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BKK & Vegetarian Food Fest 2013

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I visited Bangkok for the first time, from 9-13 October, which was the last few days of the semestral school holidays. My main intention was so shop - and so I did ;)

I went with Mum first, before Dad & a few family friends came on the second night.

Bangkok is just a short flight away (about 2 hours) so we flew on Tiger Airways (ugh cramped, faux leather seats) and I brought along food (apple, nectarine & 2 plums) for a mid-morning snack.

The exchange rate is roughly 100 baht = SGD$4. So to convert baht to SGD$, remove the last two digits and multiply the remaining front digits by 4.

Photos taken with my iPhone 5 and Mum's Samsung Note 2 - which for a while I thought had better image quality, but no, it doesn't. Lols. Lightly edited with Snapseed.
How lucky was I - our trip was during Thailand's Vegetarian Festival (5-13 Oct this year)! :D I only found out a few days before the trip, because I mistakenly thought that it fell on the same dates yearly. Actually, it's held during the first nine days of the ninth lunar month (September or October). It's a Chinese-Buddhist festival "which sees street-side vendors serving meatless meals to help cleanse the body". Vegetarianism isn't a widespread trend in Thailand, but during this festival, many restaurants and street stalls go meatless for one month. Dishes are almost always vegan, and indicated by yellow flags and banners. Other than having no dairy or eggs (strictly vegan), buddhist-vegetarian also means no garlic, onions or leek. The phrase for "I'm vegan" in Thai is pom gin jair (for men) and di-chan gin jair (for women). No idea how to pronounce them lols. But 'jay' is another word that you can use to ask for vegan food; the Vegetarian Festival is also called the Jay Festival! [Parts adapted from Lonely Planet Thailand] 


Mum and I arrived at about lunchtime, so once we checked in and left the luggage in our hotel, we went to The Platinum Mall, which was conveniently located across the road! They had a Vegetarian Food Fest and there was a long stretch of stalls selling vegan foods outside the mall. There was about five times the amount of stalls seen in the previous photo! :) Most of the food I ate on the first 2 days came from here ^^


Steamed rice dumplings!


It was the first thing I ate. It was good and I loved how peppery it was! Though it was a little too oily.


Then we went to the food court in the mall where Mum had lunch. I had this - sweet potato in sweetened coconut milk. It was too sweet!

All the food courts I've been to during this trip went by a card system (I forgot what it's called oops), where you go to a counter to exchange money for a card (like if you hand over 100 baht the card will have 100 baht) and then you use it to buy your food. And after buying you can go back and refund the money you didn't use. Come to think of it, like this the food vendors don't have to handle money. So hygienic!!

Also, the tables are cleaner than those in Singapore (eww dirty cloths wiping dirty tables). And every single table has a plastic box which has tissue and toothpicks for you to use. Wow so considerate. 


These are the flags you'll see at the stalls which have vegetarian food! The vegetarian stall has the longest queues.

And then we walked around a bit in the mall to do some shopping! Okay I did shopping. Haha. Mum hardly bought anything for herself this trip! :/

Anyway Platinum Mall is a great place to shop! I think it's my second favourite place. :) For good shopping recommendations you can check out That F Word: EP9 - Bangkok Shopping Part 1 and Part 2. I watched and rewatched them so many times lols.


Back to the veg food fest for lunch... part 3. ._.


Here, you choose either the less spicy or more spicy curry sauce (I chose the less spicy) and the stall holder will put in noodles. Then you're free to add in as much veggies as you want!

Isn't this photo gorgeous?! The lighting and the sharpness and the colours!


So I got carrots, beansprouts, cabbage, long beans, cucumber and topped it off with some chili flakes. I could probably have eaten the whole bowl (previous pic) of carrots. But alas, the Styrofoam bowl was too small. I needed space to mix the curry with the veg.


