"Can a tourist-trap deliver?"
Sipping excellent coffee at Asama, the barista mentioned that we should go to this restaurant in the old town to eat Larb. I made a note of it on google maps, double-checking with her that it was correct. A couple of days passed and we happened to be in the area, following the prompts until we stood outside, slightly puzzled.
The woman at Asama was a rockstar. She was amazing. She made the best coffee and really seemed to know what was up. She sent us here? I went through every possible combination of if she thought tourists couldn't handle real food, if despite the throngs of tourists inside they actually made decent food, if she had written it down wrong?
The sun was beating down and hunger was a reality worth succumbing to. We ordered and sat there feeling quite awkward.
The food came after a very long wait, whilst tourists at neighbouring tables ordered their Pad Thai and basic Thai favourites. We perked up a bit when the plates were set down, noticing the rather nice tint of the raw beef. Food was attacked in diametric reasonings. Left to Right. Pounding the plates with handfulls of sticky rice. OK, this wasn't bad. It wasn't amazing, but it was far from some tourist trap.
Maybe she had mean't to send us here and thought we'd appreciate it since it was a safe version of Larb. This was nothing like the dishes served up at Ton Yang where throngs of Thai's worship at the feet of salad and drinks. No, the raw beef one had a good texture and flavour, very bright and acidic. The two cooked versions were quite standard to be honest.
A friendly smile, payments settled and out into the bastard sun. I still wonder if she really meant to send us there or we were part of some cosmic joke. I guess we'll never know.
"Tastes are subjective, so take everything with a pinch of salty tears"