Jump to content
Pattaya Live

Welcome to Pattaya Live

Welcome to Pattaya Live, like most online communities you must register to view or post in our community, but don't worry this is a simple free process that requires minimal information for you to signup. Be apart of Pattaya Live by signing in or creating an account.
  • Start new topics and reply to others
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get email updates
  • Get your own profile page and make new friends
  • Send personal messages to other members.

Evil Penevil

Advanced Member
  • Content count

    2,039
  • Donations

    0.00 GBP 
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    2

Evil Penevil last won the day on September 22 2013

Evil Penevil had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

47 Excellent

About Evil Penevil

  • Rank
    getting there .
  • Birthday 12/05/1953

Profile Information

  • Country
    United States
  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Pattaya
  • Post My Photo?
    Yes

Recent Profile Visitors

3,572 profile views
  1. The Gumbo House Cajun Restaurant in Jomtien

    Discussions and reviews about Cajun food tend to get complicated because much of what is called "Cajun" really isn't. Cajun cuisine was hardly known outside of Louisiana until the 1980's when it was made famous by celebrity chefs like Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse. However, what they served up in their restaurants and on their TV shows wasn't traditional Cajun food but a fusion between Creole and Cajun styles plus plenty of their own original touches. For example, blackening is a cooking technique associated with Cajun cuisine thanks to Prudhomme and his "blackened redfish," a dish which became a national craze 40 years ago. Thing is, blackening is a technique Prudhomme invented and which had no basis whatsoever in Cajun cooking. It was- and is- a delicious way of preparing fish and other proteins, but it sure wasn't Cajun. Authentic Cajun food was heavy and bland. To make it more appealing and acceptable to a broader public, the New Orleans' celebrity chefs "kicked things up a notch." They added a lot of bold flavors and spices. Other, lesser-known chefs took things even farther. Cajun food is often regarded today as fiery hot along the lines of some Mexican, Indian and Szechuan dishes, but that isn't true historically. That's purely a modern twist. And I haven't even gotten into the difference between Cajun and Creole cuisine! Evil
  2. Posted Yesterday, 09:48 AM The Gumbo House Cajun Seafood Restaurant & Bar is a small restaurant towards the south end of Jomtien Beach Road. I'll post a map at the end of the review. It's been open since May and is operated by an American man from Louisiana and his Thai wife. According to the Gumbo House Website: "We're from Louisiana and we brought our love of Louisiana's Cajun food and our Cajun recipes with us to Thailand. We're also Thai, so, we serve Thai food for those of us who can't go a day without our famous local delicacies." As the name proclaims, it is focused on Cajun cuisine and seafood, but also has an extensive menu of Thai dishes. It's open from 11.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m. I'm not going into too much background in this review, but Cajun is a regional style of cooking that originated among French settlers called Acadians who had been kicked out of Canada in the mid-1700s. For at least 150 years they lived an isolated existence in Louisiana's swamps and bayous, eking out a living under tough circumstances. They spoke a dialect of French and kept very much to themselves, developing their own cuisine, music and folkways. Except for some parishes (counties) in Louisiana, Cajun cooking was largely unknown in the U.S. before the 1980s. I'll give more background in a separate post. The Gumbo House does seem a good place to enjoy a cocktail and watch the sun go down. From the GH Website: The cocktails at GH aren't expensive. I noticed the list feature the Hurricane, a sweet, fruity cocktail that's almost become a symbol for New Orleans but is seldom served elsewhere. It consists of equal portions of light rum, dark rum and passion fruit syrup, plus orange juice and a splash of lime for extra flavor. In the Big Easy, it's often served in special glasses shaped like hurricane