Paradise Inn, Singapore

SCRIBBLES

Category: Chinese Cuisine

This is the second restaurant I’m writing about that’s linked to the Paradise Group (the first being Paradise Dynasty), and I’m starting to feel like I should be paid for writing this (which I’m not, but hey Paradise, payment in kind (i.e. food) is just fine) 😛 Paradise Inn is another of my go-to restaurants, simply because it’s so unpretentious – just good Chinese food in a comfortable teahouse setting – and on some days, that’s really all you want.

Multiple locations including Suntec City, Thomson Plaza, 313@Somerset and Changi Airport T1

The Paradise Group Restaurants are everywhere and the standards are very high across its different chains. If you’re in any major mall, chances are there’s a Paradise Inn nearby.

Damage: $$

Paradise Inn is pretty pocket-friendly – I’ve been there dozens of times and I’d say on average it’s about $20+ per person. We typically order about a dish per head (i.e. 5 dishes for 5 people) or slightly more, and it’s always been about right.

To Go: Definitely

When my family wants Chinese food, this is a default option. It’s fuss-free, comfortable but not sloppy, and service has always been pretty good (except when they’re running at full-house – but even then they’re still relatively quick to respond). From our experience, the wait staff are always very courteous and willing to help, and with Chinese tea that’s always flowing, we always come away with full and satisfied stomachs with none of that greasy-oily feeling like from some other places.


A MORE DETAILED REVIEW

Since I’ve been to Paradise Inn so many times and have tried so many dishes on the menu, I can safely say most of the food is very good- but to help those who’ve not been or friends just visiting Singapore for travel, here are some dishes that I would strongly recommend.

#1 Imperial Pork Ribs

Paradise Inn Singapore Food Review Blog Top Chinese Restaurant Imperial Pork Ribs Pai Gu WangThis dish is a must-order, and we never leave Paradise Inn without it. Although it reads “Pork ribs”, it’s really just pork fillets- which makes it even easier to eat and value for money since there’s no need to pick tiny morsels of meat off the bone like the one at Whampoa Keng Fish Head Steamboat Restaurant. The sauce is a special savory sauce that has a slight sweetness to it, and encrusts the outside of the pork to give it a good caramelized and slightly crisp bite. I’ve tried the Coffee Pork Ribs too – it’s a bit similar in terms of the way it’s cooked, but is sometimes a bit overdone resulting in a slightly burnt flavour, so it really depends. If you ask me, I’d say go Imperial.

#2 Hot Plate Tofu with Preserved Cai Xin and Minced Pork

Paradise Inn Singapore Food Review Blog Top Chinese Restaurant Imperial Hot Plate Tofu Mapo Cai Xin Minced PorkI’d eat every last scrap of this. If you like tofu, minced pork, egg, and lots of sauce, this is going to be your baby. The tofu is smooth and soft, and comes surrounded by a moat of bubbling egg, topped with a delicious and intensely-flavored sauce containing generous portions of minced pork and mushrooms. The leftover sauce goes perfect with everything, and the this dish tastes especially great when piping hot.

#3 Stewed Pork Belly served with Lotus Bun (Kong Ba Pau) (Featured picture)

Known in the local dialect as “Kong Bak Pau“, this dish is not commonly served at most restaurants. It is also a dish that’s hard to get right – I’ve had some poorly done pork belly which is either too lean or too fatty or even too tough. Not only must the composition of the pork be right, the stewing process needs to be done correctly to infuse the pork with the rich dark soy sauce-based marinate. A good kong bak would have a fat layer that melts in the mouth easily alongside tender, lean, and juicy meat. Paradise Inn has a great one, and is a great place to get your kong bak pau fix without having to make a special effort.

Old Airport Road Food Centre, Singapore

SCRIBBLES

Category: Singaporean – Hawker Centre

My favourite go-to food centre in Singapore, Old Airport Road Food Centre has some of the best of Singapore’s most popular dishes and is highly revered among Singaporeans. While these are familiar dishes to the locals, I figured it would be helpful to write a little for friends from overseas coming to visit, and since I was at Old Airport Road Food Centre for lunch on Sunday, that’s exactly what I did.

