Street food in a swank hotel

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2035
You won’t miss this sign.
You won’t miss this sign.

Thai food is famous the world over, so it makes good marketing sense for an up-market venue to feature Thai food for its international guests. With that concept, the Pullman Pattaya Hotel G invited the Dining Out Team to come and experience their Friday Thai Food Buffet. At B. 480 ++ it sounded reasonable, so we said yes. For another B. 300 you can have a free flow of beer (Chang), which is a very popular Thai tasting beer, but I have to say not mine. Fortunately, you can order from the a la carte menu and I was very pleased to sip on the Casanova chardonnay.

Getting to the Pullman is simple. Turn down Soi 16 from the Pattaya-Naklua Road, go to the bottom and turn right and about two km along you will find the Pullman on your left.

Take your time over the buffet.
Take your time over the buffet.

That was the easy bit – the restaurant is the Beach Club, down many stairs and around the swimming pool, and with no signs that we could see, it was a little hit and miss, or perhaps we were looking in the wrong direction.

The Beach Club has three dining areas around the pool, one over the beach and one air-con area with an in-built open kitchen, we plumped for air-con.

Around the pool area, there are outdoor live cooking kitchens set up in Issan roadside style. With smiling Thai cooks waiting to make you something, you can have pork satays, cooked while you watch, spicy papaya salad (som tum), coconut pudding (nom krok) made in earthenware pots and fried banana and Chiang Mai sausage. If you do not like chilli, then beware of the som tum. Issan food such as papaya salad can be very spicy.

The other Thai dishes are inside and even includes pizza at the far end. (The Italians are everywhere!) Notable amongst them was my favorite kao soy gai with the soup (correct taste) and the chicken kept hot, but you then have to go looking for the crispy noodle and sour cabbage. Pork with rice (kao kar moo) is another well-known Thai dish, but I found the pork was too fatty for me, preferring it to be made on chicken breast.

Thai omelet is on offer (very similar to Spanish omelet) and a green curry as well. Thai fruits abound and are the sweet ‘antidote’ for too much spice on the tongue.

The concept of presenting Thai cuisine to overseas guests is commendable, but Pullman let itself down with its labels on the dishes. To describe the famous som tum as merely papaya salad, or nom krok as coconut pudding, and tod mun pla as fish cakes is not teaching their guests about Thai cuisine. To have all the ingredients for kao soy, but no indication as to what should be included in the soup is denying the hotel guests a genuine understanding of famous Thai food (and yes, I know kao soy originated in Burma).

A selection of Isaan food.
A selection of Isaan food.

Executive chef Thierry Danzas is versatile and knows the cuisine, so the Friday night Thai cuisine buffet would be a good place to take overseas guests to introduce them to the cuisine, and the list is quite extensive, but have a Thai guest with you to help explain the dishes. Pullman also has a similar buffet on a Saturday at B. 999 ++ and is a seafood one with a free flow of beer and wine an extra B. 350.

Thai Buffet (Friday nights), Pullman Pattaya Hotel G, 445/3 Moo 5 Wong Amat Beach, Pattaya – Naklua Road Soi 16, 20150 Tel: (+66)38/411940-8 Fax: (+66)38/411949, secure parking in hotel grounds.

The interior is air-conditioned.
The interior is air-conditioned.
Gentle breezes on the deck.
Gentle breezes on the deck.
The romantic beach at night.
The romantic beach at night.