Yummy Yummy for the Tummy

dumplings.jpgI pride myself on having lived in 7 of Metroblogging’s 22 cities, and having spent time in another 8 of them. Among the highlights of my travels are exploring the different and delightful offerings that each city’s restaurants have to offer.

I almost never talk about the best places to get Thai food in Thailand, because there is great Thai food to be had on nearly every corner in Bangkok, literally. Most visitors come to Bangkok seeking the perfect pad thai or som tum, never realizing that this city is home to some of the best non-Thai restaurants in the region. I want to share two of my favorites with you.

For Vietnamese cuisine, you can’t beat Sweet Basil, located at 1 Soi Sriwiang, off Silom Soi Pramuan (phone 02/234-1889, 02/238-3088). Sure, Dao Vien at the Food Loft (located at Central Department Store, Chidlom Branch, or alternatively at the Food Cellar in Central Lardprao [apologies for the shameless plug; Central’s my new boss!]) has excellent pho and fried spring rolls, but Sweet Basil’s grilled chicken with balls of sticky rice is heavenly, as is their noodles with stir-fried seafood mix, their “pigs in a blanket” (ground pork in rice noodle wrap), and stir-fried pork cubes. But no visit to Sweet Basil is complete without ordering the piece de resistance: the deep-fried banana covered in honey. Along with mango & sticky rice, fried bananas are one of Thailand’s signature desserts, and Sweet Basil has the holy grail of fried banana.

As far as Chinese cuisine goes, I generally like most Chinese restaurants I patronize, but almost none ever make as deep an impression on me as Shanghai Xiao Long Pao on Silom 6 (phone 02/233-9000). Like its namesake, Shanghai Xiao Long Pao is some of the best Shanghaiese food I’ve ever had. Unlike its namesake, its xiao long pao (steamed dumplings, shown in the photo) aren’t necessarily the best dish on the menu (as delicious as they are, you can find dumplings of similar caliber all over Kowloon). My recommendations: the stir-fried chicken in black bean and oyster sauce, the deep fried mini-buns (to soak up the black bean and oyster sauce), the seafood pizza, and while not the best I’ve ever tasted, the dumplings are always a great choice. Frankly, it’s best to come here in a big enough group to sample a wide variety of dishes; not a single new dish I’ve ever ordered has ever disappointed. And the place is easy on the wallet: the wife and I showed up for lunch today ready to gnaw off our arms, scarfed down 4 coma-inducing-we’re-so-damn-full dishes, and shelled out a mere Baht 300 (US$7.50).

Anyone wanna grab a bite to eat? I’m getting hungry again.

6 Comments so far

  1. no-i (unregistered) on December 6th, 2004 @ 5:09 am

    Reading this whole bkk metro blog is making me miss home… T_T

    ESPECIALLY food back there…

  2. Baba (unregistered) on December 6th, 2004 @ 9:19 am

    I am sitting here starving and practically drooling reading your post!! I like the sound of that Chinese restaurant – we still haven’t managed to eat at a Chinese here and I really miss it. Perhaps today…

  3. lynn (unregistered) on December 7th, 2004 @ 6:44 pm

    Oh, I love that Shanghai place, too! My friend Siri took me and a bunch of friends there once and we fell in love with it. In fact, my Chinese aunties are obsessed with that place, so if it gets the OK by them (I think they’ve tried every last Chinese place in Bangkok), then that place has got to be first rate.

    A word of caution about those steamed dumplings, though. The first time I tried them, I stupidly took a big bite outta one of them and nearly burned my tongue off. Literally. I was stuck with the dilemma of spitting it out of chugging down a quart of water. I chose the latter. :P

  4. shy (unregistered) on December 8th, 2004 @ 11:26 pm

    Xiao Long Bao’s are one of my fave dishes of shanghai cuisine. i love them so much i might want to marry them! :)

    but paul, i have to say that when i went to thailand, i gorged myself with the best thai food i could ever find. and for a great value! i remember having a feast for $10 canadian.

    here in toronto, it would have cost a couple around $80 to have the equivalent. it is tasty here but just not the same.

  5. pete (unregistered) on December 10th, 2004 @ 12:02 am

    paul…with all that good thai food over there, it still amazes me how often you ate that crappy thai food from the restaurant in your building when we were visiting you. :P

  6. Paul (unregistered) on December 10th, 2004 @ 7:52 am

    Actually, the restaurant in my condo is not bad; you just had a real knack for ordering the shitty dishes =D

    besides, if you remember, the reason why we ate there so often was because your daughter kept us house-bound

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