Raan Paa On: Tasty Local Thai Cuisine Beside the Mekong River at the Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai, Thailand

For anyone living or traveling near the famed Golden Triangle in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province who would like to savor some very delicious local Thai cuisine, I would recommend ‘Raan Paa On’ (ร้านป้าอ้น) Restaurant which is located at the Golden Triangle right beside the Mekong River.

A front view of ‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant at the Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai province, Thailand.

‘Raan Paa On’ (ร้านป้าอ้น) Restaurant translates in Thai as ‘The Restaurant of Aunt On’, and offers excellent homemade local Thai cuisine. The restaurant lies within a group of rudimentary local eateries constructed of simple wooden structures with thatched roofs on the scenic road just beyond the Golden Triangle heading towards Mae Sai town.

‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant lies within a group of local eateries just beyond the Golden Triangle on the road towards Mae Sai town, in Chiang Rai province, Thailand.

For the Thai diner, ‘Raan Paa On’ offers excellent aromatic and spicy local cuisine, especially those dishes made of the region’s famous local delicacy: the giant Mekong catfish, known as ‘Pla Buek’ (ปลาบึก) in Thai. The first dish I would recommend is the crispy fried chunks of ‘Pla Beuk’ meat fillets seasoned with black pepper, soy, along with crispy garlic tidbits and kaffir lime leaves. This is called ‘Pla Buek Pad Prik Thai Dam Kratiam’ (ปลาบึกผัดพริกไทยดำกระเทียม). Superb!

Fillets of ‘Pla Buek’ catfish stir-fried with crispy garlic, black pepper and kaffir lime leaves at ‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant at the Golden Triangle, in Chiang Rai province, Thailand.

Due to its location adjacent to the Golden Triangle, ‘Raan Paa On’ offers great views of the Mekong River, where diners can even get a glimpse of the Golden Triangle right from the table.

A view of the famed Golden Triangle from ‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant in Chiang Rai province, Thailand.

‘Raan Paa On’ offers the excellent ‘Pla Buek Pad Cha’ (ปลาบึกผัดฉ่า), or chunks of catfish meat fillets stir-fried in a very aromatic Thai chili paste (น้ำพริกแกง, ‘nam prik gaeng’) with fresh basil leaves and fresh peppers. Here at the restaurant, ‘Paa On’ makes her own chili paste using the best of local ingredients. I even bought her chili paste for my home cooking in Bangkok.

Fillets of ‘Pla Buek’ catfish stir-fried in spicy chili paste with fresh herbs at ‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand.

Due to its riverside location, ‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant offers an excellent view of the Mekong River right from the dining table. Here is a view of a tributary of the Mekong River which forms part of the border between Thailand and Burma (Union of Myanmar). The opposite side of this small tributary is a part of Burma’s Shan State.

A view from ‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant overlooking a tributary of the Mekong River which forms this section of the border between Thailand and Burma (on the opposite side).

‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant excels not only in northern Thai dishes made of the giant Mekong catfish, or ‘Pla Buek’, but also does an excellent job in cooking such all-time Thai favorites as the chicken stir-fried in aromatic basil sauce, called ‘Gai Pad Bai Kaprao’ (ไก่ผัดใบกะเพรา) in Thai.

Chicken stir-fried with basil and chili at ‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant near the Golden Triangle, in Chiang Rai province, Thailand.

All of my recommended dishes above go along great with ‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant’s steamed sticky rice, which the restaurant owner (Aunt On, or ‘Pa On’) grows by herself in her Chiang Rai farm during the rainy season. In addition to my recommended dishes listed above, Raan Paa On also offers other recommended tasty selections as follows.

Recommended menu at ‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant near the Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai province, Thailand.

For instance, you may also want to try the following selections:

– ‘Pla Buek’ in tom yum soup, or ‘Tom Yam Pla Buek’ (ต้มยำปลาบึก)
– Boiled chunks of ‘Pla Buek’ catfish meat fillets accompanied by a 3-flavor sauce, ‘Pla Beuk Luak Jim 3 Rote’ (ปลาบึกลวกจิ้ม 3 รส).
– Chicken in tom yum soup, or ‘Tom Yum Gai’ (ต้มยำไก่)
– Chicken pan-fried with local herbs and spices, or ‘Gai Tod Samun Prai’ (ไก่ทอดสมุนไพร)
– Pork ribs pan-fried with garlic, ‘Si Krong Moo Tod Kra Tiam’ (ซี่โครงหมูทอดกระเทียม)
– Other made to order dishes (อาหารตามสั่ง)

All the dishes here are authentic homemade Thai food.

All foods at ‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant are authentically home made with the best local ingredients.

‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant is located adjacent to the Golden Triangle, on a riverside location along the road heading towards Mae Sai town. The restaurant is located just beyond the Golden Triangle when heading towards Mae Sai.

‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant is located on the road from the Golden Triangle to Mae Sai town in Chiang Rai province, Thailand.

Haha! My meal at ‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant was so tasty that it attracted a group of cute local cats who came and nagged me for a portion of my tasty dishes! This local cutie in particular was ‘meowing’ beside me through much of my meal!

