Since we arrived in Chiang Dao, we have been staying at Chiang Dao Nest I then II, both of which have lovely restuarants, so we really have not had to venture too far off the beaten path Thailand as far as food is concerned.
We are always striving for authentic culinary experiences while traveling. This consideration, coupled with the fact that the westernized prices at the restaurants at the Nest were hitting our pocket books pretty hard (the food is wonderful, but prices are pretty high for Thailand standards) let us to venture out for lunch today. We wanted a real taste of what food in Thailand is like, outside of the normal tourist fare, so we set off the beaten path Thailand.
Unsure of where to go, we started wandering back down the road towards Chiang Dao. We wandered through the little tourist market near the Chiang Dao caves, and saw a restaurant with some other westerners eating there which we considered, but decided against because we thought that because of the touristy location (right next to a major tourist attraction) it might have touristy prices.
Down the road a little further, we saw a girl at a roadside stand frying something and skewering it on sticks. It looked promising, fresh, hot…until we saw that she was frying whole fish, guts probably still inside (a little too far outside of my culinary comfort level.)
We walked a little further down the road and found a restaurant that looked promising. It was a place that we had passed a couple days earlier on our walk in from Chiang Dao with cute little thatch covered platforms with little tables on them right next to the river.
I made a decision and walked in, Aaron tentatively trailing behind me. I used one of the two Thai words that I have learned to say thus far to say “Hello”, and being obviously a western tourist was handed a menu in English.
I ordered pork and basil with vegetables over rice, and Aaron ordered the same thing. We sat down near the river to wait for our food, which didn’t take long to come. Our dishes were served with a spicy broth, flavored with basil and cilantro. I am sure that the spiciness of the dishes themselves had been downgraded to western standards, but it still tasted quite spicy to me (but I am a spicy food wimp, and Aaron didn’t find it spicy at all.)
So, our adventure out for lunch cost us all of $3.20 total, and we aren’t sick yet, so that is a good sign. Perhaps this positive experience will embolden us to stretch our culinary comfort levels just that much further next time.
What was your experience with food in Thailand? Did you eat at any off the beaten path Thailand places that really surprised you?