Monday 21 December 2015

[Day 3] Bangkok Chinatown & SabX2 Wanton Noodles

It had being more than ten years since our last visit to Bangkok Chinatown. But at a glance the surroundings are still looking familiar perhaps just with a few added modern walking streets and busy traffic of motorbikes and tuk-tuks. During our visit we explore some of the streets along Yaowarat Road; get some traditional Chinese sausages, Chinese herbs and also drop by the wholesale & wet markets selling seasonal fruits, dried goods, fresh seafood, cooked food, handicraft, clothing and many more.

On Day 3 (Monday) we plan to visit Chinatown which is located in the main street of Yaowarat road. So after breakfast (Cuisine Unplugged) we took a taxi from hotel to Chinatown (around 110 Baht (SG$4.50)) because that area is not near to any of the BTS access except MRT service to Hua Lamphong Station.

(located at Yaowarat street)

[Bangkok Chinatown] Along Yaowarat Road
It took us about 15 minutes drive from hotel (Ratchathewi) to reach Yaowarat Road located in  Samphanthawong district which is the home of Bangkok's Chinatown. We alighted near Plaeng Nam Road because mum wanted to get some freshly made traditional Chinese sausages as gifts for her friends.

[Bangkok Chinatown] Eatery along Plaeng Nam Road

[Bangkok Chinatown] Back alley food stores along Plaeng Nam Road

[Bangkok Chinatown] Back alley food stores along Plaeng Nam Road

[Bangkok Chinatown] Eatery along Plaeng Nam Road
While walking towards the sausage shop, we came across some of the eateries along the road as well as a few back alley stalls selling pig organ soup, spicy noodles and more. Oh ya their "economy rice" stall also look similar to what we have in Singapore with variety of dishes for selection.

Traditional Chinese Sausage from Guang Fu Ji (廣福記)
Guang Fu Ji is a traditional Chinese sausage shop owned by local Thai Chinese and they can speak pretty good Teochew (Chinese dialect). Accordingly to the boss the sausages are freshly made in shop and cook using charcoal fire. So if you happened to be around "Yaowarat Road" do look out for the side street name Plaeng Nam Road  and take a short 5-7 minutes walk and you will see the bright red sign board outside the shop. 

Guang Fu Ji (廣福記)
26 Plaeng Nam Road
Khwaeng Samphanthawong
Khet Samphanthawong
Bankgok 10100, Thailand

[Bangkok Chinatown] Dim Sum from Hua Seng Hong Thai Chinese Restaurant
Hua Seng Hong (和成丰) is located among one of the shops along Yaowarat Road near the wet market (at Yaowarat 23) that provide both dine-in and takeaway services. This Thai Chinese restaurant is known for its seafood menu (one of it is claypot sharkfin soup), dim sum and sweet treats that are popular among their local people as well as tourists.

371-373 Yaowarat Road
Chakkaphat, Bangkok
Telephone: (+66) 02-222-0635

Opening Hours: 
08:00am - 01.00am (daily)

[Bangkok Chinatown] Dim sum & noodles from Hong Kong Noodle
Alternatively there is another dim sum outlet known as Hong Kong Noodle located near the intersection of Yaowarat and Mangkorn Road. You can easily spot the place with its red signboard and interior decoration plus their open kitchen in front of the shop. Although the sitting arrangement might be a bit cramp but food wise still pretty decent and worth trying.  

[Bangkok Chinatown] Dim sum & noodles from Hong Kong Noodle
The are many variety of dim sum as well as hong kong style noodle and rice which you can pair with either roasted duck, meat or wanton (dumpling) at affordable prices.

A short clip on Chinatown Market in Bangkok.

[Bangkok Chinatown] Wet market in the alley at Yaowarat Road (opposite Yaowarat 23 wholesale market)
Just a few shops away from Hua Seng Hong, we saw a wet market inside the alley selling local fruits, dried seafood products as well as fresh and cooked food. At first glance it reminds us of the "Tsukiji Fish Market" in Tokyo featuring open-air food stalls in the back alley which we don't get to see in Singapore.

[Bangkok Chinatown] Wet market in the alley at Yaowarat Road (dried seafood products & mushrooms)

[Bangkok Chinatown] Wet market in the alley at Yaowarat Road (cooking ingredients & seasoning)
There are dried seafood products such as fish maw, scallops, cuttlefish, mushrooms as well as variety of Chinese cooking ingredients & seasoning (not commonly found in their local supermarkets) are available at the wet market too. Price wise quite reasonable except for some imported items.

[Bangkok Chinatown] Fresh seafood which surprisingly still look fresh & good in mid-morning.

[Bangkok Chinatown] Roast meat and local dishes
One of the cooked food stall at the wet market selling roast meat and local dishes which looks like preserved / pickled vegetables cooked with different ingredients.

[Bangkok Chinatown] Local snacks and kueh
Spot our favourite Teochew Png Kueh (steamed glutinous rice cake) which comes in different colours with sweet and savory fillings. Besides that there are also steamed bun, meat dumplings, chestnut meat parcel and more. Worth getting one or two to try out their local flavour.

