14 July 2013

Maeklong Railway Market

The Maeklong Railway Market is located in Maeklong District in Samut Songkhram province, 75 kilometers or an hour drive away from Bangkok.

The name of the market in Thai - Talad Rom Hoop literally meaning "Market Umbrella Pulldown" directly defines the nature of the market - storekeepers pulling down their umbrellas when the train passes by. 

As the market has been situated at the Maeklong district long before the government decided to build a railway through it in 1905, the locals have already been used to this phenomenon as a daily routine of keeping and retracting their goods when the train passes by. 

And while tourists visting the market keep looking at their watches to check when the train will arrive (most of the time the trains do not arrive as scheduled), the locals seem to know exactly when the trains will pass by, only keeping their stuff just a minute before the train passes by.

When the train passes by, you are just less than 1 meter away from the train. But fret not, no danger posed here, as the train is one of the slowest line in Thailand, running at only an average speed of 30Km/h.

Immediately as the train passes, the storekeepers push their stuff back to the railway track and resume business back to usual. The whole process of pushing the stuff in, waiting for the train to pass and pushing it back only took less than 5 minutes. 

While waiting for the train to come or after the train passes by, you can walk along the train track to see the locals selling fresh produce such as vegetables, seafood or fruits.

This is a type of salted fish, put into a bamboo basket sold in most stores at the market. And you buy the fish together with the basket, so it's convenient to just put the bamboo basket directly into the steamer to cook the fish at home.

This is the Maeklong train station where the train will end it's journey or start off from here. 

Tourist can have a photo opportunity close up with the train when it stops at the station. 

As usual, souvenir shops line along the railway track for tourists to bring home a piece of Maeklong Station remembrance. 

We had a light lunch of fishball noodles at one of the stalls located at Maeklong station area. 

 I ordered the dry kway tiao. Although it looks quite dry without much sauce, it actually taste quite good! I especially like the fried garlic sprinkled on top of the noodles.

My kakis ordered the soup version. I think it should be quite tasty as well.

There are also stalls selling cakes and sweets. Very nostalgic.. reminds me of the days when I was a child. 

The guide recommended us to buy this. Roasted in charcoal, and wrapped into a cylindrical shape while hot, it is a sweet and crunchy snack.

The roasted squid looked good! And very cheap at THB20, I couldn't resist to buy a stick to try. However, I could only taste the saltiness from the seasoning. Would be much better if they used less salt.  

Guess what are these? it took me a while before realizing that they are actually fishballs! 

The train runs through the Maeklong railway track 8 times a day, departing at 6:20, 9:00, 11:30, 15:30 and arriving at 8:30,11:10,14:30,17:40. So you have to be at the railway at these times in order to catch the train in action!

29 June 2013

T&K Seafood, Yaowarat Chinatown

Yaowarat or known as Chinatown to tourists, comes alive at night as many hawkers set up their stalls by the road to sell mostly birdnest, sharksfin and seafood. 

T&K Seafood is one of the more popular hawker stalls where both tourists and locals come to enjoy dinner or a late night supper. 

Tables are all set up along the shop corridors (which are closed already) and along the road. Don't be surprised that the stall is a tiny portable cart, they actually do all the cooking at the backstreet instead. Staff are all don in green polo tee, to differentiate them from the stall opposite, where staff wear pink tee. 

The menu is easy to navigate, with pictures for all dishes and also written in English. Even the seafood prices are indicated based on per dish, so that you don't have to worry about over paying due to the unknown weight of the seafood. 

We were served 3 different types of chilli, the most spicy being the green colour one! They must have put a lot of chilli padi in it. 

The fried rice came first, but it was quite disappointing. The rice was oily and a little raw. Furthermore, there was not much flavour to this dish. (THB50 for small portion)

Then came the stir fried morning glory (or what we call KangKong). What I liked about this dish is the garlic. They use very tiny garlic bulbs to fry this dish and it adds a tint of garlic flavour with every bite. Great for garlic lovers like me. (THB50)

Grilled tiger prawns (THB150 for small portion). The small portion serves 4 prawns, just nice for the 4 of us. Their heads are super huge, so if you are a lover of prawn heads this will suit your palette well. 

