Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Captain B's

-The Shrimp Shacks of Chi

It's been a while since I featured a Chicago style shrimp shack on here. They are no doubt an endangered species but the good news is the old school spots seem to be sticking around. Places like Captain B's which has two locations out west. One in the city and the other in Bellwood.

Locals Favorite on the West Side

Captain B labels themselves a Chicago style shrimp shack and that they are. What does that mean? Well they're old school for one. But on top of that to me anyway it also means thickly breaded shrimp with a crisp cornmeal-like coating. This is the style of fried shrimp I grew up on over at Goose Island. I admit it's not as pleasing to me as the lightly breaded shrimps you find in other regions but it's a taste of childhood. It's home. B's makes prototypical Chicago style shrimp. One tip I can give as far as ordering is always get the jumbos with this style as the shrimp to breading ratio is much better.

Fried Shrimp at Captain B's 

Captain B's
5641 W Roosevelt Rd
Chicago, IL 60804
(708) 656-8700

Monday, March 19, 2018

Garfield Gyros

-The Sammy's of Chi

I'm always surprised when I find a totally new to me spot that's been around the block forever. While there's still a few I have yet to make it too there are not many I flat up do not know about. Or are there? Seeing as how there's no way to know what you don't know I'd like to think so. I found Garfield Gyros when I just so happened to be driving by. The old school look and bright colors caught my eye.

Locals favorite in West Englewood 

Garfield Gyros sits all by itself in the middle of Garfield Blvd. I don't think there's another business within a few blocks. Both it's looks and location caught my eye some time last year. I decided to stop right there and have now been back a few times since. It's a classic Chicago style fast food shack. The old school type as is evidenced by it's age (Since 1980). Bc they cater to the blue collar crowd they also do breakfast which is something many of the old school Greek owned Chicago style fast food shacks do. Judging by the quality of the stuff coming out from behind the ballistic glass that separates you and the staff this is some of the city's finest food being made behind bulletproof glass.

Menu at Garfield Gyros

If you look at the bottom left hand corner of the menu up above you'll see what I believe to be the best item to order here. It's the house made grilled cheese. They do them really well. I also like the Greek grilled chicken in a pita. It's typical Chicago style fast food which has always been a tier higher than any of the franchised crap from other parts of the country. Fans of the long gone CND Gyros Lounge will get a fond memory out of the gyros grilled cheese from Garfield. I don't know why the gyro melt isn't as common as the gyro sandwich itself but it seems like only the old school spots rock it. This one might be missing those potent grilled onions many of us remember from CND but at just $3.25 this is one of the more satisfying sandwiches you can find at the under $5 pricetag. I'm a big fan.

Gyro Grilled Cheese from Garfield Gyros 

Garfield Gyros
2020 W Garfield Blvd
Chicago, IL 60609
(773) 476-3606

Friday, March 16, 2018

Lonesome Rose

-Grubbing in Chicago
New to the 'Scene'

I spent a good two years wondering what would open at the address of 2101 N. California in Logan Square. The building that's now home to Lonesome Rose was being rehabbed for what felt like forever. I was extra curious bc I live an easy 7 minute walk away from there. It wasn't until last year that it's future was made public but I guess they spent a good eight years working on it. They being the team behind the Land & Sea Dept. restaurant group which also owns Parson's, Longman & Eagle, and Lost Lake. Lonesome Rose opened this past winter and it's been a popular spot to warm up.

Newly Opened in Logan Square 

I actually went to LR on the opening day for some breakfast tacos. Before I get into them let me say that I hope to open my own breakfast taco spot one day so you can choose whether or not my thoughts are worth considering. I didn't love them. I liked the housemade flour tortillas but thought both the fillings and the salsas were lacking. Big time actually. They just tasted really plain. I tried a green chorizo, bacon-egg-cheese, and also one with black beans and cheese and I haven't been back for more. Now I will say I'm pretty sure they've gotten better as it was the first day but I was hoping for more. I hope they're better next time. You can follow @tweetsoftacos on twitter for my updates.

Breakfast Tacos at Lonesome Rose 

The breakfast tacos are more of a takeout thing here. You can come by in the morning for some of those and some coffee or you can stop by in the afternoon and evening for Border food and drinks. What's "border food"? It's food inspired by the US-Mexico border. So it can qualify as Tex-Mex as well as the flavors from Baja California and so on. I was kind of annoyed it wasn't going to be straight up Tex-Mex but I've warmed up to the idea of cooking all the different foods found along the border. Though I think they missed a good opportunity to do some dishes inspired by the food of Mexicali.

Chips and Salsas at Lonesome Rose

Starting off with an order of chips and salsa is a good way to down a beer. I dont know what was up with the breakfast taco salsa but these ones were much better. While I cant remember exact details of each one I do remember asking myself where were these when I came in for breakfast. The answer is maybe still in the production stages bc my second visit came for dinner a couple months later. There's lots of chips and dips on the menu and we tried all of them. The guac was nice and fresh while the ceviche was decent enough. The best thing on the menu that I've had to date is the queso.

Trio of Chips and Guacamole, Queso, Ceviche

They have an entire set of tacos that are pretty good. I've tried almost all of them and like the fish taco the best. I can already see myself enjoying an afternoon frozen margarita with a couple of those this summer. I was excited when I first heard Lonesome Rose was opening around the corner from me and it's been fun having them in the neighborhood but I guess I was selfishly hoping for something a bit more Texas. Still I look forward to their growth and to a visit to the well stocked downstairs bar.

