Bangkok was so crazy hot that our best times exploring the city were at night when we could walk around without feeling like we were melting into the ground. We didn’t want to leave Bangkok without exploring the infamous Chinatown neighbourhood (known as Yaowarat)…I wanted to see where The Hangover Part 2 was filmed and see the nitty gritty side of the city.
After a little research, we stumbled across the Chinatown Foodie Walk with Bangkok Food Tours. This was the perfect way to get a guide to help us navigate this crazy part of Thailand’s capital, and to explore some strange food with the added bonus that they promised we wouldn’t get sick.
Here’s the lowdown on what we tasted…
#1) Dim Sum (Which loosely translates to Touch the Heart in Cantonese)
We started our night with four different kinds of Dim Sum. I was always interested in trying these little dumplings but I was a little concerned about what was inside. Turns out there are MANY different varieties of dim sum, ours were: deep fried shrimp in bean curd sheet, green shrimp (the green comes from pandana leaves), crab stick seaweed, and curry egg scallop.
Of course pretty much anything deep fried is tasty, so the deep fried shrimp got two thumbs up. Our unexpected favourite was the curry egg scallop.
#2) Tea?? A VERY Bitter Herbal Drink
After our dim sum, we stopped at a stall that has been around for 111 years for a taste of their “bitter herbal drink”. This drink is supposed to be good for cooling the body down in hot weather and for soothing a scratchy throat. Our guide warned us that 99% of people she takes on the tour cannot finish the drink. We quickly found out why when we took our first sip and experienced a taste that was like Buckley’s throat syrup but even worse. Skott took the challenge and finished the whole glass but I was done after one sip!
#3) Chinese Buns
These “buns” are actually steamed so they look whiter than a piece of Wonderbread, but the true wonder is what’s inside. We sampled a bbq pork bun and a pork and quail egg bun. We had been passing these up time and time again in Vietnam, but if I had known they were essentially like a bbq pulled pork bun from back home, I would have been snacking on these more often!
#4) Pepper Soup
Our pepper soup tasting was one of the most fun because it was a pumping little street stall that we probably never would have had the guts to order from without Olive’s help. We sat on tiny plastic stools to enjoy a bowl full of peppery noodle soup with salted pork in it. This was Skott’s favourite of the night.
#5) The King Fruit
We couldn’t leave Thailand without trying durian, also called “The King Fruit”. These big, spiky fruits are actually not allowed on planes or in most hotels because they smell really strong. We finally got a chance to see if they taste as bad as they smell….and in my opinion…they do. But the Aussies we were with thought they tasted like custard. I think these fruits are definitely an acquired taste.
#6) Thai Ice Cream
Usually I wouldn’t eat ice cream before shrimp (see below), but in this case it worked. We got to choose from sweet basil and coconut ice cream or a scoop of bright pink old fashioned lychee berry. Both were tasty, but the sweet basil and coconut won out for me!
#6) River Prawn
I didn’t really want to know what river these came from, but we found a rockin’ stall that was firing up river prawn and crabs on the corner of the street. The prawn were enormous and when we got them hot off the grill they were perfect, dipped in the “killer sauce” Olive gave us.
#7) Last Stop- Duck Cheek and Dessert
Our last stop may have been the strangest. Duck cheek is a delicacy that is very sought after and very expensive in Chinatown. They are served deep fried and still attached to the beak which is a little intimidating…but when in Chinatown I guess. There isn’t very much meat there but it’s quite tasty. I’m glad I tried it, but I probably wouldn’t order it again…I just feel bad for poor Daffy.
Dessert was a bowl of dough balls that are stuffed with poppy seeds and served in a sweet ginger soup. If you squish the balls in the soup before you eat it, the whole thing looks really cloudy and unappetizing. The flavour is actually quite nice but the texture is very strange because the poppy seeds inside the dough are really dry. The second dish was much better for me. It was another soupy concoction, but this time there were bites of water chestnut marinated in lychee berry flavouring served in a soup of sweet coconut milk.
A HUGE thanks to Olive for leading us through the streets of Chinatown and even taking us down the very street where “The Wolfpack” was filmed in The Hangover II.
I love trying out new foods and I think this is the very best way to get out of your comfort zone in Thailand and try something other than pad thai!!