19 Old Airport Road, Singapore 390019

Located in the vicinity of Mountbatten and Geylang, Old Airport Road Food Centre is a two-storey stocky-looking building situated in a relatively open space, painted in bold colours of yellow, blue, red and green (I know…), with a carpark on one side and a few residential buildings by it’s front. Any taxi driver would be able to take you, and if you’re coming by the MRT (i.e. train), the closest station would be Mountbatten.

Damage: $

It’s the foodie’s heaven, with reasonable prices ranging from $3 for pie tee to $5 and up for noodle-dishes. When you come, I can almost guarantee you’ll be hypnotised by the delicious wafting smells and will want to try everything – in which case… maybe I should increase the damage to $$.

To go: Of course! (Is this a trick question?)

No reservations about it – if you want to have an authentic experience amongst locals and try some of the best of Singaporean cuisine, this place should be at the top of your list.


A MORE DETAILED REVIEW

This review will consist of a few sub-reviews.

Kangkong Jiu Eng Cai, $3, and Pie Tee, $3 (Feature picture, from left to right)

Kangkong Jiu Eng Cai is a dish made from kangkong (a kind of long skinny vegetable), and jiu (cuttlefish), which often features cucumber, pineapple cubes and beansprouts. This dish uses cured cuttlefish, which I didn’t like because of its translucent agar-like texture, but the sweet prawn paste sauce with chilli and peanuts was fantastic – light, tasty, and yet full of flavour. Our favourite stall for this dish faces the front of the food centre, and has a purple sign with red chinese words together with white words announcing “Homemade springroll, springroll skin”; if you look carefully on the right, it says “Fortune Food” in english.

Otak-otak, 80 or 90 cents each

Crab otah singapore food review old airport road

Look at the crab flesh embedded inside! Otak-otak is traditionally a grilled “fish cake” made from fish meat, tapioca starch and spices, wrapped in banana leaves and speared with little toothpicks at the ends to keep them intact when grilled over the fire. Now, otak-otak has expanded to a wider variety of different fillings to include crab. The one from Lee Wee Brothers is very tasty and generous with the meat, and also is just nicely toasted, unlike some places which overdo it until it chars.

Char Kway Teow, $3-$5

Char Kway Teow Singapore's favourite dish Revew

Ah, Singaporeans absolutely love their fried kway teow. Also known in the local dialect as “char kway teow“, this dish is a stir-fry of flat rice noodles, with beansprouts, slices of chinese sausage, egg and cockles in a chilli and soy-sauce based sauce. Lao Fu Zhi has one of the best char kway teows around – it’s situated along the middle aisle and always has a queue. The noodles are well coated with a thin flavourful sweet-savory layer of sauce, and with eggs deliciously stir-fried into it. Watch for when the man himself is handling for the wok, because he does it best.

Another Singaporean favourite is Hokkien mee, also known as fried prawn noodles. While I didn’t have it this time, you should be sure to give it a try and the one at old airport road food centre is very good.

Other dishes to try

roasted chicken wing singapore food review

While you’re there, have the roast chicken wings with the local chilli sauce from Tong Kee Charcoal BBQ as well – freshly roasted until the skin is golden and crispy, while the meat remains tender and incredibly juicy (careful – the juices will flow out!). Also try some local desserts like Tau Suan (essentially a sweet soup made from split mung bean) and sesame paste (picture below, left to right).

tau suan sesame paste old airport road singapore food review

Kim Heng HK Roasted Meat, Singapore

SCRIBBLES

Category: Chinese – Hawker – Roasted Meats

My colleague and friend has been raving about this place for weeks on end, and so I finally made my way down on a Saturday morning to give it a try. Before going, I did a quick search which yielded Kim Heng as the “Best all rounder” in an article by the Straits times on the best roasted meat stalls, and so I went with high hopes.

Block 214 Serangoon Avenue 4, 01-88, Tel: 6283-3695, Opens 8.30am to 7pm daily

Situated in a clean coffeeshop at the corner of the ground floor of a HDB block facing the Serangoon Stadium, Kim Heng HK Roasted Meat is easy to find and can be seen from a distance away; even before lunchtime, a long queue of customers would have formed, cutting right across the path.

