It did not take long for me to discover the delights of the small, tinned roofed, makeshift, road side restaurants or I would call eateries. They are all along most main roads and at least one in every village.
I must confess I was very wary of using them, as not being a local and my other half, being Thai, who, having the constitution of an ox or water buffalo; I was worried I would end up with the Thai equivalent of a Delhi belly.
If you have never had the pleasure of going to Thailand, or even if you had , but only been to the large cities, and not ventured out into the rural areas, then you are missing a treat, And a cheap treat at that.
Forget about those large tourist restaurants with air conditioning, expensive beer and even more expensive menus. During my last trip to Thailand, (I spent a month there) on only two occasions I came down with bad food poisoning. It took a lot out of me and I was not a happy bunny. On those occasions I was in a large city, (Bangkok and Pattaya) and in large restaurants in tourist areas, which had a large foot fall.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not condemning all restaurants in tourist areas, but personally, I am now cautious of any restaurant that has mainly tourist customers. The reason being, if they do get some kind of bug, they are one in a week or so and new customers, who are none the wiser replace them.
I must have eaten oh, 5 times a day, in these small road side restaurants. I was told later that these small places depend highly on the locals for their income, and the Thais are very fussy with their food. If they get bad food, or the food is off, that would be the down fall of the place. Trust me, the Thais talk and it would not talk long for the news to spread in that local area.
So what are they like. I will try to put a picture on this blog to show you. The places are basis, rangeing from one wok and a few tables, to some that have a few woks and lots of tables. The food is mainly cooked to order, fresh and wonderful. The normal price would be around 30 – 70 Baht, ( rangeing from 70p to a few pounds depending on the restaurant)
If you want to take baby steps to trying this wonderful food you will never go wrong with Chicken noodles. Its noodles with cooked chicken in a wonderful broth. No don’t worry about the spiciness as a lot of these noodles and broth dishes, come as a standard, fairly bland broth, not spicy at all. What you do then is choose how you prefer you noodle broth.
All of these road side restaurant and large restaurants, will have a menu (Normally laminated) with pictures of the food on them, so if you like the look at the food, if they don’t speak English, which most do, point at what you want and experiment. To be honest at 70p for each meal, its worth it and iof you don’t like it you have not lost a fortune. If you order a beer, a Chiang for example 660 ml that will cost more than a chicken noodle. If you were interested a 660 ml Chiang beer cost about £1
On every table will be several things, some times in little pots or in come type of containers , not always the same pattern , (depending on the quality of the establishment lol) There will be
1) fish sauce ( They don’t use salt, so use this)
2) Chilli flakes or some type of chill sauce
There may be other condiments but the 4 I have mentions will always be there. So you get your noodle soup and add what you want, my other half like hers sweet and with some vinegar, but it’s up to you. In some night or day markets you will get these noodles in a small clear plastic bag, this is the way they package them. They may ask you how you like your noodles, so tell them how you like it that is if they don’t have the condiments there for you to use.
Some side sauces are spicy, my advice is to have a taste test before you add it to your food.
You can ask if the food is spicy, but trust me, that’s no indication, one Thais person spicy is not the same as another, If they are from the east of Thailand its VERY spicy, my other half struggles, so I leave it alone lol.
A few word can help you.
1) Pet = Spicy
2) My = No
3) Mak = More
4) Klap = Thank you Male
5) Ka = Thank you Female
6) A Roy Dee + Tastes good
My Pet Klap = No spicy Thank you
Pet Mak Mak Ka = More more spicy thank you
A Roy Dee Mak Mak + Tastes very good