After nearly 4 years, H and I finally made it back to Thailand, this time to spend Christmas with his dad and family in Chonburi.
It was my first Christmas outside the UK, but a tree and presents were waiting, and we had an amazing buffet brunch at Mantra. Plus I didn’t have to eat a single Brussels sprout! Win!
As usual, food was one of the core parts of the holiday for me. Although I’ve had quite a lot of food in Thailand over the years, there is still a lot to try. After some online research I thought a traditional Thai breakfast would be a good place to start, specifically Jok and Pa Thong Ko.
Luckily I had a Thai expert to turn to – H’s dad’s wife, who reached out to her contacts and swiftly found a good place to go. Thus the next day, at a very early hour for someone on holiday (6.30am!), we headed out to breakfast.
The destination was a small collection of stalls on Pattaya Na Kluea Road, close to the Na Kluea 10 Alley side road. Each stall focused on one element of the breakfast, but you ordered from a single menu and there was a shared seating area.
The smallest stall was dedicated to drinks, and I was delighted to be able to have an Ovaltine Yen (iced Ovaltine).
The jok stall was a hive of industry. Jok comprises a number of different elements. Its base is a rice porridge (similar to congee), to which is added assorted elements such as ginger, crispy noodles, spring onion, egg (various different types were available) and pork meatballs plus some offal and congealed blood (I didn’t have these last two as they are not to my taste). It is a savoury and surprisingly palatable breakfast for unsuspecting Western tastebuds, and I plan on trying to make it at home some time.
The last stall specialised in pa thong ko. I had experienced “patongko” in Malaysia – a large deep-fried dough stick. These pa thong ko were much smaller little crosses, and the preferred way to eat was to break them up into the jok to provide texture and another layer of flavour. However one could also get little pots of condensed milk and pandan custard to dip the dough sticks in, which proved an addictive combination.
As with most Thai street food it was cheap – for two people costing under £3 for drinks, porridge and the dough sticks. We came back again on our last day on the way to the airport, and it made a comforting farewell meal.