Thai Food Hunger Games: Three Rocking Road Kills North of Bangkok

By Mark Wiens No Comments

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)

The view from Suan Muang Porn
The view from Suan Muang Porn (สวนเมืองพร)
Fried squid, garlic and onion appetizer
Chewy fried squid, garlic and onion appetizer. Dish: ปลาหมึกทอดกระเทียม
Think and dry coconut curry mashup with seafood
Thick, dry coconut curry mashup with seafood. Dish: ห่อหมกทะเล

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)

The hungry crew, hanging out right below the sunset in the clouds.
The hungry crew, hanging out before dinner as the sun sets.

 

Spicy Basil Tuna
Spicy Basil Tuna Piled Mountain-like in Steaming Sauce
Deep Fried Thai Style Stuffed Peppers
Deep Fried Thai Style Stuffed Peppers with Sweet Sauce. Dish: พริกหยวกยัดไส้หมู

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)

Thai Grilled Chicken aka the infamous 'gai yang'
Thai Grilled Chicken aka the infamous 'gai yang' (ไก่ย่าง)
Spicy Bamboo Salad
Spicy mint and bamboo salad that didn't win me over.
This fish came to save the day, covered in deep fried basil.
This fish came to save the day, covered in deep fried basil.

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

Thai Foodie Friends Posing at the Palio
Thai Foodie Friends Posing at the Palio Khao Yai (ปาลิโอ เขาใหญ่)
The best plan for hanging out at Palio Khao Yai
Believe me, this is the best plan for hanging out at Palio!
Cooling off with a rice and red bean popsicle.
Cooling off with a rice and red bean popsicle.

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.

Made it home super full and hoping to get invited on the next food excursion!

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