Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Crickets and grasshoppers, Pattaya

Despite the awesome name, crickets and grasshoppers was not the name of a restaurant, but rather of actual crickets and grasshoppers.

We were lucky enough to chance upon a street stall in Pattaya that was selling this, as apparently it's not found in Bangkok. I've always wanted to try!

This is my alarmed face, though i'm certain the grasshopper would be more alarmed if it were alive.

Look at it glisten in the camera flash with deep fried goodness, and the translucency belies it's true awesome crispiness ... who am i kidding, this thing looks scary.

This is how intimidating it looks if you introduce the grasshopper legs first into the element of the mouth.

And ... the damn thing actually tastes good. The bug itself doesn't have much of a taste, but the sheer amounts of spice powder and oil that went into it makes every bite - grasshopper or cricket - taste like a crispy fish fin that's overly salted. The legs did have a weird texture as it is visibly thorny and slightly harder to the bite, and there's always the subconscious fear that the damn thing will start jittering either near your mouth or in it. Luckily it did not.

Bunny had an amazingly daring go at the grasshopper :D

The stall was also selling maggots and small frogs cooked in a similar fashion, should have tried them all.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Royal Dragon, Bangkok

While it's not uncommon to visit a restaurant with Michelin stars (albeit a depressing one for your bank account), it was the first time i've visited a restaurant with a Guinness World Record. And no, it's not a Guinness World Record for the best-goddamn-food in the world, which would be arguably hard to judge and maintain, but rather for a chinese restaurant that has just way too many seats.

For being a 'unique' selling point of the restaurant, one wonders why it chose such a cliche name of Royal Dragon (though Mang Gorn Luang sounds kickass), cos I would have named it Big-ass seating capacity restaurant. 8.35 acres of land produces 108 to 216 TONS of corn per year (using actual math)

This place was positively huge, and that pagoda in the background also houses more 'private' rooms.

What the ... stop him!

This place was so huge that in order to get around the waiters need to use roller skates. Pretty interesting concept, but I wonder how the restaurant trained all 1,200 employees to be proficient with serving food while on roller skates.

This picture is hard to explain.

So the video will explain it. Basically twice every evening, an emperor will cable-slide across the whole restaurant carrying a fiery steamboat while epic chinese music plays in the background. Never thought i'd see 'emperor', 'cable-slide' and 'fiery steamboat' in the same sentence, but yea.

But despite all the gimmicks ... the food here was actually really really good!

We had oyster omelette, ngoh hiang, tom yum goong, roast duck and some greens. We also had a strange dish, which was pan fried vegetables with red dates, gingko nuts and cashews, oddly sweet and chewy texture in the dish was not bad at all. Interesting experience.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Chatrium River Barge, Bangkok

Was celebrating Ems' 23rd birthday at this lovely riverside buffet spot at Chatrium River Barge.

This buffet comes complete with a riverside ambience, free flow of alcohol, a live band playing unfortunate Thai renditions of popular songs, and an overly enthusiastic violinist.

Aforementioned violinist.

While the selection of cuisine was a little different (and less) to Melt The World, being less than half the price WITH free flow alcohol (cocktails, wine and beer I believe) and an ambience a billion times better gets a stamp of awesome in my book.

Alongside breads, pasta and roasts outside the restaurant building was also a selection of fresh (maybe) seafood that you could pick to grill on the spot. Unfortunately this being Thailand (a land according to Ems where orders get mixed up too often) we handed the chef Platter A but got Platter B instead, which was missing the now-there's-no-more-left crayfish :/ But i have no complaints over fresh grilled seafood!

Inside the restaurant building you get an assortment of cheese -

desserts (which were awesome) -

salad bar (i personally loved this salad bar cos it had artichokes) -

raw bar (oysters were YUM) -

ham bar (?) -

- and an assortment of sashimi and cooked Thai and fusion foods that were too strange to take photos of. In fact we didn't get a chance to try the various cooked Thai foods as we'd already stuffed ourselves silly with cheese, salad, oysters, roast, grilled-seafood and of course, lunch.

And a toast to Ems turning 23 :)

Ah Yat Abalone, Bangkok

On the second day in Bangkok we had dim sum brunch at Ah Yat Abalone (Forum?) in Menam Riverside Hotel. The Singapore branches are also quite good, we believe.

