Where do I start? The spicy? The sweet? Or the spicy?
Thailand seems to have two extremes: spicy or sweet. There’s hardly a time when anything is bland or lacking of flavor. They use lemon grass in most of their dishes (which I’ve found to be terrible). You shouldn’t look out for the chilies they use, but for the orangish-red flakes they put in the dishes. These are what sends them over the top! Your mouth will be on fire.
Since Thai food is drastically different than Western, it’s good to be ready with a book for hours sitting on the toilet. I can’t tell you the last time I had a good solid shit. (I was sick to begin with when I started my trip to Thailand, but it still hasn’t gotten much better.)
My taste buds are still adjusting to all the food and my stomach is fickle as ever, but I have been able to find some refreshing dishes here and there on my journey. In Singburi, there’s a Chicken Noodle Soup Place, Garlic Chicken Place, and some market foods that are worth the visit. (Yes, we have some creative names for places here among the foreign teachers.)
Chicken Noodle Soup Place
The Chicken Noodle Soup Place is in perfect walking distance from the Anuban School. Sometimes we go there for lunch when we don’t fancy the cafeteria food. The best dishes to get here is the flat wide noodle dish and the chicken noodle soup. Now the soup isn’t what you’d expect. It’s basically a bowl filled with water, some noodles, and a small leg of chicken that you have to peel the meat from. Despite the extra work, it’s a tasty dish and not spicy at all! What’s even better is it costs about 35 baht. The other dish is about 40 baht. Add a water to your meal for 10 baht and you’re set!
Garlic Chicken Place
The Garlic Chicken Place is a bit further from the school. It’s good for checking out on the weekends and a nice quick drive. The small hut is located close to Tesco Lotus. One chicken will easily serve two meals. You can buy one, two, or how many ever bags of sticky rice you want to go with it. Usually, I get two since I can make two meals out of the entire thing. This is one of the dishes that isn’t too spicy and perfect to refresh your palate. I can’t remember exactly how much it costs, but it was around 200 baht I believe for the chicken and two packets of sticky rice.
Chaisaeng Villa Hotel and Chaisaeng Palace Hotel are both good places to check out food. These are more expensive, because they are part of hotels and because they offer some western food. Chaisaeng Palace is a quick place to get to if you want some beers and good food near the school. You can bring your own alcohol and purchase a soda and some ice to go with it or choose one of their many cocktails. Since I hadn’t had some good chicken, fries, and mushroom soup in a long time, I splurged and got some. It was a bit more pricey, but well worth it!
Chaisaeng Villa Hotel with the House of Party (H.O.P) Bar is another good one. I stayed there a few days while waiting for the room in the house I was going to be live in to become vacant. It’s a newer hotel, and the food and staff are very pleasant. I tried out the fish and chips here and it was great! It was about 190 baht. I’ll admit, I ventured to try some Hawaiian pizza, but that did not go so well. In Thailand, the tomato sauce is very sweet. You can taste the load of sugar they add. I’ve come to find out that you won’t escape this anywhere you go in this country, so if you love sugar you’ll love their pizza.
If you’re a Texan, one thing to note is the different in nachos from Texas to here. Nachos here are served cold with no flavor to the cheese. So forget the runny, gooey cheese you love so much and the jalapenos on top.
The mall is another good place to check out some interesting eateries. There’s The Pizza Company, MK, and several foods stands. MK is Korean BBQ. Part of your table is made into a stove where a large pot of boiling water sits waiting for you to cook your food. You select different foods you want to try such as noodles, shrimp, beef, liver, almost anything you can think of. They bring it to you on small platters, and then you cook it yourself in the boiling pot of water. Everyone starts digging in and continually adding the food throughout the meal. It’s very communal and it can get quite busy in the restaurant.
MK is similar to another place we have in Sing Buri, Mookatah. This place is located near the Money Pub and is a buffet styled eatery. The open floor plan means that there’s only fans in here to keep you slightly cool and bug spray is almost a necessity at night. For about 170 baht, you can select whatever food you want from the buffet to cook up at your table.
