If you’re lucky enough to come visit the nation of Thailand, there will be a lot of things to do, see, and experience high on your list. Those may include being a beach bum at some incredibly scenic spots, visiting countless majestic temples, bathing rescue elephants, trying the fighting art of Muay Thai, and, when you’re completely sauced on Chang beer and Sansom Thai whiskey, attempting to do all of those things at the same time.
But there’s another reason to come to Thailand (no, not THAT you ladyboy lover!) – the food! In fact, Thailand has the absolute best food in the world in my book. Sure, there are other countries with epic cuisine like Italy, France, Mexico (in California!), and Japan, but, unlike those epicurean friendly nations, you don’t have to seek out fancy restaurants to sample the best of Thai food. Just any old little corner café, mom-and-pop outdoor restaurant, or night market will yield some of the tastiest, healthiest, spiciest, most colorful, and even cheapest fine dining in the world.
And the best part is that the vibe is totally laid back, friendly and relaxed – far closer to “Beach fabulous” and “Shoes and shirts NOT required” than the stuffy, snobby, and pricey dining in those other countries.
You also don’t need to open up a Michelin guide to find amazing grub in Thailand, as it’s literally everywhere. Such is the case with one of my new favorite places here in Jomtien, Concor Kitchen. In fact, you probably couldn’t find it if you tried, as it’s located in an alley off a side street off the main street in the suburb of the popular tourist part of town in a second city – Pattaya. Got it?
You also may walk right by, as it’s tucked at the end of this lane with a small breakfast bar outside with two stools along with two picnic tables. Inside the sliding glass door, you’ll see a humble restaurant with four small tables, a cooler of beer, and a counter, behind which the signs and ads are more interested in telling you about their motorbike rental, cheap rooms upstairs, and laundry service than their menu.
I found this place by accident one day as I was looking for a quick place to get some cheap Thai food, and I’ve been back here almost daily ever since. My favorite on the menu is their Chao Fun (drunken noodles) which are the thick fried noodles along with Bach-choy (dark green leafy vegetable) and chicken or pork. But I’ve also tried their green coconut curry, which was the bomb, and their spicy seafood salad. In fact, I ordered it only “nitnoy” spicy (a little), but it almost burnt my lips off! But damn it was tasty and healthy. If you’re in the mood for more Western fare, they have giant English breakfasts, spaghetti, and chicken dishes.
But my favorite part of Concor Kitchen is just sitting outside, training the fan right on me, and drinking a coffee or cold beer at night, rapping with the local women and her husband that own the place. They’re always friendly, eager to chat with you in their limited English and make sure you have an amazing experience at their humble establishment.
With restaurants as good as Concor Kitchen everywhere I turn in Thailand, it’s going to be damn hard to leave!