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Dining Out


Dining Out: The Sophon All-night Market 3rd Road

by Miss Terry Diner

This week’s Dining Out is for those who have not lost their sense of fun and adventure. Hands up all those people who remember the “Car Park Restaurant” in Singapore. A car park by day, but at 6 p.m. the street would be full of food vendors pushing their carts to the car park, to set up for the evening. Unfortunately, the Lee Kwan Yu government decided that this was not the image they wanted for the “new” Singapore and they shunted the vendors off to a new site in the middle of a roundabout - and so we have the Newton’s Circus of today.

With the development of Sai 3 (3rd Road), there is now a purpose built “car park restaurant” beside the 7-11 store on the corner of 3rd Road and Soi 17. You cannot miss it, with the brightly lit carts visible from the road.

On the night the Dining Out Team attended there were 22 food vendor carts, each with its own ‘specialty’. Here, however, is minor problem number 1. The illuminated signs are all in Thai, other than one lone cart with “Thai Desserts 5 baht”. A local guide is definitely a plus, and Madame for the evening was one such, to make Miss Terry’s life a little easier!

Choosing a table in the middle, complete with its plastic stool, you can see the vendors. There were noodle stands, some North East food stands with larb and khao nieow, a stall from Nong Khai, an “a la carte” stir fry vendor, a Yasothorn fried chicken stand, a khao mun gai stall, another with pad Thai noodles and hoi thod (mussels), a juice cart which also dispensed coffee, tea and Ovaltine, a curry stand, special noodles with squid and fish and a beef noodle soup stand.

You are presented with “real” Thai food, as eaten by the “real” Thais themselves, and there certainly was no shortage of customers on the night we went along. In fact it was worth going just for the atmosphere, with its smells and sounds, the vendors industriously washing dishes and preparing meals, the smiles of the people as I walked around. This is the real Thailand that we all came to explore all those years ago!

We asked the closest vendor if we could have a beer, and two ice cold bottles appeared as if by magic, along with two large green plastic glasses and did we want any ice?

Madame wandered off and came back having ordered an egg noodle soup with red pork (bamee nam moo daeng). Very shortly after, the vendor brought it to our table, complete with the usual “cruet” of chilli powder, vinegar, sugar and fish sauce. Tasty and well cooked.

We followed this with an omelette, a kana moo krob (crispy pork) and a gai pad num mun hoi (stir fried chicken in oyster sauce) - some of which came with small dishes of special sauces, and all were again properly cooked and wholesome.

We rounded out the evening with another beer each and a kanom pung sang kaya, hot bread you dip into a sweet green “custard” (made from coconut, egg, sugar and flour), which was amazingly more-ish! The evening of six dishes and four beers cost under 300 baht (most items between 25-35 baht) and the value is sensational.

For a fun and educational night out, a visit to the Sophon All-night Market can really give you and your guests an insight into truly ethnic eating. That the locals welcome us to their food courts such as this is a testament to the friendliness of the Thai people. The Dining Out Team recommends this place very highly and suggests that you should take all your overseas visitors to it. The place is clean, the food is good and the overall experience is fun.

The Sophon All-night Market 3rd Road, next to 7-11 at the Soi 17 intersection.

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Can you hear the drums Fernando? Tonight (Friday September 14) sees the relatively new Green House Center (corner of Second Road and Pattaya Central Road, opposite Tops Supermarket) present a charity concert for the Forgotten Children Foundation featuring Fabba, a group of four people who do impressions of songs made famous back in the late 1970s and early 1980s by the Swedish pop group Abba. A Thai and International buffet is available at just 150 baht per person between 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Get your motor running: While on the subject of worthwhile causes and charities, make sure you get your backside out to the third annual Jester’s Fair this Sunday, September 16 at the Siam Bayshore Resort. The people involved in organising the fair reads like a who’s who from every strata of Pattaya society. This is grass roots charity work at its finest, with all proceeds going to help those in need. There are no fat salaries being paid out and no ‘hidden’ expenses designed to skim a bit off the top before the residue is passed on. Plenty of good people have given up their precious time and expended their energy in putting together a promotion to help those less fortunate and to support a group of hard-working Good Samaritans who run the Fountain Of Life Center.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that I spotted TQ’s ‘Woody’ Underwood - the chairman and chief organiser for the Jester’s Fair - tramping down Soi 6 in the late afternoon, looking for all the world like a politician on the hustings, drumming up support for the Jester’s Fair. If that’s not hands on, I don’t know what is.

If it is true what they say about the Hash House Harriers being a drinking club with a running problem, then perhaps the Jester’s are more of a charity organisation with a motorbike problem.

Exit, stage left: The Se7en beer boozer (Second Road, next door to the Lek sleeping palace) has recently moved...all of about three metres to the left. It now boasts a larger bar area and is a good spot for the passing pedestrian traffic, such as it is, along Second Road.

When I visited, the music was of the techno variety, but after 9 p.m. the bar employs a band. The girls were reasonably friendly and the drinks prices on a par with similar establishments. Worth a quiet drink after - or before - venturing into the clutches of the Tim ogling den across the road.

The Moon’s a bit bright tonight: If ever proof was needed that there is never anything new under the sun (or the moon in this case), has anybody noticed that old 1980s trend of wearing sunglasses at night seems to be enjoying a revival here in Fun Town? The place seems to have attracted a bunch of Roy Orbison and Ray Charles look-a-likes, occupying bar stools and pretending to look...blind, I guess.

I spotted one guy with his sunglasses perched atop his melon playing pool with a girl down at the popular Hot Tuna beer boozer (Walking Street). He must have been playing really badly as he soon pushed them down to cover his eyes, making him look like a cross between Stevie Wonder and The Fly.

Keep your shirt on: I’m told that pink palaces featuring gyrating dancing boys have been told to cover up and the chrome pole fondlers are now sporting shirts and shorts rather than poncing about flexing their pecs. Tackle shows have also been canned.

Keep an Eagle eye out: One of the more popular beer boozers in Soi 7 is the Eagle Bar, situated directly opposite the laneway running down from Central Road. Happy Hour lasts from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m. with most spirits at 50 baht, soft drinks at 25 baht and beer between 35 and 45 baht. Even outside Happy Hour, the beer is just 50 baht and soft drinks 30 baht. The girls are a friendly bunch although the unusually carved wooden seating behind the bar certainly wasn’t designed with the human form in mind.

Take a compass: Next time you happen to wander into the Playpen ogling den (Soi Yamato), ask Mick to give you a blow-by-blow account of his recent off-road motorcycling experiences.

Briefly, it seems Mick, after indulging a little too heavily in the giggle sauce, found himself well off the beaten track and unable to locate Pattaya. Now we all know Fun Town is hardly small, so this gives some idea of just how far out of the city environs he had managed to travel in his amber-fluid induced state. He could see bits of it in the distance but couldn’t work out how to get back.

Assuming that if he headed towards what twinkling lights he could see he would eventually bump into something resembling Pattaya, Mick rode a little too quickly into a corner and found himself becoming more closely acquainted with the texture of the road surface than his body would have liked. He came to rest in a clump of bushes and, deciding that this was as good a place as any to take a little nap, he duly nodded off. He was nudged awake by one member of a line of Buddhist monks who were making their daily alms run. The pain in his ribs made him realise he was still part of the human race, so, looking like an escaped convict having a bad hair day, he mounted his motorbike and rode unsteadily off in search of Pattaya.

My e-mail address is: [email protected]

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