Monday, March 14, 2016

What to eat near Bangkok BTS Stations: Asoke (E4)

My second post of this series brings me the ever accessible Asoke station, which is also the interchange to Sukhumvit MRT station. When I just arrived in 2009, this area only had Times Square and Robinson. If I had to summarize Asoke back then with 3 words, I would say it felt over-the-hill.

The opening of Terminal 21 in 2011 completely rejuvenated Asoke, injecting it with new energy, and it has thrived ever since. In fact, Asoke has become my go-to location when I do staycations with my family in town. What I like about Asoke over other lifestyle spots (eg. Thong Lor) is how compact it is. Nice eateries, massages, hotels and watering holes cluster within walking distances from each other, mainly along the little streets connecting Soi 19,21 and 23 together, unlike at the long wide street of Thong Lor where you might struggle to get from one popular spot to another without a car.

With the help of my Asoke local, here's my first instalment of the hidden eateries within walking distance from the BTS station:

1. Ping's Sharks' Fin: Fish maw soup I would drink everyday

Picture with lady boss Mrs Ho, look out for my sticker if you do visit!

This is the flagship store of the Ping's Restaurant Group, owners of Ping's Thai Teochew Seafood Restaurant at Pathumwan Princess Hotel, which I reviewed with a "Wah Lau Eh!" last year. You can enjoy the same menu (and cheaper drinks) plus some authentic Singapore curry puffs at this outlet in a more old-school ambience.

2. Uma Uma!: Focus your calories on Ramen

Like any typical Sarawakian, I love noodles. From the over-hyped Ippudo (I certainly wouldn't queue for it), to the delicious but wildly inconsistent Yamagoya and Chabuton (it has way too many branches), ramen is something I consistently go for when I need a quick meal.

Uma Uma Ramen, right beside Lawson 108 Convenient Store
Uma Uma's ramen blew me away. There was nothing to complain about their rich broth and perfectly al-dente noodles. Is the option for a small bowl really necessary?

Work of art
They are supposed to be big on gyoza too
The gyoza though, was forgettable, even if they are also one of Uma Uma's signature dishes. So if you specially made your way here in the midst of a day-long food trail in Bangkok, focus your precious calories on their noodles please!


3. Paris Mikki: Exquisite French cakes and pastry

For some reason, the excellent Let Them Eat Cake closed permanently last October. I am relieved to rediscover top-class French-style cakes and pastry at a little bakery called Paris Mikki near Asoke BTS station.

Just a very small space

Similar offerings as Let Them Eat Cake, but less colourful more down-to-earth

I will personally recommend the Mille-Feuille and croissants, though I think most of their desserts should taste pretty good. If you feel like pampering yourself with delicate desserts sprinkled with a bit of class, you can't go wrong with Paris Mikki.

Mille-Feuille, simplicity at its best


4. Bharani: 66-yr-old boat noodle with live jazz

Some of my friends swear by having boat noodles when they come to Thailand, but I wonder if ther know that the soup of boat noodles gets its unmistakeable deep hue and cloudy viscosity from a mixture of cow/pig's blood and salt? Because of this, I am not too big on boat noodles except for a select few, and this is one of them.

You have found the right place if you see half a boat sticking out of a restaurant

Looking at the chalkboard of specialties inside Bharani, I was surprised to find international favourites like Paella, but if you are visiting Thailand for the first time, my recommendation would be to go for their Sansab boat noodles, which they have been selling since 1949.

Clean-tasting broth, not a description you will normally associate with boat noodles
You get to enjoy this taste of tradition in comfort
Come at the right time (7pm on Saturday), you could be slurping down your noodles in the accompaniment of live jazz!


5. Khua Kling Pak Sod: Southern classics done the right way

Khua Kling Pak Sod offers ample parking space 
Of the various regional cuisines Thailand has to offer, I find dishes from the South most fascinating. Khua Kling Pak Sod is therefore a fitting finale to my list of recommendations.

Colourful decoration
Toughtful touch: Deliberate introduction of natural light into the dining area 
Some essential Southern Thai classics include the Thai stink beans (aka petai/sataw) with shrimp paste, crab-meat chilli paste with beehoon, yellow fish curry with coconut shoots etc., all of which can be found here.

Fried beehoon with crabmeat, more like fried crabmeat with beehoon

Stir-fried pork with shrimp paste

Despite the obvious glut of Thai eateries in Bangkok, I would say it is quite a rarity to find a good restaurant completely focused on Southern Thai dishes. Khua Kling Pak Sod is certainly worth a try if you are adventurous, or just simply curious to find out what Thai food has to offer outside Tom Yum Soup and Pad Thai.

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So there you go, the first instalment of my BTS Asoke series, enough to keep your tummies satisfied for a good 2 days. Do you have any other recommendations? I will definitely check them out!




6 comments:

  1. Very good you started with Pings!

    Also you should seriously look up 'thongkee' restaurant just opposite terminal 21... under t bts exit.. look it up... Enjoy all their food... bak.mee.. roast duck and plenty more.

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    1. Thanks Ray! I am glad you enjoy Ping's like me too!

      I will definitely check out Thong Kee opposite T21 based on your recommendation. I love roast duck!

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  2. went to check out uma2 and indeed the original broth was too rich for my liking and a less sodium compared to their rivals, noodle texture was good though. While I highly recommend their fried chicken wings well seasoned and crispy to perfection with a coating of their teriyaki sauce, other menu we ordered is yakitori ( which i would also recommend is their chicken skin but at 50B/skewer I ordered just 1) and their pork belly yakitoris are too tough. The man order panfried gyoza but I was too stuffed to sample a piece.

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    1. Yes Frances, on my second visit, I did realise too that the richness builds up as we go down the bowl, but the noodle is really perfect.

      I went both times for lunch so the yakitori was not available, thanks for the heads up! I enjoy the yakitori shop in Gateway Ekamai, only 30THB per skewer!

      I need to try the chicken wings next time!

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  3. I can't abide by the shark fin soup recommendation, but the others are pretty spot on. http://www.richtrek.com/2015/06/a-whole-lotta-bangkok-why-i-freaking.html bangkok is my favorite city ever I think, and here's why

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Richard! Where do you think serves your favourite sharks fins soup then?

      Delete

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