Hua Hin is an old-school seaside resort a couple hours south of Bangkok. It's still a popular destination today, particularly among middle-class Thais, but beer bars have begun made the centre of town feel more like Pattaya than a quaint fisherman's village. Nonetheless, if you walk along the beach you'll see several graceful holiday homes that echo the town's past, some of which have been refurbished as restaurants. Probably the most popular of these is Baan Itsara:
I had eaten here several years ago and recalled that I enjoyed it. Visiting Hua Hin again with buddies N and R, Baan Itsara seemed the perfect setting for a bromantic late lunch.
My favourite dish of the meal was probably ping ngop thale:
The dish is made by combining curry paste with hearty chunks of seafood, wrapping it up in basil and banana leaves, then grilling it until it solidifies. The basil leaves provide a slightly spicy, bitter flavour, and the dish also has a subtle smokiness from being grilled.
There was a deliciously sour plaa kao tom buay:
grouper soup made tart with the addition of dried plums, and slightly spicy by the addition of holy basil.
There was a unique stir-fried green curry:
topped with deep-fried crispy krachai (Chinese key) and rich with fresh seafood, but the curry was a bit too mild and the eggplants undercooked and bitter.
There were slightly flabby raw oysters (pictured at the top of this post), served Thai-style with sides including garlic, seafood dipping sauce, nam phrik phao and crispy fried shallots. And we also ordered a so-so house yam:
a Thai-style 'salad' featuring generous amounts of even more seafood.
All in all a decent, but not outstanding meal.
Baan Itsara 7 Th Naep Khehat, Hua Hin 032 530 574 10.30am-10pm