Fish Taco at Lonesome Rose 

Lonesome Rose
2101 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 770-3414

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Tastee Rolls

-Grubbing in Chicago(land)
Jerk Chicken Egg Rolls in Bellwood

You know it wasn't too long ago that the jerk taco was somewhat of an oddity. Back in 2014 when this piece was posted it was a popular item at the Jerk Taco Man's stand but nowhere near as readily available as it is today. Damn near every Chicago restaurant that sells jerk chicken now sells jerk tacos. So I wouldn't be surprised if the folks at Tastee Rolls have the next big thing on their hands.

 Locals Favorite in Bellwood, IL

Tastee Rolls calls themselves the "Home of the Jerk Chicken Egg Roll" - and any time a place calls itself the home of something I have to stop and try it. I was kind of taken into deja vu when I walked inside Tastee Rolls and it reminded me exactly of the old Jerk Taco Man's location. It's very similar except here the star of the show is the jerk chicken egg roll. It's one of a handful of options they offer as far as fillings but as I was told it's easily the most popular. I can understand the love. Inside a fresh fried to order egg roll was the flavors of Jamaica that I crave. Big chunks of white meat chicken mixed in with crunchy vegetables like carrots and cabbage with just the right amount of spice from the jerk. There's a decent sized Chinese population in Jamaica but I've never seen jerk chicken egg rolls at any of the Chinese-Jamaican joints that I've visited. Like the jerk tacos these are a product of Chicago.

Jerk Chicken Egg Rolls

Tastee Rolls
633 Bellwood Ave
Bellwood, IL 60104
(708) 632-4646

Monday, March 12, 2018

Rica Arepa

-Grubbing in Chicago
Venezuelan food makes it's mark

I got another spot on Armitage worth your time. Which has me thinking, is Armitage the city's best food street? Maybe. What I know for sure is the part that stretches West from California to Grand is filled with a handful of worthy stops. The most recent to open is the city's second Venezuelan restaurant. Located in a former cafe in Hermosa, Rica Arepa has quickly become a favorite of mine.

Newly Opened in Hermosa

I've gotten pretty familiar with Venezuelan cuisine over the years. Mostly through my time in South Florida but also thanks to a Venezuelan spot in Madison Wisconsin that I used to frequent. It's definitely a rice and beans cuisine similar to other South American and also Caribbean countries. Rica Arepa is a family operation. I've had a chance to chat with the young man who runs it and he's a really nice guy with a passion for his food. Makes sense bc Rica Arepa is making some great arepas as well as other Venezuelan favorites. The arepa is to Venezuela as the sandwich is to America. Everyone eats them. It's more than likely the country's signature eat with options being endless.

Patapata Arepa (Black Beans, Avocado, Cheese)at Rica Arepa

Arepas are traditionally made cooking dried corn, mashing it, and then drying it into a flour before shaping into a pocket. In Venezuela they tend to mix a bit of lard into the mixture making them a tad greasier than their Colombian counterparts. Arepas are a great snack source during morning and day and they also make for a great late night treat. Thus they tend to be stuffed with savory fillings like shredded beef, plantains, and cheese. Rica Arepa makes really good ones. They also make a Patacon. What you see in the picture below isn't a jibarito it's a Patacon Pisao. They like to make plantain sandwiches in Venezuela too but they do so differently. This one has pabellón (shredded beef), ham, lettuce, ketchup, mayo, mustard, cheese. It's shape is a more perfect circle than the jibarito and the fillings are different but it's same premise with the smashed plantain acting as bread.

Patacon Pisao (Venezuelan Plantain Sandwich)

I think I prefer the Puerto Rican plantain sandwich bc of both the garlic and the melted processed cheese but this is still a mighty fine way to kill a large appetite. Then there's the specials. On the first Sunday of the month they do Venezuelan style empanadas which I had never tried until last weekend. Of course they're made with corn and they're about twice the size of all other empanadas. Stuffed with the same style of fillings in an arepa and fried these are a special treat. In fact I follow Rica Arepa on social media and all of their specials look wonderful. Inside is small with only about 16 seats for but once the weather clears they have a huge side patio which will be great. Go check them out.

Venezuelan Empanadas (Black Beans and Cheese)at Rica Arepa

Rica Arepa
4253 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60639
(773) 543-3000

Friday, March 9, 2018

Chinese Cafe

-Grubbing in Chicago(land)
Taiwanese on the Weekends in Westmont

With daylight savings time near it's almost the end of hibernation. Which means you're probably very hungry and have a bad case of cabin fever. Well if you're looking for something to do this weekend you can always travel for food. Crack the windows and enjoy the fact it wont be dark before 5p. Sound like a plan? Then head out Westmont. A place most people willing to travel for food have already been. It's home, or was home, to two of Chicago's best restaurants in their respective categories of cuisine. Katy's being home to amazing hand pulled noodles and dumplings and Hanbun who was making some of the best Korean food in the city formerly in the space we visit today.

Chinese Cafe in Westmont's International Mall

The International Mall might not be home to Hanbun anymore but it still has a place worth seeking out especially on the weekends. I found out about Chinese Cafe from a fellow local food enthusiast who goes by @brian_eng on both Instagram and Twitter. He's low key the most knowledgeable person in the city when it comes to our many varieties of Asian cuisine. In fact he recently started his own little site where he shares his knowledge on some of his favorite dishes in the city. It's a great place to start if looking for a 'new to you' place to eat. You can check it out HERE. It was his post from Chinese Cafe, a food stall in the International Mall, that caught my eye. One on Taiwanese food.

