Thailand has some truly crap roadside restaurants and I’ve eaten at a few. Part of the adventure is forsaking the ever present KFC’s, MK’s, and SP’s and taking chances with no name restaurants encountered by chance along the side of the highway. Some of these are just a poor farmer with a propane burner and plastic tables frying up left overs in search of extra baht from random passing motorists . Part of the adventure is when things go tragically wrong.
Legend is a 50 ft. tall smiling pig marking a bistro on the southern route from BKK to Ubon visited with Werewolf. The pork sat outside for a couple of days with only a spinning CD to keep away the flies and had a mealy, spongy, mushy feel in the mouth. The rice was watery, the vegetables were wilted and brown, and the chicken was gelatinous with a faint aroma of putrefaction. I drove away looking for the next 7-11 to get a Hershey bar and diet coke to clear my palate and spent the next few hours monitoring my body intently for the first sign of bowel clenching signallling the onset of the dreaded squirts. There is not much worse than an 8 hour Thai road trip, with diarrhea, and nothing but squat toilets at the gas stations ahead.
And then there are the pleasant surprises like The Thai-Finn restaurant on the road from Tak to Mae Pae.
This restaurant sits alone in the middle of the rain forest. It is not in or near a town. Roadside signs alert you of its presence 5Km ahead, and there it is– a wood awning with some tables underneath and a gravel paved parking lot. After you leave, it is more than 20KM to the next human habitation. I’ve no idea where it’s customer base resides.
I don’t know the back story but the pictures on the wall show a Thai being formally trained in Finland and returning to his home village to open a restaurant.
The food was made with fresh ingredients expertly prepared.
All the sauces were delightful, powerful, balanced, and some were inspired.
The peppers in this sauce where strong and powerful with the proper hint of smokiness—not mesquite, not hickory, but some elusive Thai wood that hasn’t reached the outside world yet.
Eating this makes one feel sorry for the tourists who eat Tourist Thai Cuisine served at Madame Saranair’s and think they have sampled real Thai.
Check the tomatoes in the picture. Super fresh.
This is the roast boar and it most likely came from an actual wild boar.
Wild boar still roam the nearby rain forest and the locals hunt them for food.
The meat had a slight and welcome gamey taste that combined with the spices to produce a wonderful savory and aromatic mouthful that you won’t find anywhere but in rural Thailand.
It had the toughness of wild meat without the marbling and fattiness from grain fed livestock.
This one bite made the whole trip worthwhile.
Here is another wonderful sauce that was both sour and hot.
Forget about combining it with the chicken.
Just put a smidgen of this on the spoon and eat it directly. Hot and heavenly.
Even the rice was great. Not too moist. Not too dry. With the right amount of egg.