It’s not easy to eat badly in Thailand. I originally wanted to write about all the lovely food we had on our trip to Thailand, but there were so many nice food to choose from, it’s quite a daunting task to write about all of them of having to choose a few. Looking back, what stood out in my memory was not just the great food itself, but the experience that went along with it. For that reason, all of these food memories came from Koh Samui. We ate great food in Krabi, but it mostly came from one restaurant across the street, while in Samui we roamed about and ate where locals ate, and eating became a livelier occurrence.
The Waterfall Chicken
According to The Kid, The Waterfall Chicken was the best food she ate in the whole of Thailand.
The Waterfall Chicken was found at a rather grubby and run down little place selling barbecued chicken just after the entrance of the smaller Na Muang waterfall (also called Na Muang waterfall #1, and yes, there is a Na Muang waterfall #2). Right after we parked our car, we could smell a whiff of deliciously barbecued meat. Just by following the smell, we found this place just under a rock and a tree; a family selling barbecued chicken and rice, and not much else. I have to agree with The Kid, that the chicken was great. Pieces of chicken on the bone, marinated in a delicious sauce, grilled on open fire until the skin was crispy but the meat was juicy and tender. It was so simple, so unassuming, and while we were aware of the risk of eating random street food in a tropical country, I’m glad we stopped by anyway. (For the record, none of us got any problem from it afterward).
The Monsoon Night Market of La Mai
One thing we missed in our Krabi villa was a chance to go where local people go. Once we’re in Koh Samui and got ourselves a car, the night markets, which is a popular hunting and gathering ground for locals and tourists alike, became our favourite place to grab some dinner. One of the most popular night markets was the one in Lamai, which was on the other side of the island from our place in Nathon. After driving an hour to get there, a heavy rain fell. We were considering of cancelling our plan and head to an indoor restaurant, but instead, we parked our car and hoped the rain would stop soon. It didn’t, and we got hungry, and soon found ourselves walking around in the warm rain, which was actually quite pleasant after days of being in 35 degrees Celcius.
The first stop we made was by the stall with huge vats of deep frying chicken (which stopped chicken-loving Kid on her track). We bought several pieces, and sat under the awning of one of the day shops, and ate our chicken, which soon joined by rice balls from neighbouring stalls, and then Pad Thai, cheap cocktails, more chicken, crocodile kebabs, beer, and whatnot. The only disappointment was that I couldn’t find the legendary fried crickets and other insects that I’ve been curious on trying. Nevertheless, everyone was friendly, and the rain didn’t seem to dampen the jovial atmosphere. We ended up walking to the end of the road and back in the rain, getting soaked, and having a laugh about it.
The Jungle Curry after the crash
Koh Samui has one of the highest rate of traffic accidents in the world. Even with decades of driving experience, you shouldn’t take anything for granted. After a week of safe car trips, we crashed into a Vespa just 10 meter away from the airport gate trying to catch our flight to Bangkok.
Nobody got hurt, but we did miss our flight, and was 20.000 Baht poorer before we could even re-book our flight. We originally wanted to spend a day in Bangkok before flying home, but after what happened, we chose an early flight the following day and a direct transfer to our European flight and spend another night in Samui instead.
Looking at our options for a hotel for the night, we went for the rather quirky Dream Field Resort, just 1km away from the airport (we’re not chancing missing another flight!). Our little bungalow cost only €35 a night, but we got pleasantly surprised at how well the place was run. Our room was spotless, The Kid got an extra bed for free, there’s a pool, and the beach was just across the street. Once we’re settled in, and had some time to think about what just happened that day, we went and have lunch at the hotel’s restaurant. That’s how I met my mean bowl of Jungle Curry , which is a clear curry with vegetable, herbs and meat (I chose beef). It was spicy, but light and very flavourful. It got me sweating more than I already did, but boy, I enjoyed that bowl. And that moment, I realised that despite what happened that day, Koh Samui was not a bad place at all to be stuck at for an extra day. In fact we all ended up enjoying a relaxing day that day, and nobody regretted the fact that we’re skipping Bangkok altogether.