Talad Rod Fai, Bangkok, is an open-air bazaar peddling an insane array of vintage collectables, quirky kitsch and memorabilia from yesteryear. Since its move in 2013 due to an expansion of the BTS Skytrain line, its reappearance at the new site accommodated a bigger, more international crowd. I loved the old Rod Fai next to the train tracks, where shop-owners displayed their wares on floors or did business right out of 1950s Cadillacs. The new locale is posh, less rugged than before, while retaining signature vintage elements.
Shopping was way down on my list of priorities as opposed to capturing these on camera.
“Vintage books, old china, antiques; maybe I love old things so much because I feel impermanent myself.”
― Josh Lanyon
Perks of having native Thai friends – they’ve tried it all and only take you for the best. I had the honour of my Thai native friends’ undivided attention 5 days in January this year. Knowing us (foodies who were through with tourist traps in the big city), the pair of them took us gallivanting through Bangkok for the best F&B. Here are 6 of my favourite picks,
✡ GRAM CAFE – Brunch
Nestled within the trendy streets of Sukhumvit 49 near to Thong Lor is GRAM Cafe, featuring an open-kitchen counter and a pretty garden where you dine. Highlights of our meal: ovaltine volcano pancakes dripping in chocolate fudge and ovaltine powdered goodness. Also loved their latte: I’m a sucker for hand-drip coffee.
Outdoor-dining only meant there were certain elements of nature interrupting our quiet brunch: flies, mozzies and leaves falling into your coffee. But when your bill arrives all’s good again, since a Bangkok hipster brunch is one of the most affordable in the world.
An uber-chic hangout for hipster lunch in the up and coming Sathorn area; the best flat white in town makes this the expats’ choice on the weekends. Save yourself the best seat by the window when you make reservations! Rocket is well-known for their artisanal coffees – I fell so in love with their iced latte that I had to have two.
Their eggs-ben weren’t fantastic and drool-worthy so don’t bother if you’re hunting for the best food in time. Come here for a cozy meet-up, and to immerse in a chic up-town environment.
Rocket Coffee Bar
147, Sathorn Soi 12, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
+66 2 635 0404
Monday to Sunday 7am – 11pm
Nearest station: BTS Chong Nonsi
✡ MR JONES’ ORPHANAGE – Cakes, waffles and all things sweet
Named after a renowned children’s book, Mr Jones’ Orphanage lives up to its name with teddy-bear strewn interiors, low-hanging ceilings resembling children’s bedrooms, and quirky cutesy dessert creations. We ordered a round of cakes and rocky road waffles after heavy-on-the-savoury-buds lunch – the kick on our sense of taste was incredible. Mr Jones’ is a sweet-tooth’s haven.
With more than one outlet, the cafe still gets crowded. Save the wait and make reservations!
Mr Jones’ Orphanage
2nd Level, Siam Center
Rama 1 Road, Bangkok, Pathumwan 10330
11:00 am – 10:00 pm
✡ MANNA THAI– Rock Melon Sorbet
Situated at the basement level of Siam Paragon is an outdoor paradise, where the food isn’t spectacular but they serve a mean rock melon sorbet straight out of rock melon skin. A hand-drip latte goes well enough, and together we’ve got tea-break for the high-soul in Bangkok. Dining in is great, but the view outside is better. If you’re into people-watching this is your little heaven.
Rock melon sorbet is highly recommended.
G Fl., Siam Paragon
991 Rama1, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
+66 2129 4555
✡ CHATUCHAK WEEKEND MARKET – Street Food
Don’t waste your time and money if you’re hell-bent on eating clean in Thailand! Street food has too much flavour and life in it, so who cares what happens in the kitchen right? Eating straight from street stalls gave me a genuine taste of Thailand – where the culture stands, and what the people enjoy in their spare time. Here, flavour is key (as lovers of uber-sweet Thai Iced Milk Tea can vouch for), and Thais are big on traditional spices. Meet some of my favourites from the all-time touristy Weekend Market of Chatuchak.
Shoppers are advised not to waste any time stopping to ogle at street food if intent on covering every nook and cranny of this 32.91 km² maze. Shopping can be endless in this god-amazing place, but some things are just not up my alley, especially when the weather’s too hot and I’ve been here more times than I bothered to count.
✡ SOMBOON – Seafood
The best place for fresh seafood fix in Bangkok: my all time favourite dish is the fried curry crab which comes in a fuss-free pre-shelled form so all you need to do is scoop it up, eat it with rice or fried bread! Do not exclaim “so cheap!” each time you select a dish or you’ll end up sounding like a bird. Yes, seafood is seriously affordable here.
895/6-12 Chula Soi8, Bangthadthong Road | Wang Mai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
11:00 to 23:00 Daily
0-2216-4203-4 or 0-2214-4927
Stay tuned for more adventures in Bangkok, as I’m always back for more. I’ve got too much affinity with the Land Of Smiles, it seems.
Loading up on carbs before a full day of Seoul-tripping. Breakfast was palm-sized Sweet Maple Waffles 스위트 메이플 와플 at Beans and Waffle, downtown Gangnam.
Surrounded by imposing office towers, a food alley plus a couple of pubs, the cafe has fed plenty of OLs, pub-crawlers and hungry interns. One of the only two Beans & Waffle stores in Seoul, its small, dark interior could easily have you fooled. An extensive waffle menu aside, there’s no lack of flavoured coffees, teas and blended juices. They even have a decent selection of bingsoo!
Next time I’ll make it a point to try their green tea and tiramisu waffles.
1329-9 Seocho-dong (181 Saimdang-ro)
Two years ago I was wildly excited to come into Hello Kitty Cafe in Hongdae. Two years later, I’m mildly amused by how ugly their kitty-shaped waffles have become. The insanely pink stand-alone building is still a popular tourist attraction (cue an aggressive horde of multi-lingual Kitty fanatics), and always will remain a novelty this part of town! I just love coming in and remembering how excited I was to be here.