lamps. However, New Orleans city law allows the consumption of alcohol in public and for drinks to be carried from bars, but not in glasses. Many Hurricane cocktails are therefore sold in plastic cups, especially during Mardi Gras. I had lunch Tuesday with a friend at the Gumbo House. We were both eager to see what such a rarity as a Cajun restaurant in Pattaya would have to offer. There's a two-fold problem with Cajun cooking: 1) much of what is called Cajun cooking really isn't, and 2) "authentic" doesn't necessarily mean "delicious" or even "good." Plenty of authentic regional dishes in all cuisines taste horrible to outsiders. So to cut to the chase: Was the cuisine at Gumbo House authentic? Yes, it was. Was it good? Well, I won't be rushing back to try it again. I wanted to like the Gumbo House, I really did, as it's always a positive thing to support small, family-run businesses that try something new. I would rather be writing a rave review, but I can't. The best that can be said about the food we had is that it was average. It didn't taste bad; it just didn't taste much at all. And there were a couple of misses in the service that didn't make things better. Here's an excerpt from the Gumbo House menu: The appetizers are smaller servings of main courses- and that's a good idea when it comes to an unfamiliar cuisine like Cajun. The diner can try more of it that way. My friend ordered the chicken and sausage gumbo as his starter and I chose the seafood gumbo. He went for the shrimp étouffée as his main and I asked for the jambalaya. Gumbo and jambalaya are the two dishes most closely associated with Cajun cooking and étouffée would come a close third. After a few minutes, the young waiter came back to say the jambalaya was "finished." That's unlikely, since we there at 1.30 p.m. and the restaurant had opened at 11.00 a.m. It probably would have been more accurate to say it hadn't finished cooking, or even that it hadn't started cooking. Anyway, I ordered the étouffée instead. Gumbo is a thick soup and Cajun gumbo should be close to the consistency of a stew. It was. A Cajun gumbo has a base of roux, a flour and oil mixture that cooked together and gives the gumbo its dark brown color. It's also supposed to impart a nutty flavor, but I couldn't detect that. I could taste the shrimp, some shreds of crab, a bit of heat and not much else. In a sense, that's how a Cajun gumbo is supposed to be, so it was authentic. MM said his gumbo had plenty of chicken and sausage. He let me taste a piece of the sausage and it was some sort of German smoked sausage and not the proper andouille. I don't really hold that against them. Where the hell are you going find andouille sausage and tasso ham in Thailand? But it's also true that German sausage can't add the right flavor. It's a bit of a Catch-22 moment. The overall rating on the gumbo: OK, but not better. The bread that came with the gumbo wasn't French but sliced bread from 7-11. Sacré bleu! The other odd thing was that after a rather long wait, both the gumbo and étouffée came at the same time. Gumbo is the type of dish that should be made ahead of time and left to sit overnight so the flavors meld. One would think they'd bring out the bowls of reheated gumbo while making the étouffée, but that didn't happen. As a result, the étouffée went cold and congealed while we were eating the gumbo. Étouffée means "smothered" in French and "smothering" is a cooking technique typical of Cajun cuisine. Meat and/or vegetables are cooked with a small amount of liquid over low heat until ready. It's similar to braising but with less liquid. The sauce tends to be a bit bland as it's not supposed to overwhelm the main ingredient, usually crayfish or shrimp. Again, I'd say the etouffée was OK but not better. Add the misses with service to the lackluster food and you get a rather disappointing dining experience. I may try it again if I can hitch a ride with someone, but I'll call first to make sure jambalaya is being served that day. The whole about Cajun cooking doesn't make a lot of sense without more background, but I'll save that for a separate post. Evil A map for those who want to try Gumbo House. The baht buses usually end at Soi Chaiyaphruek, so you have to hike a bit to the restaurant. If you have your own wheels, parking is easy.
  3. Under 300 Baht ... And Good!

