Gastronomy of Pattaya, Thailand!
The mention of Thailand brings about different images to different people. For food lovers, Thailand is another food paradise! A beautiful one at that. But having experienced Thai food in multiple countries will be of almost no help when you actually arrive in Thailand. While the tourist places may be monotonous, it also gives you a chance to savour food from around Thailand in one place! You will be surprised that there is more than just the green and yellow curries! In this Pattaya series, let's look at some yummy foods from various spots! Nope, we couldn't get reservations at Gagan's in Bangkok, but this post is all about Pattaya!
1. PATTAYA FLOATING MARKET
The Pattaya floating market is the largest in Thailand and gives you glimpses from food from around Thailand. Everything from ice creams to bite sized foods to crepes, all in complete Thai avatars are found every few steps. Starting off with a 200 THB entry (900 if you want to take the boat ride, but I'd recommend the walk), this is a place to go with an open mind.
The coconut ice cream would be great after your journey to the market! Served in a coconut shell, this ice cream is creamy and yummy and has a strong flavour of coconut, not just a hint.
The stick foods! Yes, you may need bravery, but trust me, all of us were fine after the foods. The prawns are fresh, but what caught my attention was the way in which the crab claws were beautifully removed with the shape in tact! Since I am not a fan of fish, I skipped the fish sauce dip and enjoyed it quite as much as the others did!
My favourite dish of the entire walk was this peanut candy snack in two varieties. Priced at about 30 THB (<$1 or Rs 60), this is a steal as you get about 8 pieces of lip smacking goodness in two packages. The clear one and the momo-like ones were both super yummy!
Tiny crepes! Yes, these are crispy crepes and for about 25 THB, you get 10 pieces. There is the sweet kind with a custard laced with some matcha green tea, while the savoury one has dried prawns. Both were yum!
We saw lots of people buying the grilled rice cake on sticks. While I don't know what everybody liked in them, I could not take more than a few bites! It seemed a hit with the crowd though!
The curly instant ice cream! This was another super hit! Made from scratch, with (I guess liquid nitrogen), there is lots of flavour and a lot of theatre before the ice cream reaches you! We had the matcha green tea ice cream with some toppings and it was yum!
Of course there was a choice of insects and scorpions, fried, grilled and almost every cooking method used! Nope, I didn't try it!
2. THAI RESTAURANTS
I am talking about the one off Thai restaurants and not the ones in malls. Small roadside shops with a few chairs dole out some super yummy foods. One such place, called THE KITCHEN, a few meters away from Walking Street is one such place! We had dinner a few times and invariably asked for their Yellow Noodles, the Phad Thai noodles, the Tom Kha, which became my new favourite Thai soup beating the Tom Yum. It is a large bowl of white soup that you could eat with the Jasmine rice as a full meal! Or 3 could share as starters!
3. THAI ICED TEA!
This became a staple for me in Thailand. The super awesome Thai Iced Tea. This is a Matcha green tea with milk based iced tea, unlike the non milk iced tea that is the norm in most places! The flavour of the matcha is unmistakable and gives you the comfort that cold coffee usually does! Almost every restaurant has this and is usually priced between 90-110 THB (About $3 or Rs. 200). The glass is tall and the portion, hearty!
4. GREEN NOODLES, MK.
Yes, mall foods may not be the best, but if you find some great place, you will be really happy! We found one such place called MK Korean grill, CENTRAL Mall! While the restaurant deserves a separate blog post on its own for the Korean Boiler on every table, the green Noodles with duck was a stand out dish from the menu! Served with dips of all kinds, the noodles simply stood out!
5. GREEN TEA ICE CREAM FLOAT!
This is the ice cream version of the Matcha Green tea. Same flavours, different medium!!
Yes, it maybe the stinkiest fruit on earth, but that doesn't stop people from making all kinds of stuff with it. And doesn't stop people from buying all these kinds of stuff that people make! The durian chips are my favourite, but I was brave enough to try the Durian Ice cream. Yummy to start off, but leaves a sort of disgusting after taste! But the initial yumminess will draw you (or the disgusting after taste will turn you off, depending on who you are)! I was the former and was able to finish the entire box of durian ice cream, with some difficulty of course!
7. THE BANANA PANCAKE
While most of the vendors serving these have a lot more options, the banana pancakes in Thailand are yummy without having to add Nutella! The banana is folded in the batter and a beautiful thin pancake is made and folded multiple times to give you a beautiful snack! While partying on Walking Street, don't miss this guy! He makes awesome stuff! 50 THB (<$1, Rs 100)
If you have followed Obama, the US president and Antony Bourdin, you will know how a $6 meal left a lasting impression! This is no different. Sit on the street. Kitchen attached to the bicycle. Choice of noodles, meat and veggies. Choice of toppings. Free smiles and a hearty bowl of soup! It could be lunch or dinner!
9. THAI BASIL CHICKEN and MASSAMAN GRAVY
Every good Thai restaurant will probably have this on the menu. At Thai Express, this was among the two stand out dishes that we had. It was spicy, yet so flavourful that you might keep eating it while blowing smoke from your mouth and ears! The Massaman Chicken gravy is another a super yummy dish I guess it has Indian roots because of the flavours! Served with some flat bread, these two were stand out dishes. The restaurant was excellent and there is a full blog post about the restaurant.
10. EGG FOLDED NOODLES
I don't know what the egg does to the noodles, but this noodles from a restaurant called THAI CHICKEN AND NOODLES on the Beach Road, Pattaya was a unique dish. Nice flat noodles tossed with chicken and the usual stuff then gets stuffed inside a egg nest and then cooked slightly! The flavour profile doubles and gives you a nice complete meal with some fancy looking nest and great tasting noodles!
There is always a 11th, isn't it?
11. THE TURKISH ICE CREAM
The show is amazing. The ice cream is not! Thought not Thai, there are few Turkish Ice Cream guys on the streets of Thailand!
Is there something else that we should have tried in Thailand? Let us know!