Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Tim Tams – My Favourite Biscuit

January 9, 2010

Back when I lived in England my favourite chocolate biscuits were Penguins. They were hardly available in America so I used to load-up on packets when I went home.

Penguins aren’t sold here but I found something very similar: Tim Tams. They are from Australia. To me the milk chocolate variety is identical to the Penguins I remember. I bet there are biscuit enthusiasts who can tell the difference.

I was interested to see that they sell two varieties of Tim Tams in Thailand:

Two types of Tim Tam Biscuits

Two types of Tim Tam Biscuits

The top blue packet is made in Australia and costs 108B for a 200g packet. That’s about US$3.25. The bottom brown 120g packet is made in Indonesia and costs 32B – about US$1. They are “developed especially for the South East Asia Market. Not for sale in Australia or New Zealand“.

The cheaper biscuits don’t come in the same varieties as the originals, but they taste just as good to me.

You can guess which ones I buy. Of course my local supermarket displays the expensive packets on a shelf at eye-level and the South-East Asia ones near the floor.

This is a similar strategy to the International Edition of textbooks that I wrote about last December. Maybe with food products there are regulations that would prevent me from practising Tim Tam arbitrage and exporting them to Australia and New Zealand.

But if you like Tim Tams and you’re in a South East Asian Country, grab the cheaper packets!

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Frittata Thai Style

January 5, 2010

Frittata Thai StyleSpicy Frittata offered by Black Canyon in its promotional menu.

According to Wikipedia:

“A frittata is a type of Italian omelet, either simple or enriched with additional ingredients, such as meats, cheeses, vegetables and even pasta. It may be compared to a crust-less quiche or, in America, “scrambled eggs.” A frittata is prepared in a frying pan like a traditional French omelet. However, whereas an omelet is cooked on a stove top and served folded, a frittata is not folded and is typically finished in an oven or under a broiler.”

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frittata.

Black CanyonBlack Canyon restaurants have this dish on their promotional menu. Of course it is very spicy, but not too much. This example, which I ate in the branch on Silom Road, Bangkok, near Sala Daeng Skytrain station, was a bit over-cooked. I had a feeling that they’d cooked it previously and microwaved it. But I may be doing their chefs an injustice.

Whatever, I think it is good value at (I think) 120 Baht (about US$3.50).

I was disappointed that Black Canyon do not feature the promotional menu on their web site here.

Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar

December 16, 2009

Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar
This is a seasonal treat from Starbucks that I recall from my time in California. Maybe they sell it all over the world. I’m not a big Starbucks coffee drinker – their products are good quality but I think they are over-priced in the Bangkok market. I prefer Doitung coffee or brewing my own.

But today I indulged myself. The confection is really simple: a cookie dough / cheesecake base, cream cheese frosting and dried cranberries on top. I wonder if Starbucks found a baker to make it in Thailand or if they import it.

It cost 125 Baht, which is about US$3.75. A Thai family can eat for a whole day at least on that sum. I was surprised that the serving was larger than my memory of the portion served in America. That’s backwards – normally Thai portions are smaller than their equivalents in America.

I Googled “cranberry bliss bar” and found many copies of the recipe. I was too lazy to check if my guess at the ingredients is correct or not.

How much does a Cranberry Bliss Bar cost in North America?

This is a straight-off-the camera, hand-held Raw picture from my Nikon Coolpix P6000. I was so pleased at the colours that I didn’t touch it in Lightroom. Perhaps my camera has heard all the bad things I have said about it and it has reformed its ways.

Small Bangkok Restaurants

December 13, 2009

Right across the road from Bangkok’s main railway station: Hua Lamphong, is a parade (British English term) of shops fronting a small street market. Just about anywhere else such a prime location would have been redeveloped into fast food outlets and shops. But not in Bangkok.

Although there is a 7-11 store there – cheaper for supplies prior to a train journey than the shops in the station – it’s an old style market. Hidden inside is the entrance to the Station Hotel.

I Bet This Place has Some Stories to Tell

There are also several hole-in-the-wall restaurants that sell unexceptional Thai and Thai-Chinese food. I had lunch at one today. The staff are friendly and speak some English – they get many impecunious backpackers as customers. The decorations are basic – the wall may be held up by layers of posters.

Small Restaurant on Rong Mueang Road, Bangkok
Small Restaurant on Rong Mueang Road, Bangkok
I had pork soup and BBQ duck. Both were good portions and served with plenty of sauce and chilis. The vegetables served with the duck were fresh – not the frozen stuff served at places like Black Canyon.

Small Restaurant on Rong Mueang Road, Bangkok

BBQ Duck

Small Restaurant on Rong Mueang Road, Bangkok

Pork Stew

Total price: 150 Thai Baht (about US$4.50 according to Oanda.com). Not the cheapest meal in Bangkok, but it was good and filling – and in an interesting location.

Custom Printed Heinz Sauce Bottles

December 3, 2009

I found out that Heinz have a web site where you can get custom printed labels on your favourite bottle of sauce. It is at myheinz.com.

I designed a label for a 14 oz classic bottle of Tomato Ketchup. Of course, being frugal, I did not place an order. It’s only available in North America anyway.

 

Bangkok Photographer Ketchup

 

The 14 oz glass bottle costs US$6 (plus shipping). I think you can order just one. They have other products available that you can label.