This cute local cat was able to attract my attention, and accompanied me through much of my meal at ‘Raan Paa On’ Restaurant in Chiang Rai province, Thailand.

Happy dining, wherever you are in Thailand and around the world!

Lat (Ratasit C.)

Posted in Foods: Thailand | Leave a comment

Visit The Rayong Aquarium For a Glimpse into Thailand’s Awesome Tropical Marine Life

The seaside town of Baan Phe in Thailand’s Rayong province is less than an hour’s drive south of the lively resort town of Pattaya, making it a perfect destination for a day’s trip for those who would like to experience Thailand’s peaceful southeastern countryside along the Eastern Seaboard. In addition to its seafood restaurants and markets, Baan Phe also houses the Rayong Aquarium which offers an impressive glimpse into Thailand’s colorful tropical sea life.

A front view outside of the entrance to the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

The Rayong Aquarium is a favorite place among families and children looking for a cool exhibition with significant educational value.

Colorful fish sculptures outside of the entrance to the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong Province, Thailand.

Visitors are greeted with a lively pool exhibiting colorful tropical sea life right before entering the museum.

A large pool with a plethora of sea life greets visitors at the Rayong Aquarium.

Visitors are greeted with a plethora of live undersea exhibitions as soon as they enter the Rayong Aquarium.

Colorful tropical undersea exhibition inside the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

Children and adults are provided with educational exhibitions about undersea life in Thailand’s waters.

Educational undersea exhibitions at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

But by far the highlight of Rayong Aquarium is its plethora live exhibitions of Thailand’s colorful tropical marine life! Here, visitors are greeted with a giant pool with several Giant Sea Turtles whose species grace the waters of the Gulf of Thailand to the east and the Andaman Sea to the west.

A pair of giant sea turtles swim alongside one another inside the huge marine pool at the Rayong Aquarium.

Another scene of giant sea turtles in the Rayong Aquarium.

A giant sea turtle swims in the huge marine pool at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

Visitors enjoy viewing the giant sea turtles and large schools of fish through these underwater glass windows.

Awesome view inside the huge marine pool at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

A very cute scene of giant sea turtles pairing up!

A cute scene of Giant Sea Turtles pairing up inside the huge marine pool at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

A shallow exhibition pool at the entrance to the aquarium shows off baby sea turtles for visitors to view up close.

Shallow live marine exhibition with baby sea turtles at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

The Rayong Aquarium is full of lively exhibitions displaying Thailand’s colorful tropical marine life.

Lively tropical reef and sea life exhibition at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

Beautiful and cute yet lethal! Here are some views of the cute, adorable ‘Small Nosed Boxfish‘ (ปลาปักเป้าสี่เหลี่ยม, Octracion Nasus). They are found along the sea floors along Thailand’s coast.

A close-up view of the 'Small Nosed Boxfish' inside the Rayong Aquarium in Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

Another view of the cute Small Nosed Boxfish, a relative of the puffer fish.

Very cute yet lethal 'Small Nosed Boxfish' inside the Rayong Aquarium in Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

So cute but lethal! These small adorable, colorful fish are the ‘Porcupine Fish‘ (ปลาปักเป้าหนามทุเรียน, Diodon Liturosus) which can be found along the seafloors near the coasts of the Gulf of Thailand. These fish have hidden spines which point outwards once their bodies are inflated during times of danger. A close relative of these fish is the ‘Blacked-Spotted Puffer‘ (ปลาปักเป้าหน้าหมา, Tetrodon Nigropunctatus) which can be found in the coral reefs along Thailand’s southwestern Andaman coast.

Lethal Beauty: Beautiful yet lethal 'Porcupine Fish' or 'Black-Spotted Puffer' inside the Rayong Aquarium at Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

Here’s another view of the ‘Porcupine Fish‘ which are found along seafloors in the Gulf of Thailand, or their close relative, the ‘Black-Spotted Puffer‘, which can be found in the coral reefs along Thailand’s southwestern Andaman coast.

'Porcupine Fish' or 'Black-Spotted Puffer' inside the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

Looking for some lobster? This lobster is considered very lucky to be in the aquarium!

A lobster crawls restlessly in a marine tank in the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

In Thailand’s upper-scale supermarkets or restaurants this colorful tropical lobster would definitely fetch a price of over 2,000 Baht! They can be found throughout much of Thailand’s tropical seas.

A tropical lobster in a marine tank in the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

Thailand’s waters abound with the ‘Blue Spotted Grouper‘ (ปลากะรังเหลืองจุดฟ้า, Plectropomus Maculutus) which can be found near islands and along undersea rock formations.

A 'Blue Spotted Grouper' in a marine tank in the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

The ‘Blue Spotted Grouper’ can grow to be quite large, such a this one in a large marine pool behind this glass wall.

A giant Blue Spotted Grouper swims in a huge marine pool at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

Here’s a school of giant sea groupers in the aquarium’s large marine pool.

A school of Giant Groupers swims slowly in a huge marine pool at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

Scenes of colorful tropical marine life abound in the Rayong Aquarium, making for a very cheerful and relaxing atmosphere.

