Food is one of the big drawing cards for a lot of visitors to Thailand, and many cooking schools have opened in all the major tourist destinations in recent years, so it’s surprising that there haven’t been more foodie tours on offer. Bangkok Food Tours is a relatively new outfit offering walking tours with a food focus, which I had a chance to sample yesterday.
The tour is quite well put together, with stops at half a dozen stalls and shops to sample various delicacies of Bangkok’s Bang Rak district. Special arrangements were made at each stop for ‘sample’ size servings of the specialties of the place, so it wasn’t like we were eating six meals. It was more like have a six course meal, spread over three hours and several hundred meters. The walks between eateries included stops at some of the sights of the area, such as Wat Suan Plu. Each guest gets a radio ear-piece so they can hear the commentary of the guide on the noisy streets.
Roasted duck with Rice.
Our tour started at the Taksin Skytrain station, and after a short walk we came to our first stop, a 50 year old shop specializing in roasted duck. I’m not a huge fan of duck, but this was quite good. The duck was lean and the sauce full of flavor. One of the things I repeatedly noted at most of the stops was how flavorful the dishes were, full of many different spices, as opposed to the ‘simplified’, off the shelf versions you get in most restaurants.
A boiled egg with curry.
The next food stop was at a 70 year old Muslim food stall where the specialty was a hard boiled egg covered in a spicy curry sauce. The founder of the shop came from India, so the curry had a different spiciness to it. As one of the other guests mentioned, it wasn’t the kind of thing you would normally order, so the tour was a nice way to get introduced to something different.
Som Tam (Papaya salad)
After stops for some durian and pandan custard filled buns it was time for some som tam (papaya salad) at a Lao themed restaurant in a charming old house set just off Silom Road. It wasn’t too spicy hot, but it was rather tasty.
Green chicken curry with roti
The last stop was a 40 year old restaurant started by a descendant of Thailand’s royal family. The sprawling eatery is very popular with Thais, especially on weekends. The specialty here is green curry served, not with rice, but with crispy slices of roti bread. The green curry on its own was amazingly delicious with a subtlety of flavor all its own, and with the roti it was a highly unusual dish.
Tours run daily, but the numbers of participants are limited. See Bangkok Food Tours web site for additional information and to book your own tour.