Our “Hey! Japanese Series Texi Driver” Debuts Overseas.
At SoraNews24, we love to travel and we love to eat. So, recently, we combined these passions with a series called “Hey, Japanese Taxi Driver”, in which we ask taxi drivers from our travel destinations to take us to the best local restaurant serving regional specialties.
Obviously, however, “Hey, Japanese taxi driver” is not a phrase we can use on our adventures abroad. Still, we believe the basic concept should still work internationally, which is why on a recent trip, our reporter Ikuna Kamezawa made a slight adjustment and said “Hey Thai tuk-tuk driver, take me to the best Thai restaurant!”
But first, a little background. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of driving one, tuk-tuks are motorized tricycles that you’ll see roaming Thailand as taxis. Their colorful paintwork and open seats give them a bit of an amusement park feel, and it’s a fun way to get around big cities like bangkokwhere Ikuna was traveling.
There is a downside, however, according to Ikuna. Since tuk-tuks are a unique symbol of Thailand, they are particularly popular with foreign visitors, and some drivers in tourist areas like downtown Bangkok might overcharge you for your ride if they see that you come from outside. of the city, she said. So, to avoid this, Ikuna got out of the city center and headed towards the Wongwian Yai neighborhood, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River.
Wongwian Yai has two train stations, one for the national railway line and one for the BTS Skytrain. The area around the Skytrain station has a number of wholesalers selling fabric, paper, metalwork and paints.
Compared to the hustle and bustle of downtown, the atmosphere is much more laid back, and for Ikuna it was a bit like walking around the “old town” section of Asakusa in Tokyo..
Ikuna seemed to be the only tourist around, all the others apparently being locals working or doing their daily errands. Unfortunately this also meant that there were no tuk-tuks looking for fares nearby, so she headed for the national station, which was about a 20 minute walk away, where there was a group of vehicles parked near the entrance. .
Although Ikuna has been to Thailand about 20 times, his language skills are not very strong. Luckily for her, there was some sort of manager who arranged tuk-tuk rides for the passengers, and he and Ikuna were able to use their shared English skills to communicate. Ikuna said she would like her driver to take her to the best Thai restaurant in the area, which he said he could do for 50 baht (US$1.35), and off they went!
Ikuna’s driver dropped her off in front of a restaurant called Go Bamee Sarapee, located somewhere between the two stations in the area. She’s sure she could never have found the place on her own, and looking inside she could see a cozy family restaurant that seats about 10 customers.
Again, Ikuna doesn’t exactly speak Thai, or even conversation, if she’s being honest. She was lucky, because the restaurant has pictures of some of their specialties.and using them, Ikuna was able to order a bowl of noodles with blind and pork.
After a short wait, Ikuna got it… well, honestly, she doesn’t know what it’s called. She didn’t even know how much it was going to cost her. What she did know, however, was that it looked delicious!
And this visual impression turned out to be quite accurate. The flavor was simple yet savory, with the meaty notes of pork and sluts mixing well with the chopped green onion and crisp Napa cabbage..
▼ There was also a selection of condiments like nam pla (Thai fish sauce) and chili peppers, but Ikuna was pleased with the flavor of her noodles just as they were served.
Ikuna added a cola to her order, and even though she didn’t have dessert, the end of her meal was still sweet when she found out that the whole thing only cost her 209 baht (US$5.79), a price she was more than happy with.
So Go Bamee Sarapee has earned a spot on Ikuna’s foodie itinerary in Bangkok, and it’s a great place to have lunch before heading to the ‘middle-aged man’s paradise’ izakaya for dinner.