Monday, December 29, 2008

Thai Town

nong nang and i took a trip out to thai town today. i'm not sure there is really enough thai places in thai town to actually constitute a town, maybe it should really be called "thai block".

our first stop was to grab something to eat at my favorite thai restaurant, sanamluang cafe. it's got authentic thai food and is open until 4am. i usually get the kao kaa moo because i can't find it at any other thai place. there must be other places that serve it, i just haven't been to one yet.

finding parking for this little area can sometimes be a bit difficult. there aren't that many parking spaces. you can look for street parking, just make sure you know how to parallel park and do it quick (i'm not that good).

after a quick bite, i stopped over at bangluck market to see if i could find some of the original red bull bottles. no luck. they used to have it, but i haven't found any in a while. i wonder if i can special order that from somewhere. i did manage to pick up a coconut scraper for tita lei. we have have one of those stool style ones, but i thought she could use the hand scrapper for when she was preparing smaller quantities of coconut.

next door to sanamluang cafe is a little shop selling some thai trinkets, magazines, books, and music CDs. i picked up a few magazines for randy.

we headed down the street to thailand plaza so that nong nang could pick up some groceries at silom supermarket. this place has got it all, it's a one stop shop for everything you need to prepare an authentic thai meal. it not only has the groceries, it also sells the cookware that you might need as well as all things thai to serve it in.

nong nang was super excited to find some salted crab so she could make some som tum.

i picked up some frozen custard apples (noi-naa) and some mangosteens (mangkoot) for tita lei. i thought about getting some durian for uncle henry, the only white man i know that likes durian, but they were all old. i would much rather buy the frozen fruit imported from thailand than buy the fresh stuff grown here in the united states. the texture of the fruit isn't that great because it has been frozen, however you can't beat the flavor. fruit grown in thailand is much sweeter than any grown locally because of the climate and the soil.

if you ever get the chance, try some different fruit. get away from the boring old apple and banana or even the papaya and mango and go out and get yourself something like mangosteens and custard apples. open up your culinary pallet.

right next to silom market is a thai book store called dokya. i like to think of it as the thai barns and noble.

here i picked up a book on how to make "puang malai" or a garland of flowers. i only have one needle left from thailand, but i suppose it would be easy enough to make more out of wire.

right next to thailand plaza is the new hollywood plaza filled with thai many shops selling thai food and thai desserts.

if i am in thai town i have to stop at bhan kanom thai for a variety of fresh thai sweets. this place has just about every thai sweets and snacks you can thing of. some of it is imported, however a lot of it is made fresh on location, sometimes, right in front of you while you wait.

my friend dawn poomee, who i went to high school with in thailand, was the one who introduced me to this place. i am forever grateful to her. by the way, she's cute too.

i got some of these taco things. i can never quite remember what they are called, so i just point to them. i also got a dessert called "kanom chun" which means layered dessert. one of the hardest things to find is the roti sai mai (sai mai translates to silk thread, but this one is made out of sugar). the sai mai part of this is very similar to cotton candy but with a crispier texture. you take the strands of sugar and wrap it in some sort of wrapper thingy and eat it, yum.

durian cake is also one of my favorites, although no one will come near me when i'm eating this, nor will they come near me for at least half an hour afterward, but it's worth it. don't let the word cake fool you though, it's nothing like a cake. it's ground up durian with sugar and has the consistency of play do. incidentally, my dad use to sculpt this stuff into little water buffalo shaped things when i was a little kid in order to get me to eat it.

one thing that i usually do get, but didn't this time is the "kanom krok," a coconut treat cooked in a special pan with round wells, usually over a coal fire.

our last stop for the day before heading home was to ganda restaurant, right next door to bhan kanom thai. the food here is also good, but i was looking for a special treat for randy (which they didn't have this day), so i ended up coming home with some "luk choop," which are treats made out of mung bean, coconut milk, and sugar and made to look like miniature fruit and coated in a glossy gelatin glaze. okay, so the luk choop at this place hardly looks like anything at all other than oddly shaped colorful masses. even though i've grown up eating this, i still don't think it tastes that great. they are just neat to look at.

another yummy snack is the salted mango. i think it's great beer food or just good to snack on while watching TV. trust me, it's better than it looks.

there are also two restaurant worthy of note in this area. one is thai patio. i've never eaten here, but the decor inside is just peachy. i've heard it has pretty good food and the price is great.

the next restraunt is jinda thai cuisine. i have eaten at this place before and the food is just super. it's been a while since i've eaten there, but when i used to, there use to be a thai elvis that performed. he had a thick thai accent when he spoke, but when he sang, you could close your eyes and swear you were listening to the real elvis. randy calls him thaivis. i've heard that thaivis has moved to another restaurant in the area, but maybe, you can still find him performing at jinda every now and then. for all you karaoke lovers, there are even private rooms for you and your friends to get drunk and sing your heart out.

well, if you've visited china town and little tokyo, here is yet another asian town with it's own color and spirit.

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