A Foodie’s Guide to Pattaya

Here are our top foodie favorites located in and around Pattaya:

PATTAYA

Pakboong Loy Fa

The literal translation of this restaurant is ‘Flying vegetable restaurant’ and there is a reason for it: Their vegetables literally fly! The selling point of this restaurant is the spectacle of the chefs as they cook their signature fried ‘pakboong’ dish over a hot wok and then throw it all the way across the road to their co-chef to catch in his wok. This is a spectacle you can’t miss – You will not only enjoy the live cooking show, but the taste of the food after its long travel is also a treat. Try it with some warm ‘khao tom’ and other add-ins!

Location: Pattaya Soi 15

 

 

Pakboong Loy Fa

Yaam pla saliit (Fried fish salad)

Khai Jiiaeow Sai Po Wan (Thai-style omelet with Sweet Radish)

La Baguette

La Baguette is a classic French-style bakery with an expansive menu of delectable baked goods, bread, and tea/coffee drinks. They now have 2 locations in Pattaya, both with different ambiances but the same quality taste:

Naklua Road location

Phratamnuk branch

Official website: http://www.labaguettepattaya.com/

Mum Aroi

Mum Aroi (Sai 3), translated to ‘delicious corner’, is a great spot for some authentic Thai seafood dishes. Here are some pictures that will hopefully give you some inspiration for your food order when you visit this restaurant:

Hoi Jo (Deep fried crab meat roll)

 

Pla Sam Rot (3 Flavor Fish)

 

Grapao Plamuk (Spicy Basil & Squid Stir Fry)

Dessert

For dessert, try the classic Thai mango sticky rice (khao niiaow mamuang) from J’Noi in “Mango Heaven” along Central Pattaya road.

NEARBY IN SATTAHIP

สโมสรเรือใบฐานทัพเรือสัตหีบ (Sattahip Naval Base Sailing Club)

Our pick for a sunny lunch by the ocean and some incredibly hearty Thai seafood!

 

Puu Lon (Crab dip)

 

Goong Sauce Makam (Tamarind Sauce Fried Shrimp with Cashews)

 

Pad Pong Garee (Curry Crab Stir Fry)

ON THE ROAD FROM PATTAYA TO BANGKOK

Bah Wan

ร้านป้าหวาน (Bah Wan) is hands-down the best place to eat a real shrimp pad thai dish outside of Bangkok. This classic restaurant has a long history and credible standpoint by the sea. The shrimp spring with freshness, as do the vegetable accoutrements of this dish. Classic food, consistent and fresh taste!

This sign means you can trust the food!

Dessert

If you are traveling back to Bangkok from Pattaya, don’t forget to pick up some ‘khao lam’ (ข้าวหลาม) on your way home. This unique dessert will have you feeling like you’ve stepped back in time. You can’t miss this it – sold in a bamboo tube, it contains white or black sweet and custard-y sticky rice to be eaten with a wooden stick. Quite the filling dessert!

‘Mae jalern’ is a classic spot to buy this glutinous delicacy.

Learn more about the dessert here.

And when you’re not stuffing your belly with scrumptious Thai food and treats, take some time to enjoy Pattaya’s sunsets on the beach!

Sena Nikhom – An Afternoon Tour

Sena Nikhom Road is a stretch of road that is full of treats — if you take the time to wander along, you will find many opportunities, from coffee shops, noodle shops, fried bananas, and a large pond where you can feed fish. Let us suggest an afternoon tour in this cute neighborhood.

Stop 1:

Lunch at Rot Det Guoy Dtiow Nuua Wuwa (Google Map)

Recommended menu items:

  • Small noodles with stewed beef in broth
  • Small noodles with stewed pork in broth
  • Grilled pork and beef balls on a stick

 

Stop 2:

Snacks

Grilled sticky rice with filling. Make sure you stop by on the earlier side as this Auntie usually sells out of our recommended favorite – sticky rice with bananas. Luckily, this is right across Sena road from the Beef noodles, so you can cross over and make your selection while you are waiting for the noodles to come. Be careful if you come right at lunch hour, it might be hard to find a table on the weekends, or you may wait for the pork/beef balls to be grilled.

Fried bananas and Thai ice tea. The bananas are best when they have come out of the oil fresh and crisp. They also have mataba (pronounced: ma-ta-ba; a Muslim style dish of chicken or beef with a sweet and sour vinegar with onions and cucumbers).