Scene of colorful tropical reef in a marine tank at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

One of the most awesome moments in the Rayong Aquarium especially for children is the during passage through the glass tunnel which provides an awesome view of the giant pool with multiple schools of giant fish.

Awesome glass tunnel beneath a huge marine pool at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

Visitors are in awe of the cool, relaxed undersea atmosphere beneath the aquarium’s glass tunnel without having to dive undersea.

Visitors marvel at the cool marine atmosphere beneath the glass tunnel at Rayong Aquarium, in Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

The ‘Giant Mud Crab‘ (ปูทะเล ปูดำ, Scylly Serrata) is popularly featured in Thailand’s seafood cuisine, and can be found in the mangroves and off the shores throughout the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. These are usually very aggressive creatures with powerful claws and must be handed be handled with care. They can be found in virtually all of Thailand’s fresh seafood markets. Here’s a live (and lucky) one in the aquarium.

A 'Giant Mud Crab' walks in a marine tank in the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

The ‘Giant Mud Crab’ is carnivorous and feeds on fish and other sea creatures.

Giant mud crabs are aggressive carnivores that feed on other sea creatures

It seems that the aquarium staff has decided feed these ‘Giant Mud Crabs’ with live sea fish such as this white one hiding anxiously beneath a broken jar from 2 scary mud crabs inside the same tank. One has to question such a practice on ethical grounds.

Prey and Predator: A giant mud crab creeps behind a white fish in its marine tank at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

The ‘Grey Bamboo Shark‘ (ปลาฉลามกบ ฉลามหิน, Chiloscyllium Griseum) can be found along sandy and muddy seafloors off Thailand’s coastline, or along undersea rock formations.

A 'Grey Bamboo Shark' rests inside its large marine tank at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

These ‘Grey Bamboo Sharks’ are presumably harmless to humans and seem pretty cute indeed!

A grey bamboo shark lounges inside its marine tank at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

The ‘Giant Tiger Prawn‘ (กุ้งกุลาดำ, Penaeus Monodon) is another staple in Thai seafood cuisine and can be widely found in most seafood fresh markets in Thailand. They can be found on muddy seafloors in the Gulf of Thailand. Nowadays these prawns are also widely cultivated in aquatic farms along Thailand’s coastline and river deltas.

'Giant Tiger Prawns' inside a marine tank at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

Lethal beauty! The colorful ‘Rockfish‘ can be found in Thailand’s tropical coral reefs and seas. Despite their attractive and beautiful appearance, tropical ‘Rockfish’ possess venomous spines and therefore should be left alone when encountered by divers under the sea.

Lethal beauty: a beautiful lion fish swims inside its marine tank at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

The ‘Round Tail Horse Shoe Crab‘ (แมงดาถ้วย แมงดาหางกลม, Carcinoscorpius Rotundicauda) can be found near the coast especially along the seafloors of mangroves in Thailand.

A 'Round Tail Horseshoe Crab' rests inside its marine tank at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

Another view of several live ‘Round Tail Horse Shoe Crabs’ in the Rayong Aquarium.

A group of 'Round Tail Horseshoe Crabs' resting in a marine tank at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

Another favorite in Thailand’s modern seafood cuisine is the ‘Locust Lobster‘ (กั้งกระดาน, Thenus Orientalis), which can be seen in many seafood markets and restaurants along Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard.

Locust lobsters lounge inside a marine tank inside the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

‘Locust Lobsters’ can be found along sandy or muddy seafloors off Thailand’s coastline.

Locust lobsters inside their decorated marine tank at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

Masters of disguise! The ‘Stone Fish‘ (ปลากะรังหัวโขน, Synanceia Horrida) are usually found lying still on seafloors near coral reefs. The ‘Grunting Toad Fish‘ (ปลาอุบปลาคางคก, Allenbatrachus Grunniens) thrives along muddy seafloors and mangroves.

A 'Stone Fish' or 'Grunting Toad Fish' lies motionless inside its marine tank at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

Swimming Crabs‘ (ปูม้า, Portunus Pelagicus) have always been an all-time favorite in Thailand’s seafood cuisine. They are widely found along the seafloors off Thailand’s entire coastline.

A swimming crab enjoys its meal inside its marine tank in the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

It is believed that swimming crabs can be found throughout all the world’s oceans.

A group of swimming crabs lounge inside a marine tank at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

Colorful live marine exhibitions inside the Rayong Aquarium provide a glimpse into the diversity and vibrancy of tropical marine life, especially near coral reefs and coastal areas.

A live reproduction of the tropical coral reef at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

In addition to its live exhibition of Thailand’s awesome tropical marine life, the Rayong Aquarium also contains a colorful exhibition of seashells belonging to both bivalves and gastropods that thrive in Thailand’s warm tropical waters, many of which are edible and are a popular part of Thailand’s seafood cuisine.

A seashell exhibition at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

Some more shells of gastropods that thrive in Thailand’s warm tropical waters.

