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    Sneak peek: hot new seafood buffet in Chiang Mai, Thailand

    Sneak peek: hot new seafood buffet in Chiang Mai —
    and not a tourist in sight

    Everyday after 5 pm, snarls of cars and motorbikes — over 100 each at a time — smother both sides of route 1317 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  More than 400 Thai’s a night swarm slipping and sliding along the narrow roadside darting to avoid traffic trudging toward 150-foot high trees sporting 20 red lights above.

    They’ve discovered the hottest place in town to eat:  The Seafood Buffet.  It’s new, cheap and all you can eat for 299 baht or $8.92. That’s one day’s wage for the average Thai.

    There’s not a tourist in sight  — ever.

    It’s open-air cooking and eating at its best.  A half dozen cooks grill 6” long prawns on 2’ by 5’ racks ready to pluck from foil laden pans the second they’re off the fire.  Dozens of clams sizzle in their shells welcoming a local stir-fry brew as they open.  Fleets of crabs bake over red-yellow charcoal flames revealing their trademark orange color signaling they’re ready to eat.  Skewers of squid roast alongside them sliced into one-inch mouthwatering rings awaiting a chomp and chew.  Deep-fried fish 3-4” long — just a mouthful— exude steam as they’re poured into flat serving pans.  Seafood soups caress bits and chunks of each delight altogether, brewing in an exotic fusion of seasonings with chili peppers — a traditional Thai accent.

    Owner Cha Chai says he put this place here to meet demands for fresh, top quality seafood direct from the ocean not available elsewhere in the area.  And from the looks of the daily crowds, he’s hit the gastronomic sweet spot of the locals.

    The Seafood Buffet, off the beaten path for most tourists.
    Route 1317 southeasterly just past the intersection with 3029 about ½ mile on the left.  Tel: 081-765-5050.  GPS coordinates:  N18.45.515, E99.2.849.  Check it out!

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