My bags were packed for Hua Hin, another of Thailand’s seaside resort towns and a hub for Bangkokian urbanites, but before leaving I did not forget to google for places to eat. And I picked restaurant Kroui Pah Heed next to the Fishermen’s Pier in Cha-Am – called Sa-Pan Plah in Thai – which Thai bloggers and web boards seemed unanimous it was the destination for fresh seafood.
After two and a half hours’ drive, we got lost and needed to phone the restaurant for direction. Then, after a lot more left and right turnings, we got there Kroui Pah Heed. The pungent fishiness from the Pier hit as I was sliding out of my friend’s saloon. The good sign of freshness? Yes, it was. But, it was also revolting, honestly speaking, and thank God, my nose adjusted – or perhaps my sense of smell was totally not functioning any more? – to what Heston Blumenthal wouldn’t recall as the British smell of the sea.
The restaurant – a wooden poor man’s castle half falling into the sea – boast, well, well? I wasn’t sure what it boast really. There was no uniqueness as there were a handful more of identical eateries – identically half falling into the sea – just like Kroui Pah Heed lined up on the same dirt street. At the front, there were tiled fish tanks displaying the sea creatures and their dead distant relatives. Diners chose what they wanted and paid for the dishes by weight. That’s fair.
Now we tucked in, and totally, having been lost on the way did help me order as if out of Ethiopia. The first dish of Deep Fried Rock Lobsters with Garlic was a true divinity. Luscious, white and plump meat cooked to perfection. That bounce-in-my-mouth texture and the natural delicate sweetness of rock lobsters enhanced by the aroma of fried garlic and the sour and spicy sauce, I couldn’t think of anything better. And, it was just the first course. This was like having an orgasm before taking the trousers off. Oh! I wasn’t suggesting premature ejaculation, or was I?
The second dish of Stir-Fried Curry Crab was not as great, or perhaps, it was impossible to reach two orgasms in a matter of minutes? Never mind, the dish was not as it should have been. The curry was way too overpowering and the sauce lacked dimension, which really saddened me as I was thinking I had just chosen to execute a crab and now I didn’t even want to eat it!
Another of our dish, Steamed Prawns with Vermicelli, was also disappointing. The super-fresh prawns were let down by the sickly sweetness of the sticky soy sauce – please note I didn’t mean to alliterate the “s” – and they also put too much ginger in. All in all, a not very well balanced dish.
Our Deep Fried Whole Sea Bass with Fish Sauce Dressing fared better. Crispy skin, puffy meat and the right balance from the dressing. That said, it was not among ones of the most memorable I had. It came with a massive Crab Meat Fried Rice to share. Too bad the rice was a little too wet and once I squeezed the lime in, it became even wetter! How thoughtful…
We did not bothered with desserts. When the savoury dishes were more miss than hit, we might as well risk our taste bud and roam about to God-know-where in case we might came across something a little tastier. But, before I left, I did wander out to see the fishermen finishing their shift. Quite a sight I must say, and that’s actually the plus plus of going to Kroui Pah Heed or any other restaurants on the same street as you’d come across the scene nowhere else – at least nowhere else in Hua Hin – could offer.
My head rating says, “7 out of 10″.
My heart rating says, “6 out of 10″.
KROUI PAH HEED
1 Sa Pan Plah Road
Tel. +6632 470 070