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I'm afraid I don't like Thai food

l
lost squirrel Nov 12, 2007 04:14 PM

I'm heading to Bangkok and Pattaya later this month for about 4 or 5 days and I'm not sure I'm going to enjoy myself.

In the US, I tend to like some thai food, specifically the wide rice noodles with a soy/spicy sauce (Called 'drunken noodles' at one place I used to frequent). I detest pad thai in the US, so sweet and bland.

Here in Tokyo, the thai food is so sour it makes my lips pucker. I'm not a fan.

What can I expect from authentic Thai food ? What are some dishes I should make an effort to try?

I'm planning on Polo Fried Chicken one day, but other than that I have no ideas. My travel companion is Thai himself so we'll be able to find anything.

  1. l
    Lee Green Nov 12, 2007 04:29 PM

    I was in Bangkok in September. A Thai friend introduced me to Papaya Salad and I liked it very much. There is an excellent Lao Restaurant, (Vientienne if I remember correctly) that I'd like to go back to. (look in the guide books) If you like Indian food, Himali Cha Cha (off of New Road) is excellent and has been for the 13 years I've known it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Lee Green
      l
      lost squirrel Nov 12, 2007 06:01 PM

      Papaya salad is good too, spicy!

      I just realized this should have been posted in the Greater Asia board, oops.

      No wonder I couldn't find any good posts about BKK before, duh.

      1. re: Lee Green
        j
        jimbaran Mar 22, 2008 02:35 AM

        I second for Himali Cha Cha... Try their Chicken Tikka and Mutton Corma and last their Cheese Naan. It's Excellent!!!...

      2. pilinut Nov 12, 2007 09:03 PM

        I wouldn't worry about it, if I were you. I'm pretty sure you'll love Thai food in Thailand! For reasons I haven't figured out yet, there are many Thai restaurants overseas, and most of them serve sorry excuses for real Thai food. Thai food in the States is to Thai food in Thailand what your local high school production is to Broadway. Relax, let your Thai friend take you around, and you'll have a wonderful time.

        Here's a great article on some Bangkok restaurants:
        http://travel.nytimes.com/2005/10/12/...

        I can personally vouch for at least 3 of the recommendations: Raan Jay Fai served some of the best noodles I have ever had anywhere. Pen has excellent seafood, and Chote Chitr is exceptional.

        Gee, I wish I were going, too!

        1. Curt the Soi Hound Nov 13, 2007 05:29 AM

          Although I don't care for pad thai in general, in Thailand it's typically not as sweet as when it's prepared in the West. That is , unless you dine at Western caring eateries, such as hotels.

          You might try khao mun kai, Thailand's version of Hianese chicken rice. The sauce is what makes it Thai. pour the sauce over the chicken and rice and enjoy.

          If you are around Silom during a weekday lunch, try tomyam noodle soup from the cart across from the Swiss Park Hotel, on Convent Road.

          We have given up on Polo Chicken. We loved it about a decade ago, but the last couple visits have been horrible.

          http://cheapeatsbangkok.com

          2 Replies
          1. re: Curt the Soi Hound
            l
            lost squirrel Nov 13, 2007 06:47 PM

            I keep hearing that Polo has gone downhill, I'm sad. Fried chicken is quite possibly my favoritest food ever. Almost every culture out there has it's own version and I've never been let down.

            I do love Hianese chicken rice, I'll make sure to try khao mun kai. Excellent suggestion, thank you!

            1. re: lost squirrel
              Curt the Soi Hound Nov 14, 2007 05:04 AM

              If you plan on some clothes shopping, you'll have to head to Pratunam, the area covering the northwest corner of Ratchadamri and Petchaburi Roads.
              Just east of there, at soi 30 Petchaburi, is Kaiton, one of my favorite khao mun kai shops.

              http://cheapeatsbangkok.com/kaiton.php

          2. Sam Fujisaka Nov 20, 2007 03:28 PM

            I've gotten tired of the food on trips with groups of researchers or students traveling around Thailand eating Central Thai style food. I never, however, get tired or NE Thai/Lao food.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Sam Fujisaka
              l
              lost squirrel Nov 20, 2007 05:05 PM

              What are some of the main differences between Central and NE foods?

              We had a thai festival as well as a Laos festival here in Yoyogi park a few months ago. I remember really liking thai sausage and of course spicy chicken wings. You can never go wrong with spicy chicken wings!

              1. re: lost squirrel
                l
                lost squirrel Nov 20, 2007 05:59 PM

                Just one more quick question: Can I get turkey in Thailand?

                It's quite hard to find in Tokyo and I'll be there over thanksgiving.

                1. re: lost squirrel
                  Sam Fujisaka Nov 20, 2007 09:17 PM

                  I've seen turkeys in Thailand, but they're like the ones in Guatemala--a skinny chicken stretched out, covered with a lot of black feathers, and made to walk funny.

                2. re: lost squirrel
                  Sam Fujisaka Nov 20, 2007 09:15 PM

                  Commonly prepared foods in central Thailand can be quite similar to Cantonese. NE/Lao dishes have cleaner, simpler, and often spicier flavors, more leafy greens, dried meats, sausages, sticky rice, green papaya salad, ...

