How many new shopping venues can possibly be created before you run out of shoppers?! I missed the opening of Asiatique last month, a new night market on the site of old warehouses in central Bangkok. Soon Gateway Ekamai will open too. It seems we get new malls every few days, the pace of building is so dizzying.
Asiatique's two key features are the boat trip to visit it, and it's only open at night, 6pm to midnight. Although you can catch a bus or taxi, the boat trip from Saphan Taksin pier is the best option as it avoids a lot of the traffic, and makes the visit special. You are straight off the BTS station, and the boat is on the pier furthest to the left. Later in the evening it sets off from the main express boat pier, which is directly in front of the BTS. Just follow the crowds to find it.
There's some nice themes going on here, plenty of smaller shops selling interesting nicknacks. Some of my favorites were the shop selling money boxes and music boxes. But why does every music box play Für Elise? Why not 'Loving you too much' ??! If the novelty is that it plays music, surely it should be novel and not the same music over and over and over again!
Eve the robot is an MP3 player with speakers in the back, the safe on the left is a real money safe, put in a bank note in the slot at the top and it swallows the note until you enter a code to get it back. Other favorites of mine were the fruit hair bands, Why would anyone want to wear plastic fruit on their head and why do I want to buy this so much?
My favorite part of the visit was getting my portrait drawn by one of the street artists there. A charcoal portrait takes only 10 minutes and 300 baht. I put a speeded up version of it in the video. I think the eyebrows he drew are higher than mine, it's not a perfect portrait, but I'll treasure it nonetheless.
The restaurants are fun too, I found a restaurant called Dib Dib which is a fusion of European and Japanese food. I was hoping to eat a Belgian themed meal there, since they sell Hoegaarden one of the Belgian beers I enjoyed on my Belgium visit, but I tried their fusion Duck Confit dish instead. By the way, try Lindermans Kreik, a cherry bier that's my favorite, if you ever visit Belgium.
One the right is the duck confit, and on the left is a starter of raw shrimps with fish sauce chilli and garlic, (click the link for my version of that recipe). The black swirl around the duck is sweet tamarind sauce, I found myself eating a spicy prawn from the starter, then a mouthful of duck and sweet tamarind from the main and the two worked well together! Spicy then sweet, spicy then sweet.
Their deconstructed cheesecake is a real delight too. I'm not sure it's better deconstructed than constructed though. I ended up reassembling little mini cheesecake spoonfuls to get all the flavours and textures together, defeating the purpose of the deconstruction, but each spoonful was delicious.
There's a lot to see and do here at Asiatique, this is a really well themed night market, with lots of restaurants and shops to spend your money on.
View Asiatique in a larger map