An exhibition of tropical gastropod shells at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

The Rayong Aquarium is located right beside the sea in Baan Phe town of Rayong Province, Thailand.  Here, visitors can enjoy the cool atmosphere whilst getting a glimpse of Thailand’s awesome tropical marine life without having to dive undersea. It’s an ideal getaway for some cool respite whilst getting new valuable knowledge!

Visitors enjoy the cool relaxed atmosphere at the Rayong Aquarium, Baan Phe town, Rayong province, Thailand.

Happy traveling, wherever you are in Thailand, and around the world!

Lat (Ratasit C.)

Posted in Travel: Thailand | Leave a comment

Diary Home: Delicious Thai and Western Food in the Mountains Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand

If you are in Thailand’s scenic mountainous resort area near Khao Yai National Park and are searching for a place that offers excellent Thai/Western food, local organic diary and farm products, bakery, ice cream, and farmshop, then head to Diary Home for a tasty, filling meal.

Lively scene at the Diary Home Restaurant and Farm Shop in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima province, Thailand.

Diary Home contains a popular restaurant and a farm shop that offers various bakery and produce, both within the same complex. During the weekends, the restaurant is often full as Diary Home has become a popular dining venue, especially among visitors from Bangkok.

Busy day at the Diary Home restaurant during a weekend in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima province, Thailand.

Due to its popularity, the restaurant is especially full during weekends when many visitors from Bangkok come to enjoy the fresh, cooler weather of the Khao Yai mountainous region.

Busy time in the Diary Home restaurant during a weekend in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima province, Thailand.

The restaurant’s menu features a good selection Thai and Western meat dishes, including various steaks and sausages (beef, chicken, pork, lamb, ostrich, fish), Thai-style stir-fries, and pastas. Among my favorites here is Diary Home’s homemade red wine sausages which never cease to delight!

Red wine sausages with fries at the Diary Home restaurant in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima province, Thailand.

Another one of my favorite dishes is the restaurant’s thinly-sliced ostrich meat fillets stir-fried in spicy Thai basil and chilies, topped with crispy-fried basil leaves. A truly aromatic, spicy experience.

Ostrich meat fillets stir-fried with chilies and basil at the Diary Home restaurant, Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima province, Thailand.

Steak lovers should not miss the ostrich steak set, which features grilled ostrich steak fillet with the restaurant’s pair of special sauces.

Ostrich steak set at the Diary Home Restaurant in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima province, Thailand.

Another recommended Asian dish at the Dairy Home restaurant is the ostrich meat fillets stir-fried with mixed vegetables in a thick, aromatic oyster and black pepper sauce.

Ostrich meat fillets stir-fried with mixed vegetables in a thick aromatic oyster and black pepper sauce at the Diary Home restaurant, in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima province, Thailand.

Among Diary Home Restaurant’s most popular appetizers is the crispy-fried Enoki mushrooms. This dish features large, juicy slices of Enoki mushrooms dipped in tempura batter, then crispy-fried and served with a sweet plum dipping sauce.

Crispy-fried slices of enoki mushrooms in tempura batter at the Diary Home restaurant in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima province, Thailand.

My favorite healthy dish at the Diary Home restaurant consists of fresh, crisp sunflower sprouts stir-fried in a light oyster sauce, a tasty and healthy side dish for any occasion.

Sunflower sprouts stir-fried in oyster sauce at the Diary Home restaurant, in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima province, Thailand.

In addition to its impressive menu of Thai and Western meat dishes, Diary Home also offers an extensive array of its own irresistible homemade ice creams that include such unique flavors as ‘white wine lychee’, ‘red wine strawberry’, ‘anchan’ (a Thai herb), ‘rum and raisin’, and much, much more!

Luscious home made ice cream selections at the Diary Home restaurant, in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima province, Thailand.

The Diary Home restaurant also offers a wide selection of tasty home made healthy ice creams including various yoghurt and sorbet ice creams.

Healthy ice cream selections at the Diary Home restaurant in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima province, Thailand.

On weekends, the place has become a popular venue for families from Bangkok who come to visit the mountains of Khao Yai and numerous nearby resorts.

The Diary Home restaurant and farm shop has become a popular family venue in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima province, Thailand.

Another lively scene at the Diary Home compound during a weekend.

Lively scene at the Diary Home restaurant and farm shop, in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima province, Thailand.

The Diary Home Restaurant and Farm Shop is surrounded by a small, lush tropical garden that provides a refreshing country feel that perfectly fits into the surrounding lush scenic mountainous environs of Khao Yai.

Small lush water garden at the Diary Home restaurant and farm shop in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima province, Thailand.

If you’re in Khao Yai, Diary Home Restaurant and Farm Shop can be reached via the following address and contact:

Diary Home (Restaurant and Farm Shop)
100/1 Moo 11 [100/1 หมู่ 11],
Tambon Phaya Yen [ต. พญาเย็น],
Amphur Pak Chong [อ. ปากช่อง],
Nakhon Ratchasima Province 30320 [จ. นครราชสีมา 30320],
THAILAND

For additional information, please visit Diary Home’s website via the following link:

http://www.dairyhome.co.th/

Happy dining, wherever you are in Thailand, and around the world!