Taiwanese Fried Doughnut Sticks

Taiwanese food isn't all that common in Chicago but in the last few years a few spots have popped up. Chinese Cafe serves a handful of Taiwanese favorites on the weekends (Sat. & Sun.) and it attracts lots of loyal customers. One thing you'll see on pretty much every table is these long things of fried dough called Youtiao or fried crueller. They're Chinese doughnuts and holy crap they're huge. Pictured next to them up above and also below is a Taiwanese Sticky Rice Roll. A popular breakfast snack consisting of little broken off parts of doughnut, hard boiled egg, and pork floss which is dried meat that's finely chopped. Stuffed in a roll of sticky rice. Breakfast just got interesting.

Taiwanese Sticky Rice Roll

The Taiwanese options are abundant on the weekends. One Taiwanese dish that always gets my attention is a version of Taiwanese fried chicken which is an extremely popular snack in Taipei and other parts of Taiwan. It's always served similar to popcorn chicken so you're getting little nuggets of meat and at Chinese Cafe some fried onions and scallions. Sometimes you just need some nuggets.

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

The main reason I rode out here was to get a taste of the Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup. Which in Taiwan is called niu ro mien. This might be Taiwan's most popular dish. Everyone there has a spot they swear by in the same way American's have a pizza place etc. It's a dish I hope to one day try in it's natural habitat but for now I gotta travel to Westmont over the weekend if I want to eat it. Sure there's a few other places in town that make this dish but none with the flavors of what you get from here. This was one mighty potent bowl of noodle soup. The broth was extremely addictive. The beef was fall apart tender and I'm told the noodles are housemade. I couldn't get over the fact this bowl of soup tasted almost like an Italian Beef from Al's. Must've been the star anise. They have a few more Taiwanese favorites I have yet to try. Hanbun is gone but a reason to visit International Mall is not.

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

Chinese Cafe / Yu Ton Dumplings
665 Pasquinelli Dr
Westmont, IL 60559
(630) 323-2329

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Mythos Greek Street Food

-Grubbing in Chicago
Greek Street Food on Montrose

I don't know about y'all but I'm really liking this current trend in Homemade* gyros. I've noticed a handful of spots that have recently popped open in Chicagoland where they're pushing what most of them call Greek Street Food. Today's stop takes us to the North Center neighborhood for some.

Newly Opened on Montrose

Mythos Greek Street Food is new but it's owners and the restaurant space are not. This place used to be called Mythos Greek Restaurant and it was a sit-down spot serving a full scale Greek menu. The owners decided to go in a different way but not a different cuisine. The food is still Greek but there's a focus on what they say are homemade gyros. The reason I put that * next to homemade in the previous paragraph is due to the fact they don't display the cones of meat in the open here. They may have one going in back but I never saw it. That said the meat you see in the pic below seems to be cut from a spit as you can see layers of meat making up each piece. I love real deal Greek gyros bc most of the time it's made with pork. Mythos version was pretty good but the portion was weak.

Pork Belly Gyros at Mythos Greek Street Food

Mythos Greek Street Food
2030 W Montrose Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 334-2000

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Little Pickle

-The Sammy's of Chi

How come no one's talking about The Little Pickle? If they are I haven't heard it. Or read it. But the truth is there's only a handful of food media left in the city and it's not easy for them to cover every last restaurant. Still I think that in due time people will start to make their way over here and proceed to make some noise about it afterwards. For me it was a DNAinfo (RIP) article that put it on my radar.

Newly Opened in Logan Square 

As the article informs this is the brainchild of a couple who owns the building. They wanted to bring the neighborhood a place where they could get a delicious homemade lunch at a more than fair price. I'm happy to report they have achieved their goal. Inside is a nice clean and open space with lots of light and a few tables. You order your sandwich at the counter and custom build it when doing so. Little Pickle offers a menu almost entirely made in-house. Meats are roasted right there and sliced fresh to order. All the pickled condiments are housemade. So are sides. Specials pop up regularly.

Everyday Menu at The Little Pickle

While those specials always have me tempted I think my go-to sandwich from here was realized on my first trip in. I tried a roast pork and you choose one pickled condiment and one sauce to go with it. My choices were avocado and roasted garlic. Wow. What a combo. This was a fantastic sandwich. Yes it was simple as far as ingredients but when you're doing it like that those ingredients better be great. The pork was outstanding. It was cooked to the perfect consistency to where the marbled fat melted in your mouth. There was no resistance from the meat making the sandwich easy to eat. When you consider the price point ($7.50) this has to be one of the better quality sandwiches you can find at that asking price. Which makes The Little Pickle a great neighborhood sandwich shop.

Roasted Pork Sandwich at The Little Pickle

The Little Pickle
3703 W Fullerton Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(312) 270-4538

Monday, February 26, 2018

Eating BIG in Bangkok

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties
- Eating and Exploring the Big Mango

We're leaving Asia with an absolute bang. Which will be done by visiting one of the five greatest food cities in the world. The undisputed champ of street food - Bangkok Thailand. A place on my list since probably the first time I ever tried Thai food. Well now that I've been let me say this. If your only experience with Thai food is outside of Thailand you dont know what you're missing out on. Thai food is one of the worlds greatest cuisines and Bangkok is it's hub. The food capitol of food rich SE Asia.

