Thai with Mom and Grandma

My mom and grandma are currently here in Bangkok. This is mom's third trip, and she does pretty well with the Thai food, except for her irrational, prejudiced and wholly unwarranted fear of the spicy stuff. Today we drove down to the province of Phetchaburi, about 100+ km from BKK. This hardly-visited-by-foreigners small town is really a fun destination, with a nice outdoor morning market and heaps of cool temples. Mueang Phet has some good eats, but for lunch we drove about 40 clicks south to the old seaside resort of Cha Am. The beach at Cha Am is none too impressive, and a the town a bit run down, but none of this matters, because at the northern end of the beach, right at the foot of the pier, are about 87 restaurants serving fresh seafood! We randomly chose a restaurant with a seafront view called, for some reason, Captain Yuad, and here's what we ate:


Our eating marathon began with the traditional Thai carb accompaniment to seafood, khao phat puu, fried rice with crab:


Shown above is the "medium" size--more than enough for the four of us, and well-seasoned with hearty chunks of crab and egg.

Mom still has dreams about the grilled prawns from her last trip here, so we orderd a 1/2 kilo:


She needed a bit of instruction in peeling them, but got it eventually:


Not stopping at this she also ordered shrimp fried with palm hearts:


This was a dish with lots of Chinese influence: dried mushrooms, bell peppers, soy sauce and green onions.

Khuat went directly for the spicy stuff, ordering hoy shell phat chaa, scallops fried with fresh herbs:


and the previously mentioned po taek, a tom yam-like soup with mixed seafood and flavored with holy basil:


This was probably our favorite dish of the meal--and ironically grandma and mom's least favorite! The broth was rich, but according to them, too sour (not true at all), and contained meaty crab, chunky squid and giant fresh prawns. Here's grandma enjoying the latter:


And in a fit of seafood feeding frenzy, Khuat ordered a dish of par-boiled cockles:


She regretted this decision almost immediately, and jusifiably so: nobody ate them and she ended up sharing them with the cat at home. I've heard that the cat liked them.

I ordered plaa samlee daet diaow, "cottonfish" dried in the sun for one day, then deep-fried and served with a sour/sweet mango-based side sauce:


This dish employed probably the biggest, meatiest cottonfish I've ever seen--all to its detriment. Smaller cottonfish have a more delicate "salty" flavor that is really pleasant--this specimen was so meaty it was not unlike the tasteless protein of an American Chicken Breast. And ideally, the fish should be somewhat dry (the result of drying), however I'm pretty sure they just took the biggest fresh fish they could find and deep-fried it. Naughty, naughty.

All of these were served with the famous Thai seafood dipping sauce:


An unpalatable cauldron of fire to mom and grandma, but a tad too sweet for my tongue.

As with most of our meals so far, mom and grandma were utterly shocked by the amount of food we ordered. Nonetheless, we always seems to finish it off:


All of this fun for 1,300 baht (about $30).

Incidentally, in the next few days we'll be going up to northern Thailand--Chiang Mai, Lampang, Naan and Sukhothai--and I'll certainly be posting bits and bobs from our eats up there.