Saturday, March 27, 2010

Luxury brunch choice in Bangkok

A night in the one of Bangkok's five-star-hotels, Orchid Sheraton. The atmosphere is cold and unfriendly even though everyone is smiling. The energy of the place is bad. You assume that the breakfast of Orchid Sheraton Bangkok is something amazing. You are already paid yourself sick and you want some kind of substitute for your money. Ok, I can tell you that this breakfast is enormous - you wont be starving after this. 

The breakfast is mixture of Western (American) breakfast and Asian breakfast. You can have different kind of fried noodles and rice soups. There are croissants, pain au chocolates and other pastries. There are the diamonds of Thai food: fresh fruits, yogurt, breads and things you can't even imagine (and after you've eaten those things, you still don't know what you just ate). The price of breakfast, if it's not included on your room rate, is about 16 euros per person.

Few words about Orchid Sheraton. It's a huge American luxury hotel chain. At least in Sheraton Bangkok the most of the customers were american travelers. Some of them stayed in Thailand a day or maxim two (yes, a day or two). Average age is probably over 60 years and circumference of the stomach over 120 cm. The language you hear most in the hotel is american english with the strong accent. 

Croissants and pain au chocolates were dry and a bit rubber-kind. Not very astonishing. But hey, we're in Thailand, why on earth I should eat croissant for the breakfast?!

Dragon fruit, papaya, danish pastry and some rice-plum-cake. 

You fancy some noodles for your breakfast? What would you like to have? This man behind the stall will make you dream come true. In the front of your eyes he will make you your own unique noodle portion. 

Something sweet? Danish pastries, banana bread, donuts...

Omelette? Do you want it with ham and cheese? Maybe just some paprika? Or tomatoes? Well, you name it. There's a man, who will listen your desires and make it come true. 

Some spices for your croissant? Or maybe for the rice soup with pork. 

Something meaty.

Fruit table. Pineapple is the queen of the fruits. 

Dragon fruits.

Food in Thailand

Japanese ramen soup with duck in the Southern Bus Station, in Bangkok. 

This post is a bit different than usually in this blog. We wont give you any review of perfect Thai restaurants or cafés. Or maybe we will, a bit. The point is that this is a short trip into this culinary art heaven of Thailand. Thailand is very interesting country for food-lovers. It's sort of melting pot for the whole Asian kitchen. You can enjoy Japanese food, chinese, korean, malaysian - you just name it - food. We focused on the Thai food, because we just love it. Let the story begin.

Very tasty Pad Thai in Southern Bus Terminal, Bangkok. 

One of the most famous and the most well known Thai dish is Pad Thai. Fried street noodles with  shrimps, egg, sprouts and peanuts. This is the dish you can easily make a first rank of the place you're eating at. There are as many versions of Pad Thai as there are food stalls. Most of the time the best Pad Thai you will get from there, where it's original from: the streets and night markets. This time we didn't have a chance to visit any night markets, but we can tell according the previous experience that those places are the place to enjoy Thai food. 

These fried noodles were made with the sea food and on the top there are peanuts. P.P. Land, Koh Phayam. 

Another version of Pad Thai with sea food. When you are on the island of Thailand, you have to eat as much fish and sea food as you can. Those little squids had the suction pads and all. 

These street noodles are made with the wide rice noodles. Again some sea food.. well, it was more than fresh! The best drink during the hot day is soda water. The bottle is cool! 

Green curry with sea food at Vijit Bungalows, Koh Phayam. 

My opinion is that the best Thai dish is green curry. This spicy dish gets your mouth cry, because of the oral pleasure and your eyes and face, because of the spices. When this dish is well made, you can really taste all the ingredients - not only the chili. 

Mussaman curry with chicken. In this curry the thing are potatoes and peanut sauce.

These food were all made on the boat in the Surin Island national park. Fish was fished from the sea earlier the same day. Can you imagine the smell of fried fish waft towards you, while you are sitting on the deck of the boat and admiring sun set. A hunger, which is slowly waking up, when you are listening the sounds from the kitchen. 

Small black tunas, fried. 

Very fresh sashimi: spanish mackerel and cut carrots. 

Breakfast in China Town: noodle soup with fish balls. 

Bangkok is the city of angels, but also the city of vivid food life. Good thing in the Thai food culture is the rather small portions. That allows one to eat as often as possible. Or that's how I see it. China Town in Bangkok is an adventure. You can easily spend the whole day there just walking, getting lost and hunting for next meal. Often there isn't the common language (except body language) though it's doesn't matter, if only you are ready to try and taste. Prices are affordable so you wont make bankruptcy, if you need to try several dish before you find the one you wanted to have. 

The cheapest lunch during the trip: lunch in China Town, 25 Bahts. This plate includes rice, shrimps, two different kind of vegetables. I wasn't that sure, what I ate, but it was very tasty and cheap. 