Sights from Bangkok

There's literally nothing new I can share with you as far as Bangkok's brilliance as a travel destination. It was worth every minute we spent waiting in traffic. No doubt the worst traffic I've ever seen. But with that came the cleanest transportation system I've ever ridden. It's not the most complete public transit system out there meaning it wont get you everywhere but it's clean and easy to use. I didn't think the heat was as bad as made out to be but I was there in December and it was still pretty damn hot.

Sights from Bangkok

I went in thinking I was going to try as many different food stops as anywhere I've ever been and that dream was killed quickly. Bangkok has over 8 million people and covers over 600 square miles. All of this paired with the traffic and heat and I wasn't going to be going to 50+ places like I hoped. So at this point you're probably asking what did he like about it then and the answer is everything! But first and foremost is the food and culture. I've never wanted to further explore a city so much. I've never felt like I could spend a lifetime somewhere and still not see that city in it's entirety which is how I felt about Bangkok. I've never thought so seriously about wanting to move somewhere. I loved it so much.

Sights from Bangkok (click pics to enhance)

More than anything I loved how deep their food scene goes. Bangkok is home to a large number of non-Thai people. It's a truly cosmopolitan city who's food was no doubt helped shaped by the Chinese who settled there. These days there's so much info on Bangkok bc pretty much everyone who loves to travel ends up there. Especially those who love food. The city itself produces one of the worlds biggest food loving populations as I swear damn near everyone eats out regularly. Including those who's Bangkok field notes I used assuring me and my wife ate as good as anyone who's visited BKK.

 Sights from Bangkok

So I must send a special thanks to four people in particular. First is Mark Wiens from Migrationology who calls Bangkok home. His endless pursuit to share it's food gems with the world has resulted in some of the worlds best food porn over on YouTube. I also cant do a BKK round-up without thanking Leela Punyaratabandhu aka SheSimmers at least a thousand times. The author of the 'Bangkok Cookbook' took personal time to share with me all the spots she loves from home. Leela who now lives in Chicago goes back to Bangkok regularly and is one of the internet's go-to people for real deal Thai recipes. Her cookbook showcasing Bangkok's most beloved dishes is must own material. I also cant thank the guy behind Streetside Bangkok enough. If there was a 'Smokin' Chokin' & Chowing' in Bangkok his site would be it. It's one of the webs best resources for eating out in Bangkok. Lastly thanks to my guy Mike Sula from The Reader who shared his personal tips to make sure I did it right.

Pier 21 Food Court

First stop up was the Terminal 21 Mall. Home to Pier 21 food court. Now I know what some of you are thinking. When Americans think food court we picture Sbarro, Auntie Annie's etc. But in Bangkok food courts consist of some great food which in many cases are 2nd locations of locally famous street food stalls. Terminal 21 is said to be the best and I won't disagree with that. It's home to 20+ stalls that for those who care are as clean as a whistle. Each stall specializing in something that has legions of fans who come to the mall to shop and eat at their favorite food stalls. There's lots of info online about each and every stall should you want to look into it. Otherwise eat what looks good.

Fried Oyster Pancake at Hoi Tod St. Louis

For us it all looked good but we were a bit drained. Fried Oyster Pancake aka Hoy Tod was out of this world good but by no means good for you. This is the dish that should be as popular as Pad Thai if not more-so since it's better. These tend to be called omelettes but they're more like pancakes. The number one ingredient is oil with a good chance of lard. I'm talking at least 2/3 of a cup worth. Dead serious. After the oil heats up the batter is thrown in with seafood (oysters or mussels) and an egg which are cooked until crisp. This was so good but it also knocked me out early due to the grease.

Lad Na at Pier 21

Lad Na is one of my favorites. It's just fried wide rice noodles with gravy. Not the most insagrammable dish but I love it and this was the best version I've ever had. Bc of the huge Chinese influence on Thailand you can find some sensational stir fried noodle dishes such as an order of classic stir fried noodles with seafood from the Tai Heng stand. The smoothie stand is also a must. Even better all these items were around $2 each as the owner of the mall lets the stalls stay for free as a way to attract more customers to come shopping. Take note America! In our dreams maybe.

Stir Fried Seafood Noodles

Usman Muslim Thai

Here we have the winner of closest restaurant to our hotel. Rec'd by none other than Mark Wiens. This family run spot is specializing in the food of Thailand's Muslim population. They also run a hotel upstairs and there were plenty of vacationing Muslim families dining in on our visit. We were there for whole fried sea bass in tom yum sauce and it was outstanding. The fish was perfectly fried but it was what was on top of it that made the dish a memorable one in my book. The whole fish was sitting in a little puddle of tom yum sauce and topped with crispy fried pieces of basil, slivers of fried garlic and also some cashews. If not so out of it I may have ordered another. I'm already in love Bangkok.

Whole Fried Sea Bass at Usman Muslim Thai

Just a Drink Maybe

As regular readers know I get to the popular cocktail spots too. You can thank my wife for this more than me. I research the food, she does the cocktails, and we always eat/drink well. Bangkok is an ever changing city and this is evident in it's cocktail scene which is thriving. We went to a handful of bars where the drinks are pretty much American prices. Which is fine. There's no reason a drink can be $14 in NYC but not in Bangkok. Especially when said drinks are both creative and delicious.

