Food in BKK – Foon Talob

Results of the second cheesemaking attempt is coming soon… thank you for your patience.  In the meantime:

After returning from our trip to the US in late March, Tawn and I had a conversation about the food in Bangkok that we really miss when we are away.  In my mind, this list is much shorter than the list of food from San Francisco I miss now that I live here.  One of the Bangkok foods that did come to mind was the gai tod (fried chicken) and som tam (green papaya salad) served at Foon Talob (ฝุ่นตลบ) at the Chatuchak (sometimes “Jatujak”) Weekend Market.

As a special treat, Tawn agreed to serve as host for our video visit.  You can watch him introducing the cuisine of Foon Talob here:

Otherwise you can read about it and see the pictures below:

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Foon talob translates as “dust all over” and the idea is of a Northeastern Thai (Issan) style roadside restaurant, a place where there would be dust all over the place.  The restaurant is open air but covered, adjacent to a paved walkway and rows of stalls.  In the hot season it is quite warm.  But even then it is quite popular, filling up by early afternoon with everyone sitting shoulder to shoulder and back to back in the tightly spaced rows of tables and stools.

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Next to the open air kitchen is a little offering for the gods, a bit of food, sticky rice, and water with the ashes of incense scattered on the plate, a request for good fortune and business success that day.

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I’m inclined to think that fried chicken is one of the most universal foods.  So many cultures have fried chicken … even before KFC arrived!  Here, freshly butchered chicken is breaded in a heavily seasoned coating and then dropped into a wok of boiling oil.  The end result is crispy on the outside but tender and juicy on the inside.  It is served with two sauces: The one in the back is really spicy and the one in the front is mostly sweet with only a little spice.  Always, always, always, the fried chicken is eaten with a bowl of sticky (glutinous) rice.

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Fried chicken just isn’t Issan fried chicken without a side dish of som tam or green papaya salad.  Hundreds of green papayas are shredded each day to serve the customers.

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To the green papaya is added lime, tomatoes, dried shrimp, peanuts, sugar, fish sauce, and chilies.  The mixture is pounded with a mortar and pestle, making a sound that in Thai is described as “pok pok…” providing a handy synonym for som tam.

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The end result is a tangy, sour, slightly salty, and often very spicy salad that is really refreshing in the hot weather.

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Another popular side dish is laab (sometimes Anglicized as “larb”).  Usually made with ground pork (although you can make it with other meats) the salad has ground toasted rice grains, shallots, green onions, lime juice, fish sauce, and chili flakes fried together then served on a bed of basil and mint.  Varying degrees of spice but always a very flavorful dish.

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For a special treat, we ordered a grilled Northern Style pork sausage.  The meat is heavily spiced and flavorful.

After lunch we headed across the walkway to a vendor serving homemade coconut ice cream.  Their twist is that they serve the ice cream in half a young coconut shell with the meat from the coconut shaved out to accompany your ice cream.

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You can choose from a variety of toppings: boiled water chestnuts, hearts of palm, peanuts, condensed milk, etc.

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Coconut ice cream with young coconut meat, hearts of palm, and peanuts.  Refreshing!

 

0 thoughts on “Food in BKK – Foon Talob

  1. fukkk! i love thai food.. LOOVEE!! mint, basil, chilies, sour, sweet, so fresh, so rawwwww and teach me how to make their ice tea.. how do i make it ? what do i need?

  2. @Made2Order – The tea?  You just buy the leaves here (or the powdered, instant version) which are actually really low-quality leaves.  That’s why they doctor it with so much condensed milk!@moolgishin – Should have put up a warning, huh?  “Do not read if hungry!”@lcfu – Probably hard to get in Frankfurt…

  3. I love your reviews. I admit – I kept thinking how different cultures can be … my mind can’t quite wrap around coconut ice cream served in a coconut shell. Very different – but intriguing!

  4. @murisopsis – Very similar, but a little less squeeky.@kunhuo42 – Who would have though, indeed!@Toro69 – Glad you liked it.  I’ll pass the compliment on to Tawn and hopefully we can get him to narrate more.@OhItWontBeForever – *Blush* I’m glad you liked it.@Passionflwr86 – Kind of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” thing put into practice, eh?@Dezinerdreams – Is it not common there?  I figured it would be.@bejewel07 – If only I could share some with you!

  5. “aroi mak mak!!” Oh, I remember I passed by the eatery at the Chatuchak weekend market. Gosh, I should have check it out, but my mind was preoccupied with SHOPPING! (Not to mention I was succumbed by the heat and humidity inside the stalls!)

  6. The crispy fried chicken looks so tempting and the ice cream for dessert adds up for a satisfaction guaranteed meal!!! What a superb gastronomic treat!!!

  7. Oh Tawn! You can have my heart any time!! Loved the way he described the whole thing. I could almost smell the frying of chicken and the aroma of tangy papaya salad. I have to try that coconut ice cream with the sweetened heart of palm.

  8. @TheCheshireGrins – Kind of like green apples combined with cucumber – the crispness of the apple and a little tartness, but a bit blander like cucumber.@ElusiveWords – Mission accomplished.@ZSA_MD – I’ll pass on your nice words, Zakiah.  Thank you.@Roadlesstaken – Dunno.  Miracles never cease to amaze me, though.  =D@Wangium – And we didn’t even order particularly spicy.@icapillas – Glad you enjoyed!@CurryPuffy – That place it just too hot for me.  An early morning run to the chicken restaurant is about all I can handle.@Dezinerdreams – Very interesting.  I’ve learned something new today.@yang1815 – It was.  Come try it.

  9. They all look so good! ๐Ÿ˜€ I love sticky rice, I used to attend a Lao church and they would have a potluck after the service every Sunday, so I ate a lot of different but good food ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for posting these, from one foodie to another, I dig it.

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