Bangkok, Thailand

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Wandering Marathoner / Asia, Food / Bangkok, Thailand

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Filed Under: Asia, Food by Tyler May 17, 2011, 6:15 pm

Our Thailand adventure began with a mistaken hotel booking outside the Bangkok city center. I had managed to mix up which hotel we were to stay at, and had our taxi drop us off in the Ramkhamhaeng neighborhood, not too far from the airport. But what had been a mistake became a blessing, as we were able to explore a more authentic side of the city. Wandering the neighborhood’s cramped, narrow sidewalks, among storefront after storefront selling knock off designer goods, we searched for a local restaurant, completely devoid of tourists, and packed with locals. Once we found our destination, named “Piglet”, we enjoyed one of our finest meals of our trip… the local specialty and hotter-than-hell green papaya salad, minced chicken with a glutenous sauce, and tasty strips of roasted pork, washed down with cheap Singha beer – all for $10 USD.

I was really impressed with how food-centric Bangkok is. Everywhere you turn, there is a makeshift street vendor, cooking up grilled meats, frying you-name-it, or ladling out soups. The choices are overwhelming.

Bangkok also offered many Western-style experiences for weary travelers, such as us. I had my first McDonald’s Big Mac in seven years. We spend hours visiting Central World – a huge modern mall, which provided a cool respite from the outdoor heat and humidity. Nearby, Platinum Mall featured miles of reasonably-priced clothing and accessory shops. And from there, a short tuk-tuk ride took us to Khao San road, for fish and chips at Mulligan’s Irish Bar.

We hired a local tour guide, the affable Miss Mee, who took us to an indoor market hall known for desserts, and the Tha Din Daeng area for street food – pork satay, fish ball soup, and durian (which tasted so awful, that I spontaneously gagged and nearly puked while unsuccessfully trying to swallow the rotten-onion flavored fruit). From there, we took a short ferry ride from Dindang Pier to bustling Chinatown for more food, and finally the flower market, where one could buy 50 roses for $.66.

We wrapped up our Bangkok tour with some visits to the beautiful temples of Wat Arun and Wat Pho – nearly missing them completely after being misled by the touts on the street telling us that the temples were closed – and offering a cheap taxi ride to another temple that would have surely included a stop at their family gift shop.

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