[Bangkok Chinatown] Fresh juice stalls
In Bangkok you can easily find one of these fresh juice stall selling either pomegranate, lime or Thai orange juice along the road side, weekend markets or shopping malls. The price may vary depending on the location but it usually cost 50 Baht (SG$2) per bottle (about 200ml) which is reasonable for fresh juice.

[Bangkok Chinatown] Dried Bael Fruit
Bought some of this dried bael fruit or also known as "wood apple" to make detox drinks which I had in some of the eateries in Bangkok. Bael fruit tea has a distinct aroma and hint of sourness which makes it a comfort drink especially when having it warm. This tea is good for digestion or serve as an after meal tea to refresh both body and mind.

Bael Fruit Tea
8 sliced of dried bael fruit
1-litre of water
3 stalks lemongrass, white portion
brown/rock sugar to taste

1. Lightly toast the dried bael fruit in a toast over or in a non-stick pan for 1 minute till aromatic. Remove.

2. Bring 1-litre of water to boil, add in prepared bael fruit and lemongrass (lightly bashed before adding); simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or until fruit is soften and pale in colour.

3. Strain tea through a fine sieve. Sweeten with sugar (optional) and serve warm or cold.

[Bangkok Chinatown] Chinatown gate at Odeon traffic circle
Chinatown Gate marks a special landmark symbol especially for tourists like us who love to visit Chinatown whenever we are in overseas. Here at the middle of Odeon traffic circle marks the ceremonial entrance to one end of Chinatown Bangkok which was built in 1999 to commemorate the King's 72nd birthday.

[Attraction in Chinatown] Further down to the end of Yaowarat Road which is near Hualampong Railway Station you will find Wat Traimit (also known as Temple of Golden Buddha in Chinatown). It has the world's largest massive gold seated Buddha measuring almost 5-metre in height with weight of five and a half tons.

Thanon Mittaphap Thai-China
Talat Noi, Samphanthawong
Bangkok 10100, Thailand
(west of Hua Lampong Station)

Opening Hours:
08:00 - 17:00 (daily)

Admission Fee:
40 Baht (Gold Buddha); 100 Baht (Museum; closed on Monday)

Dress Code:
Dress Appropriately (NO short pants & sleeveless shirts)

[Bangkok Chinatown] Tuk Tuk service
After spending the whole morning exploring Chinatown along Yaowarat road, we decided to hop onto a Tuk Tuk and head over to SabX2 to have wanton noodles for lunch.  The 20 minutes ride from Chinatown to our destination cost around 100 Baht (SG$4) and we had so much fun throughout the ride squeeze through the heavy lunch hour traffic.

(located at Soi Petchuri 19)

[SabX2 Wanton Noodles] Destination located along the stretch of Soi Petchuri 19
If you are coming over from Platinum Mall, just look up for the connecting overhead bridge at level two which brings you to the opposite side of the road. From there walk towards your left and you will see Soi Petchuri 19 (a side street) and McDonald across the road. Destination is just a few shop away from the main road.

A short clip on SabX2 Wanton Noodle at Soi Petchuri 19.

SabX2 (Sabx2 Pratunam) is an air-conditioned eatery selling wanton noodles & braised pig trotters just across the road of Platinum Fashion Mall. And after reading so many good reviews about their food I am finally at the outlet to try their popular Thai-style wanton noodles. Luckily we did not waited for long before to get a table despite it was around 12.30pm lunch hours.

[SabX2] Open concept cooking stations outside the restaurant
Basically they have two cooking stations outside the restaurant preparing Braised Pig Trotters and Wanton Noodles which you can see the chefs in action before heading into the restaurant.

[SabX2] Ice chrysanthemum drink and condiments
Upon seated the serving staff who speaks relatively good Mandarin & English will take your orders so no worry about communication problems. As for beverages you might want to try their homemade ice-cold chrysanthemum tea (20 Baht - SG$0.70) where you can see a ice forming in the clear bottle and it is pretty refreshing to cool the heat.

[SabX2 Wanton Noodles] Braised pork trotter

[SabX2 Wanton Noodles] Braised pork trotter rice at 200 Baht per plate (SG$7.8)
SabX2 is famous for its braised pig trotters which you can see almost every table in the restaurant ordering this dish. The meat itself is so tender to bite that it literately melt in the mouth without much chewing. Besides that I also love the accompany salted vegetables and braised sauce which goes well with the steamed rice. Will definitely order this dish again on our next visit and perhaps with some extra pig intestines which we did not managed to try this round.

[SabX2 Wanton Noodles] Dry version

[SabX2 Wanton Noodles] Soup version
As for the noodles depending what is your preference because you can choose between dry, soup or both since the serving size is relatively small (1/3 the size) compared to our wanton noodles in Singapore.  To try the differences we ordered one each of the regular dry and soup version for 60 Baht (SG$2.35) per bowl. The noodles itself is springy to bite and even without any accompany sauce (Singapore version is with chilli, tomato or black sauce) it still taste great on it own perhaps due to fried crispy pork lard & oil which makes it so flavourful.

*note: you can try their special order with addition of crab meat for 100 Baht (SG$3.90) per bowl. 

