Hua Hin may be a convenient beach getaway, but many don’t know that Hua Hin also has a great breakfast hub for early risers.
Congealed pig’s blood in soup — a common Thai breakfast dish
It doesn’t happen very often, maybe, but it might — somehow, for no reason at all, you wake up at 6 in the morning with an empty stomach, having picked at a watermelon salad at the neighboring hotel the night before. You are starving. You need food, pronto.
Luckily, Hua Hin has it all covered. This once-sleepy seaside town — the traditional weekend getaway of time-pressed Bangkokians everywhere — may be an amateur when it comes to approximating any sort of nightlife, but is everything a morning person with a love of food could possibly want. By 6am, it’s already buzzing: steam rising from curry-filled pots, dough rolled out for the morning’s first patongko (Chinese fried bread) order, monks out strolling the market with bowls in hand.
When I get to Pa Choung (4/3 Amnuaysin Rd., tel. +66 8 2 212 4490, open from 6am to noon), she is in the middle of making merit. On the hob: a fiery gaeng som full of little shrimp and dok kae (what I’ve seen referred to on some menus as ‘cowslip blossoms’), pad ped moo pa (stir-fried curried wild boar), dried and butterflied fish, sun-dried beef, deep-fried pork cutlets and a green curry full of slivered bamboo shoots.
Green curry and deep-fried pork: breakfast of champions
This isn’t all of it. She says she is finished making all of the food at 8am, but it’s usually gone by 8:30am. I’m happy with the smattering of curries already there.
But while Pa Choung is a one-woman curry-making machine, Raan Kafae Jek Pia (intersection of Naebkehardt and Dechanuchit Roads, open from 6:30am to 1:30pm) is clearly breakfast central for the entire town. Every table is occupied, and on nearly every tabletop is a mug of sludge-like kafae boran (old-fashioned coffee), flavoured with a layer of condensed milk. But this is not the main attraction. Instead, it’s the collection of stalls that service Kafae Jek Pia’s customers: jok moo (Chinese-style rice porridge with minced pork), khao thom pla (rice porridge with fish), guaythiew (noodles in soup) and, most intriguing of all, gow low lued moo (pig’s blood in soup). All are traditionally served for breakfast here, in a country not really known for its breakfast foods.
Cubes of pig’s blood blanched in broth
Pig’s blood cubes are taken from a chilled bowl and blanched in boiling broth for a few minutes. They are then added to slices of pork, blanched Thai watercress, some Thai celery for freshness, and a dash of deep-fried garlic for bitterness and punch. There are bits of innards too: intestine, liver and slices of heart. It’s a one-stop shop for piggy flavour. Sometimes, if you pair it with a plain bowl of rice, you can drop some of that in there too, or take a spoonful and dunk it, watching the grains soak in the broth one bite at a time. What else is breakfast for, if not that brief reprieve before the start of the day?
For more of Chow’s food recommendations, please visit http://bangkokglutton.com/.
28/06/2012 - 11:18