Thai Sois. Soi is the equivalent of Lorong in Malaysia. Small narrow roads leading off the main road into apartments, houses and an entire microcosm. The Sois in Bangkok form a very intricate network and often, just exiting the main road into the soi, one will be transported into another time and dimension. Quietness prevails, with a lot of trees for shade. Small little cheap hostels interspersed with Bungalows/Mansions, Luxury Apartments and Village Houses. They will have their own small provision shop cum markets, convenience stores and are like villages by themselves. Unfortunately in Bangkok, some sois are now big main roads! Well known ones will be Soi Nana and Soi Cowboy.
Food will usually be available from small little restaurants, the converging point of the community. From labourers to rich Khunyings (who may not dine there, but would send out their maids for food). The fare is usually simple Thai Food, and some more enterprising ones may have a karaoke machine, where one can insert some coins to belt out a song. Right in the heart of KL, there is a restaurant that offers this kind of charm and ambiance. At the junction of Jalan Alor and Changkat Bukit Bintang, look out for this restaurant called "Thai Somtam Seafood".
Nothing fancy, but you know the food is the real McCoy here. Thai Newspapers and Magazines are available for sale here as the owner orders the Herbs and the Condiments from Thailand too. Thai TV Drama Serials, where The Drama Queens are really bitchy, weepy, flamboyant and glamorous are available for sale and hire. Desserts (they were fresh out that day) such as grilled bananas, crystalized pumpkin and other varieties also awaits those who are more adventurous.
This has been my watering hole for comfort food, when I miss Thailand, and as far as I know, the only place where I can recreate my experiences when I was in Bangkok.
Palm Fruit drink. Don't bother to hunt for it in the Supermarkets. The owner brings it in herself from Thailand. Sweet, fresh, fragrant and refreshing. Nectar from the swamps in Southern Thailand. The ONLY place I know so far where I can get my fix in KL.
Throw away the Tom Yams, boys and girls and meet the Modjo of Tom Yam. This soup is called Tom Sep. Very very spicy, with lots of dried chilli powder on top and small little chili padis below. Lots of Basil, Galagal, Lemon Grass and Kaffir Lime leaves. One sip and then kaboom! Sweating, salivating, and oohs and ahhs! Filled with delectable babi balls and very lean babi meat. I don't think it's in the menu, just tell tham you want tom sep. Beef version also available.
Thai Fish Cakes (Tod Man Pla). Thai fishcakes are mixed with egg whites for thier consistency. Also inside will be some Sweet Thai Basil, lime leaves and chilli. Their version is perfectly fried. All the oil on the outside, none inside. Fabulous!
Lots of other interesting dishes such as cat fish salad, duck salad (but sadly, not the Lao version), and steamed fish. Will post later.