I wonder if it’s just me… their waffles were kinda doughy and under-cooked? The shape is, well…
I wouldn’t look forward to having my meals here! But yes, if I’m here just to bask in an explosion of pinks!
Breakfast at Lori’s Diner on Mason Street, a ’50s-style rock’n’roll American bistro. For the all-American oldies experience, this is the place to be! Love their classic red booths, checkered tiles and memorabilia of Coca-Cola, Elvis Presley and various cars of the era.
All of Lori’s Diners are open 24 hours daily; the Lori’s on Powell Street used to house pre-war airplanes, a Chevy Bel Air, a Chrysler, a vintage Indian motorcycle and a pinball arcade. The place was packed and the 9 of us had to wait for seats.
What the 3 of us shared so we could try everything: The Heart Breaker Sandwich (barbecued chicken breast with sautéed mushrooms on wheat bun), Strawberry Buttermilk Pancakes, and the classic Eggs Benedict.
Famished from lack of sleep and jet lag, I was so excited for breakfast that I’d even googled Lori’s menu and decided on what to eat way before we met to have a meal. The food, and the atmosphere, met my expectations of an American breakfast joint, and I was pretty satisfied!
I’m always saying ‘I need to come back again’ for good food at decent locations, but I have no real desire to return for another meal at Lori’s Diner. Not for the food, though the portion was huge it wasn’t that fantastic. Plus I hate bland and diluted coffee! This is one of those interesting places to have a meal at whereby once is enough (for me).
336 Mason St
San Francisco, CA, United States
As mentioned previously, I had major unresolved cravings for waffles. Whilst everyone else went shopping at SOHO, I slinked into the stylish, contemporary waffle parlour to have the Pecan & Butterscotch Waffle with Ice Cream for lunch.
The store manager Andy was extremely friendly and chatted with me! He commented on the books I was reading, talked about the Chinese zodiac (year of the horse etc) and asked if I was here on holiday – to which I said yes. He then gave me his contact and invited me to look for him every time I’m in London! What a great guy ^^. The Pecan & Butterscotch Waffles is, hands-down, the best waffle I’ve had in a long time. When my dessert came, a very nice black couple were just leaving the café and they casually told me “You’ll totally love that. I just ate the same one.” It’s insane! I can’t even begin to describe how amazing the waffles were.
Each waffle is made to order, and toasted to my favourite kinda crispy. Topped with a scoop of fresh ice-cream, the combination is pure perfection. I was watching the waitress dribble butterscotch – they did it with so much precision and care. You feel as though they’re giving each dish so much attention!
Food aside, the decor of Pure Waffle is minimalist and very comfortably spacious. It is thoughtfully furnished as a social hangout for large groups, with private tables and stands for couples and individuals. Definitely one of those earmarked cafés which I’ll bring my loved ones to when we come back to London, and also to look for Andy, the store manager!
58 Duke St, London W1K 6JW, United Kingdom
+44 20 7629 0546
To satisfy the major cravings I had for waffles, I googled “Best Waffles in Central London”. This Swedish gem of a café turned up multiple times in the search engine and I decided to hunt it down! Jet lag woke me up at 5am hence I was ravenous! KULA opens at 8am. I took the underground to Bond Street. The cafeé is at the corner adjacent to St Christopher’s Place, and easily recognized. Small warm and cosy, with splendid waffle choices, a spectrum of coffees and breakfast smoothies…on first impression it’s a lovely place to dine. Boy am I glad the place has WiFi.
To be honest, the service was terrible! The waitress / boss had a grumpy attitude, and my latte was served lukewarm (I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that I’m Asian, and I have ‘tourist’ written all over my face, because she seemed much nicer to the regulars whom she recognised). Besides coffee, I had a fresh fruits waffle with maple syrup which was satisfyingly sweet. My fruits were indeed cold and fresh, and I felt that it was a hearty, healthy breakfast. I like my waffles crispy though! Mine came slightly soft It was still yummy, disregarding the less than welcoming service.
It’s safe to say that I won’t come back, unless they do a menu revamp, or perhaps just to try their Swedish ice cream. A pity though, I would have loved this hangout a lot.
21 James Street London
W1u 1DS London, United Kingdom
In the weather news, Melbourne is a scorching 40 degrees today! I’d managed to come back to Singapore this morning, escaping the northwesterly winds that are dragging the heat with it. Whew.
Tomorrow I would be in Russia, possibly hibernating my winter away in the subzero freeze. Whilst loading up on instant Chinese food to pack away in case we get snowed in, I happened to chance upon The Loft at Chinatown. There I stopped for some Earl Grey Iced Tea with aloe vera, and a Garden Salad with smoked salmon. There was a private Christmas party going on in the third level, but basically the second floor was pretty calm and quiet, save for diners who come and go for The Loft’s reputed pancakes and waffles. Remind me again that I’d need to try that at a later date!
The tea was surprisingly refreshing but there was too much ice! The salad was good but the salmon a tad too salty. Then again I’m a little picky when it comes to food… and I’d much enjoyed their service and serenity of the quaint multi-level cafè. So that means I’m definitely coming back again with my friends to try their desserts. We’re such suckers for sweet pretty things.
268A South Bridge Road
Tues – Sat 11am-10pm
Amidst the London rush hour, the lost tourist a.k.a Viktoria Jean was trying to get to the ice-cream store just across the street on South Kensington. At 6pm in the evening, walking against the crowd is no easy feat. Everybody seems to be dashing somewhere, moving fast ahead with their lives, going with the incessant flow. Meanwhile, the lost tourist stops for a Stracciatella gelato.