    If you enjoy cheeseburgers, catch the GASCO special on Fridays. I really like that quote from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and while waiting for my burger, I amused myself by thinking up endings for, "On Pattaya Talk, there are two types of posters, my friend." However, I don't think at least one member (and the Mods) would appreciate it if I wrote them out, so I'll keep it as a private chuckle. The friendliness of the staff at GASCO deserves mention, since that's by no means a given these days in Pattaya. The manager gave me a warm welcome and the wait were also full of smiles. GASCO isn't exaclty serving medicine, but a spoonful of sweetness helps even good food go down. I also like the classic rock videos they play on the giant TV at a decent decibel level. NOT TOO LOUD! Just as I was finishing my meal, one of my all-time favorite songs came on, Centerfold by the J. Geils Band. I took that to be a very good omen for the evening to be. I wasn't wrong, but that's a story for another thread. [ I get a good feeling from GASCO and I sincerely hope it succeeds. It's a great addition to the Pattaya food scene. Evil
  4. Under 300 Baht ... And Good!

    I had one of the October specials at GASCO, the pizza steak hoagie. It was a sizeable sandwich, certainly enough for lunch or dinner. A generous amount of sliced steak had been fried with onions and sweet peppers, mixed with pizza sauce and topped with mozzarella and a bit of cheddar cheese. The hoagie roll was fresh and close in texture to the hoagie rolls from Amoroso's Baking Company in Philadelphia. The traditional hoagie roll is light and airy on the inside, but with a thin, firm crust. The bread soaks up the juices from the filling while the crust acts as a barrier against the juices leaking. With an abundance of mozzarella and sliced steak, I liked the pizza steak hoagie a lot. I just wish the cook had gone a bit heavier on the oregano so it had had more of a pizza flavor. Bottom line: I'll be back before the month is out to have another. I also want to try the tuna sub, but that's more of a takeaway sandwich. The Friday special, which had also been the August monthly special, is well worth trying. It was a barbecue bacon cheeseburger at 195 baht for the single burger or "go Texan" with the double at 345 baht. "O say can you see ..." And I was indeed looking at it in the twilight's last gleaming, although the well-lit interior of GASCO kind of negated that effect. I have to give the waitress credit for urging me to order the single and not the "go Texan" double. Apparently a lot of customers have trouble finishing the double because it is so filling. From what I have experienced at GASCO, the management has done its best to instill a spirit of customer service on the staff. It's service with a smile, but there's also real service behind the smile. The base of the special is a homemade six-ounce patty of 100% ground steak with no filler. The base rests on a bed of iceberg lettuce, tomato and onion and is topped with two slices of cheddar cheese, a generous strip of streaky bacon and a dollop of homemade spicy barbecue sauce. A fresh and lightly toasted sesame roll holds the whole thing together. I had a small portion of potato salad (45 baht) as my side dish. It all went together very well. In its price class, it's one of the better burgers I've had in Pattaya. The beef patty, the bacon strip and the other ingredients were quality stuff. That's what makes or breaks a burger. The sauce had a lot of flavor and was quite spicy. It was fine for me, but I wouldn't have wanted it any spicier. If you are sensitive to capsaicin heat, you might ask for the sauce to be served on the side so you can add as much or little as you choose. The potato salad was fresh; the potatoes weren't overly cooked and were lightly dressed, which is exactly how I like it. I don't like potato salad that is swimming in mayo. Evil
  5. Hawker Chan on Beach Road at Royal Garden Plaza

