PAD Upsets My Stomach

Since Thailand is in the middle of yet another political melt down, and the sore looser opposition - the so called People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) - have engaged in their dangerous game of brinkmanship aimed at ousting Thailand's democratically elected government, the old part of the city has become off limits unless you want to become stuck in outrageous traffic or potentially a military crackdown. What is being interpretted by international media and leading scholars as a class showdown between the overwhelming majority rural and urban poor voters that support the government versus the minority PAD middle class Bangkokians and elite royalists, who are hoping to change the entire electoral system to 70 per cent appointed and only 30 per cent elected, the current meltdown has the potential to spell the end of democracy in Thailand. (See New Mandela for more commentary)

Of course this is very upsetting and on a less serious note, it makes me wonder, am I fated to never go on Austin Bush's famous Banglamphu eating tour. Last time we tried it was a Sunday and most of the places closed. Before that I was out of the country. I wonder, will I never taste the delights of Chote Chitr's real mee krob? That Sunday , before the meltdown, we ended up at Sorndaeng an old school restaurant near the independence monument, a place that my PAD loving father recommended. I'd like to go back again but I wonder, are my hopes of another Sunday lunch at Sorndaeng dashed before I depart Thailand indefinitely?

Located near the independence monument, the site of previous military crackdowns of the past, Sorndaeng has stood the test of time. Governments and coups have come and gone but Sorndaeng, it seems remains. Replete with its piano lounge singer, chintzy chandeliers and bow tied waiters. It's as old school as the king and all that represents

independence monument


dining room


On the particular day that we went, there was the usual mix of old school Thai ladies with their bouffant hair do's and drawn in eyebrows, a scattering of western tourists attired in shorts and eating "prison styles" (one dish per person not shared) and some Japanese groups. Aong got excited remembering having eaten at the restaurant on special occasions as a child.

We ordered the mee grob, which I was informed is still not at good as Chote Chitr. But it was still pretty good.

mee krob

Yum Som Oh - Pomelo salad, it was simple and delicious.
pomelo salad

Cute little starter, which I forget the name of but apparently the restaurant is famous for it.


Hor mok, Thai's version of Amok
hor mok

Fish maw (stomach) fried with egg and beansprouts
fish maw

cocounut pudding
coconut pudding

Mango sticky rice
mango sticky rice

The food was excellent. Austin gave it the thumbs up and said it is one of the best upscale Thai restaurant experiences he has had. A big call. But I have to agree.

What was saddening however was when Aong and I went to the bathroom and Aong peered into the kitchen to see the staff eating what appeared to be left overs from the restaurant tables. Although we loved the food at Sorndaeng, perhaps Sorndaeng and all that it stands for has had its time. With its unnecessary airs and graces, its stuffy decor and chintzy facade, although the food is yummy, it can still make you feel ill.


    On 5 September 2008 at 05:00 Anonymous said...

    That entree called 'Kratong Thong'


    thanks anon


    looks fun, especially the psychedelic pudding.

    i have been thinking a lot about people's need for little pieces of 'luxury' lately.
    for some reason i keep reading (e.g. in an interview with a chinese actress in the dreaded Vogue magazine) about the need to flaunt visible wealth in emerging economies...
    But every time I go into town I wander past a thriving Cartier and Louis Vuitton store. It's not like people don't get sucked in by luxury brands in Europe.

    when I was a kid, luxury was a Cobb & Co-esque family restaurant by the water called Greta Point Tavern, where the ladies sipped wine cooler.

    that place, a web search reveals, has morphed into the kind of place that seems to stand for luxury dining for the young & monied nowadays, from London to Hataitai it seems:
    'a modern yet casual international menu'

    My favourite luxury eating memory is probably getting dressed up for the 2000 yen afternoon tea at the french restaurant above Chanel in Ginza: petits fours and stealing a hand towel from the bathroom afterwards.


    actually the meal wasn't even that expensive, we had another dish that I forgot to mention and the whole meal came to about 400 bht per person or 8 euros each. It's a pricy-ish meal for the average middle class Thai wage earner, very expensive to working class Thai's an practically nothing for tourists.


    The yam pomelo looks really good. I don't like it so much when they crush the pulp too much, but that one looks nicely chunky. I think the coworkers took me there back when I worked in BKK but at that time I was fairly clueless so I am not sure. Does it have a craft shop supported by the Queen right next to it?

    So you decided you are leaving? When? Crepe and Co was out last time to see each other in the country?


    not leaving for a while actually, just writing for dramatic effect, will be back in Oz in November and then NZ Dec and then back to BKK by Xmas


    oh.. in reply to Maytel... I was more thinking about how your friend said her parents used to take her there as a special treat...
    and how ideas of 'fine dining' (including, it seems, the décor) change as we grow up and take new forms, but essentially the same concept... going somewhere fancy to feel like you're able to eat a little bite of luxury every now & then. :-)


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