Monday, September 14, 2009
International Day - Thai Restaurant Review
I understand the no feet thing, Ricardo. They are disgusting appendages. In order to steer around them, I normally cut them off my "game" with a chain saw. Except for chicken feet, which make a dandy toothpick. Try it!
Enjoyed your restaurant review, it was a trip to a distant land for me. While there is quite a restaurant scene here with loads of foreign chefs catering to tourists and expats, most of them feature pretense over substance. Also, my budget and 'nofeetarianism - has feet, I no eat' preclude the dinner you describe. On the other hand, the local (Southern style) Thai food has replaced all others at the top of my personal favorite cuisine list, and Plaa and I would place eating out as one of our main pleasures. We love what the local people like, too spicy even for many Central Thai folk. Last night we went to our second or third favorite place, and the closest to us of the three. They have great pride of place, and even have gone so far as to grow rice in their landscaping. The logo is of the clay pots food was traditionally cooked in over charcoal fires, and they cook their rice this way (very unusual anymore, gives it a very pleasing texture and flavor).
We had a simple clear soup with their own garden vegetables and some small bits of tender ocean shrimp (I try to get wild sea foods, better taste and quality than aqua cultured). It had too much fish sauce this time, different cook. Little fish like grunion fried whole and piled with crispy garlic (asked for the seafood sauce, chilies and garlic cut small in fish sauce and lime juice). Then one of my staples, squid in curry paste with crunchy green beans. I have never had bad squid on this island, it is caught in volume just offshore and is never old or tough. They probably make their own curry paste, and it is far fresher, stronger, and more aromatic than what you could get there (even if the restaurant were to make their own in California, most Americans would prefer a dumbed down version).
With rice and bottled water, about $11. Place is open air with some open to the sky and the rest roof and just one wall between serving and cooking areas. We could have paid far more in a touristy restaurant that would use milder flavors and have better presentation and service, or got almost as good a quality in a lower class place that wasn't as clean or pretty for 30% less. Wine? 100% import duty and uncertain logistical chains mean it is much harder to enjoy, no matter what your price point, but widely available.
Our favorite place? We took a natural foods oriented New York chef who loves Mexican regional cuisine there and she was very very happy....
I know this doesn't fit your own taste, but I just had a grilled Japanese eggplant and Shitake mushroom sandwich on a baguette from the local French bakery with Edam cheese and my own 'falafel' hot sauce, so it is certainly not Thai or die here ;)
Always nice to get your thoughts, thanks for sharing.
ps - did you ever look at the link I sent to the Moscow Times http://www.themoscowtimes.com/index.php ?
As an English language periodical, they seem to be able to say things that have gotten most of the Russian media that dare say these truths and opinions shut down. Some of the opinion pieces are very well thought out by extremely smart people, and give a look at what world and Russian politics look like from their vantage point.