Roti Ban Sena (Google Maps)

Stop 3:

42 Vista – Breaktime Cafe by Re Gelato (Google Map)

Make your way further west along Sena Nikhom to relax for the rest of the afternoon at 42 Vista by Re-Gelato. This family run shop has nice coffee and homemade gelato, mixed in an imported machine from Europe. It’s nice to try a mix of flavors in different cups. You can enjoy these eats along with a wide variety of other items from their menu inside their cafe, or site around the outside on the veranda.

Our favorite spot however is the pier overlooking their large pond. They have bottles of fish food for 10 baht, which you can spread in the water for the hungry fish. Be sure to take care in how you give them the food, as they tend to get excited and can make quiet a splash. Consider finding a quiet corner to give a few the food so they don’t fight over the small amount.

Unique point: Have a chat with the father of the business if he comes by. He speaks English, and loves to hold conversations in German as he used to work in Germany.

SONY DSC

ตงเพ้ง เป็ดย่าง โชคชัย – Tong Peng Grilled Duck Chok Chai

Tong Peng Paed Yang Chok Chai

ตงเพ้ง เป็ดย่าง โชคชัย

If you are looking for the best ‘paed yang’ (grilled duck) in town, look no further than Tong Peng.

Its mother restaurant, which has been located on Chok Chai 4 Soi 3 since 1982, is a higher-scale duck restaurant known as Tong Peng. Originally a Chinese food restaurant, it became focused on selling duck in 1988. With a 36-year old grilled duck recipe in the family name, it is difficult for other restaurants to compete with this legacy.

While Tong Peng focuses on its older generation customers, Tong Peng Paed Yang on Chok Chai 4 Soi 69 serves a different kind of loyal customers, more likely to be in the younger generation category.

If you want to prove whether the taste is as good as our word, go prove it for yourself. Order the ข้าวหน้าเป็ด, ‘khao na paed’ (duck over rice), or บะหมี่เป็ดย่าง, ‘baa mii paed yaang’ (grilled duck over egg noodles) – or both! Add as much as you want of the thick, light brown gravy for the authentic taste of their recipe, and some of the dark brown sauce with chilis for a more sweet & sour taste.

If you are curious about the restaurant’s background and its longstanding recipe, read on…

Interview with the owner of Tong Peng Paed Yang, Khun Ting

What’s the background story of this restaurant?

The owner, Ting, is the grandson of the owner of the original restaurant, who was born in central China. Being owned by a Chinese-Thai family, the original owners at first wanted to preserve their heritage with Chinese good but did not have the knowledge to do so. So they experimented, tried out different recipes…and well, the rest is history…It’s in every bite of the dishes you will eat here.

 

What’s the secret to their success?

The secret to the goodness of their classic, longstanding recipe: Sustainability.

They are able to sustain the quality and taste to the point that the owner no longer has to cook the duck, but the owner’s trained team can replicate the same quality. The recipe has been preserved and maintained over the years, keeping the same ingredients and always holding its quality to a high standard in every way.

The owner says he has always focused on preserving this point.

What’s the main difference between the two restaurants?

The older restaurant is very formal and only attracts a certain customer who either can afford higher prices or those that come for special occasions. On the other hand, the main purpose of the Chok Chai 4 location is that people can ‘eat easy’ and enjoy ‘everyday food’.

Sticking with their theme of sustainability, you will notice that all of the staff are friendly, warm and happy to see and serve their customers, always greeting everyone with big smiles. The restaurant already has a homey, old-fashioned feel and thus, the staff makes a big contribution to creating this welcoming environment.

 

What kind of advertising is done for the restaurant?

The restaurant recently won the ‘Users choice’ award in Wongnai, where one may find the Thai versions of their best reviews.

Although the restaurants are minimally advertised (Facebook, Google, and Wongnai or LINE for the older customers), eighty percent of their customers are regulars.

Customer loyalty and word-of-mouth seem the be the main forces of the restaurant’s longevity.

What have you learned since being an owner?

The owner has learned a lot in his experience of taking over the family business. With a background in marketing from Thammasat, he has used his foundational knowledge but mainly gained experience in working in regards to managing people, change management, and human resources.