    All photos below are from the Internet. The man himself: Chan Hong Meng, aka Hawker Chan, is a 52-year-old chef, food-stall owner and partner in an international restaurant chain based on his Singapore Chinatown food stall. He began training as a chef at age 18 and has over 30 years experience in making his signature dish, Hong Kong soy sauce chicken and rice. He learned how to make it while training in Hong Kong during the 1980s. Over the years, he changed and perfected the original recipe. In 2009, he opened his own food stall and it quickly became popular. Long before he got the Michelin star. customers were queueing for his chicken and pork. Singapore has about 100 hawker centers (open-air food courts) and 6,000 food stalls, so that is quite an accomplishment in itself. It was a small operation, employing Chan and two assistants. It sold 150 chickens and 25 kilograms of pork a day six days a week. The stall's hours were 10.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m., but it often closed between 4.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m. because it ran out of food to sell. Chan told the Singapore press he had wanted to open additional stalls or an enclosed restaurant to handle the excess demand, but couldn't find a partner. That changed overnight when he won the Michelin star. About 10 big companies approached him about a partnership. He chose Hersing Culinary, the food-and-beverage arm of Singapore's privately held Hersing investment group. Hersing had handled the expansion of other small Asian restaurants that won Michelin stars or otherwise became famous. It's believed that Chan sold his recipes to the company for at least two million Singapore dollars. Chan probably has only a small ownership stake in Hawker Chan but is likely to get a big salary as the chain's symbol and brand ambassador as well as advising on menu and food preparation matters. This is roughly what Harlan Sanders did when he sold Kentucky Fried Chicken because he felt overwhelmed by its rapid expansion. The main marketing point for Hawker Chan is the Michelin star. The restaurant chain not only calls itself "The world first hawker to be awarded one Michelin star," but also says it offers the world's cheapest Michelin-starred meal. That's a bit of smoke and mirrors as it's the Chinatown food stall, Liao Fan Hong Kong Soy Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, that got the Michelin star, not Hawker Chan. However, the first Hawker Chan branch to open in Singapore did get recognition in Michelin's 2017 Guide with a Bib Gourmand award as one of 38 local restaurants or food stalls offering "exceptionally good food at moderate prices." A plate of soy sauce chicken rice costs SGD2 (49 baht) at Liao Fan HKSSCRN and SGD3.80 (93 baht) at the Hawker Chan branch with the Bib Gourmand. That's close to the Pattaya price. No doubt that the Singapore Liao fan stall has the cheapest Michelin-starred meal in the world, but how much of that can be projected to Hawker Chan restaurants in other countries is very much a matter of discussion. There's also plenty of discussion on food sites and blogs about Michelin's generosity in awarding stars to establishments in Asia. Two lines of thought have emerged. One is that the Michelin Guides had previously favored French restaurants and formal dining. By awarding stars to food stalls and hole-in-the-wall places, Michelin has made its Guide more relevant to the local people by acknowledging diversity in food culture. A more cynical explanation would be that the Guide's purpose has always been since its inception in the early 1900's to help market Michelin tires. Michelin wants to expand its business in Asia and awarding stars to food stalls generates free publicity and brand recognition well beyond what any amount of paid advertising could achieve. Both are good answers and both are probably true to some degree. The Michelin company has a powerful asset in its guides and it's understandable its management would take full advantage of that asset. It's a fascinating story: a food-stall hawker who had worked 17-hour days is suddenly catapulted into the world of multi-million-dollar international franchising deals. Evil
  6. Hawker Chan on Beach Road at Royal Garden Plaza

