The name Bali Hai is one steeped in history and romance. It is a song (by
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II) from the musical South Pacific
(1949 on Broadway and 1958 as a movie). It is also an enduring restaurant on
San Diego’s Shelter Island, which opened in 1954. Getting closer to home,
but still historical and romantic, is the Bali Hai restaurant in South
Pattaya which opened in 1970 and has been at its relocation on the bayside
of Siam Bayshore Hotel for over 20 years. It is so much of a local icon that
the new Pattaya pier was named the Bali Hai pier.
with that historical introduction, the Dining Out Team arrived at the Siam
Bayshore Resort looking forward to a Bali Hai evening (by the way, the Siam
Bayshore has had an extensive make-over, and is all clean and bright and
The restaurant is set out in the area between the very top end of Walking
Street and the Siam Bayshore and the waters of Pattaya Bay. Tables are
dotted around between the palm trees, a waterfall and free standing
rotundas. We arrived at 7 p.m. and the sun had just gone down, but there was
still that luminescent glow in the sky, and it truly was romantic. I began
to hum the chorus from Perry Como’s version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein
musical. Yes, that romantic!
We chose a table under two palm trees close to the beach and sat back with
an aperitif and absorbed the calmness of the venue. It was difficult to
imagine that only a few hundred meters away there lay the noise, bustle and
hustle of Walking Street’s bar area. We just might have been on an island
our reverie, it was difficult to get back to the serious business of
restaurant reviewing. I felt like throwing away the notebook and just
relaxing. It is that kind of a restaurant, but in the name of investigative
journalism, the Dining Out Team persevered.
Bali Hai’s cuisine is predominantly Chinese, though you can order items from
the other Siam Bayshore restaurants, but we stuck with the Chinese. The menu
also gives you around 100 choices, with many able to be ordered as small,
medium or large.
Eleven hors d’oeuvres begin the list with most around B. 165, with standards
such as cold chicken in Chinese wine at B. 175. These are followed by 11
soups, with most under B. 100, but for the shark-fin choices you pay a hefty
The rest of the menu (75 items) covers all the usual Chinese favorites, and
again reasonably priced.
The wine list is not extensive at 14 reds and 14 whites, but covers both old
and new worlds, and most well under B. 1,500.
We began with a prawn toast, which arrived with two small side dishes per
person. One with ground pepper and the other with sweet plum sauce. Sprinkle
the pepper over the toast and then drizzle on some plum sauce as well. A
wonderfully contrasting combination, and a great palate reviver.
This was followed by the Szechwan soup (B. 115), a great example of the
spicy, full-bodied soup, served in bowls held in silver containers. Very
We then dined on Peking Duck, the archetypal Chinese delicacy and at B. 795
not expensive feeding three to four persons. This was followed by braised
bean curd with minced pork. This was probably my favorite dish of the
evening, and at B. 115, a real bargain.
We finished with Irish coffee and just savoring the fresh cooling breezes. A
I have always believed that food should be fun, and the Bali Hai supplied
both. High quality Chinese food delivered in a very pleasant atmosphere, and
the prices have been kept very reasonable. It would be hard to imagine
someone not enjoying this tropical ambience. Parking is easy in the hotel
grounds and I consider Bali Hai to be well worth a visit.
Bali Hai, Siam Bayshore Resort, top end of Walking Street, Beach Road,
Pattaya, telephone 038 428 678-81, fax: 038 428 730, email:
[email protected], open seven days, 6 p.m. until 11 p.m.
BBQ’s are always very popular. People like to stand
around the BBQ (men in particular) with a beer, and chat. This recipe allows
plenty of chat time, and also uses a can of beer, so keep one aside for the
beer batter. The only secret here is to select the best, plumpest prawns
from your supplier or supermarket. Around 8-10 cm long after removing the
head is a fair indication, and fresh is best with seafood.
Remove head and de-shell prawns. Split prawns lengthwise down to
tail with a sharp knife, but do not remove tail. Combine lime juice, salt,
curry powder and ginger in a small bowl. Add prawns, cover and refrigerate
for at least 2 hours. To prepare coconut coating, lightly toast coconut on
cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside. In another bowl,
mix beer, flour, white pepper, sugar and paprika to make the batter.
Heat oil in heavy pan. Dip prawns in batter and fry until brown. Roll
immediately in toasted coconut. Serve with dipping sauce of your choice.
de-veined, tails on