Lat (Ratasit C.)

Posted in Foods: Thailand | Leave a comment

In Remembrance of The Orangery: International Dining at Siam Paragon – Where Has It Gone?

Time flies, and nothing remains constant. This is an apt description of the reality of things including the world of food and dining. I would like to dedicate this article in remembrance of ‘The Orangery’ Restaurant, an international dining venue that once graced Bangkok’s luxurious Siam Paragon shopping mall.

Serene times at The Orangery restaurant, Siam Paragon Shopping Mall, Bangkok, Thailand.

A highlight of ‘The Orangery‘, once located on the 4th level of Siam Paragon shopping mall, was its lush greenery and garden-like feel in a peaceful corner of the shopping mall. The restaurant had a relaxed atmosphere and was adorned with numerous tropical foliage plants.

Tropical greenery at The Orangery restaurant in Siam Paragon Shopping Mall, Bangkok, Thailand.

‘The Orangery’ Restaurant actually consisted of a group of smaller restaurants, each of which specialized in a distinct cuisine such as Thai, Lebanese, Japanese, French, and Italian. My favorite cuisine here was actually Lebanese and Middle Eastern. Here’s a sample set of one of my meals here which consisted of ‘chicken with couscous’ accompanied by steamed buttered vegetables and spicy sauce, ‘braised dolly fish in spicy tomato-chili sauce’, and my cool ‘papaya party’ smoothie.

My sample Middle Eastern meal set with a tall glass of ice-cold papaya smoothie at The Orangery, Siam Paragon Shopping Mall, Bangkok, Thailand.

My favorite beginning to any meal at ‘The Orangery’ was the Fattoush Salad, or mixed greens with crispy flat bread and garnished with an aromatic lemon and herb-based dressing.

Fattoush salad, mixed greens topped with crispy wheat thins garnished with a lemon-based dressing, at The Orangery Restaurant, in the Siam Paragon Shopping Mall, Bangkok, Thailand.

The braised dolly fish fillet atop a bed of spicy fresh tomato and chili puree was indeed my favorite main dish for a tasty yet light and healthy meal.

Braised dolly fish fillet on a bed of tomatoes and hot chilies at The Orangery restaurant, Siam Paragon Shopping Mall, Bangkok, Thailand.

This one’s actually a Thai dish which I also love when dining at ‘The Orangery’: crispy-fried  fillets of dolly fish in aromatic black-pepper sauce with mixed vegetables, and topped with crispy garlic tidbits.

Crispy dolly fish fillets stir-fried in black pepper sauce with vegetables and crispy garlic tidbits, at The Orangery Restaurant, in Siam Paragon Shopping Mall, Bangkok, Thailand.

These crispy dolly fish fillets in black-pepper sauce were served with jasmine rice. Perfect combo for a quick, healthy meal.

Stir-fried dolly fish fillets in black pepper sauce with rice at The Orangery restaurant, Siam Paragon Shopping Mall, Bangkok, Thailand.

Of course, most of my meals have to be accompanied with a tall glass of ice-cold fruit smoothie. ‘The Orangery’ offered an extensive list of fruit smoothie selections, my favorite being the ‘Papaya Party’ which consisted of papayas, cantaloupe melons, and mangoes. Such a cool refreshing treat considering Thailand’s tropical weather!

A tall glass of ice-cold 'Papaya Party' fruit smoothie at The Orangery restaurant, Siam Paragon Shopping Mall, Bangkok, Thailand.

‘The Orangery’ Restaurant was once located on the 4th level of Siam Paragon and offered a green, cooling respite with diverse international food. Let’s hope we can find similar restaurants in Bangkok.

A cool, green relaxed atmosphere at The Orangery Restaurant in Siam Paragon Shopping Mall, Bangkok, Thailand.

Happy dining, wherever you are in Thailand, and around the world!

Lat (Ratasit C.)

Posted in Foods: Bangkok Dining | Leave a comment

Thai Street Foods: Tasty Vintage Thai Foods and Desserts at the Banglamphu Market in Bangkok

Visiting the Banglamphu district of Bangkok’s Old City is like going back in time as the area is full of shops, restaurants, and stalls offering traditional Thai foods and desserts, many of which can seldom be found elsewhere in Bangkok’s more modern quarters.

A view of the bustling Banglamphu Market along Chakrapong Road in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Banglamphu Market is located in Bangkok’s Old City and specializes in traditional Thai fare with a plethora of tasty street foods, especially desserts. The venue is very popular among Thai shoppers searching for a wide range of tasty traditional vintage Thai cuisine.

Plenty of traditional Thai food and desserts are offered at the Banglamphu Market in Bangkok, Thailand.

This stall offers the popular spicy Thai fish cakes called ‘tod mun pla’ (ทอดมันปลา) and crispy-fried strips of pork fillet with garlic known in Thai as ‘moo tod kratiam prik tai’ (หมูทอดกระเทียมพริกไทย).

