Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Chatuchak - Famous for something else

Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok is famous for their bargains. But few tourists know that there is an equally famous food outlet - Chatuchak Pig Trotters.

Oddly enough, the outlet is located in a gas station… Yes, right on the same premises as a gas station. Not the best location as parking is always a challenge there. But I can tell you that the place is a revelation really. We arrived at around 2pm and it was still rather crowded.
Chatuchak Pork Trotters photo ChatuchakPorkTrottersDec201301.jpg

The air-conditioned outlet is spacious and clean.
Chatuchak Pork Trotters photo ChatuchakPorkTrottersDec201302.jpg

When we sat down, they immediately placed 5 bowls of soup, 5 bowls of rice and then started taking order for the pig trotters and organs.
Chatuchak Pork Trotters Soup photo ChatuchakPorkTrottersDec201303.jpg

The soup is a pork based soup with seaweed, minced pork balls and liver. The seaweed adds a sweetness to the clear soup and it was so good, I had 2 portions!
Chatuchak Pork Trotters Soup photo ChatuchakPorkTrottersDec201306.jpg

Then came the highlight - the pork trotters. Braised till soft, the deboned trotter meat is soft and tender as one would expect. Nice taste of spices too - star anise, cinnamon and ginger.
Chatuchak Pork Trotters photo ChatuchakPorkTrottersDec201305.jpg

Then there was another plate which is probably the trotter itself with bone and cartilage in. Plus some innards to go with. In our rush, I had forgotten to take picture of the chili sauce which is the vinegar type we have when we eat kway chap in Singapore. The trotters were so tender and meat fell off the bone and the cartilage was excellent too.
Chatuchak Pork Trotters photo ChatuchakPorkTrottersDec201304.jpg

After my 2 bowls of soup and one bowl of rice accompanied by the pork trotters, I noticed they were putting aside the recently cooked trotters out to cool down.
Chatuchak Pork Trotters photo ChatuchakPorkTrottersDec201309.jpg

Notice the amount of spices they use? Galangal, lemongrass, panda leave, garlic and many more. Chatuchak Pork Trotters photo ChatuchakPorkTrottersDec201307.jpg

Don't scoff at this pot - may not look appetizing but I can tell you the taste is wonderfully aromatic. Even the innards are flavorful and very tender.
Chatuchak Pork Trotters photo ChatuchakPorkTrottersDec201308.jpg

So as far as I know, this is one place I will be going back to whenever I hit Bangkok and I go to OrTorKor Fruit Market for my fill of fruits. In fact, we went to OrTorKor right after our lunch here. Here is my previous post on OrTorKor. Stay tuned for a new report coming up.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Top Grade Sushi in BKK - Sushi Kanda

In my recent trip to BKK, we were hosted to a dinner at a Sushi Restaurant in Bangkok. Sushi Kanda.

From what I was told, they hand carry their seafood fresh from Japan everyday. The restaurant chefs are Japanese and so are the owners. So we do expect an authentic meal tonight. Here the sushi masters preparing dinner.
Sushi Kanda Chef at Work photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201324.jpg

But to start off the evening, a bottle of Chateau Pavie… The Saint-Emilion Grand Cru did not disappoint after it was decanted. Excellent full bodied wine to say the least.
Chateau Pavie photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201301.jpg

Then the food started rolling in - first up, lightly grilled sea scallops. Sprinkled with some chili flakes and eaten wrapped with the seaweed, the taste of the scallop was sweet.
Sushi Kanda Grilled Scallops photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201302.jpg

Then came sashimi platter. Crab legs, fresh scallops and three types of fish - tuna, tuna belly and yellow tail. Crab legs were sweet as one you expect but the best part for me were the fresh scallops.
Sushi Kanda Sashimi Platter photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201303.jpg

Otoro was also good - melt in your mouth quality fatty tuna belly.
Sushi Kanda Sashimi Platter photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201304.jpg

Seems the night was going to be all about tuna - the soya sauce tuna. When I first had this dish many years ago, I had thought it was braised pork belly. Well done, not too salty and just a tad sweet.
Sushi Kanda Soya Sauce Tuna photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201305.jpg

Next up - one of my favorite, the Uni. Done here as uni sushi. Acquired taste - not many like the taste and texture of the uni. My wife does not like it so I get another share tonight!
Sushi Kanda uni Sushi photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201306.jpg

