6.069 Spicy Stir-Fried Shrimp & Seafood with Basil


15 (Sun) March 2015

Spicy Stir-Fried Shrimp & Seafood with Basil


at Jade Dragon (Suvarnabhumi (BKK) Airport)

-Samut Prakan, Bangkok-


Princess Pathumwan Hotel, where I’ve been staying.
Superior Double Room–hardwood floors, bathroom with huge tub and window, nice bed with great linens.
Through the window, a view of the adjoining MKB (Mahboonkrong) Center…
…a shopping mall…
…comprising 6 floors, stretched out across the length of 2 football fields (about 200 meters)…
…more of an indoor market, with rows upon rows of vendors hawking various items, such as clothes, knick-knacks, electronics, etc.–for example, Pink Pussy sells mobile phone accessories.

Mission to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic + Personal Deviation to the Kingdom of Thailand, Day 6 (see previously 6.067 Tom Yum Kung).

After spending the latter half of last week in Vientiane for work, I flew into Bangkok on Friday–the route to/from MNL/VTE always goes thru BKK–where I stayed for a short solo food holiday until this afternoon, got back to the Philippines late tonight.

Thai versions of hetbahn (see for comparison 6.037 Hetbahn Supplemented23): jasmine and brown jasmine!

On the third and final day of the Bangkok Diet…

Venue 7 : Yum Saap–Thai restaurant chain, multiple locations across the country, predominantly in Bangkok, including this one in MKB Center.
Emphasis on seafoods…
…and noodles.

After a long night, I crawled out of bed at mid-morning, craving something with broth.  Should’ve maximized on this last meal opportunity in town, but I had to check out of the hotel and get to the airport in a few hours, so I just headed to MKB Center again.  A bowl of pho from the Vietnamese place in the Fifth Avenue food court (see lunch yesterday), perhaps.  But then I saw Yum Saap right next door, piles of ingredients on display at the entrance, including a big vat of broth, irresistible point-of-sale marketing.

Most dishes under 100 THB (about $3).

From an academic perspective, the Bangkok Diet turned out to be something of a dud.  No difficult challenges, no major surprises, no significant discoveries.   My fault entirely for failing to do any research, failing to go out and explore.  Next time.

Though unremarkable, the food was reliably good, and that’s a good thing.

Exactly what I was looking for.
Item 16 : “Ma Ma” Tom Yum Seafood Noodles (3.0)–after yesterday’s confirmation that tom yum is a locally acceptable dish, I’m all for it; “ma ma” refers to instant ramen-style noodles, the term derived from the Thai brand Mama.
Item 17 : Morning Glory Salad (3.25)–spicy and tangy, light and refreshing, an ideal accompaniment to the noodle soup; Koreans would love this as a kimchi-alternative.
In case I try to recreate this dish, the visible ingredients include: shallots, garlic, chili, coriander, fermented beans, dried shrimps, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar.

In any case, as I am decidedly not a “foodie*,” I was perfectly content to spend my time leisurely/lazily sampling items from various venues, including a convenience store and a shopping mall, both within walking distance, and hotel room service, no walking necessary.

Venue 8 : Dragon Jade–Thai/Chinese restaurant, casual, quick-fix.
The 4th of 7 eateries in the airport serving Thai food that I have tried thus far (see previously 6.063 Fried Sun-Dried Venison Meat); regular readers of the blog may see where this is heading…

*Among colleagues with whom I dine regularly, the debate rages as to whether I do qualify as a so-called “foodie.”  Their definition encompasses any/some/most/all of the following criteria: appreciates food, particularly good food; thinks about food, throughout the day, in dreams; talks about food, outside of dining contexts; writes about food, like in a blog; researches food, down to etymological nuances of food terms; cooks food, to the point of inventing new dishes; experiments with food, particularly weird ingredients; searches out restaurants, both landmarks and hotspots–all of which would apply to a “gastronome, gourmand, epicure.”  The only thing that differentiates a “foodie” from the rest is the puerile willingness to be labeled and self-labeled by such an asinine term–“I am a foodie!”–which I most certainly am not (see generally 5.342 Crocodile Meat with XO Chili Sauce).

Most dishes around 300 THB…
…hotel prices, but nowhere near as good.

Another positive outcome, I’m beginning to develop a handle on kra phrao stir-fries.  I had the dish 3 times this trip, including 1 with deep-fried fish, 2 with mixed seafood.  All good, but I can now detect nuances in the amount of basil, amount of spice, amount of fish sauce.  I may be ready to try cooking it.

Item 18 : Spicy Stir-Fried Shrimp & Seafood with Basil (2.5)–a bit bland, not enough basil; snake beans were nice + Item 19 Roasted Duck (1.5)–duck itself was crappy, but steamed bok choy was okay.

36 hours.

8 venues.

19 items.

2.88 average rating, the highest thus far (by comparison: Kobe/Osake = 2.65 (see 5.147 Yakisoba…); Taipei = 2.11 (see 5.112 Half Calf Tendon…); Singapore = 2.71 (see 4.267 Chicken Rice).

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