Without a doubt, the best thing about living in Thailand is how far your money goes. You can feed your belly with exceptional food everyday, for easily as little as £1 per meal. What’s not to love? This island is pure paradise for the foodie.
The standard of culinary wonders on Koh Phangan is quite simply phenomenal. Many island residents both Thai and Farang (foreign) head to the night market in Thongsala virtually every night.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook and my intentions were genuine when I bought my ricecooker and supplies for my new home. I spent the first week or two cycling to the little market, picking up my meat and veg and sweating like cat in a Korean deli, cooking up a storm.
But as time went on and I learned the secrets of this glorious place, I realised that hardly anyone actually cooks. It was cheaper to eat out. The nightmarket became not only our regular lunch/dinner spot but also a great socialising haunt amongst friends. The fact that you could buy 40 baht (£1) large bottles of Chang or Singha beer made it a no-brainer.
I felt utterly spoilt everytime we arrived at this mouthwatering place. The variety was mind-boggling. For someone as indecisive as Roscoe, it sometimes proved to be too much!
It was easy to succumb to our tried and tested favourites and mine had to be 60 baht (£1.20) Pad Ped with Seafood. This is a notoriously spicy curry served with plain rice and my preferred omlette rather than fried egg. It blew my head off and you could regularly find me running to the nearest 7 Eleven for a tiny bottle of milk to cool my burning mouth down.
Roscoe’s favouite was simple Chicken Fried Rice. He had eaten this all over the island but our lady at the nightmarket did something different and it was divine. So much flavour packed into so few ingredients.
Such delights on offer were spiced barbecued whole mackerel for 70 baht (£1.40)
Tender squid for 10 baht (20p)
Moorish spring rolls
One particular favourite was the deep fried mussels in a light, spiced batter. So naughty – the best kind of good!
Occasionally there would be deep fried soft shell crab.
It sounds as though we ate a lot of fried food but this really was only a treat here and there. On the whole it was lots of soups, curries with fresh vegetables and small servings of steamed jasmine rice.
Some days we chose dishes like Masamman Curry or Pad Krapow Moo (Pork stir fried with chilli and holy basil) from the ‘silver bowl lady’ as I used to call her.
Other days we would choose the freshly stir fried option, where you take a little bowl, fill it with all your favourite vegetables from a huge selection, pick your preferred type of noodle, hand it over and state what meat you want it with. This was just gorgeous and a real favourite.
Not a day went by where we didn’t have a fruit shake to add towards our five a day. I would ask for mine without the sugar syrup that is often added. The fruit was almost always ripe enough to not need it. Mango and Passionfruit was the firm favourite for us both.
Sweets, ranged from the standard pancakes or roti’s…
…right the way through to the weird and wonderful, like these taco marshmallows.
This market feels like the heart of the island at times. Busy during Full Moon, familiar faces wherever you go and smells to make your mouth water. The love of food and fresh produce comes naturally to the Thai people and this market embodies everything that is fabulous about this divine country.