Vol. XIII No. 6
Friday February 11 - February 17, 2005

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by Saichon Paewsoongnern




Maesriruen - the legend continues!

by Miss Terry Diner

Around 50 years ago, a lady by the name of Sriruen opened a noodle shop on Central Pattaya Road (Pattaya Klang), which was a small track leading down to the seafront. She had children and grandchildren, so she became known as “Mother” Sriruen, or in Thai, “Maesriruen”. Her noodles were so delicious that the little noodle shop grew, and other family members opened up branches, so now Pattaya has four of these legendary Maesriruen restaurants.

We decided we would go and see if “Mother” Sriruen would still be proud of the legacy she gave to the diners of Pattaya, and chose the original street, even if not the original location, on Pattaya Central Road.

You may have some trouble finding it, as there are no real English signs, but it is on the side of the street opposite Sois 8 and 8/1, about equidistant between them. The restaurant is in a triple shop-house, and the floor level is raised above street level, so you enter via a few steps up. The architecture is what I would describe as early concrete and terrazzo, but the immediate impression is that it is exceptionally clean.

The tables are laid out in doubles, end to end, so up to 16 from one family can share the same space. And families were very evident during the time of our review. The tables are covered in laminate, and the chairs are quality wooden stools. Along two of the walls there are cooking stations doing everything from noodles to braised duck and pork leg. It is certainly a hive of industry.

The next impression is in the number of staff. They seem to be everywhere, dressed in purple, and the young girls all wearing headscarves, and sporting wide grins. One hand in the air and there are three of them at your table, order books poised at the ready.

The menu is certainly sensible, with 42 items only, written in Thai and in English, plus photographs of each numbered item, so you know what you are going to get, even if it is something you have never tried before. I keep saying it, but for the ‘average’ restaurant, photographic menus make sense. The diners will return, when they do not have to worry about language. In this international tourist resort, there are more than Thai and English speakers.

Prices generally are in the B. 20-50 bracket, with the most expensive I could find being a Vietnamese sausage dish at B. 100. Beverages are also inexpensive, and if you enjoy a beer with your dinner, a small Singha will cost you B. 40, or a Heineken at B. 50.

We had several dishes, including a wonderfully filling fresh spring roll item that comes with its own dark rich sauce. This was one of my favorites. Another we tried was the satays, that comes with peanut sauce and bread squares, to mop up the last bit (we did). With our third member getting into full stride (or full dentition?) we followed up with a large plate of stewed duck, which was excellent and then another plate of braised pork leg. This was superb and was so tender, it fell apart with only gentle pressure from the chopsticks.

Nothing daunted, we ordered a plate of red pork and sausage, which was also another very tender (and tasty) item. By the way, the steamed rice came molded into the shape of a heart. I think our waitress liked us!

We were a team of three for lunch, with one having an almost insatiable appetite. We all ate and drank our fill, and the total bill was 350 baht for several very good and very tasty dishes. Honestly I liked everything. Clean, cheap, tasty, good service - what else do you need? “Mother” Sriruen (whose picture is on the wall) can be proud. The Maesriruen legend definitely lives on! Do try!

Maesriruen restaurant, Central Pattaya Road, opposite sois 8 and 8/1, (other branches on Jomtien Beach, Central Big C Pattaya Second Road and Pattaya Outlet Mall Tepprasit Road). Parking on Central Road, or up the lane and behind the building. Open from morning till there are no more customers!

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