B.T.Ram Test: August 2012

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bangkok Bill's Recommended Thai Restaurants in the Kok All Thai food is (or should be) relatively cheap in Bangkok. "Foreign" food, such as French or Japanese, tends to be more expensive, but you should never pay more than 15 USD/plate for Thai food in the Kok. The following is a quick rundown of prices: $ (dirt cheap - less than 2 USD/plate) $$ (cheap - between 2 - 5 USD/plate) $$$ (pretty cheap - between 5 - 8 USD/plate) $$$$ (moderate - between 8 - 15 USD/plate) $$$$$ (You are getting ripped off. Enjoy the warm beer, dumbed down food, and the interesting conversations with the package tourists from the U.K. and Germany sitting next to you. At least you can be assured that the waiters will speak perfect English!) The "falang index" is the likelihood that you will see other Westerners at the restaurant. The falang index does not indicate if a restaurant is good or bad, but it is an indication of the likelihood of the waiter speaking English or understanding your horrible Thai. To liberate yourself to visit the many fantastic restaurants with a low falang index, I highly recommend Lonely Planet's Thai phrase book. Here's a list of some of my favorites. Enjoy! Som Tam Nua Siam Square Soi 5 Skytrain: Siam Review: A fantastic little restaurant tucked away on Siam Soi 5 next to Mackway's Tailor. The sign in front is written in Thai script, but just look for the restaurant with the long line of people out front. Extremely popular with Thais, not frequented by many tourists or foreigners. Friendly non-English speaking staff. If you don't speak Thai, not to worry as you can simplifying to items on the English menu. Interesting Fact: This is the favorite restaurant of Paradon Srichaphan, Thailand's number one-ranked tennis player. Recommended Dishes: - Chicken Wings with sauces - Pad Konom Jin (Chinese fried noodles) - Issan Sausage - Anything spicy Falang index: 1 (rarely seen at this restaurant) Ambiance: 6 (fun and cramped) Food: 10 (probably the best food in the Kok) Price: $$ Thong Kruen The corner of Thong Lo and Thong Lo Soi 13 Skytrain: Thong Lo Review: Not the best ambiance, but Thong Kruen is very popular with local Thais and Indians living in Thailand. You could eat there every day for a year and still not have every dish offered on the very extensive menu. Some of the staff speak some English, although the menu has very helpful pictures, so if you don't speak Thai you can just point or ask the multi-lingual Indian sitting at the table next to you. Recommended Dishes: - Nua Poo Pad Pokalee (Crab meat in a thick sauce) - Winged bean salad - Tord Man Goon (Fried shrimp) Interesting Fact: I was introduced to this restaurant by the parents of a friend of mine who grew up in Bangkok (the city where I live), but now lives in Chicago (the city where I grew up). Falang index: 3 Ambiance: 3 Food: 9 Price: $$$ Blue Elephant Bangkok Cooking School and Restaurant Blue Elephant Building 233 South Sathorn Road Kwaeng Yannawa, Khet Sathorn Bangkok 10120, Thailand Tel: +66 (2) 673 9353, +66 (2) 6739354, +66 (2) 6739356 Fax: +66 (2) 673 9355 http://www.blueelephant.com/bangkok/index.html Skytrain: Surasak Review: Excellent food and ambiance in a large traditional Thai style house with friendly, English speaking staff. A must for any tourist. Recommended Dishes: I forget. They're all pretty good. There is a spicy bean curd dish that's fantastic, but the name escapes me at the moment. Amusing Anecdote: I once saw some guys who claimed to be members of the British rock band The Stone Roses at this restaurant. Whether they really were members of that band or not is irrelevant. They were drunk beyond belief, accompanied by hookers nonetheless, stumbling around with a hand-held video camera, making a scene here in one of the nicest restaurants in Bangkok. I must say that the staff at Blue Elephant handled the situation quite well, discretely escorting the members of the band (and their hookers) out to their waiting limo. Falang index: 10 (fully loaded) Ambiance: 10 Food: 9 Price: $$$$ You & Mee Grand Hyatt Erawan 494 Rajdamri Road Bangkok, Thailand Tel: +66 2254 1234 Fax: +66 2254 6308 Skytrain: Chit Lom Review: I can't get over this place. Its located in one of the nicest hotels in Bangkok, and yet the food is extremely inexpensive, and quite good to boot. Recommended Dishes: I've eaten at You & Me many times, and each time I've ordered the same thing: Kaho Soi, which is a spicy noodle soup found mostly in northern Thailand. Its only 100 baht (about 2.50 USD), which is pretty amazing given that the environment at the Erawan is so classy. Go easy on the drinks (I only order water), that's where they get you. Interesting Fact: If you want to meet Bangkok Bill in the flesh, he can normally be found here around noon on Saturdays with a bowl of Kaho Soi, reading the latest copy of the Economist. Falang index: 10 Ambiance: 10 Food: 9 Price: $$ Sukhumvit Soi 13 Street Vendor (aka "The Chicken Man") Sukhumvit Soi 13 Skytrain: Nana Review: There is a guy with a very extensive food stall set up on the corner of Sukhumvit Rd. and Sukhumvit Soi 13. He usually isn't there on Wednesdays, since apparently that's the day when the police harass him. He speaks English very well, and is usually wearing a maid's apron. Don't be confused with the chain-smoking guy who sells chicken from the grill on the back of his bike on the same corner; he's a bit of a jerk. Recommended Dishes: The fried chicken with spicy sauce is fantastic. The Chicken Man has a full array of chicken, beef, pork, fish, and shrimp to chose from. Go nuts. Interesting Fact: The Chicken Man's and the guy with the bike don't get along so well. Falang index: 10 (it's Sukhumvit Rd!) Ambiance: 0 (it's Sukhumvit Rd!) Food: 8 Price: $ 1000 Thanks Phra Ahtit Rd Banglampoo Skytrain: There is no Skytrain stop in Banglampoo. You'll have to take a taxi to get to 1000 Thanks. Review: This restaurant is near the Chao Phraya River and only a 10 minute walk from Kaho San Rd., but its far better than anything you can find there. The pony-tailed, hard-boozing restaurant manager is very friendly. Recommended Dishes: The chicken wings and chicken with cashew nuts are especially good. Interesting Fact: In my bohemian backpacker days, this was the place where I'd eat. Also, I've never seen the restaurant manager without a bottle of Jack in front of him. Falang index: 3 (the occasional Kaho San riff raff is able to find this place) Ambiance: 6 (reminiscent of Som Tom Nua) Food: 8 Price: $$