Ask me if I prefer to eat at a hawker centre or a food court and I'm definitely picking the former over the air-conditioned latter. Yes, hawker centres could be relatively dirtier, warmer and smokier than food courts but at least their food tastes much better and is cheaper too. I find food courts lacking in variety and the food that is dished up there seems to have muted flavours. And who can forget the 'food court' smell that clings to one's hair and clothes after a meal there? Not that I wouldn't eat at a food court but I'm not an advocate.
But having tried food from restaurants as well as road side stalls, I thought it would be a good idea to check out the food court here in Bangkok. The one I checked out was at Siam Paragon. This mall is huge and reminds me slightly of Ngee Ann City here in Singapore. Big name boutiques, including a Jimmy Choo, and big department stores entice already tired legs of tourists. I was surprised to see shop units taken up by BMW, Lotus and Lamborghini and used as show rooms complete with the cars themselves.
On the food front, the basement had all sorts of foods from local salads to sandwiches, bakeries, dim sum, sashimi and even kaya toast. Snacks ranging from popular Thai desserts to cakes to donuts and other tidbits seem to shout out at every turn and one can really expect severe caloric damage. Throw that diet out of the window.
I chanced upon this stall selling fried goodies. Yes, almost everything fried is a goodie. Sticks of sweet potato, yam and slices of banana are coated in a light batter, deep fried to a golden glow and sweetened with sugar. The banana slices were fragrant and really sweet with a slight mushy centre. The sweet potato sticks were firmer but also equally delicious. The yam sticks were less sweet and more starchy but I like that it seemed to balance out the sweetness of the sugar nicely. Each type sells for 20 Baht which gives you eight pieces.
Fishball Noodles here are very different from the Singapore version. Here, the fishballs are oval-shaped and less bouncy. Long white strips turned out to be actually fishcake, sliced into strips. The soup stock tasted sweet. Condiments like fish sauce, coriander and chilli flakes made it more Thai. I'm not used to eating sweet fishball beehoon I guess.
The Beef Noodles Soup had a very light broth with a slightly beefy taste. I liked the pieces of stewed beef which was so tender that its strands broke up with a gentle grip of the chopsticks. The beef balls (not the same as cow's testicles I assure you) had a good bite and could beat many of its counterparts in Singapore. Also included were strips of beef tripe as I had ordered the 'mixed' option which provided a bit of everything.
By now, Pad Thai has become one of my favourite foods here in Thailand. It could also be one of the most consistent foods here. Almost every Pad Thai that I've tried seemed to be delicious. And the one here at Siam Paragon food court was no exception.
The food at the food court here costs about 50 Baht per dish on average.
Siam Paragon Food Hall
991/1 Rama 1 Road
(Drop off at BTS Siam Station)
Chew On This: Don't pass Baht to the individual stalls, instead buy a stored value card from the counter and use this to make payments for your meals at the food court. The remaining value is fully refundable.
Note: S$1 = 23 Baht