It makes sense. If you’re going to have something in your mouth for a while, it might as well taste good. Though flavored condoms generally get a bad rap for tasting nothing like what they’re supposed to, we thought it was about time to suck it up and see for ourselves.

Since this is Bangkok, we were expecting to find more exotic flavors out on the market—mango, durian, maybe even green tea! What we found was pretty basic—fruit and chocolate. Why stop at just fruit and candy? What about savory meat flavors like chicken, beef or pork—or vegetarian choices like carrot or eggplant?

And people like coffee too, so maybe Starbucks should come out with their own trio pack of condoms: mocha, latte and caramel macchiato. Now that it’s nearly rainy season, maybe condoms could be enriched with vitamin C to help prevent colds! The possibilities are endless…

Duo Strawberry: (B40, pack of three) This strawberry condom smelled very berry indeed, with some on our panel of experts likening it to the smell of Strawberry Quik. Unfortunately it lacked in the flavor department, with no apparent taste whatsoever. On the bright side, we appreciated its thin, glossy exterior and found its attractive pink color “sexy.”

Faire Strawberry: (B37, pack of three) This condom didn’t contain nearly enough fruit essence to mask the latex rubber smell. It didn’t taste much better, either, and several on our panel commented on its mostly plastic, rubbery taste. Its appearance was noted as being matte and powdery with a pink, fleshy color that was considered cute.

Durex Strawberry: (B47, pack of three) One of the most delicious smelling condoms we tasted, with favorable comparisons to "raspberries" and "bubble gum." However, the taste was non-existent. Appearance wise, this was the most scary looking condom thanks to its agressively red, “very Scarlet Letter” color.

Durex Chocolate: (B45, pack of three) Its cheap fake chocolate smell was reminiscent of Koko Krispies or coffee candy. It was by far the sweetest of those we sampled, and half hated the fake chocolate flavor and half liked it. Like the Durex Strawberry, this had a thick, sticky texture. Most were a little turned off by its muddy brown color. One tester even commented that it “looks like it’s been used.”

Faire Blueberry: (B30, pack of three) Be careful with this one 'cause the package is misleading. It is actually just one blueberry-flavored condom that’s been packaged and stuck in front of a separate pack of two unflavored Skinlight condoms. Tricky dicks. The special condom has a pleasant cherry, raspberry smell, but like so many we tried, barely any taste. Nice vivid color and sexy appearance, though.

Durex Select - Banana: (B53, pack of three) This rubber came in one of three flavors found in Durex’s Select condoms–Banana, Strawberry and Orange (see below). Most reacted favorably to the smell, likening it to banana candy or Banana Pocky. In terms of flavor, it got mixed reviews. Some said it had none while an equal number of our panel said it tasted like banana. Easy to see in a dark room thanks to the bright yellow color.

Durex Select - Orange: (B53, pack of three) Our favorite of the bunch: It had a pleasant fruity smell not unlike Tang and Orange Tic Tacs. Taste-wise this one also came out on top, with our testers commenting that it tasted like nice candy with a bit of sweet and sourness to it. Its thin, smooth texture and elasticity got a thumbs-up from our panel, as did its appealing orange color.


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and a Little Lace

Brit-Fashion Queen

Recently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, there was the opening of the new special exhibition, “AngloMania,” which focused on British fashion that has rocked the world from 1976 to the present. This exhibition showed what a large impact British designers have had on the fashion world. The TCDC (6/F, The Emporium, Sukhumvit Soi 24, 02-664-8448, is now following suit by exhibiting their own impression of the British fashion wave in a show dedicated to one woman who has been a unique symbol of outstanding British taste: Vivienne Westwood. First shown at London's victoria and Albert Museum, the exhibition showcase explicitly shows that over the past 30 years, British fashion has not only reflected and shaped trends and standards of beauty, but also addressed social, historical and political issues. Expect the full-range of Vivienne Westwood styles in this show—some of which will be for sale—running Jul 22-Sep 24. Catch up on further details in future issues of BK.


