A free night, a night without a dinner engagement, so wandered round to the Kalare food court, five or ten minutes from the hotel. Kalare sits off the night bazaar here in Chiang Mai. And a place where fresh-faced students come to find tourists to interview for some pointless survey or other. Tonight it was German students. Last year, Francophone Thai students. So, perhaps this is not a place to find the greatest food, but what’s on offer ain’t too bad. Tonight chose a bowl of khao soi gai, which might roughly translate as chicken curry soup. Another of my favourite street food dishes … and tonight’s not the first I’ve had since my arrival over a week ago. This one lacked the side dishes of pickled vegetables that are the usual accompaniment, but otherwise it was good. Could have gone, I suppose, to a restaurant here in Chiang Mai that specialises in khao soi … it’s called Just Khao Soi, the testimony to one farang’s love of the dish. Ate there last year with friends made at the conference I was then attending … very good, but perhaps aimed at tourists rather than those in search of an authentic eating experience. Oh dear, does that sound pretentious?!! Maybe. Anyway, the most memorable khao soi I ever had was not on the street but at a hotel in Bangkok, Chateau de Bangkok … truly excellent. But, I recall, that’s when I realised khao soi may not be the best choice for someone wearing a white shirt. It does tend to splatter! In Italy, in the past, I’ve been told, bibs came with pasta dishes. The same should be mandatory for khao soi eating.