Cocktail at Just a Drink Maybe

Bamee Slow

This is one of many spots that Streetside Bangkok turned me onto. Bamee Slow is his spot for the best egg noodles in Bangkok. Again egg noodles are part of the heavy Chinese influence on local cuisine. Like many of the city's premiere street food stands this place doesn't open until the evening (8:30p). They stay open late into the evening and it should never be a surprise to find a line. The egg noodles come served a few ways here and we tried both with broth and without. I liked them without which had a nice stir fry taste to it. The noodles also stay firmer when not sitting in the broth. These were topped with two kinds of pork and served with fantastic wonton as well. Popular for a reason.

Dry Egg Noodles at Bamee Slow

Nhong Rim Klong
This was maybe my most anticipated stop in Bangkok. So I made sure we were there around opening time (8a) on our first full day. I think we got to Nhong Rim Klong around 9a and it was pretty much in full swing upon our arrival. We did get a seat though. This place is the picture most people see when they hear the words 'street food' - it's literally a stall and it sits on a quiet street next to some small old time apartments along the canal with high rises across the street. It's old and new all in one. After placing our order using pictures on the phone (no English menu) we ended up waiting over an hour for a our food to arrive, despite there being only 3 or 4 tables for people to eat at. Turns out half the city was making orders through food delivery apps and the other half was calling orders in.

Eggs with Crab and Cabbage at Nhong Rim Klong

The menu is filled with delicious looking things. Or rather I should say the pictures on the internet all look good. To me Nhong Rim Klong is all about the crab. That's literally what was on my mind long before I even started planning a Thailand trip. I hate the term food porn but it is literally that. Ever since I first saw Mark Wiens' video on the place I was licking my chops for my chance at it. But first came the restaurants most unique dish. An omelette of sorts with fresh crab and cabbage tossed into it. It was the perfect way to start our day. Should be a standard at the breakfast table like cereal is.

Stir Fried Crab with Chiles at Nhong Rim Klong

The dish you see in the pic above is what the street food in my dreams looks like. Triggered by none other than the dish itself when I saw it at Migrationology. It's literally just chunks of sweet crab meat stir fried with fiery Thai chiles. We asked for mild and it was still hot enough to where if it wasn't succulent crab meat I may not have ate the entire plate due to the heat the dish was releasing in me. An order of shrimp tossed in a wok with garlic was amazing but after that stir fried crab not quite as exciting. This was a truly authentic Bangkok experience. I would go again (and wait) in a heartbeat.

Fried Garlic Prawns at Nhong Rim Klong

 Wattana Panich

Not far at all from our last stop is this legendary place to go for a bowl of beef noodle soup. It's just another one of the spots that sites like Streetside Bangkok and Migrationology put me onto. It's hard to forget about after the first time you see pics of ginormous bowl of beef sitting front and center. As excited as I was to try this place I think the owner (lady in the picture) was even more excited to have me. As soon as I got my order of Kuay teow neau buai sen lek  (Thai Beef Noodles) I started digging in forgetting to snap the perfect pic. But thats ok bc the best pics are the ones of that pot. That's where all the magic is. Various parts of beef simmering away in a heavy  broth. Just add noodles.

Thai Beef Noodle Soup at Wattana Panich

Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market

To experience a little piece of old Bangkok head to the Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market, or a different one but visit a floating market. Some expats may scoff at the idea but it was an experience to behold. Plus the food alone is always abundant and a boat ride up and down Bangkok's canals is a great way to relax a little bit before heading back to traffic. I went to this market based solely off the rec of Mark Wiens. Instead of trying to describe this massive market just watch his video and you'll see the same things we did. You'll also see the same things we ate. I loved the river prawns with vermicelli noodles from the stand he rec's and the baked salt fish was so succulent. The only thing we did different was rent our own boat to take us around. It was a wonderful experience getting to see this completely different side to the city. It takes a while (30+ min drive ) but it's worth it.

Sights from the Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market

Kua Gai Alley

Next stop is Chinatown. To a spot that I haven't stopped thinking about since I ate there. It's not a specific restaurant but rather an alley where a bunch of different stalls serve the same specialty dish. That dish is called 'Char Kuay Teow' and the alley where you can find it is called 'Kua Gai' alley. Your google GPS can take you there. Once you arrive you will hear the sizzle of the noodles. That's what you're here for. You can watch as the vendors pour generous cups of lard into extremely hot and smokey woks. When ready in go the wide rice noodles (sen yai) - the same noodles used to make Pad See Ew. Also included at most spots is pork or chicken and rings of squid. It all sits there getting nice and crisp before the final step is applied. An egg is cracked and dropped onto the noodles which it coats with a crisp golden color. Go to the busiest stall and get two bowls. Godly.

