About 30 years ago, the first sign promoting the “best breakfast in Pattaya” was erected outside Desperate Dan’s in Soi Yamoto. Actually, it was more or less the only breakfast in Pattaya at the time and comprised two eggs sunny-side-up, a rasher of some sort of bacon and two home-made sausages of unknown origin. You also got a cup of weak Nescafe and even a small splash of fresh milk if Spinney’s, just about the only store in town, had received a rare delivery from Bangkok. HP sauce and teabags in those days were gold dust in Pattaya.
We owe the term “full English” to the Victorians whose wealthy elites tried to outdo their friends and neighbors with exotic breakfasts. You could certainly find the typical fried or grilled fare, but also halibut steaks, stewed figs, pheasant legs and fried whiting which offset to some extent the gigantic, artery-clogging blowouts which have become the object of earnest searching in Pattaya today. Not that I’m attacking the latter. I have tried the greasy-spoon spectaculars in Robin Hood, Retox Game On, Nicky’s and Jameson’s and all are worthy of praise. My personal favourite is the Caddy Shack but that’s because they have recently changed their sausage supplier.
Huge meal size as well as quality seems to be a criterion for those still searching for the most honorable breakfast in Pattaya. The keenest investigators are probably the members of Facebook private groups such as Breakfast Club Pattaya which claims over 44 thousand members and threatens them with being struck off if they don’t write anything. That’s fair enough. But all pales into insignificance compared with the Kidz breakfast at Jester’s Diner in UK’s Great Yarmouth. It’s the same weight as a small child and comes on a platter the size of a police officer’s riot shield. Eat all the 6,000 calories in less than half an hour and they tear up the bill for 20 pounds. Interestingly, the ones who eat for free are usually skinny and thin.
But it’s hard to define absolutely an English breakfast. In northern England and Scotland, they often add haggis whilst in parts of Northern Ireland soda bread would be regarded as well-nigh compulsory. The role of eggs and how they should be served is much disputed and has been ever since the Egg Marketing Board came up with the slogan in the 1970s, “Go to work on an egg”. Amongst the poorest folk in the UK, a breakfast is still in 2020 “something on toast”. There are those who argue without contradiction that HP sauce is an essential splurge on the plate and, more controversially, that the baked beans must only be the Heinz label.
Every week Facebook and other social media platforms publish literally hundreds of photos of the fry-up which somebody is now about to eat for his or her first meal of the day. Some of this outpouring must be disguised marketing by individual venues or by their supporters’ clubs. In theory, the idea is to influence the internet audience “out there” to come and try the food. In reality, when we post pictures of a huge greasy-spoon repast, we are really seeking support from other similarly-inclined eaters and assuring ourselves that it’s ok to indulge massively in spite of the health issues. Not to worry. The playwright Somserset Maugham went much further and wrote, “to eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day.” He died in 1965, aged 91.