Our first meal in the buzzing Thai capital was at one of my favourite restaurants, Krua Apsorn. I have been to the Dusit branch of this legendary eatery before - this time we were visiting its other restaurant in Dinsor, near City Hall (and a short walk from Khao San Road). A favourite of the Thai Royal Family - and also renowned chef David Thompson's favourite restaurant - this place was packed with local diners; and although we'd been told the kitchen closes at 8pm, we were lucky to get a table for our group of eight.
Service was speedy, however (if somewhat haphazard) ... and we feasted on the Krua Apsorn specialties, stir-fried crab with yellow chilli, omelet with crab and a prawn curry with lotus shoots. Our vegetarian friends were equally satisfied, devouring their stir-fried mushrooms and fried chayote with garlic with gusto.
|Crab Omelet at Krua Apsorn
With full bellies, we headed back to our hotel ... or at least, that's where I thought we were going! Soon had other ideas, involving food of course! First, she made a detour via a crowded eatery that sells toast. Yes, white toast - apparently a Thai favourite, smothered in sweet coverings such as strawberry jam, nutella or durian. For me, it was a pass - toast for dessert? No thanks!
The street stalls near Khao San Road were a little more enticing, however - and even I couldn't resist Khanon Bueang, rice-flour pancakes, folded like little tacos and filled with a marshmallowy coconut cream and yellow egg threads. Melt-in-the-mouth delicious, and a steal at 20 baht for five! Without Soon's advice, I would have bypassed these treats, dismissing them as savoury instead of sweet. When it comes to the maze of street-food, it really does help to have local knowledge on hand.
|Making Khanon Bueang
If in doubt, however, just stand around for a while and observe what other people are doing and buying. Try to find someone who speaks English, and asks questions. And don't be afraid of being adventurous!
|Another pancake store
With Soon determined to educate our taste buds about Thai street food, we spend the next few days grazing our way around market stalls, enjoying sweet sticky rice with taro or banana, fried chive pancakes served with chill sauce, steamed red bean buns, banana rotis smothered in condensed milk and delicate coconut hotcakes called Khanon Krok. A veritable moveable feast, and all for just a dollar or less!
The writer was a guest of Intrepid Travel.
For information on their Real Food Adventure tour, visit www.intrepidtravel.com/thailand/real-food-adventure-thailand-71255