man and his guide but opted to honor the man's privacy.

A Labrador Retriever walks beside his/her owner as hotel staff guide the blind man to his seat.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Back in Bangkok

The last time I was in Bangkok was in 2005 or 2006 and so it has been a while since that last trip that I was curious about how the city would look like after 6 years. Was there anything new? Did it change much since the last time? At the very least, I was expecting to have new experiences and it didn't take long before I had one, trying out the express rail link between Suvarnabhumi Airport and the city. The rail link was still under construction the last time I was in Bangkok and one had no choice at the time but to take a taxi or a shuttle between the airport and the hotel. Taxis can cost a lot and might take more time due to traffic congestion even though part of the trip between the airport and the city is via the expressway.

The walk from the arrival area to the Airport Rail Link
Ticket vending machine with English instructions upon the press of a button. We purchased tickers for the Phaya Thai Express to connect with the BTS Skytrain.
Token for the Express Rail Link trip from the airport to Phaya Thai Station - the link is operated by the State Railway of Thailand, their counterpart of our Philippine National Railways. The trip cost 90 Baht (about 130 Pesos), very cheap compared to taking a taxi.

Passengers inside the Airport Link train
Happy traveler


Walk from the Airport Rail Link's Phaya Thai Station to the BTS Skytrain's

Looking back at the Phaya Thai Station of the Airport Rail Link
Phaya Thai Station of the BTS Skytrain
It would be very nice to have a similar rail link between the MRT 3 or LRT 1 Lines and NAIA in Manila. In fact, how difficult would it be for the LRT1 Line to have an extension to the airport terminals of NAIA when it's depot is just across the road from the old domestic terminal? This would probably be easier than constructing a new monorail or whatever system it is that is being planned between Bonifacio Global City and NAIA. It is definitely much easier and perhaps cheaper compared to the still-born Northrail between Caloocan and Clark. One thing for sure is that we are really behind our ASEAN neighbors when it comes to providing the infrastructure for public transport, in this case airport access.