Spicy Thai fish cakes and crispy fried pork fillets with garlic at the Banglamphu Market in Bangkok, Thailand.

A well-known dish offered by many food vendors at the Banglamphu Market consists of whole fish stewed in a special sweet soy broth until their meats are soft and tender. In some cases these fish have been boiled for so long that even their bones become soft and edible.

Fish stewed in soy broth at Banglamphu Market in Bangkok, Thailand.

This stall offers grilled northeastern Thai-style sausages called ‘sai krok Isaan’ (ไส้กรอกอีสาน). These sausages are made of fermented rice and pork, and diners usually have the option of choosing their preferred level of ‘sourness’ based upon how long the sausages have undergone fermentation.

Northeastern Thai-style sausages ('sai krok Isaan') at the Banglamphu Market in Bangkok, Thailand.

Here at the market a street vendor offers one of Thailand’s traditional all-time favorite: crispy-fried cubes of bread topped with minced pork, served with a sweet cucumber and chili dipping sauce. Known as ‘khanom pang naa moo’ (ขนมปังหน้าหมู) in Thai, these are one of Thailand’s most popular snacks and appetizers.

Crispy, deep-fried cubes of bread topped with minced pork at Banglamphu Market in Bangkok, Thailand.

Moreover, vendors at the Banglamphu Market offer a host of other traditional Thai dishes such as this stall which offers a wide range of stir-fried specialties.

Assorted street foods at Banglamphu Market in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Banglamphu Market is renown for its diverse selection of traditional Thai desserts many of which are rarely found nowadays elsewhere in Bangkok. Below, vendors offer homemade donuts and crispy-fried peanut pancakes.

Homemade donuts and crispy peanut pancakes at Banglamphu Market in Bangkok, Thailand.

Need some delicious and colorful traditional Thai desserts? This shop offers some of the most popular Thai sweets. From left to right: [1] tiny sweet potato noodles with an aromatically sweet coconut milk syrup called ‘salim’ (สลิ่ม), [2] thick aromatic green pandan rice noodles with an aromatic coconut milk syrup made from palm sugar called ‘rod chong’ (รอดช่อง), [3] small cubes of boiled water chestnuts covered with a chewy red dessert flour with coconut milk syrup called ‘tab tim krob’ (ทับทิมกรอบ), and  [4] black Chinese herbal jellies in a sweet syrup called ‘chao guay’ (เฉาก๊วย).

Assorted popular Thai desserts at the Banglamphu Market from left to right: 'salim', 'rod chong', 'tab tim krob', 'chao guay'. In Bangkok, Thailand.

In the old days prior to the proliferation of modern Western desserts like cookies and ice cream, Thais loved to indulge in soft and tender egg cakes called ‘khanom kai’ (ขนมไข่). These sweet oval-shaped egg cakes are usually baked fresh by the vendors and sold to clients right at the spot.

Freshly baked egg cakes ('khanom kai') at Banglamphu Market in Bangkok, Thailand.

By far my favorite dessert at the Banglamphu Market is the very aromatic Thai-Chinese green pandan rice dumplings called ‘khanom tuay bai toey’ (ขนมถ้วยใบเตย). These green, succulent rice dumplings have a very aromatic ‘pandan’ scent and are served with a special thick sweet sesame soy sauce.

Green pandan rice dumplings ('khanom tuay bai toey') at Banglamphu Market in Bangkok, Thailand.

For diners with a penchant for sweetness, several vendors at the Banglamphu Market offer palm fruits and bananas stewed in a sweet sugar syrup. Some Thai diners prefer to add coconut milk atop these sweet treats to enhance the taste and flavor.

Palm fruits and bananas stewed in sugar syrup at the Banglamphu Market in Bangkok, Thailand.

Another of my favorite Thai desserts is a sweet, moist, aromatically scented rice flour (usually naturally dyed in light green or pink) served with shredded tender coconut meat. Known in Thai as ‘khanom khi noo’ (ขนมขี้หนู), this traditional Thai favorite that has recently enjoyed a comeback.

'Khanom khi noo', or soft, moist, aromatically-scented sweetened rice flour with tender shredded coconut meat at the Banglamphu Market in Bangkok, Thailand.

The following is one of the oldest desserts brought by Chinese immigrants to Thailand: steamed (or grilled) chunks of taro immersed in sugar. Even today, these traditional Chinese desserts are still served by several of the more traditional Chinese restaurants in Thailand.

Steamed chunks of taro in sugar at Banglamphu Market in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Banglamphu Market extends over Chakraprong Road, Phra Sumen Road, and nearby areas. The food section of the market lies primarily along Chakrapong Road extending from the intersection with Phra Sumen Road to the entrance of Khao San Road. The place has long been a popular shopping venue for fans of traditional vintage Thai foods and desserts.

Happy dining, wherever you are in Thailand and around the world!

Lat (Ratasit C.)

Posted in Foods: Bangkok Dining, Travel: Bangkok | Leave a comment

Raan Po Jai: Delicious Northern Thai-Style Egg Noodles in Aromatic Curry Soup, in Chiang Rai, Thailand

If you are in Thailand’s scenic northernmost province of Chiang Rai and would like to sample some local noodles at a very convenient location downtown, then ‘Raan Po Jai’ (ร้านพอใจ) would be a perfect place for you.