Though I chose the less spicy one, but it was super spicy! I was sweating and my nose was running o_o And I thought that I had a moderately okay spiciness tolerance. It also didn't help that the weather was sweltering hot and we were in the sun for 30 sec (we couldn't take it so we walked the other direction to take the BTS to our destination lols)

Also, it seems like food hygiene isn't very important here. Like foods are rarely covered up. Not just this stall, but in others too! The pots of curry have such a big surface area. What could have fallen inside o_o


Cute cookies!


My mouth was burning so I needed a drink. Coconut water!


This cup was mostly filled with ice actually. Yet somehow it still tasted sweet. It probably has added sugar. Ahh but it was refreshing!


Odd looking fruit and drink, which we didn't try.


We walked to the Ratchathewi BTS station (it was quite a walk!). It's indicated on the map in yellow. They have two train transport systems, BTS (above ground) and MRT (underground). The price to your destination is shown on the map in the circles. We were headed to Siam station, which is one station away and costs 15 baht.

The annoying thing about this is that you can only buy one ticket at a time. Which is fine for one or two, but for five...


The train ticket. I tapped it on the gantry instead to slotting it in and Mum laughed at me hahaha. (Dad did the same thing too!) But the single journey tickets in Singapore are to be tapped! Lols


How cute. It's their card... thing. Like how ours is Ezlink, theirs is rabbit & carrot!


At Siam Square. It's an area where there's many small boutiques.


The clothes weren't cheap, so we didn't buy anything along these streets!


There was a small mall nearer to the BTS (if I remember correctly) and I got phone covers there whee~! And this is in an enclosed, air-con-ed place, where things are more affordable.

Cute notebooks that I didn't get. Because they were too thin and they were lined. But at this shop, I found a treasure! (Okay that might be an exaggeration). I found authentic Hello Kitty silicon cake molds :D It was placed among other obviously-fake ones. But they had the same price! I think it was about $10-12 for a small 4-holed one. SO cheap! If it was bought in Singapore it'll probably cost over $20. I'm guessing $22.90. If it's at a sale it'll be $14.90. Lols.

Buying cheap & good things makes me happy hahaha


And then our feet were tired so we looked for some place to sit. We chanced upon this cute shop! Afterwards I found out that it's a brand of teddy bears. Somewhat like Build-a-Bear, but the bears are smaller and already... built.


There's a café at the second level.

The stairs were so steep.


It was a super adorable themed café! It had forest-y décor and almost everything had a bear on it :)



The fake food display.


I got a kiwi smoothie because there was hardly anything vegan on the menu. But I wasn't hungry because of my four-part lunch hehe. A kiwi smoothie is safe since they can't add any dairy (it'll curdle) and it doesn't have any honey (otherwise they'll state it in the name), but we also asked in case. The coaster is so cute!


Mum's tea. Camomile, I think. The tea cup & pot are so cute!


The pancake my mum had. I would love to have the pancake pan!




Me and a bear.



Bears and their clothes! :) Clothes which are more expensive than human clothes. About SGD$20/ 500 baht if I remember correctly! Which can get you 3-5 pieces of human clothes.

Our hotel room.



We stayed one night at Amari Watergate. Because it's near good shopping. It's slightly pricey. We didn't have breakfast there because it was expensive (about SGD$20 each)!


The Platinum Mall at night. Many bright lights from the veg food fest!





I got a pack of grapes SGD$7+ for a kg. But it wasn't very good. >< They were firm but somehow the insides kinda burst in your mouth. :( Not very fresh; they weren't kept in the fridge though the weather was so hot!


I had mango sticky rice for the first time! It was so good!! I got the one with brown sticky rice at the far left... How long have they been left there? That packet of colourful sticky rice which has lilac and light green rice seems to have been there since the afternoon. o_o


I also got a papaya salad! :) It's unripe papaya by the way, so it looks like... zucchini!


Yum yum. All raw except the peanuts and part of the sauce. Loved the tangy, sweet, spicy and savoury sauce! Though more spicy than expected. As with most of the other food I've tried here. :x Like you'd think that it's just slightly spicy or not really spicy because you don't really see much chili, but no. They use chili padi and pound it into the sauce. So though the chili isn't visible, it is spicy!


