Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lunchtime Food Stalls On Soi Convent

I was sick as a dog after walking out of BNH Hospital on Soi Convent in Bangkok one day. Toting my small handle bag of prescriptions and trying not to waste the walk I knew I needed lunch. Soup, noodles or something more liquid and hot, preferrably; my sinuses were pounding as though there was a small gorilla in there, kicking its way out, and soup would help.

The aroma of fresh noodle broth in the air was so strong and delicious it rose above the exhaust and street scents and actually registered within my congested nose. Up ahead were the line of stalls, tables and chairs I'd passed on my way to BNH after turning in on Soi Convent from Silom Road. It had been a little quieter there 45 minutes ago, but now it was noon and people were on their lunch break. There wasn't a seat to be found anywhere along the row of stalls and people leaned against the walls of the buildings anxiously eying the area, waiting for one to open up.

Soi Convent is on the South side of Silom, almost directly across the street from Silom Soi 4 (a night area some of you will be familiar with) and about 100 yards to the West outside of the Sala Daeng BTS station, which is how I got there from my room an hour or so before. This grouping of stalls is a long-standing fixture in this spot and is regularly full of locals. You really can't miss it.

I haven't ever had problems after eating here, but as you may have read in the "Rumbly in the Tumbly" post it's always a crap shoot for we visitors. What I'm referring to isn't always reckless food handling, but the Thai have grown up with the bacteria there - we haven't. That, and the dishes are washed by hand right there at the curb. My feeling is we all need to be cautious and adventurous in whatever proportions we're comfortable with, and that'd be my suggestion to you. I, however, wanted SOUP.

I had plenty of time to people watch and take pictures while I waited for the crowd to thin out a little bit, so I ducked into a nearby shop and bought a bottle of water to drink while I watched. The boy in the photo above was a food runner; they'd call him when they had something that needed moving along through the crowd and he would weave through the river of pedestrians like a bee in a field of flowers, not spilling a bit while I was tracking his movements hither and yon.

It's always somewhat comforting when far from home to note how similar we are as a species in social situations; groups of students, office workers and the likes gather together to visit and share in much the same way the world over. Often there's one who's a bit more animated and outgoing than the others, and they speak more - imitating someone in character, maybe, or relating a story that then draws a vocal response from the others by way of comment or laughter. The young man smiling on the left above was that person for his group.

Eventually a spot opened up for me and I sat and slurped my soup before making my way back to the corner of Convent and Silom where I picked up some fruit from a vendor (below) to take back to my room, where a nap waited patiently for me. I didn't keep it waiting long.


Anonymous said...

Actually it's Thanon Convent although the ignorant refer to it as Soi Convent.

khunbaobao said...

You're correct - that was my error, born of haste rather than ignorance, however LOL. To rectify my mistake: Thanon is an actual street or road; a soi is a sub-street or alleyway off of it - so while there is a Soi 3 off of Thanon Convent I ought to have specified for those of you who might try to map it for reference.