On The Streets of Ayuthaya, Three Guys Keep It Real

 Serving up boat noodles at Lung Lek, Ayuthaya The title of this post is a take on the oft-cited 2005 New York Times article by R. W. Apple Jr. about dining in Bangkok. In the article, the late journalist explores the food of the capital with Bob Halliday, a 30-year resident of Bangkok. In my version, I'm accompanied by friend, chef and blogger Hock, and friend, chef and author David Thompson (both of whom, incidentally, work in restaurants mentioned in the Apple article), in our own effort to keep it 'real' on the streets of Ayuthaya. To this extent, Hock brought a bottle of prosecco and some prissy French nectar drinques, David took along his wit and historical knowledge, and I brought my camera to document part of the day.

Our first effort in Ayuthaya-style realism was Lung Lek, a 'boat noodle' restaurant just across from the ruins. The restaurant was as busy as I've ever seen it:

At Lung Lek, a boat noodle stall in Ayuthaya

which unfortunately had a negative impact on the food. As David illustrates below, the noodles required substantial seasoning, something usually not necessary for the inherently rich dish:

David seasoning his noodles at Lung Lek, a boat noodle stall in Ayuthaya

The next step in our plan was to go to Pom Phet, a quiet shaded spot overlooking river and ruins, unfold our mats, and indulge in the pleasure of getting drunk somewhere other than Bangkok. Unfortunately there was construction underway at Pom Phet and virtually every other riverside ruin. So we headed directly to a riverside restaurant where we wished Hock had brought more prosecco, and where David and I fought over the fattiest bits of pork.

From there we headed next door to Baan Wacharachai where we spent the next few hours on a moored boat, eating, talking and drinking. The latter caused me to forget to document this part of the day, but the highlights were Baan Wacharachai's wonderful smoked snakehead fish, watching boats pass by on the river, and teasing Hock.

It was somehow decided that the only appropriate dish to end the day was of roti with condensed milk. This being Thailand, we naturally stopped off to buy another kind of roti on our way to eat the roti:

Making roti say mai, Ayuthaya

There are several shops selling roti say mai along the strip of road opposite Ayuthaya's main hospital and David chose the most popular one, at which he had to wait a good 20 minutes:

David waiting and waiting for roti say mai, Ayuthaya

Free samples helped Hock to pass the time:

Hock eating roti say mai, Ayuthaya

And then it was on to our final destination, Ayuthaya's night market. Where, as a pre-dessert snack, we ordered beef mataba:

Beef mataba at Ayuthaya's evening market, Ayuthaya

Undeniably real and uncomfortably full, we headed back to Bangkok.