Monday, December 13, 2010

Adventures in Southeast Asia Part 3

My time in Bangkok was limited; with just a day and a half, I wanted to make the most of my few meals in the city. So as soon as we arrived, I had a place picked out for our first lunch: Khrua Aroy Aroy. The Lonely Planet guide only listed the intersection of two streets as the address, so it was a bit of a challenge to find, especially when I had little sense of what type of restaurant I might be looking for. It was across from an Indian temple and had a worn awning with a room that seemed to merge into the sidewalk. Entering this cozy spot was disorienting — we turned heads when we entered and I wasn't sure that anyone spoke English or that there was room for us. But the excitement of trying some real Thai food had my heart beating hard. After lingering for a moment of discomfort, one of the waitresses motioned for us to take a small table at the back to which they had to add a stool or two.

My dad wasn't keen on the idea of eating here at first, but he was intrigued by the fried local mackerel. A portly woman with an air of command that indicated she might be the owner ushered my dad to the front of the restaurant where some pre-cooked items were displayed. She offered him a plate of the fish and urged him to try it along with some other things. He asked for the fish to be heated and they brought it to the table. It was not heavily coated in breading and the whole fish was tasty, albeit bony.

We also tried an assortment of noodles including Pad Thai and Pad See Iew (my test dish at Thai restaurants in the States). The Pad Thai here wasn't too sweet as so many versions that I've had typically are. The Pad See Iew was similarly well balanced with savoriness and just a touch of sweetness. All of the dishes were piping hot and the vegetables fresh. I declared my first meal in Bangkok a success.

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