              2. t
                ThaiNut Nov 21, 2007 07:50 AM

                My (Thai) wife and I lived in Bangkok for 12 years where I was assigned to the embassy. Pad Thai is one of my favorite dishes but I have to say that the stuff usually served here in the U.S. is a bare shadow of the real stuff. Try it in Bangkok. If I had only a few days in Bangkok I'd go to the following places which are all on lanes coming off of Sukhumwit Road. All are very easily gotten to via the Skytrain.
                1. Suda - Take the Skytrain to the Asoke stop and then walk down Sukhumwit Soi (lane) 14 about 100 feet and it is on the right. Open-air on two sides, no a/c, no decor but some of the best Thai food I have ever had. And this place is VERY cheap.
                2. Cabbages and Condoms - (you gotta see this place to believe it) - about 200 yards down Sukhumwit Soi 12 and on the right. Garden seating outside and a/c inside. Huge menu and not expensive. This place, and the next one, can be easily walked to from either the Nana or the Asoke Skytrain stations.
                3. Rosabieng - about 150 yards down Sukhumwit Soi 11 and on the left. The name means 'railway dining car' and that is the atmosphere inside. Excellent Thai food and, again, not expensive.

                For English pub food and excellent burgers (though a tad pricey) in the basement of the Landmark Hotel near the corner of Sukhumwit Road and Soi Nana is the 'Huntsman Pub' which is quite good.

                Re turkey: forget it, Thai's don't eat turkey. If you are really desperate you mind find it in a Western style restaurant in one of the larger hotels.

                8 Replies
                1. re: ThaiNut
                  l
                  lost squirrel Nov 21, 2007 03:27 PM

                  Great recommendations, thanks!

                  I won't worry about turkey. I had amazing yakitori the other night that was close enough.

                  I'll give pad thai another chance, i'm so excited. Just a few more hours and then I'm off. I'll be eating dinner tonight in Thailand!

                  1. re: ThaiNut
                    s
                    Simon Nov 21, 2007 11:55 PM

                    i'm going to have to dissent on Cabbages&Condoms...granted i didn't go there in person, but instead ordered delivery from it with Food By Phone: it thought the food was extremely sweet and Americanized, not that different from the awful Thai food i used to sometimes eat in the US...i'll admit that the ingredients were good quality, but the preparation was easily the most cloyingly farangish i've ever had in BKK...(and i did request things spicy, etc)...

                    i've passed by Rosabieng but never been...i'll check it out next time i'm hungry in that neighborhood...will try Suda too, as i'm near Asoke all the time...

                    1. re: Simon
                      c
                      ChangFai Nov 22, 2007 06:51 PM

                      No doubt Cabbages&Condoms food can be a bit westernized for the Thai palate , but they do somethings nicely .

                      Dont forget that they also have a restaurant/hotel just outside Pattaya , superb location for a beachside meal .

                      1. re: ChangFai
                        s
                        Simon Nov 22, 2007 11:18 PM

                        i've always made it a point to avoid Pattaya at all costs.

                        1. re: Simon
                          c
                          ChangFai Nov 24, 2007 08:25 PM

                          Simon
                          I just decided I would make my own mind up about Pattaya , rather than listening to all those awful sensationalist tales in the guide books .

                          Pattaya has some of the tastiest and best value food in Thailand IMHO.

                          Sorry , I am new on this board , but we are here to talk about food , no ?

                          1. re: ChangFai
                            Curt the Soi Hound Nov 25, 2007 02:35 PM

                            Although the "quiet fishing village" of Pattaya went through quite a transformation during the Vietnam war, it can still offer more than just a party.
                            Avoid most the hotels and there will be plenty of great eats to be found.

                            1. re: Curt the Soi Hound
                              whs Nov 25, 2007 02:40 PM

                              Hey, Pattaya was a party town back in the 1960's--my parents would never go down to the end of town with the big tree and all the bars.

                            2. re: ChangFai
                              s
                              Simon Nov 25, 2007 07:57 PM

                              Have always heard bad things about the place, from both Thai and farang friends...had no idea there was notable food there...will keep that in mind should i ever go there...

                    2. linguafood Nov 25, 2007 03:11 PM

                      Try any of the soup kitchens/carts -- you can pick your type of noodle, and other additional items such as fish balls, or chicken, etc. They prepare it for you right there in delicious broth... that's been my experience, at least. Insanely cheap, as most food in Thailand, fresh & flavorful. Gua Tiew (sp.?), I think it is called.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: linguafood
                        l
                        lost squirrel Nov 28, 2007 06:59 PM

                        Turns out I love authentic thai food, woo hoo!

                        Unfortunately, our plans were all over the place so the only planned meal that actually occured was at Polo. I was slightly underwhelmed, it was nowhere near the best fried chicken I've ever had but it was very good. I ate a half by myself and I paid for it for two days with garlic breath, yikes.

                        Fried pork with kaffir lime leaves, wonderful!

                         
                        1. re: lost squirrel
                          t
                          ThaiNut Dec 26, 2007 05:05 AM

                          Lost Squirrel,

                          Nice to hear that you had a good trip and are now a believer in REAL Thai food, but it is a shame that the real stuff is so hard to find stateside.

                          You can occasionally get frozen Kaffir Lime leaves in Asian food supply stores but young fresh leaves are far superior. Here in N. Carolina my wife always has 3-4 of them in pots which we give away and use for our own cooking. They do quite well outside in the warm season and in a sun room at this time of year. Our biggest one is about 5' high right now.

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