One of the greatest challenges for travellers to a foreign country is language barrier. There was an actual scenario just in front of me where a foreign traveller was asking the local security guard of a shopping complex for direction to an ATM.
Traveler: Where is the nearest ATM?
Guard: Cup?? (In Thai, “Cup” means Yes)
Traveler: Not cup, you know ATM?? The traveler then drew a box on his own stomach and pressed some button in the box and made some tut tut sound.
Traveler: Still Cup???
After seeing this incident, I just couldn’t stop laughing at the foreginer’s act and went over to the foreigner to give him directions to the ATM.
I said: Walk forward to the main entrance of this shopping complex, and you will see a few ATMs on your left hand. Instantly you can see a grateful expression from his face and he said “Thank God, someone finally understands me.”
From the above scenario, we know that language barrier can make travelling very nasty. Therefore, either you find a translator that speak the local language or you do your homework and get all the information needed before visiting the place. For those that didn’t have budget to hire a local guide, you can always follow this post for great food and places to visit for FREE!
First of all choosing a good hotel isn’t easy. There are many varieties, usually the cheap one will have lousy service and bad room condition. However, the good service and well decorated rooms will cost higher price. As for me I will choose the one in between. The hotel that we stayed was Golden Crown Hotel, Hat Yai. There are 2 hotels with similar name, Golden Crown Plaza and Golden Crown Hotel. Both also with similar logo and also almost the same place, but the price are slightly different. Golden Crown Hotel – RM75 per night, Golden Crown Plaza – RM115 per night. As for budget traveller like me I will surely choose Golden Crown Hotel.
There are a lot of hawker stalls just around the corner of hotel. My advice, before you leave the hotel take one name card from the hotel so that if you are lost, you can show it to the taxi driver or tut tut driver.
If you walk just 2 streets away from the hotel you will come to a wet market and there are many nice food there. One of the stalls is selling miniature apong.
Instead of like our usual one piece that folded into 2, they were made into two pieces-in-one with sweet cornns inside. It was very delicious and hot. The price per box is 30 baht.
Another few streets away, there is a lady selling bee hun and fried rice on the road side. I though it was a usual bee hun until I see further, it is mixed with fresh veggie and some different ingredients and it made me wanted to try it out. One pack of bee hun or fried rice cost 12 baht.
The ingredients which were mixed with the bee hun or fried rice were fresh and raw mixed veggie. The veggie made up of bean sprouts, cucumber, french beans and lemon grass. They also topped it with chili powder as seasoning.
The taste of this dish was like a starter. For those that don’t enjoy taking raw veggie, my advice is to skip this.
During night time, if you are walking out of the hotel, turn right and you will see this stall located just few steps away from the entrance of this hotel. This particular stall is selling wantan mee and koay teow soup.
The wantan mee was very chewy and the wan tan was very big in size. Although I was not sure how to order dried-noodle but the soup based was just as great. There should be a picture of koay teow soup, however someone already started eating it before I came back from washroom.
Wantan mee – 30 baht per bowl.
Turning to Prachathipat Road, which is a few stones’ throw away from the hotel, you will come across this stall which sells beef and pork koay teow soup. I have used to try out beef koay teow in Penang but hardly had any chance to try out pork koay teow. This is one of the best pork koay teow that I have tried before.
The koay teow consisted of meat balls, shredded pork, pork intestines, bean sprouts and spring onions.
Pork koay teow soup – 45 baht per bowl. The price is slightly higher, it’s kind of similar to the price of beef koay teown soup back in Penang.
If you know how to negotiate with tut tut, do ask them to bring you to “Pasar”, if you are traveling in a group of 6 the price is more affordable as the charges is per trip basis. The pricing to almost everywhere is 12 baht, you can always nego until 10 baht.
There is a shop just across the street of “Pasar” with the name of 发盛泰 (Huat Sheng Thai) which sells good thai pork leg rice and also chicken rice.
The chicken rice was kind of similar to the one that we had in Penang, nothing much special about it.
However, for the pork the taste was delicious where the gravy was not as thick and also the mixture of fat and lean meat was well-balanced.
You can always order a bottle of sugar cane water to quench your thirst after a hot day. The sugar cane water was very sweet and you need to order additional water to dilute the sweetness.
A few shops away from Huat Sheng Thai, there is a 7 eleven shop selling something special there. The grilled pork with glutinous rice burger at 22 baht.
It was very unique as we don’t see this back home. I don’t know when will we have this in our 7-11 outlets? It is like having grilled pork with pulut. Nice.
Other than the unusual glutinous rice burger, you can also try out the normal bread burger. For those that living in Malaysia, this is nearest place you can enjoy pork burger in McDonald’s. You should try out the Samurai Pork Burger Set at 115 baht for Large inclusive of tax. It is good that you don’t need to recalculate the additional 5% tax off the menu. Why can’t our country offer such convenience as well? The only downside is Thai McDonald’s does not have free-flow of soft drinks, not even for Large value meals.
The sauce for samurai burger was sweet and sour just like bbq sauce. There is nothing fancy about the sauce, however the pork meat of the burger was very juicy and soft unlike our McChicken.
Other than the pork burger, there is also Italiano burger set at 113 baht. The meat was prepared using deep fried chicken and the sauce was the usual spaghetti sauce with a slice of cheese. I believe this burger is coming to Malaysia very soon, I hope!
Broccoli pie 29 baht, instead of apple or strawberry pie, this is broccoli pie. Very special and unique.
Sawadie Cup with Ronald McDonald.
Lee Garden, one of the many places in Hat Yai which has indoor air-conditioned flea market where every one was sitting or squatting to trade.
Miniature pineapple, 20 baht for one. It was very sweet and refreshing, you will see that selling on any fruit stalls along the way.
Taking the tut tut again, this time you need to ask them to take you to the night market. The price was 12 baht as well. At that place you will see many stalls and also even more choices of food. If you come across a stall selling something like “kuih kapis” (love letter cookie), don’t try that if you have diabetes. This is because the cream and the coconut slices were very sweet. It was too sweet that I couldnt even swallow the entire piece.
Thai Style Love Letter Cookie – 25 baht per box.
After having the Thai style love letter cookie, you can try out their “leong fun” . Again you need to ask them to cut down their syurup as it was very sweet.
Leong Fun – 15baht per cup.
For those who are extreme food lovers like me, you can always try out the bugs selling on the stalls. There are maggot-like worms stacking up like a hill. The taste was powdery and nothing much very special about it.
As for the grasshoppers the taste was more crunchy compared to the worm. Remember to remove the back portion of the grasshopper leg before you eat them as there are tornn on it. I find that the grasshopers at this stall was not as fresh as the one I had in Bangkok. It was very oily and stale. Unfortunately this was the only stall selling bugs. I am going to look for more stalls like this when I visit Bangkok on my next trip.
Hatyai is a fun place to be especially for budget shopping and eating. If you don’t speak Thai or some Mandarin/Hokkien it is very hard for you to move around. However, with this post you will never get hungry at Hatyai 🙂