 

  1. Problems come every day, all of the time. You have to take care of them quickly. You have to manage a lot of things — customers, produce, stocks, materials, etc.
  2. You learn through experience. For example, if something that worked in the past isn’t working in the present, you have to adjust it so it is more suitable for current situations and people’s needs. Ie. Their old-school system of handwritten checks are slowly moving towards a more reliable and secure computerized system.

Although his father and grandfather didn’t teach him with many words, they showed him through their examples and he gained experience in this way.

 

What advice do you have for anyone who wants to be an owner or start their own business?

  1. Everything takes time. You have to be patient because everything needs time.
  2. How you plan things and how they turn out in reality are not always the same. We may think things will be a certain way, and then actions will show something else.
  3. You have to be adaptable — You have to see where change is needed and adapt yourself or adjust the situation accordingly.
  4. There will be a lot of problems. Learn and become a problem-solver.

At first, the owner was not super keen on becoming the owner and became tired of encountering all sorts of problems, but he realized how difficult it was to have a popular restaurant name…when so many others like him would do anything to have what he had. He wasn’t going to waste this valuable of an asset and thus, chose to preserve and develop it instead. If you take a look around the restaurant and its reviews, it is clear that his decision has paid off.

 

What does the future look like for Tong Peng?

The restaurant continues to develop, with its recent redesign five months ago (Still maintaining its classic style, of course).

They are planning on opening a third branch more central in Bangkok, and are in the process of scouting out a location.  But, before they make their big move into the city, they want to be sure that this restaurant works as a perfect model — that all of the problems and kinks are ironed out and that it can be replicated as a model anywhere, still maintaining the quality and family tradition.

 

Any last piece of advice?

“Keep moving all of the time.”

Chawang Khaao Raad Geng (ชวางข้าวราดแกง) – Southern Style Restuarant

CHAWANG MAE UWAY – SOUTHERN FOOD RESTAURANT
375 ซอย วังหลัง 4 Siriraj, Khet Bangkok Noi, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10700

Most restaurants representing the southern food of Thailand have a display of various dishes ready to serve over rice. At Chawang Mae Uway, however, the spread is impressive. Daily the restaurant makes anywhere from 30-40 different dishes. Each day those dishes are not the same either. Of course, they have the foundation dishes that everyone expects to get when entering their shop, e.g. geng som, muu palo, nam prik and veggies, etc. You will be guaranteed to find something that suites you.

Pork and Boiled Egg in Chinese Herb Broth (muu palo)

Origin of Chawang (#Aunties of Thailand)

The restaurant has been a family run business. Today, the original chef is 90 years old.  Over 30 years ago, the restaurant was passed from Auntie to Mom. These days, after 50 years in business, the daughters take care of the restaurant. Mom now rests in a house down the road. Her fifth daughter, Ungit, is the main manager. Most of her siblings went to study and learn, and she decided to help her mother in the kitchen. Ungit’s older sister was the third and stayed to help as well. But once Dtoy married, she went to live with her husband and Ungit stayed back. Dtoy returned after her husband’s death and is now 72.

They both had watched as her mom had raised 7 children with the restaurant as a way to make a living and support the family. Ungit had studied as a girl, perhaps until the age of 14 or 15.

Khanom Jin with Naam Yaa (slightly spicy)

Skill of Cooking

“It just came to me,” Ungit described of her cooking skills. She enjoyed it too, and had the heart for it. Some of her siblings became doctors, others are professors at Chulalunkorn and Kaset universities. She studies in the kitchen.

As for Dtoy, she said it came from the love of eating. All she had to do was to taste the food and she would know what needed to be added. Some of the other siblings could taste that it was missing something, but they never developed the skills to modify the dish until it was matching their taste.

A taste of the South

The foods flavor is different than many southern style restaurants. Each province, and each Amphoe (sub-district) within the province will have its own style of flavoring the food. For example, the palo with pork belly and boiled egg was slightly sweeter and more herbal than other dishes. The flavor was deeper. The geng som (orange curry) was spicy, yet balanced with the sweet-sour of the soft coconut meat and papaya.

Geng Som – Yellow Curry with fish

The food matches the flavors of their origins.

A relative started Chawang, and then passed the restaurant onto their mother. The origins of their aunt is from the province Nakhorn Sri Thammarat, in the amphoe Chawang (for a limited view of the region, check out the amphoe’s collection of Instagram pictures). Hence, the name of the restaurant and the unique flavors originating from this kitchen.