    I went for the three-pork combination plate on my next visit. It cost 195 baht without rice, which was 20 baht extra and a can of Coke Zero 35 baht. As should be the case, the 7% VAT was baked into the menu price and no service charge was added. Like the chicken, the pork was succulent and tender. It was definitely Cantonese style. Forget Memphis or Texas. The spare ribs had been chopped into small pieces and were dry with little meat. The char siew had a sweet and salty taste from the marinade and glaze. The roast pork, my favorite among the three, had crispy fat, but not too much of it. If you're thinking of BBQ pork and spare ribs in terms of Middle America, you should go to Smokin' Joe's on Soi Lengkee. At Hawker Chan's, it's Middle Kingdom all the way. Sunday night I had the wonton soup and the soy sauce chicken with noodles. The wonton soup was good but unremarkable. It tasted the same as many bowls of wonton I've had in Chinese restaurants that don't ever dream about a star from their local newspaper, much less the Michelin Guide. At 130 baht, I thought it was overpriced for a bowl of generic broth, five filled wontons and a few greens. I then had the soy sauce chicken with noodles at 110 baht. The pieces of chicken seemed to have more white meat and fewer bones than last time round. No complaints there. The noodles, however, were dry and hard on top, as though they had not only been pre-cooked but pre-plated and left to stand under a heating lamp. The noodles were also stuck together, another sign they'd been standing under heat. This is hardly the type of dish that is likely to get a Michelin star. It tasted OK once I moistened the noodles with the sauce. I did have some hor fun later that night, but on Walking Street, not Beach Road. Hawker Chan is open from 11.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m., with last call at 10.30 p.m. On the first two occasions, I was there late, around 10 p.m., and I was the only customer. Sunday night I went at 7.30 p.m. and there were 10 other customers. Everywhere else where Hawker Chan has opened, there has been a big rush of customers. Not in Pattaya. The staff is friendly and polite, although there isn't much service involved. Everyone from the cleaning lady to the manager greeted and wai'ed me when I entered the restaurant and again when I left. Bottom line. The food at Hawker Chan is OK but nothing spectacular. I'll be back because it is a convenient location for me. I won't be expecting anything outstanding just because the food stall in Singapore won a Michelin star. Evil The background info on Hawker Chan will come in yet another post.
  7. Hawker Chan is a recently opened Chinese roast meat (siu mei) restaurant on Beach Road at the front of the Royal Garden Plaza. It's part of an international chain spun off from Singapore's Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, a small food stall in a Chinatown hawker center (open-air food court) that won a Michelin star in 2016. Although it bills itself as "The world first hawker to be awarded one Michelin star," Liao Fan HKSSCRN was actually one of two Singapore food stalls to get the prestigious culinary award in July of last year. It propelled the stall's chef and owner, Chan Hong Meng, to overnight fame. He formed a partnership with a Singapore investment company to capitalize on his instant celebrity. The result is the Hawker Chan chain, which now has three branches in Singapore as well as in Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia. Branches will soon open in Australia and the Philippines. Chan has said he wants to follow KFC's example and establish branches all over the world. That's certainly an ambitious if unrealistic goal, but it does raise the intriguing possibility we might soon be hearing hilarious stories of humiliated Pattaya punters carrying around buckets of Hawker Chan. (If you get that quip, you're a true punter-board veteran). However, Hawker Chan doesn't have the same romantic ring to it as KFC. The rapid rise of Hawker Chan is a fascinating street-food-to-riches story, even when you scrape away the hype over the Michelin star. It's also testimony to the power and influence of the Michelin Guide. I'll include more of the background at the end of this review. The interior is spacious, well-lit and spotlessly clean. There's nothing particularly Chinese about Hawker Chan's decor; it could be any modern quick-service chain restaurant. including KFC. You make your selection from the menu at the front counter, pay, then wait for your number to be called and pick up your order from the counter. It's the same model McDonalds pioneered and is now used in fast-food restaurants all over the world. The menu itself is simple. Diners have a choice of chef Chan's signature soya sauce chicken or three types of pork: char siew (BBQ pork belly); spare ribs; or crispy roast. The meats can be combined with rice, noodles or hor fun (a type of rice noodle and an appropriate name in Pattaya). The menu sports three non-meat dishes: two vegetable and a tofu dish. You can also order whole or half chickens and pork by the gram or kilo for takeaway or in-house dining by groups. It's the same menu as in Hawker Chan's restaurants elsewhere. The menu in the pic below is from the Web site of the Terminal 21 branch in Bangkok, although prices for the single plate dishes tend to be about seven to 15 baht higher in Pattaya. The dishes are inexpensive and you can have two dishes and a beverage for under 300 baht. Of course, similar food is available from food stalls, street carts and hole-in-the-wall restaurants all over Pattaya at half or one-third the price, but you won't be eating it in air-conditioned comfort at a prime Beach Road location. And now to the important question: How's the food at the Pattaya branch of Hawker Chan? Overall, it's average, with the soya sauce chicken and roast pork above average. For those familiar with the U.S. academic grading scale, I'd give Hawker Chan Pattaya a C+. There's no factor to any of it and nothing at all to make me think it deserves a Michelin star. It tastes the same as roast meats in thousands of Chinese restaurants and I've had better in China, Hong Kong, Bangkok and even New York City's Chinatown. I've never eaten at the Liao Fan HKSSCRN in Singapore, so I can't make a direct comparison to the Pattaya offering. According to Singapore newspaper and food blog reports, the dishes at Hawker Chan branches in both Singapore and abroad are inferior in flavor to what you get at the Chinatown hawker center food stall. I first tried Hawker Chan's most famous dish, soya sauce chicken rice at 95 baht. The chicken was moist and tender with a silky texture and glossy skin. Like Col. Saunders with his 11 secret herbs and spices for his Original Recipe KFC, chef Chan also has a secret recipe for the marinade in which the chicken is soaked overnight. It's known to contain Chinese angelica root, cloves, coriander seed, and star anise. I didn't notice much taste enhancement from the marinade except perhaps on the skin. The size of the chicken portion was sufficient but not large. Keep in mind the Chinese preference regarding chicken is skin on and bone in, then chopped with a cleaver into pieces convenient for eating with chopsticks. You're left with pieces of bone to spit out, which isn't appealing to some Western diners. A large portion of rice came with the chicken. It was topped with a soy mixture that tasted generic to me. At the counter, you can take small dishes of thick, sweet soy sauce, ordinary soy sauce and chili sauce, which was quite mild and a bit sweet. It went well with the salty chicken. The rice seemed a bit wet to me, as though it had been thoroughly boiled but then allowed to sit in the cooker or pot and the steam had condensed. This review is getting long so I'll divide it into two parts. Evil
  8. Under 300 Baht ... And Good!