SabX2 Wanton Noodles
4/32-33 Soi Petchburi 19
Pratunam, Bangkok, Thailand
Telephone: (+66) 02-653 9618

Opening Hours:
09.00 – 15.00 (daily)

(Thai-style Massage and SPA)

[Lavana Bangkok] Terminal 21 Mall at Asok BTS Station
After lunch we went back to hotel to deposit our loots from Chinatown as well as a short rest before heading out in the late afternoon for our foot massage at Lavana which is located in less than 10 minutes walk away from Asok BTS.

Take "exit 2" and walk towards Sheraton Hotel and Time Square, look for a street at Sukhumvit 12 (you will see a 7-11 store at the junction) and walk in. Destination is on your right.

[Lavana Bangkok] Welcome drink & feet cleaning
Mum brought us to Lavana which is one of the upscale spa and massage outlets that she often visit with my brother during their stay in Bangkok.  While flipping through the treatment menu guests were served with a cup of bale fruit tea and hot towel as welcome treat. And since we were doing foot massage a gentle feet cleaning was given before the masseuses lead us to a private room that filled with couples of reclining chairs.

[Lavana Bangkok] Getting ready for foot massage
We took the 60 minutes foot massage (450 Baht - SG$17.60) which includes foot and a brief hand and shoulder massage to end the treatment. The boy was excited for his first foot massage and he really enjoys it throughout the whole session because his masseur was trained for kids and the pressure points were just right for his level.

Whereas mum and I we felt our masseurs could have applied slightly more pressure to some of the points to release our tension because we still feel some soreness on our shoulder or leg even after the treatment.  Maybe this round the masseurs that served us were new or perhaps too gentle with their strength. 

[Lavana Bangkok] Dessert & Tea
After the foot massage we were given a cup bale tea and this creamy mousse like dessert that topped with chopped pistachio nuts. Can't really figure out what it was made of but I love the hint of lemongrass taste in it.

No4. Soi Sukhumvit 12
Sukhumvit Road
Klongtoey, Bangkok
Telephone: (+66) 0-2229-4510-13

Opening Hours:
09.00 - 23.00pm (daily)

(located at Phra Ram 9 MRT)

In the evening we went over to Central Plaza Grand Rama 9 which is located above the Phra Ram 9 MRT to meet my brother for dinner. This new 12-storey (excluding ground and basement level) mall is a one-stop lifestyle entertainment mall for foodies and shoppers with fashion, food, entertainment, educational schools and more within the building. Within it you can even find familiar brands such as; BreadTalk, Swensen's, Din Tai Fung, I can Read, Charles & Keith, Robinson that we frequent in Singapore too.

[Yayoi @ Grand Rama 9] Bento sets and dish available on display
Looking for dining places in Bangkok is not a major issue because there are many restaurants and cafes available for your selection. Some of the Japanese restaurants in the shopping malls even offer affordable and delicious set meals which are less than 200 Baht (SG$8). And one of our favourite is Yayoi which some of you might be familiar with since they have a few outlets in Singapore too.

[Yayoi @ Grand Rama 9] Grilled Pangasius Dory with Salt Set (155 Baht - SG$6)

[Yayoi @ Grand Rama 9] Salmon Donburi Set (179 Baht - SG$7)

[Yayoi @ Grand Rama 9] Fried Prawns and Fried Chicken Set (179 Baht - SG$7)
One good tip about dining at Yayoi is to checkout their daily/weekly promotion because you can get a set meal for less than 80 Baht (UP 150 - 200 baht) which is quite a great deal.

Centralplaza Grand Rama 9
Level 6, 617
Ratchadaphisek Road
Din Daeng, Bangkok 10400

[Grand Rama 9] Food Republic Food Court
There is a Food Republic (大食代 - a food court chain run by the BreadTalk Group based in Singapore) located at level 6 of the mall and they have another two outlets at Mega Bangna and Siam Center (4th floor) serving local Thai food as well as Indian, Hong Kong, Korean and Japanese food pricing from 150 - 250 bahts. From the price range this is consider as a high-end food court when compared to the one at the basement.

[Grand Rama 9] Teddy Bear House
Teddy Bear lovers do not miss out this cute Teddy Bear House located at the ground level of the mall. At the shop you can find different designs of teddy bears and their outlets (available for different occasions) and accessories (eg: socks, hair clips) just like shopping for your own wardrobe.

Central Plaza Grand Rama 9
G Floor
9/8-9 Ratchadapisek Road Huaykwang, Bangkok 10320
Telephone: (+66) 2160-3416

[Grand Rama 9] Thai foodcourt at basement outside the supermarket

There is a foodcourt serving delicious local Thai food just outside the entrance of the Tops Supermarket (basement). Even though we still feeling full from the dinner we had earlier we were unable to resist the aroma of those mouthwatering food. So instead of fried oyster omelette (so tempted to try but it was sold out) we settle for a bowl of spicy soup noodles.

The noodles are soak in sweet and spicy broth serve with fresh ingredients such as sliced pork, prawns, meatballs, veggie and hard-boiled egg for 70 baht (SG$2.80) per bowl. Craving satisfied while we shared the bowl among the 3 of us.

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