Hua Hin Today 31 January 2017 Food & Wine
When Chinese immigrants came to Thailand, they brought with them a wide variety of cooking techniques and ingredients. There were many new flavours to experience, flavours which the Thais have now adopted. These Chinese immigrants also brought with them hawkers, people who could walk and sell food anywhere. Eventually these sellers moved from baskets that swung off a bamboo pole to mobile carts. The mobile food cart is the Thai version of the current food craze sweeping the world; food trucks. It is nothing new here and goes a long way to explaining why Thai street food has been rated some of the best in the world! In Hua Hin, the early morning vendors start preparing for the breakfast crowd before dawn.
Hungry customers are after everything from Jok, a Chinese-style rice congee, to fried doughnuts, Pa Thong Go, or steamed coconut cakes, Kanom Krok. You can queue up for these on the corner of Naebkhehardt & Dechanuchit Roads, grab a traditional Thai coffee – Café Boran and watch the sunrise. Sizzling pork skewers – Moo Bing with sticky rice can also awaken the taste buds to start the day.
Throughout the day you will find vendors selling everything from Som Dtam, the now famous green papaya salad, to fabulous deep fried chicken, Gai Tod or Thai sausages, Sai Ua and Sai Grok. These vendors will come and go around the town. If they sell out, their day is over. Around the Chat Chai Market there is always something to be found. From freshly cooked meats, a sour and spicy salad of Yam Naem, or taste a Royal Thai snack in Khao Chae.
But at night, the street food transforms into mobile kitchens where cooks fire up their woks. More commonly called Dtam Sang in Thai, this is Thailand’s version of À la Carte. These cooks can cook anything to your taste, having repertoires of 100+ dishes. No À la Carte restaurant around the world would be able to do this, but on the streets in Thailand, it is entirely possible. Small vendors pop up on the curbside, vendors make noodles or oyster omelettes, or you could take that all in at Baan Khun Por, where permanent vendors compete for the hungry hoards. Someone who is constantly seeking out new or visiting trusted street food vendors is Leigh Higgins, General Manager of Feast Thailand Food Tours.
“Hua Hin represents what is good about Thai Street Food. The vendors here take pride in their food. It’s the reason why we started our food tour company here in Hua Hin. It’s a taste sensation. I love seeing street cooks tasting their food to ensure it is the authentic, 5 star flavours of the streets. We also love showing travellers how to navigate street food on our Food Tours - we have insider knowledge from our local Thai Tour Guides”.
“There is always the fear of getting sick or not knowing how or what to order. These open air kitchens allow you to see how food is prepared, which is an advantage if you are concerned about food hygiene,” Leigh says.
So when you are next hungry or wanting to experience Hua Hin street food, follow Leigh’s 5 tips for choosing a great street food vendor:
1. Look for the crowds of Thai people either queuing or eating – the ‘locals’ know!
2. Follow local meal times – when the food is cooked fresh
3. Look at how the vendor is handling the food
4. Look for clean and tidy food stations
5. Trust your instincts
Feast Thailand Food Tours
Contact +66 32 510 207
or [email protected]