Ikura-don was not something I liked initially. I had it once before but I guess the freshness was not up to par so the fishiness came through. It was not till recently when I tried it again that I realized that good quality salmon roe makes the difference. And I can say that this one was excellent!
Sushi Kanda Salmon Roe Rice photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201307.jpg

Lobster sushi - this one I had to give up to my wife. She loves lobster. Sitting atop the sushi rice was the lobster brushed lightly with soya sauce. Sweet and salty at the same time. Actually one of my son dislike raw food, so I had his.
Sushi Kanda Lobster Sushi photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201308.jpg

The grilled yellow tail cheek was done to perfection. Soft and moist on the inside, the cheek is sprinkled with salt and grilled. And we had to order sake to accompany this dish. Excellent pairing.
Sushi Kanda Grilled Yellow Tail Cheeck photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201309.jpg

Fresh oysters - not my favorite so I passed. But from the looks of it, looks fresh. Those who had it liked it.
Sushi Kanda Fresh Oyster photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201310.jpg

Then came the grilled mackerel. Instead of coming as a whole fish, the final product was deboned and sliced for easy eating. Grilled just nice with some sesame seeds sprinkled on top.
Sushi Kanda Grilled Mackarel photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201311.jpg

Otoro - that prized portion of the tuna. Here done sushi with a gold leaf. Honestly, the gold leave was more ornamental that taste changing. But the otoro was excellent.
Sushi Kanda Tuna Belly Sushi photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201312.jpg

Unagi - another one of those acquired taste. If not done right, the taste of the unagi will be overpowering and if too much sauce was put on, kills the taste of the unagi. In this case, the taste of the unagi was mild and the sauce compliments the unagi. And a generous piece of unagi too. And we are only like half way through...
Sushi Kanda Unagi Sushi photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201313.jpg

Seared tuna was next. Not easy to do a good seared tuna but when done with sashimi grade tuna, the taste really comes through.
Sushi Kanda Grilled Tuna photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201314.jpg

Blood red tuna sushi… yum yum.
Sushi Kanda Tuna Sushi photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201315.jpg

Another one of my wife's favorite. Abalone. Fresh abalone was grilled and presented shell in.
Sushi Kanda Grilled Abalone photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201317.jpg

Usually, fresh abalone tends to be hard but in this case, the meat was tender and flavorful.
Sushi Kanda Grilled Abalone photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201318.jpg

I guess they grill the abalone with the shell - signs of the burnt marks on the abalone shell.
Sushi Kanda Abalone Shell photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201319.jpg

Another tuna sushi. Lightly brushed with soya sauce - the perfect accompaniment to the fresh tuna.
Sushi Kanda Tuna Sushi photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201320.jpg

Squid sushi - not something I normally order. But when fresh ingredients are used, the squid and sushi tastes a whole lot different. Slightly crunchy yet soft on the texture, fresh squid tastes sweet.
Sushi Kanda Squid Sushi photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201321.jpg

By now, we were stuffed! Really stuffed. So when we were told the next dish was the mackerel sushi, we told the chef to pack it for take away. The mackerel sushi uses cured (salted) mackerel dipped in vinegar and pressed on top of a bed of sushi rice.
Sushi Kanda Mackarel Sushi photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201322.jpg

The chef uses a wooden contraption to lay the mackerel, fill the rice, add the cucumber, another layer of rice before pressing the fillings to make a compact rice cake.
Sushi Kanda Making Mackarel Sushi photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201325.jpg

Coming towards the end was the miso soup. Rather normal.
Sushi Kanda Miso Soup photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201323.jpg

And at last - dessert. I thought we never will finish the meal. Tofu tiramisu. A nice touch but I prefer the real tiramisu.
Sushi Kanda Tofu Tiramisu photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201326.jpg

Oh did I mentioned we went through 6 bottles of cold sake? Well the boys had their first taste of sake. They liked it and so we had some. 6 bottles for 6 persons. So the night came to an end and we could have walked all the way back to the hotel to ease off the stomach. We were so full!

Great food, great company. What could one ask for more?
Sushi Kanda photo JapaneseDinnerBKKDec201327.jpg