Sunday, December 26, 2010

Shopping and eating in the Land of Smiles

Day 1 (Sun, 19 Dec 2010)

Since our first day in Bangkok was a Sunday, we decided to spend it on a favourite Singaporean pasttime - shopping!

So early in the morning, we trooped off to Chatuchak. For the uninitiated, Chatuchak is a weekend market popular among tourists for its ginormous range of goods. Bargains beckon at every corner in this 35-acre shopping monstrosity. Go in the morning before it gets hot. It wasn't so bad for us since Bangkok weather is kinder in December but I can imagine how sweltering it can get when the temperature soars from April-July.

There was so much for sale it's hard to know where to look! You can find practically anything from textiles to crockery...

Toys to cooked food - even eggs from the back of a truck!

A piece of advice given to me by a friend was to just buy what we fancy when we see it cos we might not see it again. Turned out to be good advice. Most things were awfully cheap by Singapore standards though we found to our surprise that there was little leeway for bargaining. Prices named by most shopkeepers were low to start with and often, they weren't keen to haggle, allowing us to walk away when we countered with even a slightly lower offer.

At about noon, lugging several bags of purchases, we took a short cab ride to Chinatown for lunch. Our lunch destination was a friend's recommendation - Nam Sing, a Chinese restaurant specialising in shark's fin and bird's nest.

We ordered fried rice, stir-fried morning glory (kang kong), beef and a medium sized claypot of shark's fin in red soup.

The food was FANTASTIC. The beef was tender and succulent, and the morning glory very tasty. Side note: we ordered morning glory as our veg almost every time in Bangkok and it was always great. I don't know how the Thais cook it or what sauce they use but it's so much better than back in Singapore. The meal was perfectly accompanied by cups of hot, sweet chrysanthemum tea.

The shark's fin was so good each of us easily polished off two bowls. I know animal activists would baulk at this eating shark's fin but hey, we only eat this at special occasions now, maybe once a year and it's sooooo good.

You can watch them prepare the shark's fin at the counter.

Our lunch came up to about 1,400 TB or around S$60. Extremely good value.

After lunch, we crossed the road to Sampeng, another popular wholesale market. Just crossing that one major road was like an adventure in itself. Even though there was a zebra crossing, it seemed like the vehicles barely slowed down. We followed the locals who brazenly stepped onto the roads, forcing the cars to screech to a halt.

Chinatown is a vibrant, bustling place of sights and smells. Seafood by the roadside,

the tempting waft of roasting meat,

rows and rows of toys, hair accessories, stationery and trinkets.

After a full day of shopping, we headed back to Lilian's place. That evening, Lilian and Eddie treated us to dinner at this modest Thai eatery called Lek Seafood (which she had previously blogged about here). The venue may be unassuming but by golly, the food was exceptional!

Lilian and Lesley-Anne shared a platter of fresh oysters.

Baked seabass.

Bbq river prawns - so yummy!

We ordered a lot more but I didn't take photos of everything. No photos of us enjoying our feast cos Lilian insisted that I was not allowed to take her picture. So camera shy, that woman.

A fabulous end to a fabulous day!

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