Pattaya, located in under two hours from Bangkok has a reputation for nightlife, bars and some of the less salubrious aspects of life but there's also a beautiful side of Pattaya with a stunning oceanfront seafood restaurant and fun night markets.
Rimpa Lapin Restaurant
Rimpa Lapin is a beachside restaurant perched above Ban Amphoe beach at Jomtien. We walk past the frangipane tree laden with lanterns into the main restaurant. Rimpa Lapin is spread out across several levels - the pick is the lowermost nearest to the beach (high heel warning, you will have to climb down many sets of stairs, some without railings). It's almost sunset when we arrive and we watch the rippling waves make way to a starlit night.
The Thai menu is extensive and there's also a choice of 4 set menus for groups above 6 people. Prices are good especially considering the views and seafood dishes are the restaurant's signature. These cost around 250THB (around $10AUD at the time of writing). The food is already waiting for us on the table when we arrive which would normally be a little alarming but it's freshly cooked and very tasty.
The cheesy scallops are tasty with a béchamel sauce and melted cheese. It takes a bit of investigation to find the scallop underneath all of that.
The deep fried seabass is a whole fish deep fried and served with a sweet and sour sauce, cashews, garlic and vegetables. The fish is well cooked and the sauce and cashews are tasty.
There's a few types of seafood in the Thai seafood salad from small shelled black mussels, squid and fish with a spicy Thai chilli and coriander sauce.
The chicken and cashew nuts are a hit at the table and the chicken is succulent and tender.
I really enjoyed this dish which I think was the stir fried squid with salted egg (we didn't get to see a menu and it was pre-ordered). All of the food is tasty and enjoyable and we finish off the meal with snakefruit in syrup with ice cubes. This fruit is given its name from the scaly pattern of the fruit's skin that resembles snake skin.
Rimpa Lapin Restaurant: 152, 2 Na Chom Thian 36 Alley, Na Chom Thian, Sattahip District, Chon Buri 20250, Thailand. Open Monday to Friday 1pm-9pm, Saturday and Sunday 12pm-9pm. Phone: +66 84 451 5686
Jomtien Night Market
Later that evening, Pamela and I visit Jomtien Beach night market located along Pattaya Beach with her friends Connie and Cat. This is a market that really caters for tourists. Connie explains that the women waiting alongside the beach are sex workers there to cater for visitors. In the market itself many of the signs are in Cryillic offering everything from classic Russian snack foods to Thai drinks and food.
We quench our thirst with a frappe. You choose the cup with the fruit you want, the amount of sugar you want and they blend it up with ice. My watermelon juice was ok but mostly made up of ice so it needed some sugar. Perhaps a whole coconut would have been a better choice.
Connie and Cat show us a range of traditional childhood Thai candy and there's plenty of sweet Thai fruit available from durian, mangosteen, rambutan and mangoes.
We try crocodile satays made of local Thai crocodile tail. There are three flavours: black pepper, spicy and barbecue and 3 skewers is 100TBH/$4.34AUD. It's true when they say that crocodile tastes like chicken. The tail meat has the texture of chicken tenderloins and the spicy is my pick although they're all good.
We stop by another stand that sells all parts of a chicken on skewers from tiny chicken hearts all lined up and shiny on a skewer. "I love the chicken ass," says Cat giggling and pointing at the parsons noses lined up neatly on a skewer. I buy a skewer of that and the dark chicken liver as well as a lollipop of sticky rice. The parson's nose is deliciously bulbous and fatty chicken while the sticky rice is mixed with egg and grilled.
Pamela buys a coconut bun that is freshly baked and light as air filled with freshly grated fine coconut. For dessert of course!
Jomtien Night Market: Kwan Mueang Rd, Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri 20150, Thailand. Open 5pm-11pm 7 days a week.
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever been to Pattaya and what were your favourite stops?
NQN visited Thailand as a guest of the Tourism Authority of Thailand but all opinions remain her own. The walking street and the market were independently paid for.