My Last Few Days in Bangkok

Started the day off right with a bowl of barbecue pork and noodles at my favorite place in Silom. Next, I decided to make the schlep to the Jim Thompson outlet store, since I love a bargain. And, honestly, it wasn’t even that much of a schlep, just a bit of a ride on BTS, then a short walk to the store.

I was kind of disappointed when I first walked in and saw a whole floor of bolts of fabric for upholstery. I was thinking I’d see the same items from the regular Jim Thompson shops, but apparently the outlet is really for wholesale buyers. OR WAS IT? Thankfully, the fourth and fifth floors had all the usual silk pillow covers, apparel and accessories I was used to seeing in the regular shops. I scored big time on pillow covers and also got some lovely handkerchiefs. The prices aren’t dirt cheap, but were about 25% cheaper than if I’d shopped for the same things at the mall. I think it’s mostly last season’s patterns – but keep a close eye on the quality. When I got back to SF, I discovered a small hole in one of my pillow covers which may or may not have been there when I bought it.

Met Ak for lunch at Som Tam Nua at Siam Centre. Great som tum, natch, as was the the rice noodle dish. For dessert, I tried the place in the food court specializing in matcha flavored treats – and was kind of disappointed with overly-gelatinous match pudding. Sigh… My life is just one trial after another.

Did a bit more shopping before getting ready for an early night on the town. Since my first visit to Bangkok a year-and-a-half ago, Ak had been trying to get me to go to Tep Bar and Teens of Thailand, two bars that consistently show up on just about every list of BKK’s best. It wasn’t so much that I was reluctant to go on my previous visits as it was that it was hard to find time to go – and my worry that these bars were super scenester-y, which is really not my favorite.

WELL. I could not have been more mistaken. Granted, we were out early (since I am old), but I’m willing to declare Tep Bar one of the best bars I’ve ever been too. Small and intimate, with great drinks and an attentive and skilled staff – plus four musicians playing traditional Thai music. I really loved it and can’t believe I waited so long to visit!

As for Teens of Thailand, I liked it. It was low-key, again due to the early hour, but def had a more of a hipstery vibe – so perhaps not as much my cup of tea (well, cup of gin, actually, since that is the spirit in which they specialize) but an enjoyable visit.

Finally, we popped into Ba Hao, a trendy new spot that was very cool looking with a Shanghai 1930s vibe – but sadly the service was slow and the drinks unmemorable. Very much a beatiful people type of place, which really rules me out anyhow.

Dinner at a French crepe place nearby (I know, I know – not eating Thai food in Thailand is ridiculous) which was tasty. We also popped into a bar with live music, including a couple of very talented singers. It was great fun, despite my raising the average age in the place by about 20 years…

Spent the next day at Khlong Lat Mayom, a floating market outside Bangkok. The floating part is pretty small, but there was a really excellent assortment of food and we tried a bit of everything. The only downside was that our taxi driver on the way there ripped us off, with the meter about double what it should have been. Taxis aren’t terribly expensive to begin with, so I wasn’t out a lot of money but it made me feel like a rube.

After making it back into the city, doing a little shopping (because duh) and then freshening up for the evening, we had drinks at Vogue Lounge, in the shadow of the rather glorious MahaNakhon building, the just-built skyscraper that is now Thailand’s tallest. Cocktails were delicious (and 2-for-1 at happy hour!) and it was a lovely evening to be sitting out as the sun set.

Dinner at Suppaniga, an old favorite that Ak and I have been to several times. It’s a fairly easy walk from Le Meridien. This visit, we sat upstairs in a lovely room – though the lights were adjusted in such a way that they shone right in the faces of the diners. I felt like I was being interrogated – next time, I’ll request the first floor! Or maybe just confess my crimes… Happily, the food was delicious as always. We tried a beef dish with tomatoes and a luscious reduction. It had a bit of sweet-and-sour to it that was quite reminiscent of my Jewish grandmother’s cabbage soup.

The next day we visited Central Embassy, a mall so fancy that I had never heard of half the brands in there. But in addition to selling astronomically priced schmattas and ugly handbags, this mall has a really amazing food court in the basement called Eathai (get it?). “Food court? How dreadful!” you must be saying – but in fact food courts in Asia consistently offer an astonishing assortment of delicious food.

Eathai in particular has multiple stalls and carts offering just about every variety of Thai food, from noodles to larb to moo dang. And me being me, finding the moo dang (bbq pork) was the first order of business. It was sublime – as it should be, since Ak explained to me this stall is an outpost of one of Bangkok’s most famous places for moo dang in Chinatown.

We also shared some fishball soup, sausages and moo ping. It was all really great and my absolute favorite way to eat breakfast.

The rest of the day was spent wandering, allowing me to catch up on a few of my regular shopping stops. We also checked out the Jim Thompson Shop in Silom. It’s lovely and worth a visit – though I much preferred the prices at the JT outlet!

Before our last dinner, we stopped at Lucky Fish for a drink and I had a super-refreshing matcha mojito. Then, up the street to Soul Food Mahanakorn, one of our favorite restaurants in Bangkok. The food is always great – especially the mieng kham, the little DIY packets of pork, peanuts, ginger, lime, coconut and chiles. Also had some really tasty khao soi and northern style sausage. Oh, and maybe a cocktail or two. It was a great meal as always.

And that wraps up another trip! Headed to BKK airport for my long but luxurious ride home in Singapore business class, flying BKK to SIN to HKG to SFO. I was a little wiped out after the long day – but can’t wait to return. Next trip already in the works with stops in Hong Kong and Saigon before heading back to Bangkok. Can’t wait!

 

 

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