Despite last night’s festivities, woke up feeling not-awful on Thursday morning. Looking out my window, I saw that it was pouring – which was frankly not the end of the world, given that today was for shopping. Nicolas was supposed to join me for an excursion to MBK, but messaged me that he was feeling a bit under the weather (mm-hmmm…) and would catch up with me later for dinner.
So, I set off in a cab and met up with Ak. This place is huge! Though, TBH, the wares on offer were awfully similar to what I’d seen at the Night Bazaar in CM, i.e. lots of crappy Chang tank tops and such. That being said, we still had a good wander.
This was also my introduction to the wonders of Bangkok’s mall food courts. They have everything! Upon entrance, your given a plastic card which is then scanned at whichever venues you get food or drinks from (and when I say drinks, that includes beer, wine and cocktails. Well-played, indeed, Thailand!) and you turn in your card when you leave and pay whatever you owe.
I had a very tasty plate of basil chicken and an OK serving of green curry (Ak declared it too sweet). Oh, and a beer obviously. All was right with the world… Though it was at this point that I asked Ak, “So where’s the good mall? Like with a Uniqlo and an H&M?”
“That’s Siam Paragon. Let’s go.”
And so we did. First stop was actually (and unbeknownst to me) in Siam Center, the adjacent and relatively petite annex to Siam Paragon. Checked out a few shops (and started to learn in earnest about the sad reality of Asian clothing sizes relative to my paunchy American body…) and was impressed with the place.
“Oh, let’s cross over to Siam Paragon now,” Ak then tells me.
WELL! This place was cray – in a totally good way. I’m not typically a mall kind of guy, but Siam Paragon is quite a show. The first floor is all food – from fancy sit-down restaurants to high-end street food prepared while you watch to Fauchon (!) to McDonald’s. It was amazing! Even though I’d already eaten, I was glassy-eyed with wonder as we ambled about.
I’d previously mentioned how much I enjoy going to supermarkets when I travel, since they are filled with amazing and mysterious items. So Ak says, “There’s a supermarket here too.”
OH. MY. GOD.
Known simply as “Gourmet Market,” this place was spectacular. I think I dragged Ak through there for a good 90 minutes! “What’s this? And what about this? What’s this thing? Ooooo, I’ve never seen this – what is it?” He also advised me on the best exotic flavors of Lay’s potato chips to purchase. His favorite was Miang Kham, but I was frankly more partial to Lobster Choochee (though I’m still unclear on exactly where on the lobster its choochee is located…). And sadly, given the transportation issues, I was not able to acquire the highly-intriguing Matcha Kit Kat Drumsticks-style frozen treat. I did get a couple of boxes of Kit Kats that look relatively ordinary – until one realizes they are meant to be toasted in the toaster oven! (I did not realize that when purchasing – it was discerned by my friends back home during our exotic Kit Kat Tasting Conference. And we decided to exclude them from the tasting, given the special preparation required – so I don’t yet have a verdict on them).
The entire place was fascinating and I loved it. The only downside? Thanks to my extended stay in the supermarket, I really didn’t get to see much else in this giant, mesmerizing mall. Another visit will be required! Though we did have a bit of wander through the department store – where I saw a super-cute shirt on sale! So, I decided to try it on – in a size medium. An Asian size medium. Or at least what I assumed was a size medium, since the label said “M” – though I think perhaps that “M” was for “My God You Foreigners Are Fat!” Luckily, they also had a size large – still not really accommodating my gut. Sigh…
So, on that note, back to the hotel for a lie-down before meeting up with Nicolas for a drink on the roof before heading down the street to Nahm for dinner. A lovely place and purported to be one of Bangkok’s best restaurants – we certainly enjoyed it! We decided to go with the tasting menu – all four canapés on offer, then a selection from each of the menu’s five sections. Oh, and dessert, obv. Photos and descriptions below. Everything was lovely – though, honestly, despite making a good show of it, it was really more food than we needed. The soup course was definitely gilding the lily and probably four dishes – even three! – would have been enough. That being said, I’m really glad we got to try a good cross-section of everything on offer.
As for dessert, Nicolas got the durian fruit. À chacun son goût and all, but I’m not a huge fan – and as it turned out, neither was he for this particular preparation. He wasn’t sure what they’d done to it, but it wasn’t what he was accustomed to when eating fresh durian. Lucky for me, I chose well! Pandanus noodles, black sticky rice, water chestnuts, sweet corn and tapioca in coconut cream. Simple, not too sweet and just absolutely delicious – my favorite style of dessert!
A fine, fine evening. And there is certainly something very jet-set about visiting Bangkok from San Francisco and having dinner with my dear friend from Switzerland. We said our farewells, as he flew back the next day, and I got a good night’s sleep, preparing for tomorrow’s activities!