Damage: $

It’s roasted meat after all, and in a coffeeshop, so it can’t (and shouldn’t) be that expensive. That said, it’s steeper than some of the other places I’ve been, but that could be because we ordered ribs in the mix. It came up to about $14 for each of us, for a platter of mixed meats and 2 small soups to share 3 ways.

To go: Perhaps, if you’re in the area

I’m personally not convinced that this is the best all-rounder for roasted meat in Singapore. It was okay; nothing really special if you ask me, and unfortunately not as mind-blowing as my friend made it out to be (I mean, when he was describing it to me, he really went all out with the expressive hand gestures to accompany the mouthwatering descriptions in addition to a look of bliss). The sio ba (roasted pork belly) was better, but I remain a skeptic about whether this place warrants the queue and the hype.


A MORE DETAILED REVIEW

I cut through the building, entering from the side of the carpark, and straight away saw the long line to my right. My friends had recommended going just before 11.30am when, from experience, a freshly roasted batch of sio ba would be ready and displayed alongside other tantalizing meats, ready to be devoured.

Kim Heng HK Roasted Meat Serangoon SingaporeWe ordered a mix of char siewxio ba, ribs and roasted duck (feature picture). The char siew (roasted pork slices) was average – way too fatty and not as caramelised on the outside as would be ideal. There were little tasty bits here and there, but nothing came close to the char siew I’d had at this place called Sun Ming in Cheras, just a little way out from Kuala Lumpur – which, to date, still stands as the best I’ve ever tasted.

The sio ba was springy and the skin was lightly crisped, but I found that it was not exceptionally fragrant although on the plus side, it wasn’t heavy from overused oil which is a common mistake. The ribs were a disappointment – there was very little meat, and it wasn’t particularly tender. If you go, I’d recommend you save your rib fix for another day at some place else like Morganfields which has the ultimate sticky bones.

And so my search for the best roasted meats in Singapore continues. If you have any recommendations, please do let me know – I’d really love to hear all about them!

Kim Heng Roast Meat Serangoon Singapore

UNA, One Rochester, Singapore

SCRIBBLES

Category: European/Spanish – Special Occasions

Just a month ago, we visited UNA for the first time over Christmas. My family has a family tradition of having brunch every 25th of December, and I, as usual, was placed in charge of making the reservations. I was looking for a place which served up hearty meats (beef/pork/turkey) – to me it just doesn’t make sense to have Asian cuisine at Christmastime – and a cosy atmosphere. Helmed by Chef Jean-Philippe Patruno, UNA, veiled by the lush greenery of One Rochester, was relatively new and had already received a number of good reviews.

1 Rochester Park, Singapore 139212

Located in the vicinity of Buona Vista, One Rochester is an enclave of classy restaurants. Parking is limited in the open air carpark, but you can always park next door at The Star Vista and take a short 5-10 minute walk over.

Damage: $$$$

They have several tapas-style options in the $10s to $20s. Mains of Hanger steak, suckling pig or Pluma Ibérica are around $30 – and the portions are decent but not that sizeable. So if you’re planning to do the entire suite including dessert, prepare for about $100 each. At Christmas, their brunch menu of 1 main and a buffet of starters and desserts was $65++ each.

To go: Sometimes, on special occasions

While the food was good, the thing that stood out to me most was the impeccable service. I think anyone who has experienced poor service on an important occasion would agree with me that it makes a whole lot of difference. The staff were very friendly, helpful in offering suggestions, prompt at checking-in on guests, and basically doing everything possible to ensure the best experience possible. They had some standout dishes as well, including the Spanish TortillaPluma IbéricaCrispy Cod Fish main and Pedro Ximénez Panna Cotta.


A MORE DETAILED REVIEW

We opened the meal with appetisers of cold meats, jamon iberico, and pan con tomate, which is a dish which I saw lots of when I was studying in Barcelona, and which we made at barbecues and gatherings by taking a tomato cut in half and then rubbing it into bread. The spread included pan-fried scallops & asparagus which featured thick juicy scallops, as well as spanish tortilla with prawns and aioli (see featured picture, triangular slice) which in Spain was referred to simply as a kind of “spanish omelette”.

