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Sunday, February 18, 2007



A taste of Betong*

I spent the whole afternoon roaming in Bangkok's trendiest lifestyle street - Thonglo (Soi 55 Sukhumvit Road), shopping in the Playground, searching for antiques and premium grade handicraft and souvenirs in various standalone shops, getting ice cream and cakes in the J-Avenue, visiting my favorite Thai spa treatment in a nice spa really made my day fulfilling. Or perhaps one may add taking wedding photos in a choice of some 25 strong Thailand top wedding studios alongside on Thonglo.

Quality does come with its appropriate price tag and 'cheap' could never been associated in the Thonglo society. Except there is one unpretentious Chinese restaurant near (Thonglo) Soi 17 the food is food and inexpensive. An An Lao operated by a Thai-Chinese family originally from the Southern Thailand is famous for its Peking duck among the Thonglo society and Japanese expatriates and their aunties, also quite a number of unique Thai-Chinese dishes.

Revisit with friends. We started with the shop specialty An An Betong chicken, the chicken was soaked in boiled broth until well done instead of over boiled like those served in most other local eateries, therefore the meat is moist and tender, naturally sweet preserved, the taste of chicken got locked in. Sauce for the chicken is a secret recipe from An An Lao. Another house specialty is the An An kuay-teow-lawt (rice roll noodle wrapped on deep-fried flour rolls), with meat, dried shrimp, deep-fried flour rolls, and sausage filled in the kuay-teow-lawt an interesting alternative to the Cantonese cheong-fun, sauce for it is sweet soy sauce with a bit of spicy, unique enough!

It is a sin not to order the owner heavily recommended dish, the Peking duck. Quality is so-so but the good point is on the price, Baht 280 (US$8) for a half duck including a complimentary stir-fried duck meat or duck soup with preserved vegetables, really couldn't ask for more. Flour wrapper and condiments that go with the duck skin was very hard, dry, and cold on arrival. Instead soup with duck meat and preserved vegetables was surprisingly luscious and we almost would like to order another duck just for some extra soup. Also sampled the stir-fried mushroom in oyster sauce. Again, so-so.

Further we ordered more dishes to go with rice. First, deep-fried Thai sea bass in sweet plum sauce. Live fish from the tank, then deep-fried with a hint of using fresh oil, result to golden in outside and inside flesh was succulent worth the applause from us. However, the hot-plate pork with preserved bean curd sauce was quite disappointed. Meat was not fresh in the first place and the overuse of seasoning a real setback to the dish. For veggie we picked the stir-fried asparagus with prawn, and stir-fried watercress. I do appreciate the offer of watercress vegetable as it is less common in Bangkok restaurants.

To end the dinner we ordered some fruits which promote us better health.

Wine selection is poor in An An Lao, so Chinese tea and beer should be better choices to accompany the dinner.

An An Lao Chinese Restaurant 安安樓 ***
331/1 Soi Thonglo (corner Soi 17)
Soi 55 Shukumvit Road

Wattana, Bangkok 10110
Tel.: 02.392.6447
An An Lao

Open daily : lunch 11 am - 2 pm, dinner 6:30 - 10 pm
Pay (food only for two): around THB 600

* Betong is a border city on the Thailand and Malaysia border in the south of Thailand.

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