A front view of 'Raan Po Jai', in downtown district of Chiang Rai town, Chiang Rai province, Thailand.

Raan Po Jai‘ (ร้านพอใจ) is a local restaurant in the town of Chiang Rai which offers delicious northern Thai-style noodles and sausages. This popular dining venue is usually crowded and busy especially during lunchtime.

Shopkeepers in Raan Po Jai busy preparing the restaurant's food during lunchtime. In Chiang Rai province, Thailand.

The restaurant specializes in tasty northern-style egg noodles in an aromatic curry soup known as ‘Khao Soi(ข้าวซอย), in which there are two versions for diners to choose: (1) egg noodles in a mild aromatic coconut curry soup, or ‘Khao Soi Nam Khati‘ (ข้าวซอยน้ำกะทิ), and (2) egg or rice noodles in an aromatic chili-based curry soup without coconut cream called ‘Khao Soi Nam Ngeow‘ (ข้าวซอยน้ำเงี้ยว). Diners have the option of choosing chicken, pork, shrimp, or fish as their choice of meat in these dishes. The restaurant’s menu also features other northern Thai specialties such as the spicy pork sausage or ‘Sai Ua‘ (ไส้อั่ว), grilled pork fillets or ‘Moo Yang‘ (หมูย่าง), and grilled northern Thai-style fermented pork sausages or ‘naem mo‘ (แหนมหม้อ).

A part of the menu list at 'Raan Po Jai' restaurant in Chiang Rai province, Thailand.

By far my favorite dish at the restaurant is the ‘Khao Soi Nam Khati’ (ข้าวซอยน้ำกะทิ), or northern Thai-style egg noodles in an aromatic coconut curry soup with choices of chicken, pork, shrimp, or fish. Garnished with lemons, chopped shallots, and slices of fermented cabbages, this is indeed among my favorite noodle dishes, whether in northern Thailand or in Bangkok.

'Khao Soi Nam Khati', or egg noodles in an aromatic coconut curry soup, at 'Raan Po Jai' restaurant, in Chiang Rai province, Thailand.

Another of my northern favorites is the ‘Naem Mo’ (แหนมหม้อ), or a thick, northern Thai-style fermented pork sausage wrapped in banana leaves. Although this delicacy is sometimes eaten raw in certain northern Thai localities, I always have them grilled or steamed (fully cooked) prior to enjoying them and would recommend this to any diner who wishes to enjoy the delicious ‘Naem Mo’. These fermented pork sausages combine perfectly with steamed sticky rice (a main staple in northern Thailand) and are often garnished with the following herbs and vegetables: thinly sliced fresh ginger, roasted peanuts, diced fresh shallots, sliced fresh chili, fresh lettuce and other vegetables of the season.

'Naem Mo', or thick fermented pork sausage, at 'Raan Po Jai' restaurant, in Chiang Rai province, Thailand.

‘Raan Po Jai’ (ร้านพอใจ) is very conveniently located in downtown Chiang Rai right behind the Wang Come Hotel (โรงแรมวังคำ), near the popular Night Bazaar evening shopping district. The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (7.00 น. – 17.00 น.), and can be reached at the following location:

‘Raan Po Jai’ Restaurant, ร้านพอใจ
Thanon Jed Yod (Behind the Wang Come Hotel), ถนนเจ็ดยอด (หลังโรงแรมวังคำ)
Muang District (Amphur Muang), อ. เมือง
Chiang Rai Province, Thailand, จังหวัด เชียงราย

Happy dining, wherever you are in Thailand and around the world!

Lat (Ratasit C.)

Posted in Foods: Thailand | 10 Comments

Bangkok Buffet: Hearty Korean Buffet at Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel

Are you longing for a hearty and healthy, ‘all you can eat’ Korean buffet in Bangkok? Well, then Kayageum Korean Buffet Restaurant at the Pathumwan Princess hotel may be a place for you!

Entrance to Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

I was delighted by the cool, relaxed and cordial atmosphere of Kayageum along with its helpful staff. Kayageum Restaurant offers a hearty and healthy Korean buffet selection featuring various appetizers, cooked dishes, and desserts. The restaurant also features a wide range of meats, dumplings, and vegetables for you to cook your own hotpots or irresistible teppanyakis and BBQs right at your own table.

Relaxed atmosphere and diverse Korean buffet selections at Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

As I began my buffet feast, I was delighted by the restaurant’s Korean appetizer section, which offered such tasty appetizers as: (1) the Korean ‘chabchae’ noodles, (2) crispy tiny fish with peanuts in a refreshing honey-based sauce, and (3) tender squid fillets marinated in an aromatic Korean red chili sauce.

Korean appetizer selections at Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

Here’s a close-up view of the ‘chabchae’ or transparent sweet potato noodles stir-fried in a mild sauce with vegetables, which proved to be a great base when enjoyed with other appetizers like the spicy squid in chili sauce, the crispy fish with peanuts in honey sauce, spicy tofus, or various kimchis.