    I recently read elsewhere that if you pay under 300 baht for a Western meal in Pattaya, you get garbage. I consider that statement both unfair and uninformed. There are dozens of restaurants, probably several hundred, where you can enjoy good Western food under 300 baht. But rather than get involved in a meaningless exchange of opinions, I'm going to put my money, my camera and most importantly, my mouth, where my mouth is. I'll give examples of restaurants where it is possible to have a good Western meal for under 300 baht. I hope others will contribute their suggestions, with or without photos. There are far more restaurants in Pattaya than I'll ever have the opportunity to visit and I'm sure many of them offer good options under 300 baht. In central Pattaya, many, many farang-oriented restaurants offer daily specials under 200 baht and virtually all but the most expensive fine-dining places will have a main course on the menu for less than 300 baht. One tip: if any restaurant mentioned in this thread piques your curiosity, do a board search for it and you'll most likely come up with a lot more information But first, a couple of points of order. Since I'm responding to a statement about Western food, that would by definition exclude Thai, Indian and other Asian food. This thread isn't about where you can fill your belly for the least amount of money, but specifically about where you can get good Western food under 300 baht. Also, it doesn't have to be the best food you've ever eaten, especially in comparison to what is available in the West. It should be good, as opposed to mediocre or bad, but not necessarily a peak culinary experience. The biggest test for me is, will I go back and order the same dish again? If I do, then the meal has been good. And the standard disclaimer: if you want to eat cheaply and well, you're best off sticking to Thai food. No doubt about it, you get the most bang for your buck by eating Thai food. However, very few farang visitors or resident ex-pats want to eat Thai food at each and every meal, so most are willing to spend a bit extra for farang food. I'll start off with some options on LK Metro, with the Rockhouse first up. It recently restarted its food service and the most expensive item on the menu goes for 250 baht. For the most part, it's traditional British pub-style food, although there are a few Thai dishes on the menu. I decided to try the lamb shepherd's pie at 250 baht. It came with peas or beans and either mashed potatoes or chips and gravy. Unfortunately, my "full-plate" pics didn't turn out well, but the close-ups of the shepherd's pie were OK. It was a good-sized portion. The meat mixture had a good lamb flavor and was well seasoned, while the mash potato topping had been cooked to a golden brown. I'll be back to try other dishes from the Rockhouse menu. The first time round, the food served at the RH had been very good. It was British comfort food as it should be done. And it appears the RH is off to a good start this time, too. Another option on LK Metro is the Wok N Rok take-away stand in front of the Office A Go Go. It serves the same U.K.-style Chinese food as in the former Wok N Rok Restaurant on Soi Bukhao. The kiosk is open from 6 p.m. until "late." And before anyone objects, I consider the food it serves to be Western because U.K.-style Chinese is quite different to the food you'd get in a restaurant in China. It has an extensive menu, with most of Chinese-style favorites Westerners will recognize from their neighborhood take-aways back home. There are a few Indian dishes on the menu as well. The dishes range in price from 149 back to under 250 baht for some of the two-dish specials. I've lifted a few of the pics from the Wok N Rok thread to give an idea of what's on offer. If you enjoy U.K.-style Chinese food, the Wok N Rok does it better than any restaurant in Pattaya. Late Thursday night (actually very early Friday morning) I stopped for my weekly pasta fix at the spaghetti stand on the corner of Soi Diana and Soi Bukhao. The stand was doing a landslide business, although most customers were eating in the bar behind the stand. I counted ten plates that went out before the girl got to my takeaway order. Perhaps a bar crawl had decided spaghetti was needed to soak up the booze. This is what my spaghetti Bolognese looked like after I got it home. Nothing fancy about it, but a good-sized portion and good taste for 105 baht. It's better spaghetti than you get in some restaurants. More suggestions will come in the next post. Evil
×