Here, instead of cooking it in a boiling pot of water, you have a small tray set upon hot cools. The middle of it is raised for you to cook your food while the edges of it is deep enough to pour water and you can boil some of your food such as noodles. It’s a great place to eat and even better with friends. On top of this, they have ice cream included in the meal!
Should you find it hard to figure out what to eat, there’s always 7/11. I relied on 7/11 when I first got here. I didn’t know how to order, what would be good or not, and I couldn’t find anyone who even understood enough English to take my order. While it’s a bit more pricey, you can get some decent food and they even cook it there for you!
There are a lot of sweet treats to try in Thailand. Whoever said you’ll lose weight in Thailand obviously hasn’t met me. Wherever I go, I always find the sweets… and eventually the crepes.
Before leaving, my dad found that they made crepes here, and I was automatically in heaven. For the first few weeks I hadn’t seen any sign of them until one day I stumbled on something similar. A food stand on the way home from work had small balls of dough. The spread and tossed them like pizza dough and put it on the sizzling grill. They coated it in butter and added the fillings. Once cooked, they folded it into a square and cut it into smaller squares and topped it with chocolate sauce. While this wasn’t the famous crepes I was expecting, they tasted very good. They were completely full of sugar.
A couple weeks later I found an authentic crepe stand. They coated everything in butter yet again, but this time they used the true crepe batter. I had the most delicious banana and nutella crepes. It doesn’t beat France, but they were pretty darn amazing. I found the stand in the market towards my house at night. They were about 40 baht each.
Another sweet treat to try is honey toast. This is a favorite among Thai people. Honey toast is normally cooked to order. Lemoon, where I first tried it decks the dish out like none other. The toast is about four inches high, crusty on the outside and soft in the middle. It’s topped with two scoops of ice cream, whip cream, chocolate, two chocolate covered bread sticks, and an assortment of fruit around the tray. One plate could easily serve two people, but most are able to eat it on their own if they don’t have dinner before hand.
If you want a smaller version of this without ice cream and decorations you can go to BB Cafe near Chaisaeng Mall. It costs less and it’s still as good.
Another place to check out in Chaisaeng Mall is Dairy Queen. Yes, the infamous Dairy Queen. We all know and love it in Texas and probably shouldn’t have it anywhere else, but this place is different. I always had a rule of never trying anything I recognized from the United States. I now realize that will be harder since I’m living overseas.
I broke down and tried Dairy Queen in Thailand, but I made sure to get something I couldn’t get back in the United States. The first one I tried was the Green Tea Oreo Blizzard. Oh my gosh… it was amazing! What was even better is their Green Tea Brownie Blizzard. They taste like heaven and are perfect for a hot day and a break from teaching. A small is the size of our mini in Texas and it costs about 35 baht.
The market in front of Chaisaeng mall begins about 5:30 PM. Normally, the same vendors are there each day, but sometimes things will change. You never know in Thailand. You can get fried bread with Thai Custard (green tart stuff) or you can get fresh cooked meals such as chicken and rice for relatively cheap.
Another market to check out is the Fish Market. Located near Gypsy Bar, you can find an assortment of fresh foods and paraphernalia. It’s open every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. Saturday is the large market. You can easily get lost during this one, but you can find a lot more. Sunday is normally only food, and Wednesday is the happy medium. I prefer Wednesday, because I can always get a good coconut drink and some rice with egg. You’ll see strange things like maggots and scorpions too. I haven’t tried it yet, but one day I will.
No matter where you go, there’s something for everyone. Believe me, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to eat much here since I heard so much is fried, but I’ve been able to find some tasty food. I’ve found too much to be honest. I can’t seem to stop eating here. There’s always something new to try. While you can cook at home, you’ll spend about the same or even more than going out to eat. So save time on cleaning up and try different foods if you’re living or visiting Thailand.