Ayuthaya is only a one hour drive from Bangkok, but in terms of atmosphere, feels a world away. Besides the famous ruins, the city also has some great restaurants and fun bars, and is a best-kept-secret weekend getaway destination for those tired of the big city. I wanted to introduce some friends to this side of Ayuthaya, and on a Friday afternoon we boarded the bus for a night of eating and drinking. I wasn't sure exactly where to eat, and asked my trusty food sidekick Aong for help. She sent me an email with several recommendations, but reckoned her favourite was a place called Baan Wacharachai.
We cycled to the restaurant, located on the river behind beautiful Wat Kasatrathirat, and upon arriving I gave Aong a call and asked her what to order. Without hesitation, she listed several dishes I had to order, including the grilled snakehead fish:
Which, upon ordering, the waiter asked me, "Have you ever had this before?" Smoked is probably a more accurate way to describe the fish, and it had such a wonderful smoky flavour that I felt guilty using the three (!) delicious dipping sauces provided.
I was also told to order tom khlong plaa salit bai makhaam on:
A sour soup with salit fish and young tamarind leaves. Upon ordering this the waiter asked again, "Have you ever had this? It's really sour!" It was indeed sour, but we like this, and enjoyed the soup very much.
And finally she insisted we order yam thua phlu, wing bean salad:
Again, very tasty and well done. Thank you, Aong.
Left to our own devices Carla ordered yam plaa duk foo, crispy catfish salad:
If you're not famililar with this dish, it's made from grilled catfish flesh that has been deep-fried until crispy (Pim's description of this unique process, and a recipe can be found here and here). The "fluffy" fish is is then served topped with peanuts and yam mamuang, a sweet/sour green mango salad. Good, but I found the mango topping a bit too sweet, as if often is.
Ron ordered phat phak boong fai daeng:
Flash-fried morning glory. Mad garlic. Delicious.
Baan Wacharachai is located on a handsome stretch of the Chao Phraya, and other than the lovely house and garden, also includes a moored boat upon which one can dine. Unfortunately in my hunger and haste, I neglected to take any photos. Next time.
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