Friday, March 28, 2014

MARCH 30, 2014: JIM THOMPSON HOUSE


March 30, 2014

     Breakfast is my usual.  I make reservations for us for Loy Nava dinner cruise for my birthday tomorrow, March 31st at 6:00 pm.  I make the payment using my credit card for 3296 baht.  This price is a 20% discount by booking on line.  Service charge 10% and taxes included.

     It is extremely hot so we are going to take things easy.  JIM THOMPSON HOUSE  We take a tuk tuk there 100 baht.  Admission fee is 100 baht per person.  We will be part of the English tour at 11:00 am.  We have a 10 minute wait so we sit and observe our surroundings.  This complex consists of 6 teak buildings.    Our guide for our tour speaks very clear English and the information she gives as to the history behind the man and this house and the furnishings in the house are very thorough.  Unfortunately no pictures are allowed as you tour through parts of the houses but pictures are allowed of the grounds and the outside areas.  Jim Thompson is credited with reviving the Thai silk industry.  His disappearance while visiting Malaysia remains a mystery to this day.





The red paint is a preservative found on many old Thai buildings.  

The roof tiles were fired in Ayudhya using a design common hundreds of years ago.  

Silk worm story
How we end up with the silk thread










Living room area

Original furniture

Interesting art work



You can see a glimpse of the dining room through the window on the left

The grounds around the building contain many nice statuary 





Koi pond by the restaurant

Nicely landscaped grounds
















This fellow decided to catch some sun

Then he decided to cool off!



     We decide to stop at the shop and I find a scarf that I love but it's smaller than I would have liked.  There isn't one like it larger or any other that I like so I buy this one along with 2 ladies T shirts and 2 mens T shirts.  I forgot to bring my passport so I could get the VAT refunded on my purchase.  I did bring copies with me on this trip but didn't think to bring them with me today.  Cost of my purchase, credit card is 6000 baht.

     After all this shopping I think it would be nice to have a light lunch here.  We order pomelo salad/yarn som oo-salad, som tam, water, coke, and sprite-550 baht, 10% service charge included.  It was very tasty and just right.

Restaurant entrance




Pomelo salad-delicious!

Richard's som tam
This pretty lady was performing a dance as we left the restaurant

Very elegant hand motions 
     We return to our hotel.  Taxi 170 baht.  I've received an e-mail confirmation for Loy Nava for tomorrow with a pick up from our hotel at 5:40 pm.  I make a reservation for dinner tonight.  Then we spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the pool as I don't feel up to any more sightseeing in this heat.

     We get a taxi to the MANDARIN ORIENTAL-CHINA HOUSE.  We probably could have walked as it's not far from our hotel.  I don't remember what the taxi fare was.  This restaurant is off to the side and we don't go into the hotel like we did for CIAO.   The interior is nice, lots of dark wood and low lighting.  We are escorted to a booth and then I notice all these mirrors.  You are reflected in them when you look up!  This restaurant is said to offer authentic Cantonese food.  It's a restored colonial building and I wish I had taken more pictures.



Entrance


Mirror reflections in the booth

Looking up to the ceiling

These booths and the mirrors are different!





     When we did our trip to China back in 2007 one of the places we had dinner was a restaurant in Beijing for the traditional duck.  There were 7 of us in our group.  A platter of the duck already sliced was brought to our table with other foods.  As the platter was passed I took a few slices of the duck, a pancake, etc. and it was awesome.  However by the time the plater got around to my husband there was no duck left!  He and another guy in our group did not get to taste the Beijing duck because one other guy in our group took more than his share.  Of course he didn't realize that we only were getting that one platter and he felt bad but what can you do??  So that's mainly why I had decided to come to the CHINA HOUSE.  I order the traditional oven roasted Peking duck done traditional Cantonese style served with skin and meat wrapped in Chinese pancakes served with homemade plum sauce, Japanese cucumber strips and scallions.   My husband orders  the wok grilled honey glazed fillet of cod with scrambled egg white and roasted asparagus.  Not knowing any better we order more-for an appetizer that we will share we order traditional Teochew style dumplings.  These are deep fried pork, crabmeat, and shrimp.  We had steamed dumplings in China and loved them.  Then we order China House signature fried rice with egg, shrimp, and BBQ red pork.  We think that should be enough to start-1 appetizer, 2 entrees, and 1 side dish.  I order a drink called Summer Fun and later a coke while my husband has 2 sprites.  Bill for this dinner is 5355.35 which includes a 10% service charge.  I will leave another 10% tip on the table instead of adding it to the credit card.  This was our most expensive meal we had on this trip.  Was it worth it??  Yes and no.  The duck was perfectly cooked, my husband finally got to taste authentic Chinese duck, and the surroundings were elegant.  Service was impeccable.  You get what you pay for.  However, it was pricey but then it's the end of our trip and it's not like we had costly dinners like this every night so maybe I'm now leaning more to yes!
The appetizer comes out and it looks huge.  It doesn't taste like the small steamed dumplings we had so this is a bit of a disappointment.  I really didn't care for this dish but my husband said it was good.   The serving of the duck was like a small production.  We're sitting in our booth and all of a sudden a gong sounds and before us is a table by our booth.  On this table is the duck and a basket which holds the pancakes.  On our table we have a plate of the cucumber strips and scallions and plum sauce.  There is a guy and a lady.  We're asked if we want the duck we skin on or off.  On of course I say.  He proceeds to slice the duck in front of us while she arranges it in the pancakes.  I'm so enthralled watching all this that I almost forget to take a picture.  Wish I had had my camera ready for the gong!  Then we have this big dish of the rice and my husband's cod.  How are we going to finish all this food!  I have 2 or 3 of the duck pancakes and some of the fried rice which is delicious.  My husband has several of the duck pancakes but then decides the only way he'll be able to finish the duck is minus the pancakes!  We do finish but no room for any dessert.  In hindsight we should have ordered the duck-plenty for 2 people-and the fried rice.  That would have been so much better.  We would have been more than satisfied and the bill would have been less-LOL!!  Since then every time I mention duck my husband just gives me a "look"!  So we have tried two of the Mandarin Oriental's restaurants-CIAO and CHINA HOUSE.  Both dinners have been extraordinary and I can only assume the hotel's other eating venues are just as good.  We were planning to take a nice walk back to our hotel but there's no way I can manage that after all this food.  We get another taxi for ??-not much as it's not far to get back to our hotel.

My summer fun drink







Appetizer-Teochew style dumplings of deep fried pork, crabmeat, and shrimp

Sauces for the appetizer

Homemade plum sauce and others for the duck

Oven roasted Peking duck-it melted in your mouth-it was so tender!

Cucumber strips and scallions





So many!!


China House signature fried rice-egg, shrimp, BBQ red pork

Wok grilled honey glazed fillet of cod with scrambled egg white and asparagus

Refreshing towels for after dinner

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