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Guidelines For Journalists

Last week Our Glorious Caretaker (henceforth referred to as “OGC”) filed defamation lawsuits seeking 800 million baht in damages against a number of defendants including several newspapers. The suits are in response to allegations made by a Democrat party official, which were in turn printed in three newspapers, that OGC is a “pii pob.”

city living
BK staff
Issue Date: 
2006 Jun 22 - 23:00
You Are What You Buy: Prove It in These Flash New Boutiques

Come to Coco

After nine years of business in Thailand, Chanel has introduced a new boutique at Siam Paragon with a “No Door” concept. This (supposedly) means everyone is welcome to browse—and open your wallet—here. (No guarantees there'll be no dirty looks, though.) This swank shop covers 340m and was decked out by famed designer Peter Marino with handmade wallpaper, wool carpets and the like. The new shop features ready-to-wear clothes, accessories, jewelry and watches.
M/F, Siam Paragon, 02-610-9795/-6.

New British Boy

Talking about luxury brands, it seems Burberry has some competition from one of its cousins, Mulberry. (Well, they sound like family, anyway.) This fine leather accessories manufacturer has just opened its first flagship store and introduced a pre-fall 2006 collection that retains the original style of the brand but adds a little bohemian ’70s detail to make it more casual. The collection comes in oak, chocolate, cognac brown and maroon colors and is available for both men and women.
M/F, Siam Paragon, 02-610-9449.

Meet More Met

Though it seems devoid of shoppers most times you pass by, apparently the cozy Metropolitan Museum of Art Store New York (a.k.a. The Met Store) at Siam Discovery has performed so well that a new branch is called for. This one is in the new section of groovy J Avenue and features products from home decoration items and books to jewelry and textiles.
J Avenue, Thonglor Soi 13, Sukhumvit Rd., 02-712-9266.


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Six oh-so-jazzy bars for those who can’t make it down to Hua Hin.

Bamboo Bar

The venerable Bamboo Bar has been around for ages and for years was the Bangkok jazz bar, filled with connoisseurs as well as the see-and-be-seen crowd. The prices put it out of the reach of many mortals, but the music in this cozy L-shaped bar is first-rate and the drinks are expertly poured.
G/F, The Oriental Bangkok, 48 Oriental Ave., New Rd., 02-659-9000. Open Sun-Thu 11-1am and Fri-Sat 1-2am.

Brown Sugar

This bar and music venue stands alone in Sarasin Rd.; while the youngsters tinker with their formats and decor, Brown Sugar has stood the test of time. With a decent selection of wine and so-so food, the in-house bands are the real reason most customers keep coming back.
231/20 Sarasin Rd., 02-250-1826. Open daily 5pm-1am. BTS Ratchadamri.


A group of young executives with jazz dancing in their hearts set this place up for young, monied customers to mingle. Despite the size and décor, which are typical of a Bangkok pub (Victorian style), the place offers very good wine and food. The bands are excellent but irregular as they play there on a voluntary basis.
1/18, Sukhumvit Soi 24, 02-262-0909. Open daily 6pm-1am. BTS Phrom Phong.

The Living Room

Not just another outlet in a five-star hotel, this place jumps with jazz fans, especially on the weekend. Seating is comfortable, service is friendly and the acoustics are above average. Occasional home to ageing legends like Eldee Young. Worth checking out.
1/F The Sheraton Grande, 250 Sukhumvit Rd., 02-653-0333. Open Sun-Thu 10am-midnight and Fri-Sat 11-1:30am. BTS Asoke.


A legendary jazz pub in Bangkok. Thailand’s top performers have played and listened to others play here. Not much in the way of style or atmosphere, but the music still rules.
3/8 Victory Monument, Phayathai, 02-246-5472. Open daily 6pm-1am. BTS Victory Monument.


Brand-new lounge located on the 32nd floor of the Millenium Hilton with a 360o view to kill for. If you don’t mind the prices or being stranded on the other side of the river, this is a good place to enjoy your wine and live lite jazz nightly.
32/F, Millennium Hilton, 123 Charoennakorn Rd., Klongsan, 02-442-2000. Open daily 5pm-1am.