Kuay Teow Kua Gaiin Kua Gai Alley

Elvis Suki

Next stop on my little self guided noodle tour was a popular shop for Suki. I tried this place bc it was on my list due to a rec from Streetside Bangkok and it was just far enough of a walk that I figured I'd be hungry again when I arrived. Elvis Suki sits next door to a place called Maverick and they're both heavily visited by locals who've picked a side. I tried Elvis bc that's the spot that was given the advantage by Streetside Bangkok. It was a packed night and I ended up eating at the friendly owners desk after he cleared it off for me. So I got to watch him and his mother (I believe) run the show. The star is the suki and in particular the Suki Haeng which is Sukiyaki without the broth. It's a stir fried noodle dish and Elvis Suki made me forever a fan.You can choose your meat and I found seafood to be my style but I read the pork meat here melts in your mouth. The fried bean thread noodles were nice and separated and not clumpy and stuck together. The dipping sauce is key and a loaded garlic version was money. I told them I like it spicy and they got my heat preference just right. Meaning my forehead was lightly sweating. Oh I wish I had regular access to this place. Makes me want to move.

Suki at Elvis Suki

 Mung Korn Khao

This spot was on my list and I was actually able to find it so I got in line with the rest of the people. Alot of whom were the college aged crowd including a guy who shared a table with me who was studying abroad from Singapore. Luckily he made sure I got an order of their wonton bc as he said that's what most people are in line for. Good to know bc I was there for a bowl of Thai style Bamee which I'd had a day earlier and enjoyed. Mung Korn Khao is one of the 1000's of street food spots serving Chinese influenced in chinatown. As is evident in the wonton you see in the pic below.

 Wonton at Mung Korn Khao

Also delicious from here are the Chinese style egg noodles. I love the chew of this dish, and the addition of a single wonton was nice but I cant imagine how many people get a bowl of this and wish there were more wontons in it. They say there's better bowls of Bamee but this was really good.

Chinese Egg Noodles with Roast Pork and Wonton at Mung Korn Khao

Pad Thai Ekkamai 

Truth be told I dont eat Pad Thai in the States. It's a gross dish. I hate it. But I always heard how much better it is in Thailand which makes sense but I wondered how much better can it actually be. So I took note of a few spots that the Bangkok food veteran's will eat Pad Thai at and Pad Thai Ekkamai was one of them. The temptation to try an order in it's Homeland was too much to pass up. The Streetside Bangkok site calls this place a very good choice. One thing you dont see all over the States is Pad Thai omelette which is when they wrap the noodles in an omelette. That's what I wanted to try and I did so with a couple river prawns on top which is the top option here. Well those river prawns were maybe the best of Bangkok as far as what we tried. They were wonderful. The Pad Thai was good too but you're wasting your time if you go to the touristy spots and wait in line to try it.

Pad Thai Omeletee at Pad Thai Ekkamai

Polo Fried Chicken 

I've known about this place for a long time. That's bc one of my good friends came here when he was in Bangkok years ago and spoke very highly of it on more than one occasion. He's a bit of a world traveler and one of the best meals he's ever had came from Polo Fried Chicken. We ended up meeting the guy, a friend of my friends dad, who originally took my friend here. We feasted on Isaan style fried chicken that was out of this world good yet somehow made even better with the amazing dipping sauce. The chicken comes served almost covered in fried garlic chips and when it's all combined with sticky rice and spicy papaya salad it's truly a treat. You can find a recipe for this legendary fried chicken in the Bangkok Cookbook. Polo Fried Chicken gets it's name from the fact the Bangkok polo grounds are near. Also close is Lumphini Park which is one of the city's best oasis's away from the chaos. If you plan to visit the park make sure you plan to visit Polo Chicken.

Isaan Feast at Polo Fried Chicken

Raan Yaam Jae-Euang at the Chatuchak Market 

Score another one for Thailand. This country has some of if not the best soups in the world. Raan Yaam Jae-Euang is basically a one man show as far as the cooking goes. Your only chance to try it is on the weekend when the world famous Chatuchak Market is open and in full swing. We visited the market on an extremely hot day. It was a sight to behold. But the reason to go there is this place. The menu is full of choices but you're here for basically one thing. We'll get right to that after a plate of Chile Coconut Prawns. I'm not sure exactly what the background of this dish is as we ordered it by pointing to a table who had just received a plate. They were great but they were just an opening act.

Chile Coconut Prawns

According to someone (I forget how I learned of this place) this is one of the best spots in the city for a bowl of Tom Yum soup. High praise indeed and I wasn't going to miss it. Luckily google maps got us there. It's a little spot with maybe six tables and a small cooking area. Literally a stall. But it's a stall that serves some of the best soup anywhere. I dont say this is jest either. Both me and her were behaving like Bob in the movie 'What about Bob?' when he's eating dinner with his Doctor's family. We couldn't stop moaning and groaning. It was the perfect amount of sour and the spice was just right meaning it made you sweat. The addition of strips of coconut meat was pleasing. This recipe leaves the pounded lemongrass in the soup and I was trying to eat that as I couldn't stop devouring this dish. We started out by ordering one bowl to split between us and ended by ordering two separate bowls as we didn't want to share the second one. Not to mention the best fresh squeezed orange juice I've ever had is sold at a stall next door. Don't bother with the small glass as you'll immediately get more.

Seafood Tom Yum at Raan Yaam Jae-Euang

Coco JJ

During your time in Bangkok you'll come across plenty of ice cream stands. Some more exotic than others. This little stand at the Chatuchak Market was jam packed with people. There was a long line but it was moving fast. So I got in it bc as already mentioned it was hot as hell and we just polished down a few bowls of hot soup so some ice cream seemed like a good way to cool down. It was.

