At 11pm, where street food is almost unheard of here in Manila…is actually one of the coolest hours to go street side-snacking if ever you’re in bangkok. I’ve been going to bangkok for 10 years now, and man, i still enjoy the same night snacks we have year after year. Of course, we have new places to much in, but there’s nothing like our all-time favorites to give us that happy feeling we first got when we had our first family trip to bangkok.
I want to tell you about it as we trace our steps from our starting point which is the ISETAN department store, which is right of front of the BIG C supermarket (which is another foodie place considering that their food court is pretty good). I’m not really sure how long these hawkers are going to stay in this area but at night, an entire sidewalk strip is turned into an eating place where fishes are lined up, covered in a salt crust, barbecuing over hot coals and customers are seated drinking beer and eating all sorts of salads for dinner. This is where we find the salt-crusted dalag — i forget what they call it in thai, but all i can remember is the word “pla” and then you point to the salt-crusted fish. What makes this fish so special is the sauce…each stall has its sauce and the stall we eat in has a pineapple mix with coriander, chili, soy sauce, lime juice, lemongrass…and so on. We usually enjoy this fish with a bottle of Heineken, or Asahi beer.
Cross the street and go further down Ratchdamri and you will reach this 4-inch by 5-foot long barbeque station, with a long line of little yellow barbeque chicken cubes lined up called sate. This sate is served with a peanut-based sauce and a cold pickled cucumber and shallot salad which cuts the richness of the peanut sauce. it’s about 15baht for 3 sticks, usually dad gets us about 5 sticks each.
In the same store you will find the fish maw soup, which is available also for take-out and is topped with coriander and a little black vinegar. This thick soup contains fish maw, some liver (not fishy at all), bamboo shoots and maybe other entrails. This is something that i look forward to every year.
Down the same sidewalk is the salad station. This is where we buy nam-tok, a thai beef salad, with roasted rice, herbs and chili. The sauce is made of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar which is poundd together with the basil, coriander, chili and roasted rice.
Down the same sidewalk comes the very famous, KAI PRATUNAM. This place serves up people in benzes, people on elephants, students, drunks, all sorts of people! And it’s always full…everytime we get there we usually wait around 3-5 minutes to get a table. Our server of 10 years ago (who used to be new and akward) is now one of the top people there…her job now is not serving, usually she comes over to count your bill. but on most times she remembers us, and already knows that we’ll be asking for extra plates to put our take-out sates and soups on.
Kai pratunam has the juciest chicken. They seemed to have perfected the cooking time of the chicken that it comes out tender, juicy, tasty and almost fat-like. The skin is already comparable to delicate jelly. And the broth of the soup poured onto the rice gives me the impression that a thousand chickens were used to create the broth. The sauce is a simple kekap manis, chili and garlic. Ten years ago, i used to remember it with a little cilantro. The platter almost always comes with cucumber, and a chunk of blood…I usually eat the blood haha!
Writing about this makes me want to have some sate & chicken rice! Well, I’ll just have to wait a couple of months again before we get to go back and feast.