Street Food After Hours
Most inhabitants of, and visitors to, Pattaya know that it has earned a reputation as one of the world’s preeminent party towns. As such, within the city limits reside several areas where revelers can do some serious partying whilst pursuing the “after hours pastime” of their preference. The young and the young at heart may opt to grind away the hours cavorting to hubbub of the hottest hip-hop tunes in a trendy nightclub. Those who are severely dehydrated may choose to imbibe every spirit imaginable and then some, in one of this city’s more than plentiful watering holes. While the majority simply prefer to feast their eyes on the antics and clever absurdities conducted each and every evening by the indigenous bar workers, the temporary tourists and the ever-present expats, whose degree of inebriation ranges from scarcely to extraordinarily. Regardless of how you’ve spent your nocturnal leisure time, the perfect end to one’s alcohol fueled foray into the wilder side of Pattaya doesn’t necessarily have to be another burger from the Golden Arches or leftovers found in the fridge.
Reveler or not, many of us may not be aware that every night as soon as the daylight edifices of commerce bolt their doors, a plethora of mobile eateries descend on the main thoroughfares that provide both entrance and egress to Pattaya’s most colorful nightlife venues. Some of the vendors of consumable commodities remain for the duration. Others move on to greener pastures as soon as their queue of customers dwindles to naught. Each food seller’s ultimate goal is to sell out as quickly as possible so that they can return to hearth and home as early as possible. Between the hours of 22:00 and 24:00 conveyances comprised of pickup trucks, automobiles, motorbikes, some with sidecars, and push carts, all armed with an array of cooking contraptions and folding tables line the curbside of said concourses cheek to jowl. But just as vampires do, the curbside cafes disappear without a trace before the sun rises again. A stroll along one of these boulevard buffets will reveal a startling variety of victuals – everything from fried crickets, to fried potatoes to fried noodles and everything in-between.
Fancy barbeque pork ribs, fried chicken or grilled fish? You’ll probably find it here. If Thai food’s on your mind then you’re in luck? Choose from fried noodles, noodle soup, the appropriately named drunken noodles (Phat Khi Mao), ‘Mama’ noodles, Phad Thai noodles or something made from marinated Thai red pork loin (Moo Dang) on cold noodles with fresh crisp vegetables. It’s all there along with all of the other beloved noodle themed dishes. If you need to sink your teeth into something a bit more substantial than noodles, the list of Thai rice based favorites found at these roadside repasts is long and varied. Think fried rice (Khao Phat) or spicy pork (Phat Kra-pow Moo) or boiled chicken (Khao Man Gai) on rice topped with a fried egg (Kai Dow) to name a few. And let us not forget the wide variety of Thai curries on steamed white rice, both fiery and creamy. Are you craving Thailand’s famous barbeque pork chicken or beef on a stick or a grilled hot dog or two with dipping sauce? No worries, more than one vendor will have what you desire. If you’re brimming with liquid courage or just want to show your audacity, why not gobble some crunchy crickets (Jîng Rèet) or squishy silk worm pupae (Dàk Dâe Măai)?
Of course both will be available. If your sober sensibilities and queasy stomach won’t allow you to ingest a diet intended for an insectivore, some familiar fare may be just the ticket. I’ve seen (but not always) sandwich makers, burger flippers, pizza bakers, pasta cookers, and the purveyors of the always delicious döner chicken kebab. If you’re in the mood for something sweet rather that savory, look for banana pancakes, round Thai doughnuts, Thai crepes (Khanom Buang Thai) or the perennial Thai favorite of mango and sticky rice (Khao Nieow Ma Muang). If you’re counting calories after drinking a dinner comprised of 5,000 or so liquid calories, there’s a cornucopia of fresh seasonal fruits, steamed fresh corn on the cob, and even a few Thai style salads.
In short, the meandering menus of these transient meal merchants is so vast and so diverse that one is sure to find edible matter that suits their personal preference at a price that is sure to please. The best after hour’s roadside restaurants in my opinion, take place on the southern side of South Pattaya Road between 2nd and 3rd Roads, and on the northern side of Central Pattaya Road between 2nd Road and Soi Bukhaow. Walking Street, the epicenter of Pattaya’s nightlife is also partially transformed into an impromptu alfresco eatery at approximately 2 am and remains so until the wee hours become even weeer !