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Compared to other Chalachol salons around town, ‘Sak by Chalachol (2/F, Siam Paragon, Rama 1 Rd., 02-610-9850/-3) is by far the brightest and most open—thanks to clear ceiling-to-floor glass panes that allow you to see everything inside. The touch screen system greets you at the door, urging you to define your needs before entering. The salon is divided into two parts, a cutting and style zone and a chemical and coloring zone. Proclaimed the best Chalachol ever, ‘Sak uses nano-molecule water that treats your head and hair with care, and also uses a non-stop air-cleansing system. Their senior stylist was directly imported from the States (though she is Thai) and specializes in coloring. Prices are good, too, from B1,100 for men and B1,300 for women. For a cut with Khun Somsak, book two weeks in advance and have B2,500 on hand. Well, that’s cheaper than we expected.

Tom Laycut Professional (2/F, Penny’s Balcony, Soi Thong Lor, Sukhumvit Rd., 02-392-3519) at pretty Penny’s Balcony on Thong Lor needs little introduction as it’s one of the most popular salon chains in Thailand. Decked out in black and white modern design with raw cement walls and geometric mirrors and chairs, their well trained hair-stylists can make any day a good hair day for you, starting at just B350.

If your hair’s been damaged from too many coloring sessions, the white and red Naomi Hair Solution (Room I, 307 Sukhumvit Soi 39, Wattana, 02-662-0736/0783/0259) on the ground floor of Ozono is one of the best options. This is one of the 50 Shisedo Professional appointed salons for its exclusive hair solution system originally from Japan that promises better hair conditions, than other ordinary hair salons. The treatment starts at B1,500 for short hair and B2,000 for long hair.


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BK samples three new “light” beers

For years those fat-asses in the West have been stressing over calories and carbs, letting Atkins and South Beach rule their lives, while we guiltlessly enjoy plate after plate of khao phat and bowl after bowl of ba-mii. Oh, and kalamang after kalamang of full-strength beer. Alas, all of this unselfconscious consumption has finally caught up with us, apparently. The proof is the arrival of “light” beers on the scene—only three so far, but three officially makes it a trend (and if it’s a trend it must be time to write about it).

Branding and marketing aside, there are three main reasons why people drink “light” brew instead of the regular stuff: One is that they’re (supposedly) lower in calories, and calories are those nasty little things that are magically transformed into highly unattractive fat on yer bod’ if you’re not careful. Another reason is that they’re (supposedly) “lighter,” “less filling” and more refreshing. And a third reason is because—pay attention here, kids—they’re (supposedly) lower in alcohol.

Of the three our panel of self-proclaimed experts sampled, only San Mig Light (B26.50) proudly boasts (on the can) that it is “low calorie.” It also has the highest alcohol content, a respectable 5%. Once the numbers were crunched by the BK computer, SML came a close second in the voting—mainly due to its pleasant, clean smell, which was described as “floral” and “citrusy.” Those who liked it praised it as a nice, easy-drinking beer; however, some complained that it had too much gas, like soda water, and one said it tasted like water.

The folks at Chang apparently forgot the rule that says the packaging for a light beer should be lighter in color than the original version—silver is best, but white works as well. Instead they’ve just added the word “light” to the familiar green-and-gold bottle. If you want a light with balls, or like your beer bitter, Chang Light (B28) is the one for you. The more experienced beer drinkers in our panel (who turned out to be a majority) preferred Chang Light as the most full-bodied of the trio and “bitter in a nice way.” It was also praised for its “hoppy” and “nice burnt toast or coffee” aromas. But those who didn’t like it really hated it, calling the poor little elephant various names like “not at all satisfying,” “dirty-smelling,” “harsh” and “sour.”

