I was recently kidnapped on an overnight road trip, hitting all the touristy food havens in the small mountains and hills a few hundred kilometers north of Bangkok.
No responsibilities. No agenda. Just miles of eating.
Here’s some of the highlights:
Catching the Mountainside Seafood Breeze at Suan Muang Porn (สวนเมืองพร)
Tip: There’s two big highlights here, the view and the seafood. Don’t bother with too much of the other stuff happening here.
We especially like the dry grilled seafood curry called hor mok served on a hot plate. If you’re not already a fan of this dish study our Hor Mok fact sheet. It’s great when you can eat it on the beach, but our first time having it mountain side was good too. If you do end up at Suan Muang Porn, their fried fish is a great choice too.
A Few Hard to Find Thai Delicacies from Krua Im Suk (ครัวอิ่มสุข)
This was one of the places I enjoyed most (and not because it plays host to some awful late night karaoke). The restaurant has a great view of the rolling hills in the surrounding Wang Nam Kiew (วังน้ำเขียว) area and successfully delivered a few dishes I rarely see on menus or really enjoy when I have them. They included spicy basil tuna (aka tuna krapow) and deep fried stuffed peppers (stuffed with minced pork) which I loved.
Spicy Northeastern Thai Food Dished Out in an Open Air Sauna at Pen Laos (เปนลาว เขาใหญ่)
Finally, while I was excited for some Laotian style food this place really never crosses too deep in to Laos. If they did, it’d probably alienate the clientele they’ve been on mostly North Eastern style Thai food.
Pen Laos was hot as Hades and crowded, but it had good prices and decent service. I was pretty unhappy with the first few salads and thought the chicken was below par, so it was a relief when the fish, soups and grilled pork were made just as they should be.
But good thing we ate here on the way back, because it really made me miss restaurants who really have mastered Northeastern grilled chicken and it’s complimentary dishes so well done by places in Bangkok like Praram 8 Kai Yang and Club Esso Isan Street Food.
Bonus: Grazing on Eats and Taking Awkward Photos in the Palio’s Faux-European Village
This is a place you may not plan to go, but are sure to end up if you’re with a group of Thais. Try not to pout too much and make the best of the situation by grazing at through an interesting selection of vendors in the Palio plaza.
There’s tons of ice cream and sweets spot and random western style places which aren’t bad for a quick fix. There’s some open air treats, like sausage and french fries if you need something to smack on while the people around you are losing their minds taking pictures in this miniature faux-European plaza. Tip: Grab a beer or cocktail, snack and plop down in the center of everything to listen to the man playing music with the wine glasses.