Taste Of Thailand, Bangkok Food Tour
We love Thailand, the people, the sights and most definitely the food. We are both thoroughly enjoying eating, sorry I mean being back here after four months elsewhere, Ha! we LOVE THAI FOOD. We try and do a food tour in any new place we visit to discover great local food and it is Js first time here, and mine in fifteen years. We looked at a couple of tour companies for our food tour of Bangkok, the first Bangkok Food Tours who, horrified by my allergy to chilli, said there was no point me doing the tour. Erm well alrighty then thanks for that, I do seem to have survived many months eating happily in Thailand so we looked elsewhere and discovered the well reviewed Taste of Thailand and signed up for their Bites and sites in the village of love tour.
We met at 10am at the designated spot to find we were the only ones on the tour that day which was pretty nice. Ben, our guide immediately said she had cancelled a lot of the tastings they would normally do due to my allergy. UGH, I had specifically written to them saying that there was no need to change anything, that J could and would eat all the spicy stuff and I would simply not partake when I could not. It was very nice but unnecessary to make any changes to the scheduled tour. This means this review is even more subjective than usual as I imagine anyone else doing the tour would follow the standard route, anyway…
We started at a little food van with Thai tea, a strong black tea mixed with condensed milk that Ben was quick to point out had no added sugar, well you know, apart from the million or so grams in the condensed milk. This was served in the traditional way over ice and thankfully in a tiny cup as it was super sweet and strong; J, whose sweet tooth knows no bounds, loved it. The tea was accompanied by half a roti filled with chocolate and banana, meh, I’ve never had it before so maybe it was supposed to be slightly too doughy to be enjoyable but as a first taste of the tour it was a let down.
On we walked through a mainly Muslim area, tiny store fronts laden with produce, spices, fish and meat, through a wet market full of intense rich and spicy smells. Lamb being chopped so forcefully the meaty air slapped us as we passed, great bowls of river fish, bound crabs and shrimp after shrimp after shrimp. We emerged into daylight on the busy Charoen Krung Road and walked along to our next stop, Thai desserts. Syrupy golden drop, Jackfruit drop which no longer contains jackfruit but mung bean, a scrumptious tiny flower shaped gelatinous banana cake, sticky coconut rice with fragrant pandan egg custard, my favourite and black rice with candied dried shrimp, way nicer than it sounds. Thankfully the portions were tiny as these delicious morsels contained more sugar than I am sure you’re supposed to eat in a month, let alone in a mouthful.
Ben told us Thai food has three main tastes, sweet, their favourite it seems by far, salty and spicy. Craving salty by now we headed to our next stop, a busy fruit stall with a tiny frying station at the back where we tasted minced pork on deep fried toast, which was pretty delicious. While standing at the stall we pointed out a fruit we had not seen before, Sapodilla which tastes like caramel of course! ha! even the fruit tastes like dessert.
Next we headed to an eighty year old shophouse selling dried meats, tofu, octopus and squid and jars of sauces and spices. At the front of the store they were selling health drinks, a chart depicting what each was good for. I went with Longan and Pandan Juice which was, yes unbearably sweet, and J had Honey and Black Dragon tea which was wonderfully refreshing.
Next stop Prachak, opened in 1909 it is still regularly voted one of the best roasted duck restaurants in Bangkok, with good reason. It’s a typical traditional Thai restaurant serving as many locals as tourists. No frills plastic stools, clean sparse tables and friendly staff, we had fantastic roast duck and noodles and delicious crispy pork with rice. This is our kind of meal in our kind of restaurant.
Beginning to fill up a little we continued on our journey, deep fried bananas were next on the menu, the stall we stopped at has queues up the street when she opens and rightly so. The bananas were firm, crunchy and soft, and put in our bag for later as we headed to our seventh and final stop.
After a ten minute walk through the leafy streets of the Catholic area we were a little bemused to be led into Thanying, a wonderfully elegant restaurant serving Thai Royal cuisine, with genuine royal connection as the kitchen is run by Princess Sulabh’s son, M.R. Sorut Visuddhi (M.R., Mom Rajawong, the fourth royal generation.) I say bemused as we were not at all dressed for this lovely restaurant in our shorts and T shirts and although every one was incredibly welcoming, I would have preferred to have been wearing something more appropriate, but that’s just me. Setting aside our sartorial inappropriateness the food was quite wonderful, tiny portions of curry for J and soup for me with banana leaf wrapped cones of fragrant jasmine rice. Crisp parcels of pork deep fried to perfection, with sweet sticky dipping sauce. A mouthful of coconut ice cream and warm coconut rice to finish. This is most definitely a restaurant to revisit.
And then we were done. It was not the best food tour we have been on, Ben left us to our own devices several times, a first on any food tour for us. At the end we felt like we had tried some lovely foods we would otherwise not have eaten, discovered a new area in Bangkok but hadn’t learnt as much about the city or food as we had on other tours. At 1200 Thai Baht per person it was priced similarly to the competition.