Pluma Iberica Una One Rochester Singapore Review

For the mains, we ordered the pluma ibéricahanger steakbaby chicken and crispy cod fish. The steak was a bit dry and tough, but the pluma ibérica was incredible – the pork was tender, and its meaty-woody flavours sang powerfully to the accompaniment of a light but intense sauce made from natural jus. The mash which lay beneath was smooth and creamy, and balanced out the saltiness of the meat perfectly.

The baby chicken was beautifully charred on the outside, although not crispy, but the inside remained juicy and moist. The crispy cod was a good counterpoint to the heavy meat dishes and was fresh, falling off in large flakes when pulled with the fork, and the batter which encased it was crispy, light and non-oily.

baby chicken una singapore review

I was excited about the spread of desserts which included items like banoffee messbitter chocolate tart, and churros & chocolat. The bitter chocolate tart was a disappointment in spite of how it looked – the presence of salt in the chocolate was overwhelming and masked the taste of the cocoa entirely. The churros was too oily as well. The Pedro Ximénez Panna Cotta, however, was fantastic – topped with light crumbles of popcorn, the panna cotta was soft and creamy, with the sweetness of the grapes of the sherry coming through in its wake – and I just had to have three of those before calling it a day.

Una One Rochester Singapore Review dessert

Travel Diary: Journey through Bangkok, Thailand

Our taxi came to a halt behind a row of cars as the light turned red. A little girl, barely seven or eight, was standing next to the front door of the car in front of us, speaking to the driver. She was motioning with her hands, showing off something. I leaned over to the right and caught a glimpse of orange and yellow. They were flowers. She’s selling flowers in the middle of a main road. The intersecting traffic slows, and the drivers ready for the green. She turns, swinging a pole with garlands of flowers hanging from its ends, and quickly dashes to the road divider just as the vehicles begin to pick up their pace and get back in tempo. As we pass, I notice her head bent at a slightly downward angle, her shoulders slightly slumped, her feet grubby. I noticed that she had no shoes.

I remember the countless number of street-side stalls as being one of the most striking things about Bangkok. We would walk down pavements along shop fronts which felt more like narrow back alleys. The street-side stalls formed a blockade between us and the road, and would go on endlessly – light cotton apparel, thai boxer shorts, cheap plastic sunglasses stacked high, in between which were food stalls – letting in no air and no light. People walked past in a constant viscous stream, squeezing past each other to go in opposite directions, while groups of bored-looking Thai girls sat outside massage parlours, fanning themselves in the midday heat, calling out every once in a while to prospective customers an invite to come in.

Bangkok was everything I’d expected it to be. Crowded, lively, chaotic. In Platinum Mall, you would see that people from all around the world have come, dragging huge plastic trolley bags going from shop to shop to source for bargain apparel to sell at a profit. It was energetic yet exhausting to be part of, and we ended up finding solace at Starbucks.

Street side food stalls in Bangkok Roadside stalls in Bangkok Thailand

Food in Bangkok was cheap and readily available, although I did end up rushing to the toilet about 4 times a day (which, by the way, is not usual). Every once in a while, smells of food would be interrupted by the smell of sewage coming from the gutters and drains, and would inspire cringed noses and a quicker walk.

Corn based dessert at a street side stall in Bangkok Thailand

Whilst touristy, Jaktujak Weekend Market was a highlight of my trip. The sections selling apparel did not appeal to us but we did find much to our fancy at the other end of the market where they sold dried food items ranging from mango to ginger, and also aromatic oils of bergamot, rose, and lemongrass, packed into display-worthy bottles forged from glass. Leaving Jaktujak, cabs were lined up alongside the road near the exit, their drivers standing by the curb. A cabby approached us to ask where we were headed. Upon hearing Sukhumvit, he made a face, waved and said that it was “very very far” but would take us there for 600THB. I’d seen the map; it wasn’t that far at all. We walked farther from Jaktujak and got into a metered cab which ended at 150THB.

