As I begin to wrap up my dutiful What I Ate on Vacation Coverage (jeez, it’s almost May and I’ve been back since early March—I really do think I’ll wake up one day, realize I’m 50 years old, and freak) the strays start surfacing.
I wouldn’t bother mentioning La Mer, the only restaurant at the top of Khao Takiab, a site known for its Buddhist temple, statues and wild roaming monkeys, because it screams tourist trap, literally. If driven up the windy road to the top of the rock, there’s no place else to eat within reasonable walking distance. We had half about 40 minutes to kill before being picked back up.
On the other hand, La Mer has the distinction of serving the hottest food we ate in Thailand. We had to remind ourselves that it was clearly geared toward Thai tourists, not New Yorkers. We got ice for our beer like the locals and tried to fit in.
This soupy tangle of razor clams, basil, chiles and krachai was powerful, peppery. The chewy mollusks delivered the kind of heat that creeps into your ears and won’t let up. Cold beer and a big bowl of rice, the best remedies.
This papaya salad with seafood, a dish I ate quite a few times in Thailand, was at least four times hotter than any we were served in Bangkok. Not unbearable, just very sharp and a nice complement to the crisp tart shredded fruit.
By the half-way point of our trip, sitting outside became more tolerable, though not preferable. It’s not like there was air conditioning inside anyway.
La Mer * Khao Takiab, Hua Hin, Thailand