Mum had pink bee hoon (vermicelli noodles).


It was from this stall (photo taken in the morning). Note the piles of uncovered food! :O #hygienefreakhere


Photos of food I didn't try. Mock eggs, prawns and other unidentifiable stuff. Ooh. I don't really like eating mock meat.


A spread of chinese-style veg food. I don't really like Chinese food. #pickyeaterhere


Mock char siew ooh.


The Platinum Mall was closed already so we went to a nearby grocery store. Doesn't this look good? Good as in its vegan ("for J Festival"), low GI, no refined sugar and only 5 ingredients. Hehe didn't buy it though. Singapore needs more commercial vegan breads!

I love how Thai packaged foods have the ingredient list in percentage! Way easier to find out what you're eating. If it's in English. ^^ Though for some reason the percentages don't add up for this. (Maybe the other ingredient is water..? Wait, what about the yeast?) :x


Soy milk with tofu sheet. o_o
It had added sugar, so I didn't try. But the middle one looks interesting - it has organic green tea & azuki beans!

Ooh packaged ba zhang (Chinese rice dumplings). This is a display of Jay food.


The spread of food for breakfast the next morning. Bought reduced-to-clear bananas lols (SGD$0.45). There were complementary fruits! :) I had fruit while Mum had bread & cake.

Over the course of the next day I finished up 4/5 of the grapes, the small bananas and some apples I brought! Hehe.

 And so Day 1 ends.


Started of Day 2 with some early morning shopping! We woke up at 4.30am and left the hotel at 5+am to go to the Pratunam Morning Market, which was a 5-10 mins walk from our hotel.


It was the BEST place to shop omg! Everything was at wholesale price from 5-7am, where you usually have to buy 3 item from any one stall. Usually it's 3 for 300 baht or 500 baht.

Yes that's me. I look so small. o_o


Shopped until the sun came up.

Mum went to the toilet at one of the buildings nearby and beside it was the creepiest flight of stairs I'd ever seen.



A bag of my shopping. I think I bought most of my clothes here!

New phone case matches old dress. :)


Lunch the next day, from Platinum Mall's Veg food fest.


I got these rolls. No idea what they're called. It's like big pieces of rice noodles stuffed with a little carrot, spring onion, leafy greens and mock chicken. Really just a little, most of it was the rice noodles!

And when we bought it, the lady handed it to me with a small packet of sauce and... a bunch of leaves! I'm not sure what it is though. My closest guess would be basil but I think I'm wrong! Lols mum and I were surprised. I guess you're supposed to eat it together. Ended up returning it though hehe.


It was so simple yet so good. I added the tangy, savoury and spicy sauce which just made it taste amazing! As usual, despite looking like an innocent, clear lime sauce, it was spicier than expected and my mouth was burning. o_o




The Amari Watergate hotel lobby. We checked out in the afternoon to head to The Hey Hotel.


This is at Terminal 21, a mall that's a short distance away from our hotel. Went to Toast Box for an afternoon snack. First time having something to eat at Toast Box since becoming vegan!
Also, the adjoining Bread Talk had quite a selection of vegan breads :O


So, though I don't like greasy, deep-fried foods, I had the one at the bottom (I can't remember what it's called) which was deep-fried tofu topped with sweet, sour & spicy sauce and some veggies. There were 3 young female employees (? what are they called?) behind the counter at that time and they seemed so afraid to deep-fry the tofu LOL.

Then dad & family-friends came and we checked in to our hotel.
When Dad comes = end of enjoying yummy vegan food + start of sitting in very meat-y eateries
(True even in Sg)


At Tops Supermarket, which is located between Terminal 21 and our hotel, below Robinson departmental store (which is completely different from our Robinsons! o_o ) It's slightly higher-end, but... Organic bananas!! You can't even find them in Cold Storage or Marketplace here! Bought a bunch.


Night view of our hotel. It's a small boutique hotel and seems like it's patronised mostly by Japanese and Singaporeans! Like in the lobby the TV shows NHK channel, it's won some prizes (displayed in the dining area) from a Japanese online travel booking website, and quite a few things have Japanese translations.

