Food is a problem, well, its not really….But wanting to try the whole gamut of Thai food is much harder than i thought it would be, there are a number of options, the stalls where you can point at food are the easiest options, they have various trays of food and you point to what you think might taste good, and they pile a plate with rice and your chosen concoction, this can work out extremely well, or be a complete unmitigated disaster, thankfully i have been on the fortunate side of the coin so far. Typically, this sort of meal with 2 choices will cost about 40-60 baht, which is about 80p – £1.20, not too bad really, and so far extremely tasty.
The next choice are the vendors that have single type foods, for example, the last few days i have frequented the local Halal chicken stall, she has basically chicken and rice, but it can be done a number of ways, i have gone for the standard rice <cooked in Turmeric and chicken oils> with a couple of pieces of fried chicken, with this you get crispy onions, a little bag of chilli sauce and another bag of unidentified green sauce, which is very sweet and incredibly moreish, i really should make more effort in finding out what the sauce is…you also get a few slices of cucumber thrown in. I do know the name of this dish, it’s Khao Mok Gai, but try saying this to a anyone and they will look at you dumbly, I guess my pronunciation is abysmal… There are other ways the chicken can be done, but not being able to understand the vendor means i stick with the very delicious basic option. Last time i had this, i had quarter chicken and an extra drumstick, and a polystyrene container of rice for 74 baht, which is about £1.50
The toughest one i have found so far are the General Food stalls, they have a huge selection of ingredients on the stalls, and everyone around is eating something different. Now when you are nearer the touristy areas, e.g. Khao San road, the stalls have the menus in English and Thai, no problem hey?! Well, I live quite a way from that sort of area, in fact, my area is much more a Thai neighbourhood, so, not only do these places not have a menu in English, they also don’t have a menu in Thai you need to know what you’re ordering in these places, but i’m learning, the vendors can speak the tiniest bit of English, and with a variety of sign language and pointing <and a fair amount of guessing> you usually get something akin to what you wanted in the first place, and if not, then it’s normally very tasty anyway!! Because of the wide variety you tend to be able to spend from 30 to 100 baht, the most expensive items being fish/seafood. Thankfully, unlike my travelling companion, i’m not vegetarian, which seems to be much more difficult, everything seems to be cooked with/on/in some sort of meat/fish/seafood or oil of…..He’s getting by though, just….Last night while i had chicken and rice he had Egg and Cheese sarnies, but that was twice as expensive as my meal, mainly down to the fact that cheese is just not eaten here, so is very expensive <120 baht for some processed cheese slices>.
Ok, so there are much easier options, typically Mcd’s, Kfc and the fast food variants are no brainers, I have had a cheeseburger from Mcd’s and some pieces from Kfc, the burger was lifeless with very little taste and the fries didnt come with salt, the salt came with fries instead! So, pretty much the same experience of Mcd’s as anywhere else.The Chicken from Kfc was pretty much the same again, although the chilli sauce supplied was much better <i.e. actually spicy!> But it is expensive, generally it’s twice/three times as expensive as any street food, I think i spent about 120 baht at mcd’s on the cheeseburger meal, and i didnt actually pay for my KFC <thanks Far>, but it was about 150 baht for 4-5 pieces of chicken, drink and fries. Now, compared to the Uk, these prices are pretty low <well, for the KFC they are, not sure with the Mcd’s, as i don’t go there…..ever, unless drunk!> But, compared with the food that surrounds you, I don’t get the attraction. They are always full though, and it’s not just a western crowd, all the fast food places do rice etc and it’s much more Thai focused in the non tourist areas, i had my Mcd’s next to Nana plaza, which is apart from Khao san road, is just about as touristy as you get….
My favourite place so far is Tescos though, never thought i would ever say that, but the food court is pretty cool. You load a ‘credit card’ with money, then take it to one of the many food counters, and you can do the old pointing at food method, the price is very low, typically 40 baht a plate, the quality as a whole isnt the best, but if you’re careful with your choice it can be very good. Also, it’s just round the corner from me, and if I want there are a number of eateries in the building as well. Hmm, thinking about it, it’s about lunch time….I’m off to Tescos!!
Nearly forgot, when on Koh Phangan, we had no problems with the language, basically, we indicated what we wanted and the girls with us sorted it all out…..My favourite meal so far has come from that week…Goong Chae Nam Pla, basically raw prawns with lime and chilli….yum..;)