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Thailand

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Eating out in Thailand (Part 1)

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There are so many places where you can eat in Thailand, that it may be difficult to make a choice. On this page I show you just a few possibilities in order to help you with that difficult choice.

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In this overview of some of the possibilities for "eating out" in Thailand, I start with the smallest shop for food you can expect.

Food stall Larger food stall

The smallest "shop" to eat out is doubtless the food stall or "hawker", as it is shown here. In the car on the left hand side picture the girl is selling snacks. It is well possible, however, that in a car like this complete meals are being sold, for people to take home. A situation like that is shown in the right hand side picture. You can either take the food from that stall home, or eat it on one of the two small tables you see in the foreground.

Sausages on sticks Hawker stall after dark

These "hawkers" play an important part in the food chain in Thailand. At dinner time (when it is dark already; it is always dark there at around 6 p.m.) they have their "rush hour", when many people on motorcycles or by car come to buy some snacks or complete meals there to take home. The stall on the left hand side picture sells sausages on sticks, the one on the right hand side picture sells complete meals. And when you walk past them you really will be tempted to buy something. Do so, especially at this "rush hour" the food has just been prepared and is therefore fresh and safe to eat.

As far as your health is concerned: Your food will always be prepared fresh for you, so if you take it home it is safe. The danger here is of a different kind: The plates are often not being washed properly, because the shop owner does not have fresh water. So, if you want to eat your meal "on the spot", you should look how they do the washing up. If they take the plates inside and wash them in a proper kitchen, it is OK. If they wash them on the street, they will probably use the same water the whole evening and it is not OK for us Westerners!

The smallest thinkable restaurant

This is a picture of the smallest "restaurant" I can imagine, and I only know a few places in Bangkok where you can see them: In fact this is no more than a table on which the owner does the cooking, while the guests are sitting around the same table and have their meal. This "restaurant" is definitely not meant for tourists! However ... there is one place empty, so why not join the party? The food will certainly be good!

Small restaurant (1) Small restaurant (2)

Then there are the -probably- most popular restaurants with the Thais. They are open top the street and the cooking is done near the street. You point at what you would like to eat, and inside you will be served! (Only buy bottled water here, to be certain that it is proper drinking water). If you hesitate if this place is as hygienic as you would like it to be, take a look at how the cooking is done and decide then. But generally spoken you can safely eat in these places.

Inside a small restaurant The menu...t
The menu...t

The left hand side picture on top above shows you the interior of such a small restaurant. It is simple but adequate. A slight problem might arise when they show you the menu (which was only on the wall in this case; right hand side picture on top), but -as said above- just point at the things you would like to eat, and they will make it for you. The menu -by the way- gives you an impression of the price you will pay for a meal in these small restaurants.
The third picture above shows you the kind of meal you can expect in a restaurant of this kind. I enjoyed it very much.

Inside a "cafeteria" The cook

And on the two pictures above, you find a larger version of the small restaurant, more or less comparable to what we would call a "cafeteria" in the West. In those places there is not the slightest doubt about hygiene and you can always safely walk inside and have a meal there. In these somewhat larger places there often also is a menu in English (please be generous with your judgement about the spelling errors!) Some of these restaurants are even famous. If in Phuket City, you should - for instance - always try a meal at "Mae Porn". Her place used to be opposite the Ong Ong Hotel, but it has moved. Ask your tuk-tuk driver to take you there. He will know the place.

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This page was last uploaded:September 4, 2010 at 17:09