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Phitsanuloke "30 Baht" Buffet
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Tuesday, 30-Mar-2004 00:00
The Mother of All Thai Buffets, all you can eat at 30 Baht!
Today even I was surprised. A lot of the places I post on here are re-visits of places that I liked initially, but then didn't visit for a couple of months because they happen to be located half way to Burma. Buffet Phitsanuloke is such a place. It was located near the provincial government offices on the Middle Ring highway, close to the new jail at the intersection with the Mae Rim road. It was packed every day at lunchtime, and for a reason: an incredible variety of pretty much every kind of Thai food, all you can eat for 30 baht. Even drinking water and desert thrown into the price.

But let me rant a little bit about shops selling pre-prepared food in general, often called curry & rice shops. You often see these in small shophouses, where you can point to various dishes in trays and order it over-rice. Often these trays have been around for a while, and no attempt is made to keep food warm. Fair enough, however almost invariably these places charge every bit as much as the 'made to order' (taam sang) food stalls and restaurants, where food is prepared for you while you wait and is of course always hot and fresh. One of the great mysteries of Thai food.. You can find made to order for 15 baht, but your average curry over rice that has been there perhaps for more than a day comes at 20 or 25 baht. [End of rant]

Enter Thai buffet-food style places. These used to be the domain of bigger hotels, that threw breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets where mostly also non-guests can come and eat. Prices are often between 100 and 200 baht per person. But then Phitsanuloke Buffet started.. and charged just 30 baht.. Pretty much the price of a single serving of two dishes over rice plus a bottle of water at all the small rice & curry shops. It became hugely popular, and apparently the business model worked: They moved to a MUCH bigger place!

The new place is still on the Middle Ring Highway, but now in between the Ping River bridge and the Mae Jo Road. If you come from the Mae Jo road, it's on the left hand side before you get to river.

And what a place it is! It's HUGE. And it's STILL full with people! Variety is as good as ever, not just standard Thai favorites but also tables with salad, chilly dip & som tam, khao soi, khanom jeen, sweet deserts, several kinds of fried rice and phad Thai. Just look at the pictures, it's amazing. (9 pictures today, be sure to view all of them.). This is about the greatest intro to Thai food on the planet, and at less than one US dollar! :-D

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