Ventured out into the soi last night for an early dinner. The end of day on the street is always great, the bright lights of hairdressers doing roaring business, the street sellers with their barrows of cooked food, the singles & couples & families buying a bit of this, a bit of that to take home for dinner. Beats cooking every night. Often, in the days when I lived & worked in Lampang, that was where dinner came from. But I knew where I was going & what I was after last night … khao man gai, chicken & rice. The chicken either steamed or fried, sliced and served on rice, with unpeeled chopped cucumber on the side, sauce separately, and a bowl of clear soup made from the chicken broth, with a piece of near-translucent marrow sitting in the bottom. It was, last night, I have to say, a slightly disappointing eating experience, for the steamed chicken was a little dry. But the solution lies in the soup … spoon it over the chicken & rice.
The restaurant was a somewhat unprepossessing place, a double shop house, flaking blue paint on the walls. Probably wouldn’t have gone in if I hadn’t recognised what they were selling. When, after a few minutes, I removed my attention from the food I noticed the owners, an elderly couple. He, near me, watching an English language programme, the volume turned down low. She, on the far side, hair dyed defiantly black, working at a desk, and with HER TV tuned VERY loudly to a Thai programme. A hagiographic treatment of the disgraced former PM, Thaksin Shinawatra, it seemed … a party political channel, I wondered? But anyway, quite a picture of dysfunction the two presented.
Walking back to the hotel, not hungry but we eat with our eyes, I spied a roti seller with his cart. Again, in Lampang, we used sometimes to jump on our motorbikes and go to the night market for simple roti, a crepe essentially. This time I went for the works … the ball of dough gets flattened with the palm of the hand, pulled into a wide thin circle, placed on the circular hot plate … for the works, an egg cracked on top, sliced banana added, then the whole folded into a square, lashings of condensed milk poured over … et voila! Served on a paper plate, cut into 9 perfect mouthfuls.