“Why?” We were all getting into a yellow taxi just outside “Korean Town” near Nana BTS. We were a four, the Diplomat and I accompanied for a night out by the husband and wife pairing of “Cambodia and Trade” – a couple of Canadian diplomats whose respective expertise lay in those areas.
“Because we’ve managed to wedge the taxi on the pavement.” this accompanied by a horrible grinding and scraping sound as Cambodia tugged desperately on the door. The torturous squeal of metal on pavement was backed up by the rapid-fire wail of the driver whose vehicle was being destroyed. That’ll be a fifty baht tip for starters, I muttered.
As we started to crawl out we were saved by a helpful Thai moped taxi owner who, somewhat rambunctiously, heaved the roof of the taxi away from the kerb giving us scant millimeters to yank the door shut. “Kor tod krub/ka” we all sang in a Canadian chorus as the nervous taxi driver pulled away in a screech of smoking tyres into the Sukhumvit traffic.
“Mal de frickin mer.” I breathed – a pointless french phrase I use to convey a range of concerns whenever I am around the Canadian Embassy staff. I always get a raised eyebrow. Sea sickness? Quite.
That was the end to our evening which had culminated in a trip to a Full Moon event. No, not the grandiose, alcohol sodden, promiscuity-encouraging party somewhere down south that is so beloved by young Westerners as some kind of gap year rite of passage, given Hollywood approval with the novel and film “The Beach.” You know the one, with the otherwise excellent Leonardo Di Caprio and the atrocious theme song from All Saints. Nor had we gone to a Twilight re-enactment. I always find it interesting how each teenage generation (I was the same way) thinks they’ve discovered something for the very first time, something they older generation couldn’t possibly have understood. Stephanie Meyers Twilight Saga and its pandering to the “Emos” (the, now old, neo-Goths) simply rehashes a emotional coolness we have in our youth to the vampire stories. Believe me, teenagers, your parents did exactly the same thing with the entire Anne Rice novels – Interview With A Vampire, anyone? Before that you had the iconic “The Howling” series. Heck, you can go back beyond Bram Stoker all the way to the lady who started the entire Gothic genre off – the peerless and excellent Ann Radcliffe, born in 1764. Try “A Sicilian Romance” or “The Mysteries of Udolpho” And, yes, lest anyone pick me up on a point, she was inspired by Charlotte Smith, admittedly…but it was all about the same time.
Anyway, I digress. We weren’t at either of those. This was a charming bakery (one for Canada’s Finest Jazz Vocalist to compete with as he sets off on his new venture…more to come on that) right outside Korean Town which provided a superb dessert for the Korean restaurants that clearly were savoury only. The bakery was named “Full Moon Bakery” (I’d put a link to any website in english that tells you about it but I can’t really find any at the moment). Anyway, it does all things bread, pastry and, strangely, ice cream. And not just any ice cream but full blown ice jars with mocha flavoured blends with all kinds of fruit. As it was about 20:00BKK there were none on show and we were a little too full to order from our earlier Korean repast to order such a behemoth. I settled for a small 50Baht tub of chocolate and pistachio. The shop isn’t terribly large, the produce arranged on windows shelves on two side, a centre “desk” for pastries and doughnuts, then a serving and presentation area for the finer dessert creations and the ice cream. The best way to describe it is quaint, which is quite a feat to achieve in downtown Bangkok. There were delights I’d never heard of, let alone tasted, like Pan D’Or (I suspect they meant Pain), Kraffkorn, Red Bean Castella, Suger(Sugar?) Shamue and the superbly named Alligator and Air Breads. I tamely settled for a white bread baguette, but it was a fine addition to this morning’s brekkie. Here’s some photos of the place and we were lucky enough to be served by “Full Moon’s Best of the Employees” employee as well.
Before all that, we had been invited by Cambodia and Trade for a dinner out sans Isla (who was giving the nanny the runaround) into Korean Town. Not much of a town really; it is about a block down from Nana BTS (towards Asok) comprising a u-shaped courtyard with several restaurants and an escalator system that wouldn’t look out of place in the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.
The ground floor is a glut of Korean restaurants. I’d previously been introduced to Korean style dining in London of all places by the Diplomat and I have to admit one of my favourite dishes is when she produces a Japanese gyoza with Korean barbecue sauce. We eventually plumped for a gogigui place that looked like it was called “Dong E” (but I am not positive) on the premise it looked full of punters so must be good. Having settled into a booth with the traditional built in fire pot we ordered a round of bulgogi on top of what I thought was a Hanjeongsik (a full-course Korean meal with a varied array of banchan – side dishes). Of course, there was kimchi, Korea’s famous spicy cabbage, galbi, seafood guksu and a glut of other entrees. In fact, we had too many for the table, a common mistake as Korean dishes are all served at the same time. To eat it the chopsticks you are given (with a spoon) are normally stainless steel, which I find makes it harder than normal to tweeze a dainty morsel from plate to palate. Still, practice makes perfect, eh? Round it all off with a couple of Singha and you’ve a table of happy munchkins for a while.
Which we did.
Here’s some of the highlights:
If I was being honest, I’d give it 3/5. Its a good place if you just want to try Korean, or if you know the cuisine well and just want a standard lunch/dinner. It’s not to Korean style what Gaggan was to Indian style. But…it was an experience; though, as ever, I’d probably need to visit Korea to get a proper taste of the food. All rounded off as I said with the Full Moon Bakery and then the shenanigans with the taxi.
Hey ho. That was our evening.
Is this what diplomacy is all about?