A Night to Remember
Our daughter shares a flat in Bangkok with her cousin, whom she grew up with, so last night his, parents, he and our party went out for the evening. The youths chose the venue, which seemed to be very popular with students, which is what they are. The BBQresort is the size of a football pitch and appears to hold many hundreds of diners. Last night, Sunday, it was heaving.
This type of restaurant is very popular in Thailand, because you can eat all you want for about £3. I have been to many of them up and down the country. Typically, these restaurants place a ceramic container full of burning charcoal in the centre of the table so you can cook your own food at your table. When I say ‘your own food’, it is actually provided, but you have to go and get it from centrally-located containers.
There is usually a selection of vegetables to be boiled and pork, fish and prawns to be barbecued. Most of these establishments offer more than that, but the BBQresort supplied more variety than I have ever seen before.
They also had beef, eggs, shellfish, ice cream, fruit, sarabao (steamed bread rolls with meat inside), and five different fruit juices. I was very impressed with the sarabao and fruit juices.
However, not so impressed as I was with the couple at the next table. He looked like a bodybuilder and was the nearest thing I have ever seen to an eating machine. His partner was probably heavier than he. She looked as if she supported him in his consumption of food, but ate boxes of chocolates on the sideline when he went training.
This man would pick up a prawn with his left hand, peel it in a second with his right, pop it into his mouth and pick up another while dropping the shell/chitin into the bin. Every other one went onto his partner’s plate where it was eagerly awaited.
His empties tray (bin), a foot wide, had to be replaced four times. He only ate prawns and shellfish and my wife calculated that they ate at least two kilos of each. I would have banned them, but no-one said anything.
From there, the ladies wanted to go to a market. I say ‘a market’ loosely, because this place was four or five times bigger than the restaurant. My brother-in-law and I bought a couple of beers and sat in the car park to await the others.
That took two hours, but a stupid drunk parked his car in such a fashion that nine cars were hemmed in. The owner of one of them, a Mercedes, was particularly annoyed. These people can be very dangerous because the car showed that he was rich, and money buys the right to impunity. If a rich man kills someone, he can offer the victim’s family money not to prosecute and he will never go to jail.
They were pushing and rocking the offending vehicle, but they couldn’t shift it. My brother-in-law expressed his concern for the driver when he returned, which he did an hour or so later.
‘Here we go,’ I thought, but the drunk just apologised and everyone went on their way. I couldn’t help thinking that in Britain there would have been an argument and a fight, and in America possibly much worse, but road rage doesn’t exist in Thailand.
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Podcast: A Night to Remember