Sad to say, the cabs were a major reason for my schlocky impression of Bangkok. We once boarded a cab waved in by a Bo.lan staff from the road which claimed he was on “meter”. It was a sort of van that looked more like it belonged in a zoo; heavily dented, with masking tape around the handles and on the doors where parts were on the verge of falling off. We were even more appalled at the state of its interior – cans stuffed between the top of the seat and the ceiling to prevent it from collapsing, a stool supporting the seat where my mother sat, and a lot of rubbish everywhere else. We were laughing about how shocked the hotel staff would be at seeing this “sampan” (a Chinese flat-bottomed boat, but literally meaning “3 planks”) come into their lobby, when my dad noticed the meter was off. The driver then insisted we would pay 250THB, and when we refused, veered to the side of the road and forced us out- but not before he demanded 50THB from me.

Cabbing in Bangkok Thailand

Nightmare cab in Bangkok Thailand

I didn’t know much about the Somboon Seafood scam until I got back to Singapore after experiencing it first hand. We’d tried to get to the restaurant several times, and every cabby we’d encountered said there was no Somboon Seafood, only some variation pronounced Som-boon-dee. We eventually got into a cab whose driver said he knew where it was, only to inform us halfway that “Somboon Seafood doesn’t open on Sundays. I take you to Somboondee. When my friends say they want Somboon, I bring them to Somboondee because Somboondee is better! I know the boss – he will give you 10% discount because you’re my friend.” The liar took us down some quiet gravel road where a wire light was poorly bent an attached to a flimsy fence to form “somboondee” in a wiggly writing. He lowered the side window and hollered to the owner, who’d been sitting at a table smoking and didn’t look at all like he’d been expecting guests, and straight away we knew something was amiss. The “restaurant” was practically empty except for a poor family of four seated in the dark, all of whom promptly looked up, surprised, stared at us miserably and totally halted their meal. The seafood selection was miserable, the prices steep, and the whole place was barely even lit. It was eerie, and we promptly said we’d had too similar a meal the previous night and started to walk briskly back out to the main road. The cabby had parked by the side, and upon seeing us, ran up to us to ask why we were leaving. As we walked, the discount steadily increased from 10% to 15% to 20%. We kept walking.

Mango Sticky Rice at Siam Paragon Bangkok Thailand

Unfortunately, Bangkok just wasn’t my kind of city and left much to be desired, but it still could be yours, just as I’ve had friends who’ve gone back twice or thrice. While there was beauty in some of it, such as their piousness and cuisine, and of course, it is an inexpensive holiday destination, I especially wished the cabbies were more friendly and honest (to me, they’re sometimes tour guides who can teach you about the city, and are often the first locals you encounter extensively upon setting foot in a country; the ones in London were fantastic) – that would’ve helped preserve the impression that I’d gone to Bangkok with but sadly departed without, and that is “the land of a thousand smiles”.

Religion in Bangkok Thailand

De Zaab, Bangkok, Thailand

SCRIBBLES

Category: Thai, Northeastern – Casual Dining

On the morning of our last day in Bangkok, we decided to explore the UP Rama 3 mall (ดิอัพ พระราม 3) which newly opened, just down the street from where we were staying at the Chatrium Residence Sathorn. The mall was barely a month old, and we’d gone down to scout it out for a place to have breakfast. Unexpectedly, one of our most value-for-money and best meals happened there at a new restaurant, which we hadn’t even heard of, called De Zaab on the first floor.

The Up Rama 3, Narathiwat Ratchanakarin Road, Yannawa, Bangkok

Chong Non Si ช่องนนทรี The Up Rama 3 ถนนนราธิวาสราชนครินทร์ ยานนาวา กรุงเทพฯ

The UP mall is located at the corner of a major street intersection. If I had to draw parallels, it would be a version of Singapore’s Chijmes, with its elements of old world european architecture. It’s pretty small but has several food establishments including Singapore’s very own Boon Tong Kee chicken rice restaurant alongside a significant number of medium to high-end Japanese Restaurants; from Japanese barbecue to handmade sushi and sashimi from fish flown in from Japan in an omakase format.