Close-up view of Korean Chapchae noodles, part of the buffet at the Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

Among my favorite appetizers is the Korean-style tender, succulent squid fillets in a rustic, red chili sauce, garnished with slices of fresh red and green chilies. The dish is deliciously sour and moderately hot, a perfect delicacy for me!

Tender succulent Korean squid salad in spicy chili sauce, part of the Korean buffet at Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

I was surprisingly delighted by this unique appetizer: tiny, crispy-fried sea fish with peanuts, in a delightfully aromatic honey-based sauce. This appetizer was wondrous when enjoyed alone, or with other starters like the ‘chapchae’ noodles and spicy squids.

Crunchy crispy fish salad with peanuts and honey at Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

My own scrumptious plate of crispy tiny fish with peanuts in honey sauce, chapchae, and spicy squid in Korean red chili sauce.

My own plate of mixed appetizers at the Korean buffet, Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

Other tasty appetizers I sampled included the shredded vegetables rolled in squared noodle sheets (eaten with a sesame soy sauce) and the mushroom salad in a spicy, Korean-style red-chili sauce with onion greens.

Additional appetizers in the Korean buffet at the Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

Here’s a close-up view of the spicy mushroom and vegetable salad in a Korean-style spicy red chili sauce. These are great when enjoyed with my ‘chapchae’ noodles, or with my meat-based teppanyaki and BBQ dishes. Yummy!

Korean spicy mushroom salad at Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

Here at Kayageum, I greatly enjoyed the Korean pan-fried wheat noodles with vegetables and broiled chicken fillets in a spicy chili sauce with onion greens. These were prefect with my spicy kimchis and appetizers shown above.

Pan-fried wheat noodles and braised chicken in spicy chili sauce at Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

Here’s a sample of my tasty combo – pan-fried wheat noodles with vegetables, broiled chicken in a spicy chili sauce, and mixed kimchis!

My sampling of pan-fried wheat noodles and braised spicy chicken at Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

In addition to the irresistible appetizers and cooked dishes, Kayaguem offers diners the coveted opportunity to create their own hotpots, teppanyakis and BBQs right at their own table! Diners have the option of creating their own hotpots with various dumplings (pork fillings, chicken fillings, kimchi fillings), various meats, and kimchis (pickled vegetables)…

Korean dumpling and Kimchi Selections at Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

… And plenty of fresh vegetables to add to your hotpots for a fulfilling, healthy meal!

Mushrooms and vegetables for hotpot at Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

For teppanyaki and BBQ lovers, Kayaguem also offers the opportunity to grill the restaurant’s aromatically marinated meats (pork, chicken, beef) right at your table, using Korean-style bronze grilling stoves.

Marinated meat selections for teppanyaki and BBQ at Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

Here’s my awesome duo at the Kayageum Restaurant: my luscious hotpot with dumplings, chicken and veggies (left) and my scrumptious Korean teppan and BBQ grilling stove with deliciously marinated meets on top (right)!

My hotpot (left) teppanyaki/BBQ stove (right) at Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

I really love the opportunity to grill my own tasty, aromatic teppanyaki and BBQs right at my table at Kayaguem, which is not only fun but absolutely visually appealing and stimulating!

My teppanyaki and BBQ grilling stove at Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

But if you’re unable to grill all your teppanyaki meats and BBQ at your own table, then chefs will be glad cook it for you from the kitchen.

Kitchen view at Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

A close view of my very tasty grilled meats. Great with the Asian BBQ soy sauce, hot sauce and garlic rice!

Freshly grilled meats at Kayageum Restaurant. Great with garlic rice and kimchis! At Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

Now, my luscious Korean buffet at Kayageum wouldn’t be complete without some delectable desserts, such as these jellies, cakes, Korean sticky rice buns, and crispy fried wheat thins smothered with honey. The cake is great with a scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream, by the way.

Assorted desserts which are part of the buffet at Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

Among my favorite desserts at Kayageum is the aromatic, sweet, refreshingly cold ‘Korean jujube punch’ served in very finely crushed ice. This is absolutely great when enjoyed alone by itself, or with some sweetened mashed red beans added. This is indeed one of my beloved sweet treats in light of Bangkok’s tropical weather. This proved to be such a cool, refreshing delight!

Korean jujube punch and mashed sweetened red beans at Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

Should you be interested in enjoying this delightful, hearty and healthy Korean buffet, the Kayageum Korean Restaurant is located on the 2nd floor of the Pathumwan Princess Hotel which is adjacent and directly accessible from the renowned MBK shopping complex. For more information, please visit the hotel’s website via the following link:

http://pprincess.com/restaurant/kayageum.aspx

So after all, I’m very delighted to know that I’m able to enjoy a delightful Korean buffet right here in downtown Bangkok without having to travel all the way to Seoul or Pyongyang. Bon appetite!

Lively atmosphere during lunch buffet at Kayageum Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

Happy dining, wherever you are in Thailand and around the world!

Lat (Ratasit C.)

Posted in Foods: Bangkok Buffets | Leave a comment