12:42 12/10/2013 $%$%&*!@#$&$^% Hua Lamphong! Only the word Hua Lamphong was discernible from our ear exclaimed by that pretty fare collector. Suddenly, everyone was hopping off the bus, and our gut feels telling to do the same. So we did. Okay, where to go next? We’re stuck in the middle of the road gazing the nearly centenarian Hua Lamphong Railway Station. The tuk-tuks interrupted our idle moment and honked us constantly while belching out some smog. A very nice welcome to Bangkok. Before we hit by asphyxia, we skedaddle from sight while recollecting our thoughts on how to go about. Last view from google maps, Yaowarat was few blocks away from this station. Before making a move, our new friend Nat was kind enough to hail and chat with tuk-tuk driver that would bring us to Yaowarat, Chinatown area in Bangkok.
Riding Tuk-tuk like a Local
|Nat and Summer
Surprisingly, Nat offer himself as our tourist guide for free in an instant. Who will decline to such an offer, Right? Though he gave us a heads up that he’s not so familiar in Yaowarat but we just nod out of excitement. After him negotiating the fare with the driver we zoomed off to Chinatown.
We had our first experience with Tuk Tuk back to our first trip in Hatyai, which was more like of a multi-cab in the Philippines. This one in Bangkok was the real thing, it reminded us the killer ad of James Bond (Visa commercial) riding with crazy tuk-tuk driver. Good thing our driver didn’t show that fast and furious skill.
About 10 minutes plus minus including traffic, we found ourselves wandering in one of the bustling narrow alleys of Chinatown in Bangkok. We expect it more chaotic as most Chinatown would be prolly. But surprisingly it was bit organized and established. We deem it odd. See the pictures below why.
We observe people here are more adherent with traffic rules and motorists are very disciplined. It sounds safer Criss-crossing the road sans worrying about being hit. We knew traffic is notorious in Bangkok but this area was seamlessly flowing.
Bangkok’s Chinatown Streetfood
But we didn’t go to Chinatown to observe traffic and pedestrian. We’re searching for Bangkok street foods which Yaowarat was known for. This part of Bangkok boasted so many mouth watering and cheap Thai food you can ever get. It is surely a haven for foodies.
While traipsing we found a familiar fruit, Guava which reminded our happy childhood moment. It looks an ordinary guava but it’s a seedless variety and sweet. We got astonished looking on a weird looking fruit which they freshly extract and turned into juice. We only come to know it’s pomegranate when a westerner asks and buy one. Unfortunately, we haven’t tried it as our mind was locked for serious street food hunting.
Unmistakably the aroma of roasted Chestnut filled the atmosphere which made us recalled our first taste experience of this treat at Chinatown in KL. Now, seeing this in Bangkok, we wouldn’t be surprised if we found it to other Chinatowns in Southeast aside. It was quite cheaper compare in KL.
At last, we found what we’re looking for, STREET FOOD! From all sorts of fried such as Tofu, dumplings, fritters and popiah. To freshly made mango sticky rice and spring rolls. Wistfully haven’t tried even a single piece. Just the thought of seeing it was enough to satiate our senses. Our stomach was longing for something that we’re still trying to figure out.
We continued our food hunting in search of a real Thai food. Been roaming around for next 15 minutes and all of us got exasperated. We’d been advised that it’s best to explore Yaowarat during late afternoon and night time. This answers to our puzzled mind why we’re unable to find one. We can’t leave Yaowarat beaten so we just pick a random stall that we could settle in for lunch.
|Variety of toppings for Tom Yum Noodles
At the junction on Thanon Mangkon we find this tom yum noodle stall which looks promising. We ordered for three bowls and each of us choose a type of noodles and own fancy for toppings. It was served with hot soup with the relative amount of tom yum paste as we preferred.
|Tom Yum Noodle Soup
It looks so ordinary and deceiving. But it’s one of the best tom yum noodle soup we ever tasted. The mixture of spices and fresh cilantro blend so perfectly and even surpassed our first authentic tom yum noodles at Khlong Hae floating market in Hatyai.
Sweat dripping from our forehead after emptying the bowl. We asked Nat about his opinion on the noodle soup. If it’s nice? he nods with an agreement. We can’t agree more!
Despite not fulfilling our mission at Yaowarat we still enjoyed meandering Chinatown. The whiff of herbal medicine, endless honking of tuk-tuk and friendly Thai crowd.We oath for a second visit.
To our friend Nat, ขอบคุณ!
Sky and Summer