One thing I’ve learnt on this trip with Lady M is that the cheapest food is also the best. She’s taken me to (loosely termed) restaurants that previously I would never have set foot in, may have even crossed the road to avoid. But she has proven me wrong time and time again. The locals know a thing or two about food, and that even though you run the risk of dysentery, the taste of the food is worth it.
But the best of the Best is a 24 hour establishment on the main drag in Koh Samui called Ninja. Its menu has the weirdest mix of dishes but we only sampled from the Thai section, and it was glorious. But it’s just not about the food at Ninja, it’s the whole package. It’s an experience. Here are all the reasons why I love it. Seriously.
12. Here is Lady M enjoying her Dunhill approx. 7m from the kitchen. Why shouldn’t smokers be able to smoke so close to other peoples food cooking.
11. Wild dogs can wander in off the street. The Slovakian backpackers at the table next to us one night even started patting them.
10. They use toilet paper for napkins. I have to say this is not unusual though in this town. We’ve even stockpiled some nights in our handbags in expectation of a toilet emergency.
9. We used said toilet paper to wipe down our table. Lady M just did her side. Here is what she found.
8. Its in a tin shed. You sweat more than at the gym (well so others tell me).
7. They serve your Bacardi Breezers in stubby holders. In this heat this means more to the patrons than air-conditioning.
6. Now have you ever seen a cleaner fridge in your life? Ignore the grime for a minute, our drinks were the coldest we had in Koh Samui.
5. This is their cash register. Yes, correct, they haven’t taken their calculators out of their packaging yet.
4. This is the cheapest restaurant in the world. The first time we went we had 3 dishes and four drinks, including squid, and it cost 411 Baht. Which is approximately $13. The second time we had 5 dishes and 4 drinks and it was 400 Baht.
3. To take down your order they write it on ripped up bits of beer carton. They then stick the pieces of cardboard in a slot with your table number on it. When you pay they just whip out the scrappy bits of cardboard to tally your bill. Now how’s that for resourceful.
2. We ordered squid where you paid by the weight. I was so confused. But they whipped out some kitchen scales (which had quite obviously been used before) slapped some squid on your table and then weighed it in front of you. They wrote the weight on a scrap of cardboard. I was beside myself. But goddamn it was the very best squid I’ve ever eaten!
1. The food was amazing. Phenomenal in fact. Especially their curries. And taste trumps the risk of diarrhea every time!
So if ever you are in Koh Samui can you please, please, please try Ninja? Just ignore all your first world concerns about hygiene and dive right in. The food will delight you and the rest will astound you.