Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ka-Nom -- where simple dough fritters steal the show

Bangkok has, to me, always been a lifestyle location. For a normal tourist, aside of relentless shopping, eating and the odd massage, there might be nothing much else to do (unless you are interested in ladyboys and grotesque Thai-girl shows). I can't really argue against that, but for me, Bangkok is a metropolitan city that bustles with freedom and creativity. As a result, designer cafes and cool chill-out spots sprout up in the oddest of places, especially along a few small streets (aka the Ekkamai and Thong Lo area) in Sukhumvit where the so-called HiSo (High- society) and expats hang out frequently.

Li Li and myself happened to be along Sukhumvit Soi 49 one day when my sit-in-a-nice-cafe-and-do-nothing mode hit me once again. I have to admit that I have had too many of these rushes of blood since I came to Bangkok, but what's not to love when we can really free our minds of any worries and just spend some nice time together? So we decided to spend our next 2 hours in a cafe called Ka-Nom (they call themselves a boutique bakery).

Another one of those nice little cafes in the middle of nowhere
The moment we stepped inside, it became obvious that their star attraction would surely be their pies and Portuguese egg-tarts, which cost a whopping 40baht each (very pricey considering my tried-and-tested ones from KFC cost only 19baht).

One needs great conviction to give one of these pies/tarts a miss, especially the egg-tarts.

Personally, what caught my eye was the little dough-frying stall right outside this self-proclaimed boutique bakery. Deep-fried dough fritters, or what the Chinese call 油条, would be the last thing I expect to see on the menu in a cafe with this ambience, but it really did seem to be one of the leading lights here.

Thai dough fritters are short, unlike the very long ones in Singapore
We were pleasantly surprised when our lunch arrived on our tables, because both pasta dishes were relatively authentic and extremely fragrant.

Li Li's Penne Alfredo with smoked salmon (160baht only), tastes wonderful
My Spaghetti Aglio Olio w/ beef (160baht)
I'd like to give special mention to my Spaghetti Aglio Olio. This dish is Italy's version of our simple stir-fried noodles (炒面)and it's traditionally a celebration of good olive oil, garlic and well-made pasta. More often than not though, restaurants in this region will end up serving an oily, bland mess of starchy over-cooked noodles. This serving however, gave me everything I wanted from a proper plate of Aglio Olio -- well-seasoned, slightly spicy, lots and lots of fragrant garlic, Al-dente spaghetti, fresh beef. Unfortunately, all's not perfect. Like most other similar eateries in Bangkok, Ka-Nom fell into the vicious cycle of trying to fusion it with Thai cuisine by unnecessarily adding in a handful of Thai basil. That said, I am sure I would get my perfect Aglio Olio next time when I remind them not to add the basil in. For the price, the serving size, ambience and taste, Ka-Nom's pasta dishes really put Singapore's alarmingly popular PastaMania to shame.

So now for the main event - dough fritters. Unlike usual dough fritters, which is slightly savoury, Ka-Nom made theirs slightly sweet to make it a perfectly sinful dessert. We are supposed to eat it with a knife and fork, dipped into their smooth and delicate custard (3 colours, but all taste the same).

5 palm-sized dough fritters for 50baht

To be honest, and I hope I am not exaggerating, I never expected myself to be impressed by dough fritters to this extent. I am not so good with words, but they managed to encrust a deliciously-sweet soft dough with a thicker-than usual crisp shell. There was hardly any oil at the bottom of our plate too. 5 fritters were too many for one sitting, so we were delighted to bring 2 home for later enjoyment (they gave us extra custard to bring home, how nice). For a nice cafe which serves decent drinks and excellent food, I salute them for successfully making overpriced egg tarts (they were predictably very good too) and the often-underappreciated dough fritters the stars of their show.

Lastly, for a shocking (??!) revelation. Our meal at Ka-Nom was preceded by both of us enduring the pain of needles to draw blood for a medical check-up. Seeing the smiles on our faces, it is clear that we both enjoyed it (this was taken BEFORE the nice food came), why not? We would gladly do anything to ensure the health of our Baby in Bangkok.


  1. Nephew, I heard from my siblings how impressive you are being the STRANGER IN BANGKOK, I have to say the rumour is TRUE. Well done.

  2. Thank you very much my dear Aunt in Australia. I am very very flattered. I just try to do a blog in a way that I would enjoy reading. I should really blog more then...

    And yes, the other rumour is also true, but why is there a rumour? I did not tell anyone.


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