Sweet Pork Strips

The choice of 30-40 dishes they make each day is dependent on the ingredients they get from the market every morning. Almost all the vegetables and other basic items for the food comes up by train from the South. They pick it up from the Bang Noi train station and return to decide what to fix. They always have the basics, but there is a seasonality to much of the food. So, depending on the season you may get a specialty curry, or a different fresh fish catch.

Clockwise starting from top left: Yellow curry with snails, fish in orange curry, mango and veggies in orange curry, boiled fish with turmeric

A wide selections of curries is always available; colored deep yellow from the use of turmeric.

For a taste of the South, it’s worth taking a morning to explore Bangkok Noi train station. Once you get hungry for a real meal, drop in for an authentic meal from amphoe Chawang. You surely won’t be disappointed.

Our Menu – We’d Reccommend

Penang Curry with Pork – Not typically this brown color, you will find this authentic Thai dish an adventure into the variety of cuisine possible in Thailand.

Sataw (stink bean) stir fried with gapi (shrimp paste) – It may sound unappealing, but this is one of the staple favorites of many southerners, and once you get a few bites in you will understand why the balance of the herbal beans works well with the salty sauce of shrimp paste.

Khaao Yam – Rice salad is a refreshing dish (perfect for vegetarians) including sour green mango slices, a variety of herbs, and toasted coconut flakes. It is brought together with a sweet and salty sauce, and in case you like it more sour you may consider squeezing a wedge of lime.

Sweet shrimp – You only need a few bites to have a candy-like experience with these shrimp. It is perfect to balance with the spice and salty of other dishes.

Fried fish of any kind – This one is unique for many non-Thai people (okay, Americans…), because of the full fish on the plate, head and all. Slowly pull away the meat from the bones on each side, and make sure to get a spoonful of the deep fried garlic that tops the dish as well.


If you like Southern Food and you’re looking for another adventure, check out our post on Southern Food at the Flats.

 

Map of Chawang:

Sugar & Spice meets Sour & Salt

The food in Thailand is good not just because the food itself has flavor already. Yes, that is true. But what is the key to many of the Thai dishes is the sauce.

This is part I of a series of posts that will help you know the secrets to eating Thai food. Of course, you can come to Thailand and never know about these details – you’ll get along fine. However, if you want to know the details, the nuances, and get into the real way of eating Thai food like a Thai – put down your knives, pick up your fork and spoon, and get ready to dig in.


Essential Thai Condiments

Condiments are not just the same ones we know – like ketchup and relish, sauerkraut or kimche. Not any one sauce is alike, and they should be carefully paired with the proper dish.

A table may have five sauces, but one must use discretion when adding – and the key is:

always taste first before you flavor.

Take for example the dish “Kao kaa muu” (rice leg pork). It is a plate of rice, served with stewed pork leg in a dark soy sauce broth. In order to get the best bite possible, you must make sure it is complete with the appropriate pieces. In addition to the rice and pork leg, you will need a little
1. Pickled cabbage.
2. Fresh garlic clove (preferably the smaller cloves).
3. Chili – yes, one whole chili (these are larger birds eye chilies, less smooth and more like a witch’s crooked nose).
4. Chili vinegar- this is a vinegar based sauce, with red chilies mashed up and added in.

Here we will share with you a few of the most popular dishes.

Popular Dishes and Method to Flavor Them

1. Kao man gai – boiled chicken and oiled rice. Key ingredients for the condiments include: finely diced ginger, diced chilies, and bean curd paste sauce with vinegar and chilies. If you get a portion of fried chicken, then the sweet chili sauce matches best.


2. Kao muu deng muu groop – the base of this dish is rice and generally it is dry with the red pork and pork belly if you don’t ad ether sauce. Therefore, be sure to drizzle the gravy sauce (light brown) and add dark sweet soy sauce with chilis. Each of the grains of rice should not be white anymore, and it will get slightly darker with the soy sauce. The table should have a cup with green onion stems – chill them in ice water first for a crispier experience.


3. Bami muu gieow – this dish either comes with soup or without. With soup it is important to taste the soup itself to see how salty it is. We’d recommend the dry, then add more soup as you like. This dish calls for vinegar with sliced green chilies (the chilies are not necessary but vinegar is), dried chili flakes, sugar and fish sauce. Add dashes of each and taste, after mixing thoroughly. Adding some of the black soy sauce is suitable as well.

 

For more how to – see our YouTube video showing the techniques of mixing noddles with sauces.