A Working Lunch
One of the joys of living and working in Thailand is the abundance of street food and cheap local restaurants. Within a few minutes walk or bike ride of my office in Karon Beach, there's a huge selection of dining options from the well known Phad Thai shop to Noodle stalls, the local Som Tam lady, the slightly pricier Mama Noi (but Mama Noi's banana shakes at 30 Baht are a steal), and several small local restaurants that you probably wouldn't look twice at, BUT are the best place to get cheap local food.
There are also places to get "Western" food - such as English breakfasts and my (occasional) favourite - egg, bacon, chips & beans at the Pineapple Guesthouse, and the Pineapple just opened a small cafe there too for cheap Thai food. There's even a pizza place round the corner, but somehow pizza is a bit too heavy for a quick lunch.
And everyone, it seems, eats out for lunch. The little local restaurants are busy. The Phad Thai place is always packed - and here's why... It's cheap, even on a lower local wage, a 30 Baht lunch is not going to kill you. Mind you, with prices of staple foods such as rice increasing dramatically worldwide recently, I was shocked to be charged 35 Baht this week for my Phad Thai! These places rely on high volume of local trade to make a profit, so prices are kept as low as possible - their costs are usually minimal - no rent, family run business (no staff costs), often outdoor or open air, so no lights, aircon or fans to run, and food is basic. Just what you need for a working lunch!
Today I got a plate of fried Kana (aka Kale or Chinese Broccoli) with "Moo Grob" (crispy pork), with a fried egg on top (Kai Dao) - had a proper working lunch, got it to take away and eat in the office - see photo above. Often do this, as it means I can eat in the aircon :) The little restaurant where I bought it can be found just over the road from Mama Noi, opposite the Siam Commercial Bank on the back road of Karon Beach.
(note - written in 2008. Prices have gone up a bit since then, like 50 Baht average for Thai dishes at small restaurants, and a banana shake at Mama Noi is now 40 Baht.)