I’m staying in the Mercy hostel in Chiang Rai. This hostel does not serve breakfast. They do have free bananas though. But I’m starting to crave for something western. I want some pancakes with jam and fruit. So I make my way to the supermarket and I buy all the ingredients to make pancakes and I head back to the hostel.
Very proudly I tell someone in the hostel about my plans. “But how are you going to make them?”, he asks, “There is no stove.”. Somehow I overlooked the fact that there is no stove in this hostel. I was baffled. Yes they have a kitchen area, but they only have a microwave and a toaster. There’s nothing to make pancakes with.
So I started my mission. My mission is to use someone else’s stove or waffle maker to either make pancakes or waffles. I really want my pancakes. The hostel is no help. It’s not possible to make pancakes here. So I go across the street. There is a bookstore there. The owner is from the UK and his wife is Thai. So I tell him my story and ask if he can help me out. But he cannot.
Further down the street is a small restaurant. I have been there before for eating. The owner is really nice. I tell her my story and I ask if I could please use her kitchen to make pancakes. This also is not working. I am really craving for pancakes now! OMG! Defeated I go back to the hostel.
My craving for pancakes is so high that I go to the night market to buy some waffles instead. They are super cheap. On the way there I pass by a few electronic stores. They sell pancake makers. I ask the prices of them and check out every store I can find. The cheapest one I can find is 590 Baht (16.34 Euro). I’m close to buying it, but I start thinking. Is it really worth it? A waffle on the street only costs 20 baht and a pancake with bananas, chocolate and condensed milk is only 40 baht. I can buy a lot of those for the price of this cooker. So I skip out on this.
I finally make it to the market. But for some reason the sellers who do the waffles aren’t there! Damn. This is not my lucky day. I run up and down the market and finally find a pancake! Again defeated I head back to the hostel.
But I am not giving up! This is my mission now. I will make pancakes before I leave Chiang Rai, no matter what! I will find a way to make it work. In the meantime I am eating toast with jam and fruit.
I finally head to my last resort. Tinder! I start swiping and get a few matches. I tell them my story and ask them very nicely if I can use their kitchen to make pancakes.
I got quite a lot of replies to this. Most of them found it funny. But they either were living with their family, didn’t have stove themselves or didn’t want to let a stranger in their house. The culture here is a lot different than from the west.
I do manage to get a date out of this. A local from Chiang Rai wanted to meet up and show me the local food. I gladly accept. We went to the Night Bazaar in Chiang Rai. She ordered spicy hot pot. Next we had fried worms and I had a Thai salad.
The worms are actually pretty good. You just can’t think of them as worms and then you will be okay.
The next day I am still on my pancake mission. I will make pancakes, I will succeed. In the street of my hostel is a guest house. So I enter the guest house and kindly ask them if I can use their kitchen to make pancakes.
They said yes. So I ran back to my hostel, got all the stuff I needed and went back to the guest house. I went to the kitchen. The staff was also cooking here. But they gave me a free spot on the stove and a pan. So I started cooking.
It was very funny, because the pan I got was really terrible for pancakes and it’s a gas stove. I’m used to cooking on an induction stove. I have very rarely cooked on gas before. They even asked me if it was the first time I cooked.
But I did succeed in making my pancakes. I was done cooking at the same time as the staff of the guest house. So they invited me to join them for food. They shared their food with me and I gave them a pancake. It was rice with curry and chicken. It was super delicious. Way better than my pancakes.
Then they asked me “When did you check in? Yesterday or today?”. I was like “Oh, I’m actually staying in Mercy Hostel across the street.”. Everyone just dies from laughter! They asked me how I knew to come and cook here. “Well I just passed by and asked if I could use the kitchen.”, I said “You guys said yes, so I did”.
I’m actually a bit sad that I didn’t take a group picture in the guest house. It really is a great story and a fun memory. But I do have a picture of my pancakes with jam. Sadly I already finished all my fruit to add to it.
A local night out
Me and the girl from tinder are still texting. She wanted to show me a local night out with Thai country. I made some friends in the hostel by then and we all went. She came to pick us up by car and headed to the “Tawandan” club. If I can call it a club. It’s a restaurant, bar, club, live music kind of thing.
We were early and one of the first to enter. This place is huge! There is a big stage in front and a lot of tables. We settle down and order some beers with tequila. I don’t know if this is a good idea though. The bar started to fill up with people and soon it was packed!
After that we decided to order a bottle of whiskey and have some bottles of coca cola. This is a lot cheaper than beer. Me and my friends were the only white people here. Everyone was Thai. It was absolutely amazing. I love to be submerged into the culture like this. This is when you learn the most about them.
We absolutely have a blast of a night! We all got drunk and only paid 500 baht (13.85) per person. We had a bit of food, beers, coca cola, and 1L of whiskey. We grabbed locals from their chairs and danced with them, we heard Thai country songs and had an amazing night.
I am so grateful for the amazing people I met. Specially my friend from Tinder who was so open to show us the local culture. To take us, strangers, to a local bar and let us experience a Thai night out. Thank you so much!