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Thai Noodles in Phang Nga Town

I love noodles. I think I can safely say that I have rarely met a noodle that I didn’t like. Here in Thailand they take their noodles seriously.
Everyone knows about Pad Thai. It is on every menu in every Thai restaurant worldwide. What you get here in Thailand depends on what part of the country you live in. The basic ingredients don’t change but there are subtle differences like nuts and dried shrimp that come into the equation. We are lucky to have a good place to get not only a good Pad Thai but also a very good Pad See Eeu. For those who don’t know Pad See Eeu it is made with wide, flat rice noodles that are flash fried in a wok. I like to order it with squid because they fish for it nearby and it is always super fresh.

The north is known for a noodle dish called Khao Soy. It has been around for centuries. It is made with fresh yellow noodles, a stewed chicken leg, fried yellow noodles, One half a boiled egg, pickled cabbage and lime wedges in a sweet and spicy curry. Heavenly is a good term.
A simple noodle served all over the country from the city to the smallest village is called Kwai Tiaow. In Viet Nam they call it Pho. There are small restaurant vendors and mobile ones cruising around. If you wave at them they will pull over with their modified motorbikes and fix you up with a bowl or two. Thin rice noodles blanched in a steaming hot broth and topped with any number of toppings. All parts of the chicken, meatballs, pork loin, Thai basil, crushed dried chilies, coriander, fresh lime, the list goes on forever. It is all topped off in a piping hot broth.

The Chinese have their influence in the noodle culture here in Thailand as well. They brought with them Char Sui Pork, Dim Sum and many other things. The best Char Sui pork is sold wherever there is an ethnic Chinese population. The guy that drives around my neighborhood makes a nice version. He has yellow noodles, freshly made pork dumplings, Chinese greens and that nicely colored red pork. What makes this guy’s noodles so good is the broth he makes. It is rich without being heavy and wonderfully scented with cinnamon, and anise. He only comes around every few days and I can usually smell his cart long before it shows up on my street.

Click Images Below to Enlarge

Today we went to Phang Nga town renewing our one year visas at the always amusing circus clowns Royal Thai Immigration Office and after we went to a noodle shop that has been owned and operated by the same family for 100 years, Talad Kwang Noodle Shop. It is hidden on a small side road in a residential area and let me tell you, the noodles are out of this world. The menu is small and various types of pork are in everything. The small shop house was busy with locals happily slurping away at their tables. I wanted to ask one of the current owners a few questions but they were too busy. Fortunately I have to return to Phang Nga town in a few weeks to retrieve my passport and will go back for more lovely noodles.

See Talad Kwang on Google Earth Click HERE!

Unusual Things You Can Come Across When Visiting Khao Lak, Thailand

Thailand has its own way of doing things. What is normal in Khao Lak isn’t necessarily the standard in your country. Khao Lak, as with any other town in other countries, has its habits which may or may not appeal to your sensibilities. Either way, it is good to be prepared for some usual things that you may encounter while visiting The Land of Smiles.

Beer with Ice Cubes and Soft Drinks in a Plastic Bag
Beer drinkers in Thailand take an entirely different treatment of their brew – they mix ice cubes with it. and with good reason. With all the heat and humidity, it is only logical to refresh the drink to keep it from warming up. You may find this a bit unusual and think that it waters down the beer, but give it a try and you’ll see the wisdom in putting ice in your beer. The Thais have created a way to have a drink on the go – plastic bag with a straw. A small plastic bag is filled with ice cubes; ice tea, ice coffee, coconut water, sugarcane water or any other refreshment and a straw is put in the bag for you to drink from. Before you get triggered about the environmental impact of all that plastic, These days you will only see it up-country and in smaller villages.

Insects as Snack
For the squeamish among us, insects are just not on our list of snacks to eat. They provide great nutritional value and Thai restaurants even in metropolitan cities like Bangkok and Phuket are serving anything from silk worms to water beetles, bamboo worms and crickets. Grasshopper still remains one of the top favorite snacks, especially among the children. They are fried with lime leaves and chilies until crispy and have a wonderful fragrance and texture. While snacking insects isn’t the norm, it is not unlikely to find restaurant menus that showcase extensive selections of insect-based foods. At any fair or festival in Thailand you will always come across a stand selling fried insects, give it a try.

Songkran
If you happen to be in Thailand for the Songkran Festival, the traditional New Year’s Day of Thailand which falls on April 13, you will find that there are really some unusual things going on this day – . Originally Thai people gently poured water on the hands of their elders to show respect. Wishes for a long and happy life are exchanged. Temples are cleaned and merit is made. It is a time to gather with family and enjoy the day eating and relaxing in the shade. Well things have sure changed. As part of the celebration these days, merry makers use water guns to shoot water or buckets of freezing ice water on each other – no one is exempted. The unfortunate traffic policeman is a convenient target. Even children know this and take advantage of the occasion and then the buckets of water come out and everyone gets soaked from sun up to sun down. Chiang Mai is the epicenter of Songkran and festivities can last up to 5 days. Many locals who don’t want to get wet stay indoors until the sun sets and the streets dry off. In Khao Lak the Festival is only on the 13th and the government has been known to shut the water off at 5 o’clock.

Overloaded Everything
From overloaded lumber trucks to 4 people on a scooter people here have a knack for the absurd when it comes to highway safety. Spend any time on the roads and you are guaranteed to witness this. Dogs on scooters. Monkeys and pigs on scooters. An entire bamboo forest stacked dangerously high in a small pickup truck. Overloaded vehicles leaning to the left. Overloaded vehicles leaning to the right. Some laying sideways in a ditch. Some upside down. Thailand is truly amazing.