by Miss Terry Diner
(With Miss Terry Diner being on holidays this week, we
have reprinted one of her columns of a few months ago, in which it was
suggested that dining out in Pattaya could be done spectacularly cheaply,
provided you did not want the spectacular venues.)
is a tendency (natural enough too) to think that all the best food in
Pattaya can only be had at one or other of our top hotels, or fine dining
establishments, all of which have also become more numerous in recent years
too. However, there are some excellent “other” eateries that should be tried
by everyone who lives here, or is even on a holiday stop-over. These are the
pavement cafes or roadside restaurants.
There are several obvious reasons that these great little eating outlets are
not frequented more often by the expat community. First is generally a lack
of confidence in kitchen cleanliness and secondly a lack of confidence in
the ability to order dishes in Thai, since most of these places do not have
an English menu board!
Over the past 12 years, the Dining Out Team has hit the streets many times
to find some of the best places for you and to make the ordering of dishes a
Let’s clear up a few of the basic worries. First, cleanliness – the main
problem in the ethnic eating stakes lies with incompletely washed vegetables
or food stored at a warm temperature for too long. In one case the
bacteria/viruses are left on the food and in the other the incorrect storage
allows proliferation of the bugs.
can be got over by careful selection of the food requested. Stay clear of
raw vegetables, if unsure, and only order dishes that are cooked directly in
front of you. This does mean that you won’t be ordering a curry from those
large pots at the roadside vendor’s, and som tum (salad) with the pickled
black crabs is also best avoided. Mind you, this can be taken to extremes.
One friend on his first visit to Thailand ate only bananas as he thought
they were the only “safe” food he could think of, that had not been touched!
Stick to ordering food that is cooked before your eyes. Stir fries, satays
and omelets are fine and give you many menu choices. Learn a few of the
required phrases like gai pad num mun hoy (chicken in oyster sauce), kai yat
sai (Thai omelet), gai pad king (chicken with ginger), khao pad gai (fried
rice with chicken) and gai pad bai kaprao (chicken with basil). Remember too
the phrase “mai pet” if you do not want your food too spicy!
There are many venues that you can try, and you will always find that the
better ones are crowded with local folk. You will also find that the cooks
will try hard to understand your order and nothing is ever too much trouble
(even running across the road to get a beer to go with the evening’s fare).
such is on the footpath outside the (first of about eleven) 7-Eleven’s on
Jomtien Beach Road. You can get your drinks in the 7-Eleven and order
directly from the food carts on the sidewalk. Not much English is spoken
here, but the cook on the noodle cart at the corner does have a little if
you get totally stuck!
Another is on Third Road, close to the intersection with Soi 17 (with
another 7-Eleven on the corner). A very popular place, this has food on
offer from many different regions in Thailand. There is also another on
Sukhumvit Road (opposite Pattaya Cane) between Central and North Roads, and
another very busy and noisy area behind Walking Street and close to the
For a great experience you owe it to yourself to try this type of cuisine.
It is a most inexpensive night out. Bargain on spending around 100 baht for
two people for dinner! You can feed 12 diners for the price of one