The following post has been a draft for ages, and I’ve finally finished it now, in Cambodia!
We met lots of wonderful people during our time on Ko Pha Ngan. People from all cultures and walks of life have settled on this beautiful island, and presented here are a small handful of the eclectic mix that inhabit it. Funnily enough, most of them somehow relate to food.
This is Dang. She ran a little fruit stand at the side of the road in Thong Sala, sandwiched between an iced tea stand, and a woman who sold, among other things, corn and coconut waffles. We stopped here almost daily to buy farang (guava), which was chopped up fresh and served in a plastic bag with an optional sugary tamarind powder. ‘Farang’ also happens to be the word that Thai people call western people. How about that? I am guava.
This is Kai, who ran an ice cream and pancake store named ‘Satimi’. The ice cream was amazing, with interesting local flavours like taling pling (grown in Kai’s garden and turned into ice cream). The ice cream was incredible, but the pancakes were another level of delicious. See picture below…
Chocolate pancake filled with bananas and chocolate chips. Served with more sliced bananas, real whipped cream, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, and two scoops of any ice cream. We chose tiramisu, and double chocolate chip.
Fun fact: the header picture above was also taken in the ice cream shop. I had no idea that the speech bubble was behind me, and my happy smile was due to the pancake in the preceeding photo. My ‘pancake face’, if you will.
This is Om, who worked at Limpipong, an upmarket miniature superette that we found ourselves at almost daily. “You look like each other”, Om said to us, which is the first time we’ve heard that before… It’s kind of weird if you think about it.
Ancha (or Ang Kha?) ran a tiny little place that sold cheap and delicious kuay teow nam. There was only one table inside, and it seemed like we were the only customers ever. We went there at least five times.
Here is Ancha’s kuay teow nam. Thick rice noodles in a porky garlic soup, with BBQ pork, pork mince, and pork balls. It was 25 baht, or $1.04 NZD. A completely ridiculous price for a taste sensation.
Anton the Russian ran a joint called Friend Cafe. He live on the island with his Laotian wife, who he admitted cooked Russian food better than he did.
Anton’s wife’s Laotian Russian Borscht. Heavenly.
Since we only communicated with these people using laughter, we never actually learned their names. We simply called them ‘fruit lady’ and ‘fruit lady’s husband’. They worked at three locations around the island at different times of the day, and sold fruit they grew themselves. Bananas, pineapple, mango, farang, chillis, beans, and everything else that was in season at the time. She showed us her garden, including her durian trees with tiny little fruit budding. Itty bitty stinky buds. She liked us so much, that when she weighed our fruit she gave us the weight on her side of her rigged, double-sided scales, not our side.
And finally, our wonderful hosts/employers/friends. Guillaume and Freddy, making freaky shapes.
For more about our time on Ko Pha Ngan, read:
Our luxurious welcome
The work we undertook
A delicious recipe
A summary of all we did and saw