Damage: $

De Zaab offered the most incredible value ever. At lunchtime, they had set meals which were between 160 – 190THB ($6-$8) which were fixed pairings of dishes from their regular menu. We’d thought that perhaps the portions would be smaller but alas, the portions were comparable to everywhere else, and my-, the dishes were all good!

To go: Definitely, if you’re in the vicinity

Leaving the restaurant, we were actually concerned about the restaurant’s viability, with prices almost comparable to the street-side stalls (except this was a proper restaurant). I do note that this may be out of the way for those staying farther up north in Bangkok. However, if you find yourself somewhere near to or in Sathorn, they’re definitely worth your while.


A MORE DETAILED RECOUNT

At 10.30am on a Monday morning, the UP Mall was still relatively quiet apart from the soft pipe-in Japanese music which reminded me of the Shiroi Koibito Park in Hokkaido. The signs of the mall’s recentness were fully apparent – the walls and floors were spotless, and some units were still in the midst of having their fixtures put up whilst one or two others were pending tenancy.

Since it was our last day in Bangkok, we thought it made perfect sense to indulge in Thai food, and so when we passed by De Zaab on the first floor and saw the tantalising pictures, we went straight in.

Pad Thai and Thai mango Salad Bangkok ThailandAll I can say is damn – we made a hella good choice. We ordered a set of Thai papaya salad and a seafood Pad Thai (rice noodles stir fried with eggs, firm tofu, a touch of sugar and spice and with peanut bits). When served, we were gawking at the heap that was the papaya salad. The papaya strands were a good rawness, thickness and had lots of crunch. Every stand of the Pad Thai was well glazed with the tamarind and fish sauce, with a good amount of prawns to boot. Personally, I prefer how they do it in Singapore, which is to stir fry the beansprouts in with the noodles, whereas here, the beansprouts were served raw on the side.

The Seafood Tom Yum Soup had so much depth of flavour as well – it was light but punchy on the spicy and sour, with just the right tone of sweetness – and was loaded with plenty of ingredients including fresh prawns, squid and a whole party of vegetables.

Seafood Tom yum Soup Bangkok Thailand

De Zaab Signature Stir fried Noodles Bangkok Thailand

Truth be told, I have no idea what the dish above (and also the featured image) is called, but I’d refer to it as one of the restaurant’s signature dishes because it was featured on the wall, and also had half a page of the menu dedicated entirely to it. It wasn’t part of a set, but either way, if you show them this picture, I’m sure their friendly staff will be able to figure it out – just look at the amount of ingredients in this thing – fresh and succulent prawns, fishcake slices, and a generous helping of vegetables on top of the fragrant and fluffy vermicelli. Such a delight.

Yaowarat Road (ถนนเยาวราช), Bangkok, Thailand

SCRIBBLES

Category: Thai (Chinese) – Street Food

Yaowarat Road in Bangkok, Thailand, is practically synonymous with “Chinatown”. At night, the streets are flooded with taxis ferrying tourists who flock there for dinner, supper, or to soak in the hustling atmosphere side-by-side with the locals. Vendors park their carts in front of the shops and begin business, practically forming a street-side barricade that effectively encroaches into the road, with more than 10 stalls every 20m or so.

Sam Pheng Lane ซอยสำเพ็ง, Bangkok, Thailand

The taxis inch along bumper-to-bumper. Bright lights, lots of signs. Noise. Vehicles all lined along the curb. People weaving randomly through the traffic, queuing, eating – here, there, everywhere. You’ve reached Yaowarat, alright.

Damage: $

Food here is inexpensive – as it should be, given that almost all the time your food will be prepared out of small push-carts, shelter-like things or even a wok precariously balanced on top of a gas cylinder, and you’ll be sitting on a stool that’s been planted on the road. Half the time you’ll be thinking and raving about how inexpensive the dish you were just served is, and the other half you’ll spend wondering if you’re going to get a stomach ache afterwards. Nonetheless, Yaowarat seemed, on the whole, to be noticeably cleaner than some other food streets in Bangkok.

To go: When looking for food in Bangkok at night

With probably over a thousand stalls operating along the streets at night, there is an abundance of food, although it once again (as with many other places in Bangkok) becomes very challenging to differentiate the talented hawkers. It is lively, chaotic – typical Bangkok style. It’s probably a good one-stop-shop at night, with the other food street option being Sukhumvit Soi 38.