Our panel rated Singha Light (B22) behind the other two. At a delicate 3.5% alcohol, you’d think it would at least taste (or smell) good, but only one of our experts had anything “good” to say about it: “watery, but not bad.” “Weak” was the main criticism (“like flat beer in a glass with melted ice—from the night before”), but our panel members also described Singha Light as “stinky” and “rubbery.” We also found the foam to be “funny,” “strange” and “artificial.” Sorry, little Singha, but look on the bright side—you came in third! Now you just have to wait for more competition.


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Work From Home, Earn $$$!

Have you ever seen some of the ploys to get you working from home, most of which involve a lot of people and guarantee a boatload of money? If you’re like us, you may have wondered whether or not these claims are true. Well, Kit Chanyaprasert is someone who actually did get rich from working at home…and wrote a book to prove it. Two, actually. The author of Get Rich on eBay (Ruay Duay eBay) and Get Rich on eBay: Advanced claims to have become well off from his exploits on the online auction site. And he vows that if he can do it, you can, too. He has now organized a seminar called Ruay Duay eBay which starts you off on the online merchandising gambit. Seminars vary in levels of experience from eBay pro classes to absolute beginners. Prices run B3,000-4,000 (9am-5pm with lunch and snacks). Seminars take place at Rajabhat Suan Dusit University on May 24 and 28. More details at or 01-496-8804.

Slim and Sexy TVs

No more big, bold TVs in our stylish lives. The Korean brand Samsung has just launched a series of anorexic audio-visual (AV) products to suit our low carb lifestyles.

Among the modish generation, Samsung R7 LCD TV is the finest with screen sizes of 26, 32, and 40 inches. These sexy screens cost B59,900, B79,900, and B119,900 respectively.

If LCD screens are a bit too sexy for you, maybe you’d rather try the Slim Fit. Samsung Z40 SlimFit TV is one-third slimmer than your normal flatscreen TV. It also offers a higher definition picture in comparison to plasma and LCD TVs and comes at a much more affordable price: 32, 29, and 21 inch screen SlimFit models cost B37,990, B13,990, and B6,990 respectively.

In case, you are the sporty type, The Samsung Q7 Plasma TV might be your best choice because it enhances clear and vivid moving images with the highest possible contrast of colors. Just in time for World Cup, these gargantuan screens are available in 42 inch (B109,900) and 50 inch (B199,900) sizes.

The Italian Job

Long-time favorite Italian brand Francesco Biasia has just launched its new store in Bangkok’s premier shopping nexus, The Emporium. This store debuts with the summer collections from some of the best loved designers. Coco Décor’s summer line is inspired by African colors and cultures, while Tropical Chic’s is derived from Brazilian rhythms. 1/F, The Emporium, off Sukhumvit Soi 24, 02-259-8979.


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While the party rages downstairs in Q Bar, enjoy seriously (and surprsingly) good sushi

Nothing against Q Bar, but you’d be forgiven for assuming that the new Japanese restaurant on the second floor of the complex was a lame, inauthentic Koi copycat built on the cheap, not the surprisingly serious sushi-ya (“sushi shop”) that it is. After all, the proprietor is Canadian and the concept originated in Indonesia. And to be (perhaps too) frank, few of the punters that pack the Q these days seem like they would appreciate the subtleties—let alone the expense—of high-level Japanese cuisine. And by “serious” we don’t mean uptight and academic, but that the quality of the sashimi and sushi is arguably among the best you’ll find in Bangkok.

Co-owner David Lombardi is originally from British Columbia, Canada, and an architect and designer by trade, but he knows a bit about Japan and its food having lived there for more than a decade—plus his wife is Japanese. While working as an architect, Lombardi also ran restaurants in Japan and then in Indonesia, including Wasabi in Bali, which was named to Conde Nast’s international “hot tables” list shortly after it opened three years ago. Lombardi might still be there, if not for a “dispute” (to put things mildly) with his former partners. But Bali’s loss is Bangkok’s gain.

It is obvious that Lombardi delights in the small details, which are everywhere in Wasabi@Q—details like the Japanese dolls that mark the men’s and women’s bathrooms, or the curve of the passage that is meant to resemble the curve of a ship. Another is the bare walls that may look unfinished but can be explained by the concept of “wabi sabi,” which can be roughly translated as “rustic, or unfinished, beauty.”

