‘This is the only place in world that you’ll find hoi lord.” says our guide Panada. She leads us along a row of restaurants almost as unique as the straw shellfish itself. The twenty or so spidery structures in bamboo, perched high on pylons above the waterfront mangroves, are thronged with Thai families gleefully woofing down vast servings of roasted squid, fish balls, soup, sticky rice in banana leaves and pomelos. The waiter is surprised to see me, a farang. Don Hoi Lord is Thailand for Thais — tours, touts and credit cards haven’t yet reached this far. [1994]

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