Kalare Centre

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 Kalare Centre.
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.