Cameroonian food in Bangkok: Amirra restaurant

Yesterday I had a remarkable eating experience — one of the most interesting culinary outings in all of my time here in Thailand, in fact. And it took place not at a Thai food stall or eatery, but at…a Cameroonian restaurant.


I discovered the place thanks to my Cameroonian friend S, who’s on my soccer team here in Bangkok. I’d been telling him for months that I wanted to sample some of his native cuisine.

As it happened, my pal Austin is writing a story about unique international food in Bangkok. So S agreed to take us to a restaurant on Sukhumvit soi 3, in the Nana district.

The restaurant is called Amirra, and to find it you have to duck down a side alley and then go up four flights of stairs to what is essentially a two bedroom apartment over a 7-Eleven. At one end of the space is the kitchen and a small living room, and on the other side is a small dining room with five or six tables.

Austin has a post with some images and a good write-up of the meal. Be sure to check it out.

Thanks, S!


Slideshow: A day in the life of a Bangkok soup vendor

Steven Pettifor has a slideshow on the BBC News site that’s worth checking out. It’s called “In pictures: Bangkok soup vendor’s working day.”

(Via Austin)


Google Maps Thailand expands functionality

As this Youtube video (embedded below) explains, Google Maps Thailand now incorporates data from Bangkok’s public transport organizations and suggests modes of transport other than driving.

I can’t verify it yet, but the new functionality should allow users to get walking, driving, and mass transit directions to various destinations in the Thai capital.

CNNGo has more info. Those who read Thai should be able to see the new features in action at


Heads up: New taqueria coming to Bangkok

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Bangkok-based foodies, take note: A new Mexican restaurant is coming to town — the soon-to-open La Monita Taqueria. I dropped by today, and though I’ve yet to sample the food, the establishment seems promising.

A few weeks back, I noticed that @LaMonitaBkk was following me on Twitter.

I did a little poking around, and the La Monita Web site says the place is located in Mahatun Plaza, near the Ploenchit BTS station.

As it happens, I was in the area around lunch time today, so I dropped by. La Monita isn’t open yet, but I spoke with the owner. He told me that they plan to open on Friday (Nov. 27).

Try our "Mexi Grilled Fish Taco" from La Monita Taqueria - So... on Twitpic

Arroz a la Cubana: Original Cuban rice dish with a twist of M... on Twitpic

A sample dish — the grilled fish taco — is pictured above, along with an arroz a la Cubana. And here’s a photo of the storefront. (Note that these aren’t my images. They’re taken from the La Monita Twitpic account.)

If you make it to La Monita, leave a comment to let us know how you like it.

La Monita Taqueria
888/26 Mahatun Plaza (about 100 meter down, on the left)
Tel. 02-650-9581

And here’s a map:

View Larger Map


Salsa celebrations in Bangkok

A quick note to dance lovers in the Thai capital: SalsaBangkok Fiesta 2009 kicked off yesterday.

Salsa? In Thailand? You better believe it.

The event lasts through the weekend and includes various happenings at venues around town. There are parties, workshops, competitions and more.

The program can be found at, a site that I can’t believe I’d never seen before.

(Thanks to P for the tip.)


“Winter” comes to Bangkok

Bangkok residents woke up to something extraordinary this morning: chilly weather.

Okay, so today’s low temperature was still a rather comfortable 64 degrees Fahrenheit, or 18 degrees Celsius. And yes, temps are still climbing up to 80 degrees F (27 degrees C) during the day.

But still. But still.

This is tropical Thailand, don’t forget, where the average monthly temperature in Bangkok never dips below 77 degrees F (25 degrees C).

I love the Kingdom in November and December. For one thing, these “brisk” temperatures mean that you can actually walk down the street without breaking a sweat.

And there’s a sports-related bonus: ESPNSTAR has been carrying the World Series games live. That means that the sounds of baseball can be heard emanating from the TV in the mornings. (Here’s hoping that the Phillies can force games six and seven.)

Between the MLB action and the “chill” in the air, it almost feels like fall in the U.S.

(Weather forecast via CNNGo.)

Bangkok HOWTO Thailand

More on H1N1 in Thailand — the atmosphere in Bangkok, and how to follow H1N1 developments

A quick note about H1N1 here in Thailand. Infections continue to spread — the Nation newspaper tells today us that there are now 518 confirmed cases, up from just 16 last week. And the Bangkok Post has a breakdown by location within Thailand.

