Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The 4 noble truths of Thailand: Part 3

Thailand Street Vendor FoodDon't be afraid to suffer a little for good food.

OK, at some street markets you can buy fried crickets, grasshoppers, worms and chicken heads. You are allowed to fear these delicacies.

In addition to bugs, Thailand offers every cuisine imaginable, much of it delicious. My stomach doesn't take to hot foods, but only the food in Chiang Mai seemed to be too spicy. Everywhere else, I ate well, perhaps too well. Three restaurants on the banks of the Ping River in Chiang Mai were hot, but standouts: The Gallery, the Good View and the Riverside. They all sit side by side on Charoen Rat Road, and they are always crowded.

Live music in the Riverside was mostly cover bands playing classic American pop, like The Doors. I had a ball. In Bangkok, lunch at the Oriental Hotel's patio overlooking the Chao Phraya River made me feel like James Bond. The New York Steak restaurant at the JW Marriott was a good break from pad Thai. And if you feel adventurous, drop into Galaxy (19 Rama 4 Road), a well-known "no-hands restaurant" in Bangkok. Young women and a mamasan feed you and wipe your mouth - it's like practice for being senile. Cabbages and Condoms (10 Sukhumvit Soi 12) is a racy name for a tame (inexpensive) and wonderful Thai restaurant that raises money for Thailand's family-planning nonprofit.

On Koh Samui, The Shack, (88 3 Moo1, Bophut), is an open-air steakhouse run by Larry Snyder, a self-proclaimed nervous, heart-attack-prone New Yorker. Poppies (Samui Ring Road) serves the best Thai food in Thailand on Chaweng Beach. And Prego, run by chef Marco Boscaini, also on Samui Ring Road, is one of the best Italian restaurants I've ever encountered. Need a hamburger fix? Chaweng's most popular bar, Tropical Murphy's Irish pub, serves a tasty one on Samui Ring Road.

source: The Denver Post

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