One of the drawbacks to Bangkok being built at sea level is that it’s more susceptible to flooding….and I guess mosquitos too, which if I’m being honest, I might consider a national disaster of its own (I’m like a pin cushion to these fucking blood suckers!). Malaria anyone? But when the city isn’t flooded, the advantage to all that pooled and flowing water weaving it’s way throughout is that residents and visitors can chose to put on their sea-legs and travel by boat.
Doesn’t matter if it’s a long-tailed boat, speedboat, or ferry, one of the best ways to see Bangkok is from the river system. The hotel, restaurant and tourism industries are thriving along these rivers and canals, providing another lens through which we can experience all the wonders Bangkok and the culture of Thailand has to offer.
So we took the advice of many, and spent our last night in Bangkok having dinner aboard the Tahsaneeya Nava, one of the boats in the Loy Nava dinner cruise portfolio. This old teak rice barge, which is a pretty typical old school style of boat in Thailand, is known for it’s wide base, big open hull, and it’s ability to carry large heavy loads (of rice obviously) down the Chao Phraya (for example).
Loy Nava Dinner Cruise
Today the Loy Nava carries fat sunburned tourists (myself included) down the river and now serves rice in individual sized portions to be enjoyed with a four-course dinner. Both the kitchen and bathroom are in the hull, and the boat departs from a dock next to the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel.
We had a combination of the traditional Thai and Thai Seafood menus, some champagne and wine. The giant temples and pagodas glow along the river in the evening, giving onlookers another view of these ancient monuments that look completely different in daylight. A mosaic of neon lights creates that hustle and bustle of a modern Asian metropolis I was searching for in a trip to Asia. It was romantic for lack of a better word.
A gentle breeze off the river blew through our hair while we enjoyed our meal served family style. Twice throughout the experience, two dancers covered head to toe in Thai silks and headdresses performed some traditional dances.
When they weren’t dancing a woman plucked away at mandolin-looking harp with a little wooden pic. The music was just okay, and compared to the meal our guide Jack made for us the night before, I’d say the food was just okay too. But the experience was what we were there for, and the chance to travel by boat through the highlights of Bangkok, I would pass up for the world.
So here’s what we ate…..
Started with an appetizer platter of quail egg ceviche, seared tuna with a capsicum jam, fried chicken wrapped in Pandan leaves (or La Dua), and marinated sea fish in lime, sugar, fish sauce, onion and cilantro.
chicken satay with peanut sauce served in a shot-glass:
Tom yum gung soup. This is the traditional mildly spicy shrimp and coconut soup with lemon grass and galanga root:
Warm salad of Roast Duck with a sweet Tamarind Sauce (Salat Ped Num Makaam):
Deep Fried Crispy Pork Cakes with a Palm Sugar Sauce (Tord Man Moo):
Mild Southern Massaman Curry of Aged Australian Black Angus Beef (Gaeng Massaman Neu-ah) and
Green Curry of green Thai aubergine with Coconut Cream & Chicken cooked sous-vide (Gaeng Kee-aow Wahn Gai):
Grilled Prawns and N.Z. Mussels with a mild white wine curry sauce & a spicy sauce (Goong Gap Hoy Malaeng Poo Pow):
Mildly spiced and herbed John Dory with a Lime & Chili Sauce (Pla Dori Manaow) and
Deep Fried Crispy Shrimp Cakes with a Palm sugar Sauce (Tord Man Goong):
Warm salad of sea scallops with a sweet Tamarind Sauce (Salat Hoy Shell Num Makaam) and
Stir Fried Vegetables in Oyster Sauce (Pat Pak Roo-am Mitr):
And for dessert
Mango with sticky rice and coconut Cream, Jello presented in the color of the Thai flag with pomegranate, coconut cream and blue pea flower flavors; crepes with sweet and tangy Thai bananas, a fruit salad with dragon fruit and berries with Thai Basil and mint; fresh pineapple and sweet pureed pineapple with sesame seeds, and sweet taro birds nests with a bird sculpted out of the rice flour.