Nevertheless, here in Bangkok — as you might imagine — life continues as usual.

On Tuesday I spent some time talk to people on the street about H1N1. No one was concerned. One woman selling grilled meat told me she wasn’t afraid of H1N1 at all. A motorcycle taxi driver said that he wasn’t worried, even though he has a small child in school. A woman selling lottery tickets told me that she had no fear of H1N1, and besides, she doesn’t eat pork anyway, having switched to fish recently because it’s healthier. (There were — and apparently continue to be — misconceptions that H1N1 can be contracted by eating pork.)

For further H1N1 news, I suggest consulting the following:

You can also follow me on Twitter, as I’ve been relaying some H1N1 news there periodically.


The iPod-ification of Khao San Road

I was in downtown Bangkok’s Banglamphoo district yesterday afternoon, and I figured I’d drop by Khao San Road to see how it’s looking these days. You may remember that I penned a New York Times travel story in 2007 about how Khao San Road, long a gathering spot for backpackers, has become increasingly upscale.

I hadn’t visited the area in about six months, and at first, everything seemed normal: There were vendors selling offbeat T-shirts, various travelers were drinking beer at outdoor cafes, and a young woman was sitting on a curb, getting her hair braided.

But then I saw this, which I must admit took me by surprise:

Yes, that’s a recently-opened iStudio shop — a Mac re-seller — on Khao San Road. I went inside, and can report that the shop sells the full range of Apple gear: routers, desktops, laptops, iPods, and even the iPhone. Here’s another pic:

I also noticed, further down the street, that in addition to pirated music CDs, which have been available on Khaosan Road for many years, there’s now at least one vendor selling bootlegged computer software.

And then there’s this:

There were at least two stalls where vendors were selling movies and music that could be downloaded directly to iPods, mobile phones, or computers. You can see, here, that the sign says “Music & Movie — Load to iPod.” (For the record, this practice may not be particularly new. And it may not be unique to Bangkok: A friend in the know tells me that this downloading service has been available in Phnom Penh for some time.)

So these new, digital offerings — the iPod-ifcation of Khaosan Road, if you will — means that if you’re a backpacker and you want to upgrade your aging iPod, let’s say, or even purchase a new iPhone, you can do so at one end of the street. Then you can wander a few hundred meters down the road and load the device up with pirated flicks and tunes. And there you go: You’re set for the rest of your journey.

Depending on your perspective, I imagine this is either scary, surprising (or not), or totally cool. Maybe it’s some combination of all of those.


Ozomatli play Bangkok

Ozomatli in Bangkok
Ulises Bella (L) and Jiro Yamaguchi (R).

The Los Angeles-based Latin funk/hip hop outfit Ozomatli ((More info on Ozomatli can be found on Wikipedia and on is one of my favorite bands. But I’d never seen them live.

So I was surprised to learn, at the last minute, that Ozomatli were playing a free show here in Bangkok last night — a Sunday evening, no less.

Ozomatli, it turns out, are U.S. State Department cultural ambassadors, and the US embassy in Thailand put on the event to showcase American diversity and multiculturalism. (The band has also played in Myanmar and Vietnam on this trip.)

The show took place outside Bangkok’s glittering CentralWorld shopping mall — an incongruous setting — amid a light rain. Thai band Buddha Bless ((Warning: link to MySpace page.)) opened. There were just a few hundred people in attendance, so my pals and I were able to watch the show from the front row. Ozomatli were full of enthusiasm, humor, and positivity.

Embedded below is a 30-second mobile phone video I shot. (Click here to see it on YouTube, if you’re reading this via RSS.)

And here’re some cell phone pics:

Ozomatli in Bangkok
Justin “El Niño” Porée

Ozomatli in Bangkok
Asdru Sierra (L) and Wil-Dog Abers (R).

Ozomatli in Bangkok
US Ambassador Eric John joins in.

Well done, Ozomatli. Come back to Bangkok soon.


Fog in Bangkok

Fog. In Bangkok.

Fog in Bangkok

This is what the city looked like this morning when I got up. A rare meteorological event here in the Thai captial.

Fog in Bangkok

The strange weather — first the unseasonable coolness, which has since abated, sadly — and now this. The fog was thick enough on Thursday, in fact, to cause disruptions in service at Suvarnabhumi airport.