Steamed crab with glass noodle in claypot (THB 300 for small portion). Thailand is famous for 2 types of crab dish, one is the curry crab, the other is the glass noodle claypot crab. The glass noodle is very flavourful and considering the cheap price of THB300 (SGD 13), can't complain much about the crab. 

Seafood tom yum soup (THB150 for Large portion). A must dish to order when in Thailand. This one has coconut milk added in it, to give the soup a milky colour. I prefer this type of tom yum soup than the clear type as it has a light coconut fragrance and not so spicy as well. 

The prices at T&K seafood are really reasonable and their seafood is quite fresh. However, the place is quite dirty, with rubbish all around the floor, and a rubbish bin below every table. If you don't mind the hygiene, it will be a good place to visit for supper especially after a round of massage.

And this was exactly what we did, after enjoying a 2 hours thai massage at Healthland, we hopped onto a cab straight to Yaowarat T&K seafood!

T&K Seafood

49-51 Soi Phadung Dao, Yaowarat Road, Bangkok 
Open daily: 6pm - 2am
Getting there: the easiest way is to take a cab there. Just inform the driver - Yaowarat road. Taxi prices are average around THB 60-100 around city area. 

27 June 2013

Long Table Bangkok

As the name suggest, Long Table restaurant has Bangkok's longest existing table at 25m. Located at the 25th floor of the Column Tower at Sukhumvit Soi 16, Long Table serves contemporary Thai fusion cuisine. 

Ms V suggested going to this restaurant for dinner as it was recommended by her friend. 

The long table sits at the middle of the restaurant. 

If you're lucky enough like us, you can get the sofa seats at the side of the restaurant. Of course you will have to take off your shoes before entering the sofa seats. 

The prices of the food are on the high side, with a set menu priced at THB1290++ per person (approx SGD 65)

We ordered from the ala-carte menu instead:

Pomelo salad with steamed white sea prawn (THB250). If you are a pomelo lover, you would definately like this dish as the salad dressing brings out the sweetness of the pomelo, with a hint of crunchy prawn in every bite.

Tuna & octopus cappricio with sesame vinaigrette, roasted rice and chick pea salsa (THB250). 

Mushroom vegetable spring roll (THB130).  

Crispy chicken wing stuffed with herbal pork and prawn filling (THB250). This is a difficult dish to make as you have to remove the bones before you can stuff the fillings into the chicken wing. 

Stir fry rice noodles (Pad Thai) with prawns and squid (THB350). The tiger prawns are deep fried separately and then put on top of the pad thai. I would prefer they use smaller prawns and fried together with the pad thai instead as the tiger prawn did not blend with the dish.  

Steamed sea bass with ginger, mushroom and herb jus (THB650). We expected it to be just  a piece of sea bass but this is really a unique way of preparing it, wrapping the vegetables in the fish to steam it. 

The bar at the restaurant, where you can chill out and enjoy a popular selection of cocktail.

As Long Table is located on the 25th floor, there is also a outdoor area if you prefer to soak in Bangkok's night view while sipping your glass of drink. However, the scenery is just average, and can't be compared with Sirocco or Vertigo.

Our damage for the night: THB3825 after 10% service charge and 7% VAT. Comes up to approximately SGD40 per person. Not cheap considering Bangkok prices, but hey, much of the price is paying for the ambiance right?
And did you realise that the company's name is called "No Problem Co., Ltd" ? trust someone to name their company No Problem. 

Long Table Bangkok

25th floor, 48 Column Tower, Sukhumvit Soi 16, Bangkok
Open daily: 5pm to 2am / dinner is served from 6 - 11pm
Dress code: smart casual

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