Grilled Chicken in Bangkok

One of best things about writing about food is that you help others find things it would take a long time for you to find. One such place I would never have stumbled across is Baan Tawan Gai Yang as written up by Hungry in Bangkok. I’m a huge fan of anything grilled and combined with anything spicy, it’s definitely one of the things I had to go out and try.

This place is found by getting out of the Ekkamai BTS station and heading directly north on Soi Ekkamai (which starts off being Sukhumvit 63). From memory it took me about 10 or 15 minutes to walk up there, so if you’re in a rush I’d catch a taxi. On the way, you pass all the different bars/clubs run by the various spirit brands and I think it was located right after a seafood restaurant.

I was pretty hungry by the time I found this place. Their menu has plenty of visuals and there was a great mix of locals and some foreigners dining there. I sat in the open air side section where there seemed to be more locals.

This is a picture of the Gai Yang (grilled chicken) that came with two different types of dipping sauces – the sweet chilli sauce and a sour one. Both of them went really well with the chicken and I could have done with much more. The chicken also arrived with plenty of fried shallots on top, adding another set of depth to the dish. Perfectly grilled, chicken not too dry and a lovely smoky skin, this was totally worth the trip.

Above is the Tod Mun Goong (Fish & Prawn Cakes) that I thought I was going to have as an appetiser. I had no idea that these were almost the serving of a full sized dish with at least 7 or 8 large cakes. Covered in Japanese-panko style bread crumbs, these cakes were the best I’ve had anywhere. It probably helped that they cooked them fresh – I bit too eagerly into the first one not realising how freshly cooked they work and they were great because they were soft, juicy and really tasty. If not for ordering lots of food, I could have eaten many more of these.

This dish is their Som Tum (Papaya Salad). I thought I’d ordered the carrot one as recommended by Hungry in Bangkok, but apparently I didn’t. This version didn’t disappoint though with such lovely textures and complex flavours combined with that immense kick of chilli that permeated throughout.

I had a beer to go with my dinner and the funniest thing about the dinner was the fact that they kept coming around to top up the beer that was poured into the glass and then put ice into the glass to keep the beer cold. I would have preferred to keep the beer bottle in the ice bucket and then simply pour the beer out but I can see why they were doing this.

This place is great for a casual dinner with lots of friends. It was definitely on the cheaper end of the scale and great value for the quality of the food you get. I really wanted to return to try some other dishes but unfortunately I ran out of time.

Name: Baan Tawan Gai Yang
Found at: Ekkamai soi 1, Bangkok, Thailand

Dinner at Suan Lum Night Markets

On the very first night I got to Bangkok, I knew that I had to stay up as late as possible to beat the jetlag you get from travelling eastward. Fortunately Bangkok has plenty of things to do at night time, including their famous Suan Lum Night Market. I was staying very close to the Asoke BTS and it was ridiculously easy to get the night markets, catching an underground metro where you get off at Lumphini where the markets sit pretty much right outside.

Unlike many other outdoor markets, these ones tend to centre around a number of buildings that don’t move, instead roller doors opening to reveal most of the contents of each of the market stalls. On one side of the market (I discovered much later) they have an open seating food court-like dining plaza where you “buy” food currency and exchange them for the food items with the ability of refunding any food currency you don’t use. It’s a practical way of ensuring the money is collected centrally and you still get some variety.

Ending up much hungrier, I ended up at a food stall that was on the other side of the market – the cafe was also open air and noticed a mix of tourists and locals eating here. I don’t actually remember catching the name of the place but it’s directly opposite the restaurant hosting the puppet theatre show. They did have menus in English although I already knew what I wanted – the famous Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodle). The waiter asked me if it’s okay hot, and I instantly replied – of course.

I also ordered a large Chang beer because it seemed to be the local beer of choice and it was ridiculously hot and steamy I thought would make a good accompaniment for the noodle dish. I also got to choose the type of noodle (flat rice noodle vs egg noodle) and the type of meat. It wasn’t long before the dish arrived. As you can see above it was full of fresh Thai basil, loads of chilli and fresh peppercorns. It also definitely packed a lot of heat with the first mouthful turning on an instant fire. Deliciously spicy but not uncomfortably so.

The best part about it was that I spent about THB140 for the entire meal – not even GBP3.