DINING OUT - KHUN OCHA'S COOKBOOK & ENTERTAINMENT
 

Ney - Ney? I say Yes - Yes! : By Danny B.

Towers of beer flow freely

Woody Allen once remarked (probably more than once for all I know) that solitary sex had at least one great compensation: you only had yourself to please. The same might be said of eating alone. The true gourmet can work his indulgent way through the menu, secure in the knowledge that no one will comment on his burgeoning waist line or complain that the wine chosen is too dry. Better still no one will mutter, “I wish I’d chosen that.”
Of course, when eating alone the restaurant has to be chosen with care. Solicitous but unobtrusive staff, a slightly rarified atmosphere with seating that is sufficiently separate so that you won’t have to endure a marital spat or a business conversation and extra special food.
So no good choosing a bustling, friendly and noisy place where you will feel isolated and somewhat overwhelmed. Certainly I would never eat alone in one of my local favorites, called Ney-Ney, although I am sure that they would look after me exceptionally well. No, this is an inexpensive Thai restaurant where even a quiet couple might feel a little ‘out of it’. Since most of the tables are occupied by four, six or more youngish Thais out for a fun evening and good food, you either join in the spirit or sadly go elsewhere.
Please do not be put off by the fact that few farangs go there. The menu is also printed in clear English and they will adapt the ‘heat’ on request. The manager Thanachai and many of the staff speak English and are as friendly a bunch of hard workers as you will find anywhere in town. It is easy to find, situated on the corner of Soi Taewan and Super Highway, about 150 meters before the Grand View Hotel as you head towards Rincome junction.
Although it gets especially busy towards the weekend, with around 150 seats you will easily find a table. There is live music from early evening and the 8:30 singer-guitarist is something of a star, being amusing and talented. If you prefer a little peace and quiet choose the outside section away from the stage and the kitchen area and you may even be visited by an occasional elephant passing by.
As you will have gathered, a large part of Ney-Ney’s pleasure quotient comes from the atmosphere which one might safely describe as ebullient on occasion. But I have eaten there regularly over the past four years and can equally recommend the food, which is quickly served in generous portions. The large turnover ensures its freshness and if you happen to fancy fish from the outside grill arrive on the early side, as they often run out on busy nights.
As for drinks, there are plenty of soft options and several beers but by far the most popular is the draught beer which comes in glasses or jugs (at 58 baht) and in special beer towers (150 baht) which will run to about 10 glasses, or rather more when served Thai style with plenty of ice. No wine, although I guess you could bring own.
So what of the food? This is not Thai food from any special region, although there a few specialties from the northeast. No this is simply abundant local Thai food, served at modest prices.
On my most recent visit, for the express purpose of writing this report, a group of us took a long table and made a selection of dishes. Two of each so that lots of passing around was avoided.
Alongside the tureens of rice and the inevitable Tom Yum soups we had two styles of Morning Glory. The first was with garlic and chili in oyster sauce and the second deep friend and accompanied by a spicy salad (each 60 baht).
Delicious wing bean salad with prawns (you can order it with pork, also at 68 baht) is a special favorite, as is the stir fried mixed vegetables (60 baht). For those who wanted it, fried frog came with young green pepper and nuts and for the fainter of heart there were deep fried fish with a chili sauce. Finally chicken with Thai herbs, all washed down with three Towers of Leo beer.
The total bill, including service and a special tip to our attentive waiter Bird, brought the total to just on 2,000 baht for twelve hungry and thirsty diners al of whom went away very satisfied indeed. As a neighborhood restaurant, Ney- Ney delivers the goods. No doubt there are many similar throughout the city and one can only urge readers to seek them out rather than trust to the ‘safer’ options. Just don’t expect fancy tablecloths, linen napkins or cut crystal.

 

Tuna Melt

I saw Sam Lehmann, the ex-executive chef from the Amari at the children’s fair and remembered his tuna melt. This easy to make recipe is an old family favorite that we all had as children. Our mothers had their own little variations or improvisations, but the great advantage of this recipe is that you can pre-make the main ingredients, whip them out of the refrigerator and present this mouthwatering creation in a couple of minutes.

Cooking Method
Toast both sides of bread. Lay lettuce and tomato slices on bread. Fluff the tuna salad mix evenly over the tomato slices. Cover with grated cheese and melt under the grill. Serve with seasoned fries, coleslaw and lemon wedges. Sprinkle with cajun seasoning and parsley.

Ingredients                    Serves 6
Rye bread, 2 cm slices             1 piece
Tomato sliced                         100 gm
Tuna salad mix                       250 gm
Grated cheese mix                 100 gm
Lettuce                                2 leaves
Lemon wedges (1/6th)                    4
Parsley chopped                    10 gm
Cajun seasoning                     4 gm