Thailand is known around the world for it's delicious food which is a subtle blend of tastes and cuisines. The variety of meats, fish, seafoods, vegetables, fruits, and herbs is amazing. Food is available most any time of day and at low cost. Thais eat out often and one can buy already cooked food to take out in the ubiquitous Mom & Pop food spots. In short Thailand is a food lover's paradise.
In this blog I will give my impressions and images of a Thai eating institution: the Thai BBQ and in particular Khun Ya Kitchen. So let me begin, with a little history.
In 2007 on my way back to Wisconsin from Nepal, I stopped to thaw out in Thailand. My stay was only a week: with a few days in Bangkok and the rest of the time at the beach in Pukhet. In Bangkok, I found an inexpensive place to stay near the new Airport. A staff member told me about a Thai BBQ place near the Guesthouse. So off I went on foot and after a sweaty 15 minute walk arrived at the BBQ place.
It was packed and I didn't know any Thai language, but undetered went in and after a while someone came to my table. The waitress didn't speak much English and I could speak no Thai. But she did call a waiter who spoke a little English and he explained how the BBQ works:
A clay pot with wood coals is brought to the table, on top of this is an aluminum container which holds water for making soup and boiling foods.The center part of the container is raised and has a lump of pork fat on is to keep the food you are grilling from sticking. I should also note that the meats are cut in small thin slices to facilitate grilling and that chop sticks are used to turn the meats and retrieve boiled foods from the soup...
The customers go to the food area and select the meats, fish, and seafood they want, put it on trays, and bring it back to their table for grilling and cooking.
Besides meats there are a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs, pre-cooked food and deserts (both Thai and American style ice cream) available.
In 2007 I couldn't use chopsticks very well so the grilling was an adventure... But lucky for me the pre-cooked foods and deserts made up for my lack of grilling skills. Still all in all it was a good experience.
Since then I have returned three or four times to Khun Ya Kithchen with my Thai friends and family who really have the BBQ thing down to an art... So with their expertise, I have been doing much better... I still don't grill that much better, but I do eat much much better. So let me give a bit of advice:
Arrive at the Kitchen close to opening time. After getting a table it is time to go and take your food. Start with the prawn's (the big fresh ones go the fastest) look for ones that do not have a yellow color (yellow = not the freshest). Select you other items: meats, vegies, salads and a few precooked items to tide you over while the prawns cook (I like them boiled) and the meats grill.
Return to your table and start cooking and grilling. But be prepared to make many trips back to pick up additional items.
Here are a few additional tips: Watch the locals to see how they manage things. Be sure to order a bucket of ice and some of your favorite beverages. Thailand is a hot place and you are going to be at the BBQ for a while, then sit back and enjoy it. The cost for this all you can eat BBQ is currently a little more than $4 a person.
I leave you now with some prawn images.
HAPPY GRILLING AND DINING TO ALL, WHERE EVER YOU MAY BE...