The L-shaped restaurant is quite small, with a half-dozen or so tables and seating for a few more at the sushi counter. On the opposite end of the narrow room is a glass wall through which you can watch the congested traffic and comings and goings of Q Bar punters below. The room is dark and darkly decorated, save a brightly lit showroom-like space in the center of the room—a “lounge” with stools inspired by wooden crates.

The same attention to detail can be seen, and tasted, in the food. For example, the lobster (in the beef rolls) is Atlantic lobster, the soft-shell crab in the Black Spider Roll (B560) is from Martha’s Vineyard and the kani (crab) salad (B300) is made with real crab, not crap crabstick. The menu is limited to a few starters, sashimi, sushi and signature fusion rolls, some of which, purists should be warned, don’t contain rice. Thinly sliced beef takes the place of dried seaweed in the Beef Rolls, for example, with three choices of filling: foie gras (Australian beef (B640), Kobe (B1,280), shrimp tempura (B640, B1,280) or lobster tail (B840, B1,490). The fusion creations get the most press, but connoisseurs will appreciate Wasabi’s more traditional—specifically, raw—fare. The sushi here is Niigata-style, named after the coastal prefecture where Lombardi lived in Japan that is famous for its rice, sake, seafood and ski resorts. So the sushi rice is a bit more firm (what the Italians call “al dente”) than what most of us are used to, and the fish is cut in bigger pieces.

The best days to visit Wasabi are Tuesday and Friday, when the seafood arrives from Tsukiiji market in Tokyo. While the majority of Japanese restaurants in Thailand are supplied by the same handful of importers, Lombardi has his own agent, which, he says, is the only way to insure top quality. (Evidence it's working: The uni sushi, B560, is potentially orgasmic.) But this of course comes at a price: Be prepared for a shock if your idea of Japanese is set lunch at Fuji. At Wasabi, sushi sets range from B560 to B1,200, and the sashimi set with two slices of five kinds of seafood is B1,900. Or you can order a la carte—from B160 for two slices of tuna or salmon to B2,100 for a pair of succulent o toro. Outrageous? No, serious.

Dining Details

Try serious sashimi at Wasabi. Open daily 7pm-midnight, at 2/F, 34 Sukhumvit Soi 11, 06-002-1727. AE, DC, MC, V.


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This adorable bar, the width of which can't accommodate two people lying head to toe (which can happen), is decorated in contemporary Asian style and so chill chill. You can hang around the two small tables, sit on the couches or rub elbows standing at the counter. Twenty is a crowd here. The customers and songs (on vinyl) are more farang, but the price is very Thai baan baan.
171 Tanao Rd., Phranakorn, 06-539-2510, 04-052-2723. Open Tue-Sun 4pm-1am.

Say Play

This tiny bar is one of the smallest joints in Soi Chamchan, so don’t bring many friends—and don't tell any strangers about it. The somber black decoration is somewhat in contrast to the bright and casual acoustic pop rock tunes that both amateur and professional musicians play. Friendly vibe and service. Familiar dance songs on Friday and Saturday.
75/1 Soi Chamchan, Sukhumvit 63, 01-269-1345. Open daily 6pm-1am.


At Someday, every day is filled with good music. You can listen to rare English grooves while lazily sitting back amid the white and bright interior. Food is cheap and very yummy. It’s so small that it may seem invisible if you don’t look carefully for it.

75/2 Ekamai 21, Sukhumvit 63, 01-854-8404, 02-711-6653. Open daily 6pm-1am.


This Banglamphoo bar features live blues and jazz belted out by energetic musicians sitting casually in the middle of a group of punters. Try it on weekend nights if you want a warm atmosphere, but it will be hard to get a table as it can pack out with less than 20 people in the place. Mostly it’s for regular customers who love live music. Don’t worry about going there alone as you can easily find someone to talk to.
13 Samsen Rd., Phranakorn, 09-769-4613, Open daily 6pm-midnight.


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