Chillies in the fish sauce. To spicy up your food.

Spicy Tom Yam soup makes you warm. If the weather seems to be too hot, it gives you a feeling that it's not so hot anymore, when you are sweating your heat away. 

Food is the best reason to travel. If you are not ready to stay in the cheapest hostels, you might at least be willing to experience some tasty food. These two pictures are taken in the food stalls, which are in the front of the five star hotel Orchid Sheraton Bangkok. You are not looking for western food in Asia, are you, so get your butt outside of the fancy hotel. Usually there are always food stalls (small stalls with tires) near by every hotel. Be brave and sit down on the plastic chair. Order a bottle of Chang and check the menu. Your journey to the happiness has started!

Fried rice with sea food. 

Japanese ice cream portion with red beans, corn flakes and some other stuff. Japanese food in Thailand is the trendiest thing. This portions was eaten in one of the huge shopping centres in Bangkok. 

Moko market breakfast

Another brunch in Helsinki. A furniture store can also hide a much better brunch place than a well known poshy café. After last week disappointment, this appears to be a nice Saturday morning brunch place. 10,90€ with normal Finnish coffee or Tea, or 12,90€ with a fancier espresso/Cappuccino/Latte, Moko's brunch buffet is an affordable place in the South of Helsinki city centre. The café itself is cosy, surrounded by the retro furnitures of the store, you can choose to seat on table or then for the early birds sofas and armchairs are also available.

Let's talk about the food! 
A buffet table proposing the basics and a bit more that what you can expect from a finnish brunch. The different kind of breads, white, dark, focaccia were very good, and often still warm and crusty. Only the focaccia was maybe a bit too salty...

Anyway from what looked first a very simple choice of ingredients came out a very nice breakfast: with the regular tomatoes and cucumber slices Moko is proposing spanish goat and 3 milks cheeses. Very tasty and much more original than the regular finnish cheese.
Fruits assortment wasn't large (watermelon, cantaloupe, bananas) but fruits were tasty. 
If you wish something sweet after your bread, you can opt for fresh yogurt with blueberries and strawberries, and of course muesli. Want more sweets? Then you will be delighted by Moko cheese cake and apple-pulla cake.

As we said nothing very exceptional, not millions of things to choose between but quality products!

Cappuccino is particularly good there, as the Latte and espresso. One of the only bad point might be that the juice is straight from the bottle, not freshly home made. So our verdict is pretty optimistic, you will get a simple but quality breakfast for a decent price, more than enough to not feel depressed on a rainy weekend.

Fresh bread.

Cheeses were organic, BUT not from Finland. Cheese was imported from Spain. Good cheese, but a big minus for imported cheese. Would be better to offer some Finnish organic cheese. 

Finnish berries on the top of the yogurt. 

In the end: cheesecake! 

Moko market  is here: 
Perämiehenkatu 10, Helsinki, Finland. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Brunch in Cafe Ekberg

Today we finally, after two and a half years talks, we decided to go and try Cafe Ekberg's brunch. The reason, why we haven't done it earlier, is the price: 18 euros in the weekend days. Weekdays I think it costs less than 10 euros.

Anyway, when we arrived, the place was packed and we had to wait for table few minutes. That was fine, because people were coming and going all the time. Cafe is pretty old and it has a tack as the fancy, elegant and upper class cafe in Helsinki. At least I think so. But the food for brunch. O-ou, they do have some problems.

Let's start with the breads: croissants were great. That I and demanding French man can say, but some of the bread rolls were still frozen inside, when they were hot outside. Image of the fresh bread was gone. Dramatic. There were also three, four different kind of loaf breads and some small patty. Coverings for the breads were taken out from plastics: cheese (edam, brie and blue cheese), some hams, salmon (cut in small pieces), herrings, cucumber and tomatoes. Very basic. I was a bit missing green salad. Yogurt was served. They were offering also boiled eggs, though I didn't see  any of them during that one and half hour we were sitting in the cafe. There were also some scrambled eggs (not self made, but this kind of powder made - yak), which wasn't very tasty.

Fruits. Oh fruits - there were several different kind of fruits, which you could peal yourself. That's good, so you will get your fruits as fresh as it's possible in Finland. There were also some halves of grapefruits, but no grapefruit spoons, so I managed to make a nice mess. Cafe Ekberg was serving also rice porridge, but I didn't try it myself.

Finally the end - there were cake! Cream cake with some caramel on the top. Sweet, but fine.

After all I have to say that Cafe Ekberg's brunch is over priced and cashed. You will get your stomach full, but you won't come very happy after that food. You have to feel happy after eating, don't you. If you want to enjoy a breakfast there take a cup of coffee and a croissant.  Don't pay 18 euros for things, which you could buy yourself with 6 euros from the supermarket.