By the way, the first floor toilet has fully mirrored walls. Wow. For the first time I saw the hair of the back of my head, and it's awful. -_-


The breakfast spread. It was so small. It seems like they alternate their menu. We stayed there for 3 nights, and for the 1st breakfast, the only vegan items were watermelon and pineapple, and for the 3rd, there was watermelon, pineapple and papaya. I could've eaten all of it, but of course I didn't, that would've been selfish. And there's like someone behind the counter looking at you take your food hahaha, Though I did eat at least half of it lols. Then I went back to the room to have bananas, apples and bread.


Chinatown!

 Chinatown is supposed to be where the center of the Vegetarian Festival festivities is (according to what I found online), but there wasn't really anything happening there. Lols. Which was a relief since I heard on one of those days some take part in self-mutilation or something o_o

Cute little pineapples at a roadside stall.


At one of the markets there.

We went to a shark's fin place for lunch. I had plain, but salty veg.


Shortly after, we went to MBK mall. My feet were dying from walking too much (in not really padded shoes) everyday. So Mum & I went to a food court.

This is somewhat like ice kachang, but you get to choose 3 items (though in other places I saw you could pick 5) and they add shaved ice, sweetened coconut milk and syrup (which I asked to omit; it was sweet enough already). I picked red beans, sweet potato and yam.



Also shared this with mum. It's a spicy veggie stew I think. Those fishball-like things are a kind of mushroom! It was (again) unexpectedly spicy, but delicious - I drank all the soup up (and I never do)! (I hoped there wasn't MSG, but I wasn't really thirsty so I guess there really wasn't) And the best part is, it's not oily at all! :O When will they start having these kinda soups at hawker centres here?!


Then that night, Mum & I went to a hair salon (on the Japan level) for a hair cut, and I asked the hairdresser(s) to blow-dry my hair curly. Haha two of them were curling my hair (using a round brush and hair dryer) from either side! The curls were so lovely.

And the next day I had the BEST HAIR DAY of my entire life :O I had hair that I've always dreamed for omg. Soft, smooth, not frizzy and slightly curly at the ends. HOW. I'm not sure if it was the shampoo/conditioner/hair serum/blowdrying but I think it was a combination of all of them. Sigh it was gone once I washed my hair. But at least I know it's possible :')


Isn't this pretty? This is at a fruit stall at Peir 21, Terminal 21's food court. It's a cup of fruit and veg which is freshly juiced once someone orders it! 


No, this isn't at a bakery, but at a TOILET!

The uniqueness of Terminal 21 is that it's designed like an airport, with a different country for every level, like Japan, London etc. The décor is really very pretty; it's the most beautifully designed mall I've ever been in! Also the toilets are really worth a visit. They're two on each level, a larger one and a smaller one, designed based on the theme of that level. The previous photo of my curly hair was taken in the larger Japan toilet. Mum & I went to all of the larger toilets, and almost all of the smaller toilets, partially because we were in search of a toilet that had chandeliers that mum wanted to show me (she'd been here on a previous trip)(btw, it's one of the smaller toilets).
Also, the toilets are the Japanese type, with the buttons at the side - heated seat, bidet etc.


Then we went to a Vegan Shabu-shabu (though more like a steamboat) at Mo-Mo-Paradise! 299++ baht is about SGD$12, I think with the ++ it was about $14 if I remember correctly.



It's a kombu (seaweed) stock.


You get to choose from this 'Vegetable Market', which has a wide variety of veg and different types of noodles - they even have shirataki noodles!

Though be warned - some items had this green label with Thai words on it, and it means that it's non-vegan! The items were leek, onion and... fish cake! It looked just like tofu. Omg we were this close to taking it. Phew. But that was the only meat in this area (this was also open for the meat eaters).



We had about 4 plates in total. Loved the carrots, yam, and some beancurd thing (top left-hand corner of this plate).


Dipped everything in the peanut sauce, which was delish!


A view of the rest of the restaurant.


