Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bangkok Study Trip

My contribution to the July 2011 issue of the INTERSECTION newsletter; I see it as my role to provide an irreverent aspect to this publication. (when Ivy lets me get away with it.)  
sketches from the Navalia River Resort

Siam Cement Group showroom

Recently, members of the local Architects' Institute went on a study tour of Bangkok; this is a usual item on the PAM calendar - last year it was Shanghai and Beijing the year before. I went along for the promise of good eats, sights and a chance to sketch outside my usual boundaries. It is also an 5-day exercise in camaraderie and good-will (something that my wife tells me I need to work on) as 25 people share food and a small bus. Indeed, there were times when we shared food IN a small bus.

Bangkok University - School of Arts
Aside form enjoying the daily architectural and culinary tidbits; I took time to record some interesting 'discoveries' which I made whilst in Bangkok. 
1. There are 6-foot long monitor lizards at the Lumphini Park;
runners stop to let them pass.
2. Thai runners also stop mid-stride when the National Anthem
played in the Park at 8 a.m.
3. If you behave and sit quietly in the Public Library; the librarian
will fetch you a cup of coffee.
4. Thai mall security patrol on locally-made Segways.
5. In her campaign poster, Ying Shinawatra reminds me of
Catherine Zeta-Jones.
6. Adding a ‘kup’ or ‘ka’ at the end of a word makes it sound more
polite…try it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


UMNO HQ - while waiting for cha kuih tiau - I coloured in with soy sauce

Architects are not to be trusted (totally) when it comes to food reviews and recommendation - because more likely than not we are influenced by many factors other than the food. Just as pleasant company adds to the dining experience, I feel that the right architectural environment does the same. It is the notion of eating lunch in a decades old shop house that someone has breathed new life into - as in SOUL CAFE ( I had pasta here)on Lebuh Muntri off Penang Road. It appears that the young cook and his wife live on the cafe premises as well - I spied childrens' toys on the timber staircase leading up to the first floor. Or eating lunch at someone's sea front verandah at the Clan Jetties - the "LAN SEI LEE" (Thai Laksa) at the TAN KEO (bridge). Take note of how the piers of the houses are ingeniously built with paint-containers.

To rub shoulders with the locals, the CHULIA STREET Cantonese Tim Sum (a bit of the heart - my translation) is good for ambience. Cool down with KENG KWEE LANE Teochew Chendol off Penang Road opposite the Police Station. For attitude, the lady who cooks the CHA KUIH TIAU at LORONG SELAMAT has plenty - go before twelve to beat long queues and while waiting have the oyster omelette.  

On my next trip, I plan to try The NYONYA BREEZE at Abu Siti Lane and the BEACH CORNER (Hainanese cooking) at Batu Ferringi.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Perhaps people who live on islands are kindred spirits; because I have met so many nice people from Penang - even ones who have been long removed from the island home. So it is a happy coincidence that a client should visit our website and decide to appoint us for his new house in Penang - legitimising my wish to visit Penang for food and sketching. (and generally walking around and looking)
China Street, Georgetown

Stopping for a drink and air-cond rest at a health food restaurant and sketching the streetscape through the shop window; Little India runs perpendicular to China Street. The vista down China Street ends with an old Chinese temple.
Padang next to Penang Town Hall

Friday, June 3, 2011

Thai Lunch

We arrived in Bangkok at 4 pm (3 pm local time) - too late for lunch and too early for dinner; undaunted we led our tour guide to a hole in the wall restaurant called "Chotechitr" for our first taste of home cooked Thai food. There were 6 tables inside the shop and one outside by the street; run by a well-spoken (in English) lady who spent her childhood in Italy. The solitary cook meant that our meals took some time to arrive; which was fine as the neighbourhood was charming and people friendly.
We ate banana flower salad and crispy vermicelli in a tangy spicy dressing, followed by fried fish with mango salad, red curry prawns and chicken in yellow curry - all in the guise of a pre-dinner snack. Which ended up being dinner for all of us. 

Map courtesy of Yaowalak