Coconut Ice Cream

Danny's Bak Kut Teh

Bangkok is an international city so it's not hard to find great food from other countries too. I did a little research on Malaysian spots and found quite a few. There wasn't much on Danny's Bak Kut Teh as far as online chit chat but what there was spoke highly of the place. It's another fantastic food court stall located inside the Tops Flavour basement. There's no signs announcing which spots are which but look for the place with a Malaysian menu and items such Hakka Noodle soup (pan mee) with shrimp dumplings which is what I ordered. Well the hits just keep on coming. I loved this dish and now plan to visit Malaysia one day as it gave me a peak into what I can expect. The chewy handmade noodles were perfect but the fragrant broth was what made this bowl. I could not stop sipping it despite my face feeling like it was close to falling off. What an amazing food city.

Malaysian Hakka Noodle Soup at Danny's Bak Kut Teh

Baan Nual 

I cant thank both Leela Punyaratabandhu (SheSimmers) and Mike Sula (Chicago Reader) enough for this rec of our next stop. Both said that I should do what I can to get here and I made sure I did. Baan Nual is a hidden establishment if you're just walking by. As TimeOut Bangkok describes "(they've) converted a traditional Thai wooden house into Baan Nual, a clandestine eatery—one of the city’s very first—that serves home-cooked fare in a setting reminiscent of your grandmother’s Old Town residence". The setting is simple but the food is deep with family traditions. It's run by a two person team whom happen to be brother and sister. I was able to make a reservation through their instagram page. That's what you'll need to do too if you want to eat here and yes you most definitely do.

Shrimp with garlic and Crab Fat

Why should you make it a point to eat here? Bc this is probably as close as a tourist can get to eating a real Thai style home cooked meal. The brother designed the place and does all the bookings and acts as the server during dinner while the sister cooks up old recipes she learned while growing up. There is no menu and in some cases you have to pre-order dishes which I was not aware of. No big deal bc they're super accommodating and will show you more than enough options by simply opening their instagram account and showing you what's available. We maybe went a bit overboard.

Garlic Roasted Squid at Baan Nual

We went seafood heavy with three of the four dishes being from the ocean. Honestly I believe that this place doesn't have a bad dish on it's menu. You dont get into the restaurant business unless you have a deep passion for food and you most likely have a deep passion for food if you grew up eating the dishes that Baan Nual is serving. Both the shrimp and squid were killer while the green curry with pork was insanely delicious. I was full as can be having had more than five bowls of soup before our visit but I could not let any of that curry go back. I hate ate it. Meaning I hated myself for doing it.

Green Curry at Baan Nual 

Lastly was yet another dish with big ass chunks of stir fried crab. Holy cow! Take me back now! This was a dish I recognized from the 'Bangkok' Cookbook. It's one I really want to try and make but where in the hell do I get crab like that in this dish pic'd below? It was the size of those big balls of gum you get in the old school quarter machines. According to the notes in the cookbook this isn't a hard dish to make but you'll have to have access to a ton of crab. I'll never forget this Christmas Eve dinner.

Yellow Chile Crab


This Japanese whisky bar is an absolute treat to Bangkok's bar scene. Bc it wasn't far from our hotel I walked over later in the night. It took me finding a pic online in order to find the spot in real life. Just follow your google maps until you're down an alley with a handful of Japanese businesses and then look for the spot seen up above. Once you're in you'll be in the hands of an Osaka born sommelier of Japanese whisky. He's also the owner and a very well spoken one at that. You'll have no problems finding something you like from his top shelf collection. I'm by no means an expert in Japanese whiskey but this place made me a big, big fan. I got a few pours including those seen in the pic below. They weren't cheap but each was as smooth as water, only better. The Japanese hospitality shows up in not just the owner but also some bar snacks courtesy of the house. I loved this spot.

Japanese Whiskey and Smoked Chicken Wing at Hailiang

Chysee Bamee Khiew

This spot is one of the many franchised food carts in Thailand. You can find them all over the country. I didn't know this until after I stopped here for some Bamee soup on my walk back from the whisky bar. I only stopped bc they were open and it was on the same block as my hotel. It was average at best but I do love me some wonton. I later learned of it's franchise existence thanks to a post by Chef Ricker on his instagram account. He didn't have anything nice to say about them. Average at best.

Egg noodle Soup with Wonton and BBQ Pork at Chysee Bamee Khiew

 Doy Kway Teow Reua

One of Bangkok's most symbolic dishes is Boat Noodles. All of the experts I already mentioned have online info about this dish. It was a tip from the Chicago's Reader's Mike Sula who said "Do not miss Boat Noodles" that stuck with me as much as the amazing info from the others. He knows his stuff and this is not to be missed. So let me reiterate when I say you cant come to Bangkok and not try a bowl of boat noodles. Except you'll probably have more than one bowl bc the portions are small and cheap (50 cent US). Reason being is this dish gets its name from the fact the noodles used to be served from boats along the canals. They wouldn't fill the bowls up bc the moving waters would cause for spills if filled to high. You'll find an entire unit of vendors serving this dish around the corner from the popular Victory Monument. These bowls come from 'Doy Kuay Teow Reua' which many say is the best due to its deep red in color broth. That's from the blood. I ate 5 (beef / pork) bowls to myself. Not even close to a record. 20 gets you a free Coke elsewhere. Amazing. More info HERE and HERE.