You have until December 10 to order and have them delivered for Christmas.

Of course, being frugal I can work out a way to print my own labels and apply them to bottles I purchased from Jusco for a fraction of the price. The sole challenge is that the font for the message (all upper case) is distinctive to Heinz. As far as I can see making my own labels is legal as long as I do not make a business out of it.

Mini Tripod

December 2, 2009

I was disappointed with the quality of the picture I took of Thanksgiving Dinner. A slow lens and not much light overwhelmed the image stabilization of my Nikon Coolpix P6000. That’s why I did not post a picture to Flickr and only put a small version on this blog.

 

Mini Tripod

Michael Willems suggested that I can try a mini tabletop tripod. I have one but I’d forgotten about it. Thai camera stores give away some cheap accessories when you buy a camera: I got the mini tripod and a flimsy case when I purchased my old Sony DSC-W35.

 

I dug it out and took it with me to lunch today: Delifrance at Central Lat Phrao. It’s small enough to stick in a back pocket – and thus small enough to lose easily.

Here’s a picture of my sandwich lunch:
Lunch at Delifrance
It’s definitely sharper than my handheld efforts. I used the closeup setting on the camera and the two-second self timer. I even got a somewhat blurred background sans Photoshop.

The angle is too low for plated meals and I had to be careful to keep the tripod level. Each leg can be bent independently.

That was a good free experiment. I’ll continue to take it with me and maybe I’ll get better at using it.

Authentic Northern Thai Food

December 1, 2009

Last month I took a picture of a Northern Thai curry that I ate at a chain restaurant in Bangkok: S&P. I wrote about the meal here.

On Sunday I ate a similar dish at a small restaurant on the soi that runs near the apartment: Soi Chanmuang. It was a smaller portion but just as tasty. Of course it was about one-third the price. Here are some pictures from Flickr.

Northern Thai Restaurant

The Curry

Northern Thai Restaurant

The Condiments

Northern Thai Restaurant

The Friendly Owners

I had the Canon EOS-30D with me and I had my version of the “Nifty Fifty” – the EF 50mm F2.5 Compact Macro. I think I should have stopped it down a bit and got a bit more of the food in focus. I am not very skilled at handling the small Depth of Field of a faster lens.

 

Singapore to Bangkok by Train – FOOC

November 29, 2009

The BBC From Our Own Correspondent has a piece on traveling from Singapore by train. Actually two trains. The first from Singapore to the Thai border and the second from Sungai Kolok in Thailand to my favourite Hua Lamphong Station in Bangkok.

I wrote about the FOOC program before here.

They must have renovated the Malayan Railway (KTMB: Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad) Station in Singapore. It’s described as art-deco. When I was there it was run-down – it made Hua Lamphong look great by comparison. (I guess it could be both – I should check.)

Durian Flavoured Popcorn

Durian Flavoured Popcorn

The discussion about durian flavoured popcorn that she took on the journey but never ate was amusing. Although the fresh fruit smells strong products made from it are generally mild. It’ll be an anticlimax when she opens the bag.

It's Durian Season

Durian Fruit - Strong Smell

I should take that trip one day.

Durian Flavoured Mooncake

Durian Mooncake - Slight Smell

 

Thanksgiving Dinner in Bangkok – Where I Went

November 27, 2009

I ended up going to the excellent Queen Victoria Pub on Sukhumvit Soi 23. Despite its British theme they made a tasty fixed price American style meal: table d’hôte as they’d say on the E&O Express.

Of course it was not as extravagant as a five-star hotel or with unlimited portions as from a buffet but it was fine for my appetite. I can’t face American sized portions any more – and that must be good for my health.

The Queen Vic offered a set dinner for 365 Baht. According to my trusty Currency Converter that’s US$11. Here’s the menu:

I love the notion of “candid potatoes”.

When I arrived just past 8pm they only had three dinners left. Apparently Americans in Bangkok eat early. It was a good portion and well-cooked.

Thanksgiving Meal

The candid potatoes were actually roast.

The pumpkin pie was good too but I forgot to take a picture.

For me that’s better value than an all-you-can-eat buffet for 900 Baht or more. I’d go back next year.

The pictures from the Nikon Coolpix P6000 are not very good so I did not post them to Flickr – I’m a bit ashamed. They are good enough for this size but no larger.

Thanksgiving Dinner in Bangkok

November 26, 2009

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I’m not an expert on finding the best American style Thanksgiving dinner in Bangkok. But my friends mention two places consistently:

  • Bourbon Street Restaurant in Washington Square, Sukhumvit Soi 22. They advertise a buffet for 899B “++”. I don’t like the Singapore-style ++ meaning plus tax (7% in Thailand), plus service (maybe 10% – it doesn’t say). Most places in Thailand quote prices inclusive of tax and service (tip) is optional. But as you go up the price / quality those extras appear – perhaps because foreign customers are familiar with them and they can get away with it.
  • The Atrium Restaurant at the Landmark Hotel on Sukhumvit Road. Their web site doesn’t list a Thanksgiving special this year but I am sure they have something.

I expect the other American hotels like the Sheraton, Westin and JW Marriott all have offerings. I’ll write a post here if I end up going to any of them.

If you have a favourite in Bnagkok or elsewhere in Thailand please post a comment here.

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