Thursday, May 24, 2012

Trip Report 9: Dinner at Sugar Hut Resort

An available light panorama of some of the resort buildings, taken from the far side of the pool area

[This is part 9 of a series that may or may not ever find its way to a proper conclusion. It has to do with my latest trip to Thailand, and the people, places and things I encountered along the way. You can find the rest of the series by clicking here on Trip Reports.]

Although I haven't written about Cabbages and Condoms - a resort in Pattaya with a superb restaurant - I will soon; but since I ended up again at the Sugar Hut resort and restaurant this last trip let me tell you a little about that.  

While Cabbages and Condoms does have the more lavish layout overall, there's a charm to Sugar Hut that feels related.  That's not at all surprising, due to the fact that the places are owned by brothers, and neither of them skimp on the atmosphere - right down to the rabbits, peacocks and other wildlife that roam the grounds.

Sugar Hut is, as the Hawaiians would say, on the mauka side of Thap Phraya Road; meaning the side away from the ocean.  It's indicated by the green dot on the map below. Cabbages and Condoms is on the other side, with a violet dot.

One of the servers in February
The last time I had dinner there was in June of 2008, and the skies that had been deeply clouded most of the afternoon decided to open up and unleash a torrent of rain on us, just as my friend was parking his car in the lot.  We had nothing to put over our heads, so we just moved along quickly along the path from the parking area to the restaurant, but we arrived more than a little wet.

In keeping with Murphy's Law (paraphrased here as "if anything can go askew, it will") I'd brought an umbrella with me that trip, but figured since it hadn't rained through a few days of heavy clouds that I wouldn't need it.  Naturally, I did.

I didn't see all that much of the grounds that night, but the sound of the heavy tropical downpour was magnificent; made all the more dramatic by the large shutters being kept open wherever possible. From our tables we could see the trees and shrubbery bending with the whim of the wind and water pouring from the sky, and hear the large drops hammering the wooden decking.

Don't let the rain keep you from dining here, but take an umbrella if it's looks likely to rain.

Rain through the window by my table - June 2008

Both times I've been there for dinner there has been someone making their first visit to Thailand who was unsure as to how adventurous they wanted to be with Thai dishes.  I always encourage my Thai friends (who, being good hosts, often want to "take care" of their guests and order) to include a dish or two that they themselves enjoy, and not fall back on the same old touristy dishes we're liable to find even more bland versions of back home, thinking that's what we want.

My friend at our table for 4. The large open shutters show here.

My physician friend is very good about that, and remembers to tell us "next time you can order it more pet (spicy hot) if you want," and that's kind of him, I think.  Once I took the offered sample of the dish he was chowing down on with great relish, and I don't think I could taste anything for a day and a half afterwards.  I mean it was HOT.  Did thoroughly clear my sinuses, though.

We did have the pineapple friend rice in the hollowed-out pineapple (cliched, I know, but I still enjoy it), topped with dried shredded pork and "festooned," if that applies, with bits of chicken sausage.  We also had a crab omelet over rice, something you can easily find at a street cart, but my friend wanted to try it away from the street.  We also had a curry and the shrimp satay below, and a whole fish in a basil lime stock that was really, really good.

A glorified street omelet, a curry and the fried rice dish

Shrimp satay with a peanut dipping sauce.

Of the two places I suppose I preferred Cabbages and Condoms over Sugar Hut, but it was more for the ambiance, views, beach you can stroll and whimsical nature of the place overall.  The food at Sugar Hut was more than fine, and both places - while not a cheap meal - were worth the money. I'd put it in the 200 - 500 baht ($6.50 to $16) per dish range, but take that as a general range. Bear in mind you're eating at a resort restaurant... and you are treating yourself while on holiday.

Another slightly different night shot of the place

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