Boat Noodles in Bangkok


When I first received my copy of the 'Bangkok Cookbook' one of the things that caught my eye was a Shophouse recipe. Shophouse being a term for both the type of building the restaurant sits in as well as the type of place the restaurant is. These are old school spots typically serving Thai-Chinese food. Chairoj was personally rec'd by Leela @ SheSimmers. It's been running for 70 years now and it's maybe the plainest restaurant I've ever ate in. These shophouses are no frills spots, you come here for the food and the food only. Service is said to be meh and that's what it was on our visit.

Garlic Stir Fried Squid 

We got an order of garlic stir fried squid to start. No English menu so I was left to point at pictures on my phone and this was one of the first ones I saw so we just ordered it bc she seemed to be in a hurry to go back to her chair. Luckily what I really wanted I was able to get in the pla krapong tod rad prik which is a fried seabass with chili and garlic. I liked this dish but the fish could've been crisper.

Fried Seabass at Chairoj 

Suan Bua 

I made an attempt to eat as much of the local Bangkok cuisine as I could and this included a stop for some Royal Thai cuisine. The type of food that's been served at the Royal House forever. Suan Bua is said to be one of the best places to taste the food of Thailand's royalty and judging by the neighborhood and the hotel it's in an area the elite like to stay in. Service was on point for a reason.

 Amuse Bouche at Suan Bua 

No pictures but the royal cocktails were delicious. So was a complimentary starter that I forget how it was described. We were trying to get to a few spots on this our final day so we took it easy on the ordering. We got two starters the first of which was a combo of two popular finger foods known as Ma Hor - sweet marinated minced pork with ginger topped with fresh pineapple slices and edible lotus leaves, as well as Rarai - steamed rice thread noodles topped with crabmeat and coconut sauce.

 Ma Hor at Suan Bua

As you can see presentation plays a big role in the food. What I really wanted to try from here was Fried Prawns wrapped in Vermicelli Noodles. I had something similar in Seville except they were wrapped with potatoes but I loved the crunch. Same can be said for these. I could've ate 20.

Fried Prawns wrapped in Vermicelli Noodles at Suan Bua 

 The Samosa Lady

I really wanted to get a good exploration of Bangkok's Little India in but it wasn't mean to be this trip. I only ventured in as far as the samosa lady. I found her through Mark who spoke highly of the product at this streetside stand and since I love me some samosas I seeked her out. She makes them and he fry's them. They can only make as many as they can sell by which I mean they make nonstop batches of about 20 samosas bc people never stop coming up and buying some. As expected these were the best I ever had. For various reason including they were literally as fresh as you can get and Bangkok's Little India is said to be as good as anywhere outside of India when it comes to it's food.

Samosa's from Bangkok's Samosa Lady (address in google maps guide at end)

 Tom Yum Goong Banglamphu

After being told of a long wait at another place we walked over here as it was on my maps and not to far from where we were. I'm glad we did bc this little Central-Thai spot was high on my list thanks to none other than Mark Wiens. When I say little I mean maybe five or six tables and that's it so we had to wait in line which wasn't too long but was so by the time we were leaving. Still worth the wait.

Fried Garlic Prawns 

There's two dishes you're here for. That's it. Well there may be other items worth trying but you're here to eat and that's all. This is real deal street food. It may turn some off. Stuff like the washing of the dishes on the ground (in soap bowls) may be gross to some. But its common and I didn't get sick once. The chef here was smoking a cigarette while making the food but so what. It was so good. The bowl of tom tum soup you see below was so much different from the others bc as Mark Wiens points out they use a ton of tomalley. That's the yellow stuff you sometimes find on shrimps and other crustaceans. It was so good I want to move to Bangkok and make sure I live near here. Also make sure to indulge in a plate of fried garlic prawns. You may have a new death row meal when done.

Tom Yum soup at Tom Yum Goong Banglamphu

Jay Fai

Last stop in Thailand! Sad face emoji. Might as well save the best for the finale. This would be my Michelin starred meal of the trip. Bangkok just got it's first Michelin guide and the only street food place to make it was Jay Fai. A spot already super popular as being known as the place where Ferrari's pull up and double park for takeout. Thus it's earning a star wasn't exactly welcomed with open arms. I got to witness first hand how crazy it's been since they received their star. I arrived right when they open and learned they take reservations. Oh man. I could've just called? Instead I put my name in a book and they told me they would call when my table was ready. They called five hours later. I was at our hotel maybe 30 minutes away with traffic. I still made the attempt to get there and eat and lucky for me they were just happy I made it back. No way they save my table in NYC.

Owner/Chef Jay Fai in her kitchen 

Owner Jay Fai can be seen in the pic above. She's famous not just for her food but also for her ski goggles she wears while manning the flaming hot woks in her kitchen. It was just me so I only ordered her famous drunken noodles with seafood. Thus I missed out on the crab omelette. Not cheap for street food but why should something be cheap just bc it's made on the street? Not only was the service here like that of a three star joint but the quality control is as real as it gets. Only Jai Fai (owner) does the cooking. When she's done this place is done as it was way successful even before Michelin that she's been able to send her kids to school abroad. They're not coming back to cook over those hot ass grills. Nothing has changed since the star except more foreigners are finding out about it. Those that make it in will get a dining experience to remember. So glad to say I experienced it. After finishing I went back to our hotel and checked out before heading to the airport.

Drunken Seafood Noodles

Note: To find the locations of all the spots featured in this post, as well as places I didn't make it to, please click HERE for my google maps guide to Bangkok. 


Related Posts with Thumbnails