Monday, August 31, 2015

Singapore Food in Bangkok: 8 on Eleven

Update 12th May 2017:

It's not easy being a blogger, some restaurants really make me work much harder than others, especially my favourite places for Singaporean food.

I first got to know Champions Restaurant when they were at Sukhumvit Soi 11. They subsequently moved to Suan Lum Night Bazaar Ratchadapisek, but while Champions Restaurant is still in operation as we speak, the Singapore food kitchen seems to taken a full circle and returned to Sukhumvit Soi 11, this time at a whopping new restaurant and club called 8 on eleven.

Many signature cocktails available too, this one called the Snapdragon.

It might seem a peculiar place to have a Singapore-food dinner (they operate from 5pm onwards) with friends and family, but don't let the ambience fool you. The prices of the food at 8 on eleven are surprisingly-reasonable (you could get a good meal and a drink for less than 500THB), and the entire Singapore food repertoire from Champions is available here, including my favourite Hokkien Mee and curry puffs. The rest of the menu is extensive, and though they do not carry as much of an X-factor as the Singapore food, they certainly present a brilliant value for money for the location, which is a comfortable walk from Nana BTS station.

My favourite Hokkien Mee still tasting great like before, don't forget the spicy yummy salty belachan chilli paste!

Update 27th June 2016:

A week ago, I was at the new Champions Bar at Suan Lum Night Bazaar Ratchadpisek watching Zlatan's 3rd-last game for Sweden and felt the need to update you guys on how the new Champions looked.

The indoor area which has air-conditioning and also live music every Thursday
Outdoor area in front of the bar

With the opening of their sister restaurant Talay Zaa a few doors away, Champions Bar has now become possibly the only place in the world that allows you to have standard beer, cocktail, pub grub, authentic Singaporean cuisine (see below) and fresh Thai seafood dishes (from Talay Zaa) all on the same table in a sports bar setting. No kidding!

Best Hokkien Mee in town hands-down, and much better than the average plate in Singapore too!

Original review:

In the most unlikeliest of places, probably the most authentic-tasting Singaporean food in downtown Bangkok has been found. Previously Bangkok's Manchester United Cafe, Champions Restaurant and Sports Bar looks like the place to be with your pals who want to down some draught beer while watching their favourite football match. You could do that, but what if you could also have some Singapore Laksa or Char Kway Teow while doing so, 24 hours a day, everyday?

How it looks in the day

Yesterday, with my family and a few Singaporean friends, we hopped down to Champions Restaurant on Sukhumvit Soi 11 just in time for their popiah party (this either needs to be ordered in advance or you need to get REALLY lucky, like us). What I loved about the popiah party was that they let us wrap the rolls ourselves so we could do it to our personal preferences.They also have a Singapore food brunch buffet every Sunday so we got to enjoy a plethora of different dishes.

Popiah party!
Probably the dish I enjoyed the most on a day I had to eat with Noah sitting on me the whole time
New dish on the block, Mee Siam, tasty and tangy
They have a good chicken rice as well

Char Kway Teow with huge fresh cockles which are not too raw when served
Prawn noodles, with a clear robust broth and noodles nicely al dente (very important for me)

If you are a Singaporean/Malaysian living in Bangkok, and have been craving for some authentic flavours from home, please trust me that at Champions Restaurant, every dish you get will be better than the average plate you order in the hawker centres in Singapore. Aside of the dishes I ate yesterday, they have other Singaporean favourites like Laksa, Nasi Lemak and Chicken Curry too. I would loved to have tried them all, but God only gave me one tummy, shall save them for my next visit!

So now to my absolute favourite dish from Champions. Even though I have never been a really big fan of curry puff, I frequently eat it when I was in Singapore. Thus, it shocked me when a recent taste-test conducted from the Straits Times yielded Polar to have the best curry puffs in Singapore. I certainly feel that the ones from Champions are more enjoyable!

Soft flavourful curry chicken and potato with a quarter of a hard-boiled egg, yummy!

Are you tempted yet?

stranger in bangkok

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

To Market, To Market...... Bangkok Market

When fellow Dad blogger David told me about this blog train, I felt it would be a refreshing change to bring interested readers from Singapore to Bangkok, but if you are here expecting to read about famous markets like Chatuchak Weekend Market or the Rodfai Night Market, prepare to be disappointed, because I will only be bringing you for a brief walk at the wet market near my apartment.

I was born and raised in Singapore, living there for 28 years before relocating permanently to Bangkok. My mum was a housewife and I am the youngest child in the house, so I was with her everywhere she went, including the neighbourhood market (we patronized Bukit Timah Market, most famous for their fried carrot cake and satay beehoon). Aside of acting as my mum's companion, I had a more noble responsibility, which was to carry her 'loot'. I did such a great job, that long after my mum went back to Malaysia, I was still patronizing the same stalls at the market by myself, getting the same 'perks' as my mum.

Fast forward to 2015, I am now already a father of 2 little children, both born in Bangkok, Thailand. That said, my frequent visits to the wet market have not stopped, even if I live in a different country now. I do purchase a lot of beautiful organic vegetables and additive-free meat from various supermarkets, but when it comes to fresh fish and seafood, the best option is still at the wet market.

2 of the fishmongers I frequent, only available by the road a few hours every morning
While all markets in Singapore are situated in proper buildings these days, wet markets in Bangkok are frequently made up of temporary roadside stalls, which sell the usual wet market groceries in the day, and delicious cooked food at night for the dinner/supper crowd.

If you wake up early enough, there will be a sight which you will probably never get to see in Singapore.

Temporary stalls selling alms for monks
A common sight in the morning
Once the monks are out (slightly before 7am), don't be surprised if you see anyone stopping anywhere to offer alms. If you are a tourist, this is really a good time and place to fully soak yourself in an important piece of Thai culture. My reminder to all women is that you should be extra careful and never ever touch a monk as it's considered a form of disrespect.

There is another part of the market which is inside a building
Inside the building, not too dissimilar to Singapore.
My market also has a covered area with permanent stalls. Without going into detail, I can say that it's not too different from what we have in Singapore, with usual suspects like egg stalls, tofu/noodle stalls, dry goods stalls, pork/beef/chicken stalls and of course lots of vegetable stalls. However, I would like to zero in on 1 particular stall that might raise the eyebrows of many Aunties out there.

Taadaaa! Freshly-made popiah skin!! Envious? Jeles?

Like mother like son, I am also training my own market assistant in-house. Despite his nostrils being much nearer to the dirty drains than mine, I have been bringing Noah to the market with me since he was a little baby.

These are shrimp, little boy, shrimp.

A penny for your thoughts?

Look at the stall-owner's smile!

My little helper

Noah has been soaking everything in brilliantly so far, in fact, currently it is me who is trying not to bring him too often as I am quietly worried about him throwing tantrums when I refuse to carry him during the walk back home (when I have already purchased my load of groceries). Hopefully with my 'training', the tradition of patronizing wet markets for the freshest produce will continue in my family, transcending generations and geographical location.

Tomorrow, Debra will be sharing about her neighbourhood Shunfu Market at Olimomok

Debra is mum to three young boys, and shares about their growing up moments, fun family experiences and her parenting journey on her blog. She also loves planning parties, so check out her party posts if you are looking for ideas. Remember to hop on over to Olimomok tomorrow!


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