Breakfast! Previously I mentioned the 1st & 3rd breakfast at this hotel, and this is the 2nd. There was bananas and veg :)


We went to take the MRT (underground train) and this is the ticket - a plastic coin that you tap.


We were headed to Chatuchak Weekend Market!


Shopped for clothes, pieces of wood (lols) and cute soaps!


Then we went to a mall for lunch. I can't remember what mall, but I'm guessing it's.. Union Mall?
We went to this restaurant and they had a Jay (vegan) menu. But it was in Thai. With no photos. So I just got something from the regular menu and asked for it Jay.


I got this after a long long long wait (I already ate half of the rice -_- ). It was mushroom soup but its more like mushrooms in diluted soy sauce. Salty. And the white rice was.. no choice. -_-
The chrysanthemum drink at the side isn't mine. Lols mum asked for no sugar, then the waiter said 'a little bit' and 'already add in' or something like that. But when it came it was obviously something like Yeo's chrysanthemum tea. Maybe not even the less sugar kind!

It seems like they (Thais in general) really love their sugar! Like at food court stalls, most have a bowl of sugar there for people to help themselves. And it's not like they just add sugar to sweet stuff. Mum saw someone adding a spoonful of sugar into his/her noodle soup?!


Buying BTS tickets!


We were headed to Asiatique.


It's accessible by ferry (also by road, but most people take the ferry) for free, but the queue was super long so we paid 20 baht per person to ride another one.


It was a short 5-10mins ride. Though we waited for quite a while.



And we arrived!


It kinda has the USS feel I think. Lols. It's kinda western-ish.



They have a flyer too!


Luckily, there was a Vegetarian Food Fest there too!


There were quite a lot of stalls (about 6 times of this?), though not as many as the Platinum one, of course.


I got mango sticky rice, yay! Quite expensive here though, about 80baht I think.


Small portion. But yummm.


Papaya salad!


<3


There was this Japanese stall too. On the left... Vegan takoyakis?!?! Didn't try them though!


Wow looks good.


Fried stuff.


'Line' characters are quite popular in Thailand!


Fish spa. I would never put my feet into those omg so creepy can you imagine hungry swarms of tiny fish feeding off you?!

Also, I've previously read an article that it can cause infections or something.


The outside of Asiatique.



We went to Healthland and got foot massages. It was the second foot massage this trip, and this was much better than the first one (which was at a regular, smaller massage place), though we had to wait an hour and it was more expensive. The lobby is so high class! I fell asleep during the massage lols. And the herbal tea (of unknown herbs) we were served afterwards was delicious! I think what I like about foot massages is that the dead skin of your feet & legs are removed. ^^


The next and final day.
Vegan bread (there were yellow flags above) at Tops Supermarket. I got one of the loaves at the back and finished it during the trip.


So colourful! :)


Went to Peir 21 for lunch.


Mango sticky rice (3rd time this trip) for 35 baht. So good as always!


Mushroom curry with noodles (that you add to the curry) and vegan otah thing (the cheesy looking thing is made of coconut!). Both were so so incredibly yummy!! Scraped the bowl clean. A great last meal in BKK.

I didn't get diarrhoea, but for the last half of the trip and the first few days back in Sg, my stomach had random bouts of aching. I think it was because my diet was higher in fat than usual so I got indigestion! But the aching went away after 2 days on my usual diet :) Also, I kinda increased like 1/2 a dress size during the trip. Must have been water retention! Went back to normal just after one day back in Sg. o_o

Ah, finally done with this blogpost! It's 2 weeks overdue oops. I'd definitely want to go back again, but only during Jay month, and only when I need (okay, want) lotsa new clothes. Haha. Next time, maybe I'll head to some vegan food eateries which I thought was too troublesome to go to this trip (since the focus was shopping) like Rasayana Raw Food café, Dosa King (Indian food) and Govinda Italian Restaurant. :)

Also, I'll go with better walking shoes next time. From the second day onwards my lower back started aching after walking a while T.T and of course my feet did too. (And sadly, all that walking did not lower my fat percentage, when previously it did.)





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