So far as anyone can remember, the first commercial meat or fruit pies in Pattaya were made by Eileen and her retired British boyfriend in the kitchen of their modest bungalow just off South Road. That was way back in 1993, the very year Pattaya Mail was founded. In those days there were more British visitors to Sin City than any other nationality. Intense competition was inevitable and there was soon a “War of the Pies” which led to blows between rival manufacturers and legal writs flying around town.
Umpteen bakers have come and gone in the intervening years, but today there are still many companies selling pies. They include amongst others the Bake House, Caddyshack, Gregs, Simple Simon, Yorkies, Bowmans, London Pies and Neungs. The blogsite at Pattaya-addicts.com even updates its readers about the latest pie news and preferences. The British in particular take their pastry and fillings very seriously indeed.
One of the newer recruits to the Pattaya pie world is Tinnies, a well-positioned eatery and take-away venue on Thappraya Road and close to Jomtien Beach. Opened in Australia in 2009, the Pattaya branch dates back to late 2016. The first thing that strikes you is the super-clean environment from every point of view. Food hygiene is so very important and Tinnies is at the top of the class. The second thing is the efficiency and friendliness of the staff. No substitute for that.
There are a dozen or so varieties of meat pies, both hot and frozen: chicken, roast lamb, beef, etc., with some original items such as curry mince. Sales are obviously very brisk with substantial daily baking on a big scale. The secret, of course, is top quality meat and the knowhow in making pastry. Whilst we were there, several customers came in to take away a variety of pies. One told us, “My Thai wife insists on my buying chunky beef and kidney at least twice a week.”
The cafe has obviously lost custom since the suspension of mass tourism to Thailand, but there is a steady niche of regular expats, phone-in orderers and take-away customers. Apart from pies, there’s a sizeable menu choice which includes fried breakfasts, a super burger, American BBQ ribs and authentic Thai food. A special feature are the made-to-order sandwiches which offer you boxes to tick on a request form. Not to mention the irresistible desserts which include blueberry or strawberry cheesecake and – the supreme winner – a remarkable lemon meringue … yes … pie! Awesome.
Tinnies is a superior, quality cafe so the prices are reasonable but obviously not rock bottom. The gourmet pies mostly sell in the 130-150 baht range, the beer-battered dory fish and chips come in at 200 baht and the much-lusted lemon meringue pie 125 baht. Portions are decidedly not skimpy. The Tinnies’ website is comprehensive and detailed on prices. An American regular told us he goes for breakfast there six times a week. They are closed on Tuesdays.
Pies are built into our everyday spoken culture which may explain their ongoing popularity. You can eat humble pie or find things in apple pie order. Some tasks in life are as easy as pie, but achieving them might be pie in the sky. You can even be pie-eyed though it’s not recommended as it means you are drunk. According to the Sweeney Todd song, the worst pies in London are at Mrs Lovett’s eating house. Some of the best pies in Pattaya might well be found at Tinnies.