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Friday, April 14, 2017

PaGA 2017: Day 19b Gaggan, Isaan and the Masseuse Murders

There is a monthly magazine, Bangkok 101, that provides unbiased and independent information for travelers.  Great news, good news and macabre news.

First, for the third time in a row, Gaggan of Bangkok was named the best restaurant in Asia by S. Pellegrino, and #7 in the world.  It was three years ago that I last dined here, and he was not then #1.  Gaggan himself, to my left, gave me a full tour of his kitchen.

Interestingly enough, he will close his now famous restaurant in 2020 and open up a 10-seater in Japan.  Shades of elBulli, as the then #1 restaurant in the world, located in Roses, Catalonia, Spain, was converted by chef Ferran Adria (left) into a creativity center three years ago.  Adria made popular the term molecular gastronomy.

#2 in Asia was Andre of Singapore.  I've been there, and have also dined at #4 8 1/2 (Hong Kong), #5 Nahm (Bangkok), #6 Narisawa (Tokyo, below with Mayumi and Tadashi Matsunaga),and #7 Nihonryori RyuGin (Tokyo).  My gourmet palate will be challenged tomorrow at L'Atelier.

A second article article was entitled ISAAN 101, a whole region northeast of Bangkok.  If you want something more cultural and natural, this is where to go.  It's a blend of Khymer (like Angkor Wat, which is in Cambodia) and Laotion influences.  Only 2% of visitors to Thailand are intrepid enough to visit.  You can commune, for example, with the Thao Surananee Monument (left) in Korat or the ruins at Phnom Rung (right).  Had to write about something touristy.
One article, in particular, The Masseuse Murders (you can read the entire version), mentions a freakish attraction, the preserved corpse of Thailand's first serial killer, Si Ouey, on display at the Forensic Medical Museum.  You want more weird creepiness?  Siamese twin babies in formaldehyde and an enormous testicle of a man who suffered from elephantiasis, which you contract through a mosquito bite.    How large?  30 inches in diameter.  A section of this museum is devoted to the 26 December 2004 9.2 earthquake/tsunami disaster, which killed about a quarter million people.  There is an admission fee of $1.25.

The Masseuse Murders (this is the full 40 minute TV program), written by Jim Algie, is the title of a true crime TV documentary profiling Thailand's second serial killer, Somkhit Pompuang.  After five murders, he was caught and will spend the rest of his life in jail.  Candidate then for the Medical Museum?  Alfie authored Bizarre Thailand and has spent twenty years in this field, mostly in Bangkok.


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