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Exciting new menu!

Pern’s on Huay Kaew Road has been established for a few years, providing inexpensive ‘Mediterranean’ food in pleasant if slightly conventional and underlit surroundings. Happy to report that the owner Brian and his charming Thai partner have given the eatery a complete - and highly successful - revamp, making it more comfortable, lighter and the menu smaller but with two important additions.
The new menu does contain some established favourites from the original but the selection from the countries represented has been sensibly reduced and each night a special is added. The important change is an extensive tapas menu, with a choice of some two dozen different ‘bites’, ranging from the 20 baht tasters to more substantial offerings at around 50 – 60 baht. You are given a clearly printed list and simply tick those you fancy: a colourful menu illustrating many of the tapas comes with the longer list.
You can choose a couple of these as a starter and then a main course or stay with the tapas. Naturally you can choose exclusively from the main menu. It’s very pleasant to have the choice. The other great and welcome change is the introduction of Continental draft beers: my personal favourite is the Leffe blond, but you can have their dark beer or one from Bavaria. There are plenty of bottled options and the less expensive local beers, plus a so-so house wine and some decent wines by the bottle. By the way, on Wednesday’s the house wine is half price and there is 10% off the beer, with a few bin end wines at lower prices.
The other improvement is in the ambiance to Pern’s. The bar has been extended to most of the length of the restaurant and this is ideal for those coming in just for a drink with perhaps a few tapas to help it down. This is a bright and attractive background, with seating for about 10 people, to the eating area which has a couple of casual tables and a main slightly raised section for a further twenty or so diners. The lighting is greatly improved making it easier for those of us who need it to read the menus.
As said the inexpensive main menu derives from the original with Greek, Turkish and Italian dishes among others plus Australian steaks at a more pricey 750 baht and the various daily special, typically at 250- 300 baht with vegetables and rice or potatoes. There is a handful or starters, a cheese board (199 baht) or much cheaper puddings to follow and even grappa and port to go with them.
Much of this style of food, pastas, seared salmon and so on can be found elsewhere but with the addition of the tapas menu Pern’s may just have found a special niche for those who like to eat out and perhaps have different tastes. The tapas, as mentioned, start at just 20 baht and these are inevitably small but tasty such as bell peppers with a sliver of cheese right up to a dish of fried mushrooms in garlic or goujons of sole with a dip, which would make an excellent first course. This is an attractive way to eat and one can simply order a few to share and then repeat the favourites or move on to pastures new.
Pern’s is on Huay Kaew Road opposite the Shell garage (where you may park free) and they open each evening except Mondays from early evening until late. (Photo courtesy of Neil Robinson)


RECIPES BY NOI: Pla Tu Kem or Salted Mackerel

The rainy season has arrived at my village and there will be no holiday for farmers unless the rice farming is done. Normally the farmers start farming after Songkran or anytime when we have the first rain of the rainy season.
About 20 years ago when I was a kid, when the rice fields were still free from insecticide and the rivers were very clean, my mom and I used to walk 7 km to our rice fields every weekend while my dad worked and slept in a hut there. My bag was full of my snacks and toys but Mom’s bag was always full of dried and canned foods for Dad which can keep tfor a long time.
Mom would never forget to bring Pla Tu Kem or salted mackerel (often called tuna by Thai people). It was our favorite because we could cook it with different ways, add in vegetable curry or soup, grill, deep fry or grill in a banana leaf. The uncooked Pla Tu Kem can be kept for months and the deep fried one will be good till a few days outside the fridge. When we start working we don’t have time to do anything else, even cooking.
Nowadays we have a road cut through the rice fields and going to work takes just 15 minutes on motorbike. We have no problem with food anymore but Pla Tu Kem is still the favorite fast and convenient food for farmers.
This is an easy recipe for deep fried Pla Tu Kem.
All we need is just Plat Tu Kem, cooking oil, crushed garlic, chopped shallot and dry chilies.
First deep fry garlic, shallot and chilies. Then use the same oil to deep fry the fish. Do not cook the fish first because after deep fringthe fish the oil will turn smelly and cannot be used for cooking anything after that.
See? Very easy and fast food!

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