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Friday, December 16, 2011

Thai food court

If you are a lover of Thai food in all it's guises then a trip down the local food court is one of Thailand's great foodie pleasures. Food courts are a name for an organized places to eat where the landlord will bring together a full and wide range of differing food types. These mini shops are owned by individuals who share their profit with the landlords and have 2-3 meters shop front to sell their specialities. As you go in you buy coupons and use them to buy your meals at the stalls. This ensures that the landlord controls the amount taken. The stall holder gets a percentage of the profit. You can return the coupons for cash at the end.

If you love curry you will love this!

Lining up for the coupons. This doesnt take long.

You might get a couple of curry stalls, a couple of noodle soup variations, Thai salads, chicken and rice, pork, rice specialities and Thai deserts and drinks. You might get Northern Thai food delicacies in the south and southern delicacies in the north so you might find it an excellent place to find food types you cant get in your hotel or resort. There are rarely less than 7 or 8 of these mini stalls in a food court but sometimes, like my favourite in Bangkok Airport, over 20.

Pahd Thai heaven.

I like going to the food courts as my Thai wife can eat something totally different to me and we are both happy. The food show cased is rarely available in restaurants at the same level of originality. I find menus catering to the westerner's tastes relatively mild in flavour and small in variation and so I appreciate this real deal. It is disappointing to me when hotel Thai food is so without any spice and too often lacks the intensity of preparation. The food courts are also fast and very good value.

Thai desserts

The food courts are packed at office meal times but as many people will snack these places are often busy throughout the day. Traditionally the meals are small because it is common to have
a couple of dishes rather than one large meal, European style. More often than not people will eat with friends rather than be alone as is the norm for most of Asia. This means the process of sharing food will allow you to try more than a couple of dishes. This is very Thai, very communal and very sociable.

Variety of food in Thailand often takes a traveller by surprise. The number and variation of ways of preparing rice or noodle, the number of soups types not to mention the variations of vegetable and fruits makes this experience truly memorable if it is your first time.

Fresh Mango with Khao Niaow rice and coconut sauce

Thai food courts are inexpensive, often street food brought into a collective environment to give the eating public a great variation in one location. Nearly all large public buildings seem to have them. They are an essential ingredient of the Shopping mall and can be found in their older format next to old markets.

Issan Food from the North

One of my favourites is at the salubrious Supercheap wholesale market on Thepkrassattri Rd Phuket. Here you can get meals with the freshest ingredients and the tastes that really jump out at you. The curry stall owners vie with each other on choice and variation each day creating over 20 different dishes just on each stall.

As it is linked to the wholesale market it brings in fresh produce and the meals are sold to those who know fresh and in that sense have high standards. It's not the cleanest of venues, it is open air without air con but the through put of food and the 600 degrees in which food is cooked ensures safe eating (well for me anyway).

A mix match plate from a curry stall

Another surprise food court I love is at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. Click on the link to see a video. You have to dig through the airport map to find it as it is there for the workers at the airport and anybody wanting the original local tastes of Thailand. (The food court is near the MRT, the modern rail link, entrance).

One final gem. Seafood which is so hard to find in many parts of Europe can be found at many food courts especially if you are near the sea. As well as having a stunning variation it comes at fantastic value. This is worth checking out.

Bar BQ squid .... wow

If you are staying in a Hotel or resort or seviced apartment you will not find food like this around the premises. If this kind of food exploration excites you then take a walk or get down to the nearest shopping Mall and head for the top floor.

More links to articles on Thai Food
Dining on Phi Phi Island
Recommended Trendy Restaurants in Phuket
Thai cooking classes
Restaurants in Haad Rin
Bangkok restaurants
Recommended Restaurants in Pattaya

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