Outdoor Food in Bangkok: On Nut Station

It’s not exactly on the tourist trail but it is on the SkyTrain line. On Nut, the terminal station at the moment (until the new extension opens, whenever that might be!) is a bustling spot where loads of buses connect into the BTS SkyTrain system, commuters park, taxis and motorcycle taxis buzz in and out like it’s a hornet nest, and a big Tesco Lotus store attracts grocery shoppers. Right across Sukhumvit Road from Tesco Lotus is a big plot of land covered with tents selling mostly cheap women’s clothing and shoes and a load of food booths — the On Nut Market. This is two bus stops from my neighborhood and a very fine place to have dinner. Why? Because there’s a beer garden here and it’s cheap. Only one place does pad thai and they have a number system. It’s not often you take a number at a street vendor, but the massive crowd that forms around the single giant wok demands such.

Up and down the sidewalk is just about everything Thai you could want: curries, satay, som tam (spicy pounded green papaya salad), tom yam (spicy sour soup, usually with gung (prawns)), deep-fried fishballs, duck butts (I don’t like to eat them but I get a kick out of saying it), deep-fried pork chops on a stick (seriously), spring rolls, sushi (no way, unrefrigerated in the street??), grilled seafood, grilled salt fish, sausages, more salads, deep-fried salads, even the Turkish/Middle Eastern doner (chicken or beef) served in a wrap. I tried the glass noodles and shrimp and watched as the cook plopped the covered metal bowls into the burner trays and blueish flames leaped up the sides and over it. He reached through those flames every time to grab more seafood and set up another bowl. I noted he had no hair on his arms. Thai men commonly don’t have hair on their arms, however, and so his occupational hazard probably went largely unnoticed. I thought to suggest perhaps he keep his shrimp and noodles on the near side of the burners, but who am I to mess with his system?

Miss Peung and I pounced on an open table at the beer garden and ordered a small pitcher of Singha, the only beer I really appreciate in Thailand, even better than Heineken which is shite in my mind. In the evenings live acoustic music is provided by some young Thai guys in two locations throughout the lot. Dueling Thai love songs. It can be painful. We picked up a plate of fried chicken wings and tucked in. As I was lifting a mouthful of glass noodles into my mouth, Peung’s eyes went wide like a Far Side comic strip character’s and her hand shot forward before I could blink and plucked something from my noodles. I felt it slide out of my lips as well. A long hair. We stared at it a moment, and I asked her:
“Is it–“
“No! Not mine.”
I sighed. “Peung. New rule: when I ask a question like that in a situation like this, you need to–“
“I lie and say it’s mine.”
“Exactly.”
“No matter what color it is?”
“No matter what color.”
Communication is important in any relationship.

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