The chee cheong fun was tasty and came with a horde of shrimp. The flour skin was shilky shmooth and each shrimp was firm to the bite. The bear declares this dish was on par with the ones he has had in HK (= approval).

Carrot (turnip!) cake was good too, but not mindblowingly awesome in our books. The exterior was a bit crispy, and the interior was not too starchy/gooey. The bunny wolfed this down while appreciating the not-so-oiliness of this often cloying fried dish.

The yam thing (?) was actually pretty yum and fried to near-perfection. Each was quite yammy (obviously...but most dim sum places offer less yam-filling and more air-and-dough) with generous chunks of pork.

Char siew was delicious fatty goodness! Look at how the skin glistens in pure decadence. The bear had several helpings.

The po lo char siew bun was pretty interesting - the outside of the bun was sweet with the cookie dough and the inside with pretty good char siew (though the actual char siew was unbeatable). The regular buns work better imo.

But the best was yet to come! This stairway to heaven of roast pork fared better ("Divine!" exclaims the bear, to which the bunny nods in fervent agreement). Each piece was a balance between crunch of the skin and the tenderness of the slightly charred pork. We thought this was really well done, as the fat tends to become a bit sticky and renders itself on our teeth - but this doesn't!


And that's us again :D

Chicken feet were okay by regular standards.

The salted egg yolk custard buns were a disappointment. For one, the custard was not 'flowy' and did not gush out of the buns upon bite (that's the literal name of the dish in Chinese: 流沙包which means bun of flowing sand). The custard may have been overcooked, hence the texture. Perhaps this is the Thai way? Shrugs. Also the dough of the bun was a wee bit tough.. the bunny likes hers softer and more yielding to teeth.

Was a good brunch overall. Not sure if the Singapore branches match to these standards, but we would be keen to try one day! We actually ended up with a few more extra dishes that we did not order - that's how it rolls in Bangkok.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Baan Klang Krung, Bangkok

First dinner in Bangkok! Went to a pretty sweet authentic looking thai restaurant somewhere near some river.

First thing that hit us was that they serve Pangasius. We thought it was a distant relative to Pegasus but turns out it's just a catfish. Ah well no winged horse for us tonight.

Instead of being served in the usual holey wooden plate, they came individually encased in a cage of pandan (?) leaves. The otah was solid and chunky instead of being usually flaky - one of the best ones i've ever had!

The tom yum goong was the clear version (without coconut milk - that one is nasty) and was spicy and awesome. Came with very generous servings of seafood and mushrooms. My first authentic bowl of tom yum goong in Thailand!

Papaya salad! Having never heard of papaya salad in Thailand, it tasted surprisingly similar to the mango salad i'm familiar with, except a bit less sour.

The grilled scallop was slightly crispy around the edges and still very juicy - came served in individual scallop shells. Kinda wished they were bigger!!

Vermicelli Puu!!!! This was every bit as good as what the advertisement has you believe - the crab was juicy and the vermicelli sweet with chunks of pork bacon and garlic in it. Luckily there was way more than two claws for all of us :D

First dinner in Bangkok was yum :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What's better than a chocolate fondue?

Chocolate fondue in bed (while watching Scott Pilgrim)!!




There are just no words to describe our perfect Sunday evening, so here are pictures instead.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Skinny Pizza, Raffles City

Stopped by Skinny Pizza in Raffles City enroute to Riverdance! T'was surprisingly packed.

Sweet potato fries. We thought the sprinkling of sugar was unnecessary - and it was a bit too oily for my (Ems) liking. The fries got a bit cloying after three each. Oh well. The Taiwanese make it better.

Turkey ham with cranberry jam and rocket pizza. Was pretteh good but the sweetness of the cranberry was a bit too much (that was all we tasted after several mouthfuls) and the rocket-pizza ratio was way off (we need us moar rocketz).

The pizza crust was very thin and light (cos it's Skinny Pizza! Hahhhaha .. ha .. yea). It should have been named Anorexic Pizza cos it was just way too thin and unnatural. Good thin crust pizza is like Modesto's or Picotin which makes it just nice, wood baked. Skinny pizza was skinny.

Here's Ems looking awesome :)

Here's me going om nom nom.

Here's Chocolate Tart being forgettable.

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