This review contains a few sub-reviews on different stalls which we patronised. 

A MORE DETAILED RECOUNT

The cab hadn’t moved in 4 minutes. I’d pre-loaded my GPS with the wifi at the hotel (as we’d all learnt to do when travelling on exchange with no data plan), and I could see that the start of my planned food trail was barely 25m away. We thanked him, paid the fare, alighted and had to scoot out of the way of a hasty tuk-tuk,  before blending into the constant stream of people going up and down the street.

Nai Mong Hoy Tod (นายหมงหอยทอด) was our first stop. Acclaimed for their oyster omelettes (or “Orh luak” as they’re known in Singapore), it is a small shophouse just of Charoen Krung Road, 25m down Phlap Phla Chai Street, on your right. Rather than bother with the complex street names, you can search for the shop’s name on google maps and you’ll find that it’s so well-known that it’s already marked out with a star.

Nai Mong Hoy Tod Oyster Omelette Yaowarat Bangkok Thailand

Nai Mong Hoy Tod Orh Luak Oyster Omelette Bangkok

This was delish – topped with a generous serving of plump good-sized oysters, it was such great value at around $4. I can’t think of a better value oyster omelette anywhere else. Orh Luak tends to come with starch mixed in, which tends to be clumpy if not done correctly, but this one was excellent – the starch was tasty (it was actually, for the first time ever, tasty!). Well incorporated into the omelette, it provided a smooth springy texture which interlaced with the crisp of the omelette. Unlike when poorly fried to a dry crisp, the egg flavour was still apparent in the fluffy omelette and oysters were fresh. We ordered a plate of clams cooked in a spicy sauce from the shophouse to its right as well, and that was also great value and very tasty – so you could consider doing that if you’re paying Nai Mong a visit.

Seafood was up next, and for that, we headed back out to the main street. There are two very popular seafood stalls at the intersection of Yaowarat Road and Thanon Phadung Dao Street. The queue was so long at T&K Seafood restaurant that we settled, without much hesitation, at my originally-planned stop of Lek & Rut Seafood (featured picture) which was right opposite to that. Contrary to what some reviews say, the staff were not friendly – they were impatient when taking orders and would just holler an unhelpful response whilst looking everywhere else when customers tried to get clarification on the dishes. Their menu was a plastic folder of white A4 paper printed with pictures and some words, sometimes indistinct. I noticed the only exception to this was a caucasian family with two kids, who the waitress immediately offered Strawberry Collon snacks to and spent time recommending dishes as well as joking with the kids, and a group of young and boisterous caucasian men whom she (surprise surprise) greeted with a broad smile and open arms.

The seafood was inexpensive, surely, and of a decent value, but be prepared for a massive squeeze and terrible service. I particularly liked the prawns cooked in a chilli egg sauce, which I happily licked up with my spoon.

Chilli Egg sauce prawns Lek & Rut Yaowarat Bangkok Thailand

After walking along the street, I spotted a street-side stall operated by two teenage girls who looked like students helping to run a family business on the weekend. They were both dressed in tshirts and shorts, hair neatly tied up in ponytails, cheerfully chatting with each other and meticulously arranging the boxes of Mango Sticky Rice. The cart was neat and clean – boxes of sticky rice stacked on one side and boxes of sliced mangos stacked on the other, with a woven rattan tray of the mango fruit to the right.

I am a huge fan of mango sticky rice and theirs looked good so we got a box to try for 120THB (~$5), and sat at the blue tables just behind the stall. The rice was delicious – just the right amount of stickiness and chewiness, and drizzling the coconut milk over top was divine; a thick creamy coating of just the right sweetness. The uncooked grains sprinkled over the top weren’t as good though, and were not crispy but instead a little tough to bite through, but nonetheless could be ignored. With a generous serving of sweet mango at its side, we later concluded on hindsight after trying the same dish at several other places that this was one of the best mango sticky rice we had in Bangkok.

Mango Sticky Rice Yaowarat Chinatown Bangkok Thailand