By Elle Faraday
The Kalare Centre in the heart of the night bazaar has just
re-opened after a year’s worth of refurbishment work so I thought I would pop
down to take a look and see what delights were on the menu and, if any, how many
of the original food stalls had come back.
The food court is virtually unrecognisable. It has received a complete face lift
and no longer comes across as a cheaper alternative to eating in a Thai
restaurant. The original food court’s charm of its street-stall like
atmosphere still remains although it has been cleaned up and re-decorated. The
surrounding stalls sell all sorts of Thai handicrafts and clothes which add to
the colourful scene.
Whereas the food stalls used to form an arc round the food court, they are now
in a long line down one side with signs in both Thai and English. The number of
food stalls may have decreased, but the choices of dishes on offer certainly
haven’t, there is an abundance of food being served all evening, including the
old favourites from the original food court.
Free entertainment is provided every night with some excellent bands singing
some of the world’s best known songs. The stage is at the front of the new
food court and therefore the entertainment does not interfere with your dining
plans, unless of course you want them to.
The different food stalls offer dishes from all corners of the world including
Thai, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Indian and Western cuisine. Thai specialities
include the famous papaya salad (25 baht), pad Thai (30 baht), noodle soup (35
baht), pork and chicken satay (starting at 35 baht), fried rice (30 baht),
sticky rice and mango (45 baht) and a number of other Thai delights. Japanese
options included a range of sushi (starting at 5 baht), chicken teriyaki (40
baht) and roasted salmon (45 baht); Western dishes included French fries(30
baht), salad(30 baht), spaghetti (40 baht) and German sausages (30 baht); Indian
choices included chicken masala (70 baht), chicken biryani (70 baht), samosas
(30 baht) and tikka (90 baht). Finally, Middle Eastern dishes included Chicken
kebabs (50 baht), falafel kebabs (50 baht) and hummus with pita bread (40 baht).
As you can see, the choice is endless making it very hard to
make a decision. However, before any decision was made, money had to be changed
up. The food court uses the same system as they did before: No cash, coupons
only. I changed up 200 baht as I wasn’t sure how much my feast was going to
come to and began walking up and down the food stalls. Eager faces greeted me as
they tried to persuade me to choose their stall. It all smelt so good, I was at
a complete loss.
In the end, I opted for a mix of cuisine and went for a chicken kebab with a
vegetable curry from the Indian. These two dishes set me back a whopping 100
baht (note the use of sarcasm) and I sat down to enjoy.
The band was playing a medley of songs and was a very pleasing accompaniment to
my meal. The lovely thing about the food court is that you really feel part of
something. There is so much going on around you – excited tourists exploring
the night bazaar for the first time, families out for a quick meal, folk like me
out to try something new and hungry locals meeting friends. It’s perfect for
simply sitting back, enjoying your food and taking in your surroundings.
The chicken kebab was delicious (and just how I remembered it) with lots of
salad and chicken pieces bursting out of a pita that is smothered with a
delicious sauce. The vegetable curry was also very tasty – fresh vegetables
cooked in a thick curry sauce. By the end of my meal, I just had enough room for
sticky rice and Mango. Off I trundled with my voucher and came back with my
favourite dessert of all time.
After wolfing that down, I exchanged my left-over vouchers for cash and set off
to walk off my newly gained calories by exploring the new shopping stalls in the
All in all, I spent 155 baht on a delicious and satisfying meal which included a
drink. I can say that the new and improved food court is just that – new and
improved ! I will certainly be going back and aim to try at least one thing from
every stall in the next month or so.