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Southern Thai Dry Curry (Khua Kling) from Khua Kling Pak Sod Restaurant

Khua Kling Pak Sod Restaurant - Southern Thai Dry Curry (Khua Kling)
Long-time readers of my website have probably noticed this: I love Southern Thai food. There are many reasons, and I’ll talk about them at a more appropriate time. Today is all about khua kling, the iconic Southern Thai dry curry which I love so much and—now that I think about it—counts as one of those reasons.

I recently had a chance to ask Varesara Smitasiri, owner of Khua Kling Pak Sod (literally ‘khua kling [and] fresh vegetables’), one of Bangkok’s hottest Southern restaurants, a few questions. One of her chefs had also done a demo of the dish for my readers. And this khua kling fanatic couldn’t have been giddier. Though this fine home-style restaurant isn’t the only place where you can get Southern Thai food in Bangkok, I’d be remiss to not include it on the list of great dining spots in the city. Really you should go. Continue Reading →

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Krua Apsorn Restaurant, Bangkok, and Its Famous Crabmeat and Yellow Chili Stir-Fry (เนื้อปูผัดพริกเหลือง ร้านครัวอัปษร)

krua apsorn crabmeat yellow chili stir fry

My clone of Krua Apsorn’s famous dish

Sometime last year, you might have seen a woman sitting alone in front of a building on Samsen Road in central Bangkok, tranquilizing herself with fried sweet potato balls, rocking back and forth, and mumbling things. That was me giving myself a prep talk.

I didn’t take a selfie, but I think I must have looked like I could use some extra-strength Metamucil. Weird, because there were no good reasons for it.

First of all, I was in the neighborhood where my mother and her siblings were born and raised. Their childhood accounts were always fun and vivid that every time I’m in the area, I can see with my mind’s eye their joyful little footprints all over the sidewalks. This, as far as I’m concerned, is a happy place.

Also, after lunch, I knew I’d spend the whole afternoon in the dark archives of the National Library nearby — the activity which, to me, is akin to frolicking in a field of daisies on a sunny day with an ice cream cone in one hand and a stick of cotton candy in the other.

Most importantly, I was just moments away from having lunch at Krua Apsorn, one of my favorite traditional Thai restaurants in Bangkok after a fairly long period away from it. Not only that, I was planning on asking Krua Apsorn’s head chef to share with me some cooking tips. An opportunity to introduce yet another bright spot in my hometown to my readers should have filled me with joy like it always had. Continue Reading →

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Good Eats in Historic Bang Rak, Bangkok

In case you haven’t noticed, there hasn’t been much cooking going on here lately. This is because I’ve been on the road constantly over the past two months. And, to be honest, when you travel this much, it’s not as fun as it may seem. A nomadic lifestyle has never bothered me; that part isn’t a problem. It’s having no access to a kitchen that gets old really fast.

The glass-half-full people in my life have tried to point out the benefits of not cooking which is not having to do dishes. But these people are crazy, and I know better than to let their optimism dampen my spirit. I miss cooking, and I miss blogging about what I cook.

Until that can happen again, here’s something that hopefully will tide you over. I get tons of emails from my readers asking for Bangkok restaurant recommendations and tips on how to eat “like the locals,” and I hope many find this post helpful.

Well, put on a pair of comfortable shoes and pants with an elastic waist. Then mosey around with me along the portion of 150-year-old Charoen Krung Road from Saphan Taksin BTS Station to the Silom junction for eating in historic Bang Rak is as “like the locals” as it gets. No need to pay for a tour guide; you can do this. The walk isn’t long, the shops are easy to find, and no matter what you point at, chances are it will be good.

For the list of the ten best restaurants and stalls in this area, please go to my CNNGo article. This post merely provides additional commentary. Continue Reading →

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