Mae Sot, a bustling city near the Burmese border in Tak province is mostly populated by Burmese refugees. Many of those who live in town are Muslim, and have had a huge influence on the city’s food scene. In particular, along the street that runs south of the city’s main mosque, you’ll find several Burmese/Muslim-owned teashops:
They were heaps of fun, and served dishes you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in Thailand.
Although roti, crispy fried pancakes, are available just about everywhere these days, it’s still hard to find a good one. The guy pictured at the top of this post did a good job. His roti began their lives as small balls of greasy dough:
Stretched, smacked, pulled, smacked and slapped until the form thin disks, they’re then fried in plenty of oil, shredded, and topped with sweetened condensed milk and sugar:
Sweet tea, also shown above, is available at every one of these places, although some customers choose to circumvent the restaurant altogether and order through the window:
Another fun dish is the tandoor-baked flatbreads known here as nanbya. Much like the roti, the dough is portioned ahead of time. The balls of dough are then flattened onto a cloth-covered dome and slapped onto the side of the oven:
A couple minutes later they emerge as steaming hot flatbreads. The bread at the shop above was incredibly popular, and there was a line of people both inside and outside:
At most places this sort of bread was served with a dhal, a mild, watery lentil curry:
I wish we had something like this in Bangkok, although this blog’s occasional investigative reporter Nong A tells me she recently came across something similar to nanbya at a place on Th Ramkhamhaeng. Details to follow soon…
The restaurants are open early, from 6-9am, and are found within about 500m south of the city’s mosque, which I’ve labeled on the map below.