Food in Hua Hin – Seafoodies

As I mentioned in the recent entry about my weekend in Hua Hin, the people whom I was there with, Tawn’s colleagues, are foodies.  Specifically, they are sea-foodies.  I’ve never seen a group of people remove quite so much crab meat from a pile of shells in so short a time as this bunch of diners.  As for me, I really enjoy seafood but there’s also a point where enough is enough, especially back-to-back meals of the same things.  Let me share with you what we ate, so you can appreciate it, too.


Our main meal was at a popular local restaurant in the heart of Hua Hin town, an unassuming place that looks more like a loading dock with tables.  “Loading dock” would actually be an accurate description, because it is adjacent to the fishermen’s wharf.  Unlike such piers in some corners of the world that have become tacky tourist spots, these are the unassuming working jetties where the fishing fleet comes to offload their catch of fresh prawns, crabs, fish, oysters, scallops, and other delicacies of the deep.  Based on my experience, there are few places where you can find seafood more fresh than the fisherman’s wharf.


Tables are placed on a series of extentions to the main dock, a series that seems rather haphazardly added on based on an expanding clientele.


The entire family (or families) seem to be at work, with youngsters sorting out fresh shellfish with each order that is placed.  Half the main floor area is a series of tanks which are filed with different types of creatures depending upon demand.  This being low season, only about half the tanks had occupants.  I have no idea what the “spot babylone” is.


Clams with garlic and basil.  Very sweet meat.


Fried squid.  Instead of cutting these into rings, this restaurant cuts them into strips.  A bit overcooked, I thought.


Lump crap meat, scrambled eggs, and green onions with tumeric and curry powder.  My favorite of the dishes.


Hoy jaew – a crab meat sausage wrapped in tofu skins and steamed then deep fried.  I wrote last month about a restaurant we went to in Chonburi that is famous for these.  Entry is here.


Raw oysters.  These were large and very briny tasting, not as clean a taste as I enjoy.  Garnished with a very pungent herb, salt, lime juice, and toasted shallots.


Steamed crab, anyone?


Boiled prawns.  The crab and prawns were served with a super-spicy dipping sauce.


Two of Tawn’s colleagues enjoy the meal.  Looking behind them you can see the various seating areas, each with a tent roof.  The solid roof structure way in the back is on the land, which is where all the holding tanks for the seafood are.


After the seafood dinner, we went to one of the night markets in Hua Hin.  The traditional night market is on the city streets and is very crowded.  There is a new area that has been set up that is a bit more park-like and focuses on the arts.  There was a live band playing in a small ampitheatre, a food court area, and lots of vendors selling everything from paintings to clothing.  Above, a pair of Tawn’s colleagues posed for pictures.  Picture taking was a big part of the weekend.


At the night market I ordered some coconut ice cream served with sticky rice in a hollowed-out coconut shell.  The meat of the coconut was cut loose with a little device so that I could eat it with the ice cream.

The next day…


Did I mention that picture taking was a prominent activity?


The next day after class we stopped for lunch at another seafood restaurant before driving back to Krungthep.  I didn’t take any pictures because, well, it was pretty much the same menu all over again.  I did take a macro photo of this fried prawn head, though, because I thought it was kind of interesting.


The restaurant we went to was in a small fishing village on the south side of Hua Hin.  Interestingly, the tide was out, leaving the whole fishing fleet beached.


Thai fishing boats are very colorful.  So that was my weekend in Hua Hin with Tawn’s colleagues.  Very fun opportunity and I’m glad to have had it.


Role Playing in Hua Hin

By profession, I am a trainer.  I have a wide range of background experience but people development (and managing people development) is where my heart and skill lies.  When Tawn’s boss found this out, I was invited to join part of their team for a weekend training session in Hua Hin.  Their industry is Public Relations, their training was about creating client value, and they needed someone to play the role of a prospective client for some of the training exercises. 

Glowing lanterns (in a vaguely northern Thai style) in the early evening.

Hua Hin is a popular beach resort about a three-hour drive southwest of Krungthep (Bangkok).  It is the home of His Majesty the King’s beach palace and so is a much cleaner and more desirable place than, say, Pattaya.  In the past few years Hua Hin has also become much too popular and is now overgrown with high end hotels and fancy resorts.  In other words, it has gone upscale and lost the inexpensiveness and carefree charm that made it a fun getaway spot for locals.  Still, it retains its good weather, nice ambience, lovely beach, and tasty seafood.  So who was I to refuse an all expenses paid two night trip to a beach resort there?

Beach, pool area, and the restored 90-year old teak house, right.

I’ll write more about the food in the coming days, but let me share some pictures of the resort.  The resort, called Baan Talay Dao (“Home of the Sea and Stars”) centers around an authentic 90-year old teak wood house in which the training was held.  It is a smaller resort, family owned and operated, and has probably been in operation for years and years.  With the sprucing up of the rest of Hua Hin, it looks like they made a lot of effort sometime in the past few years to freshen up the resort’s facade and it now has a “boutique” look and feel.

Private villas – note the grotto with the Virgin Mary in it, which you don’t see all that often here in Thailand!

The property includes a combination of town-house style two-story buildings along with individual villas closer to the beach.  The buildings are well-maintained and the landscaping is very lush.  Inside the rooms, though, you can see the age of the facility.  Not because things aren’t well maintained – they are – but simply because of the amenities offered and the roughness of the construction.  I’ve seen this a lot in these boutique resorts in Thailand and that is why the price is $50-150 less a night than, say, the Intercontinental, the Sheraton, or the Marriott.

The townhouse section of the resort faces a reflecting fish pond and some beautiful trees.

There is a full-service restaurant downstairs from the teak house and you can either sit in the shade underneath or out in the open air overlooking the beach.  Their breakfast buffet is pretty impressive for a small resort and the dinner I ate the first night – a curried seafood dish called hor mok talay – was one of the best things I’ve eaten this month. 

Hua Hin is on the western side of the Gulf of Thailand hidden against a ridge of mountains on the narrow isthmus that is shared between Thailand and Myanmar.  The benefit of this ridge of mountains is that the frightening storm clouds that blow over them tend not to drop their rain on Hua Hin, instead continuing up the Gulf and gathering more force before dropping their rain closer to Krungthep.  This made for some very pleasant (and pleasantly breezy) late afternoons and early evenings as I enjoyed the relatively cool temperatures and watched the clouds, excpecting them to let fat drops of rain fall on me in response.  Thankfully, this didn’t happen.

The path to the beach.

The two days of training were pleasant.  I had met most of Tawn’s colleagues on several occassions before (he wasn’t at the training, though) and so it was a pleasure to spend more time with them.  Not only did I learn a lot about the PR industry, which was fascinating, but I discovered that as a group they are the biggest foodies (sea-foodies, to be precise) I’ve met in Thailand, which is why I’ll write about the food in a later entry.