Back to Klong Son, it’s a curious mix, on the one hand very local, a Buddhist temple, school, small fishing community, little vegetable shops, food stalls, sprawling, dusty hardware shops and concrete mixing depots, whilst on the other hand, at the beach end in the north, a figurative world apart, you’ll stumble upon the western holiday home community of Siam Royal View, private villas, in the Northern Thailand Lanna style with their steeply pitched curved roofs, arranged in neat rows by the sea, complete with a pitch and putt golf course and yacht marina. Never the twain shall meet except at the 7-Eleven.
Inland though, a quiet, narrow road leads though fields and rubber trees to the best elephant camp on the island, Ban Kwan Chang and beyond that to the many gentle tiers of Klong Jao Leuam Waterfall, free to visit. Along the way, just a few kilomtres in from the main road turning, you’ll find the Blues Blues Art and Food Cafe, a charming little spot hidden away behind cleverly planted trees and shrubs. Inside, well outside actually as its open air, you’ll find an oasis of calm, with artworks hung in every space, pots and sculptures, flowers, stone paths and wall decorations, just a few tables and chairs, a kitchen in one corner, bar area in the other. There’s normally a touch of Miles floating out from the speakers though we did one time go all misty eyed and nostalgic as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird made an appearance.
The food is simple Thai home cooking, freshly prepared, properly spiced and well presented. The menu offers all the usual favourites, stir fries fried rices, noodles, some fish choices, Thai salads, curries, all familiar. You can either go with larger servings, meant to be shared with a pot of rice or with one dish over rice choices (raat khao). On this occasion, we plumped for the latter and went with seafood fried with red curry paste (phat prik gaeng taleh), topped with a fried egg, a common practice, and an accompanying seafood glass noodle salad (yam wunsen taleh). To wash it down, always fun, a coconut juice, served in its shell.
Phat prik gaeng is a hugely popular Thai dish that you can find on any street corner. The paste used is dried red chillies, little red shallots, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime peel, shrimp paste and coriander root, all pounded together, but the quantity of each is where a cook can stamp their individual mark and here at Blues Blues, the taste is just perfect every time we go. It avoids that bitterness you can get from chillies nor is it ‘hot’ overpowering and the dish has a lovely aroma both from its spices and from the finely sliced kaffir lime leaves thrown in during the last few seconds of frying. The seafood, a mix of squid, prawn and a more than adequate lump or two of snapper was fresh tasting and the squid salad complimented it well, with its own dressing nicely balanced, the sharpness from the lime not wiped out by too much sugar but still delivering a proper kick from the fresh red chillies.
And that was that, quick, simple and just plain good. On the next table along, a senior police officer was renewing his car insurance for the year, with four others, from the garage and insurance company, on hand to guide him through the process. We suspect that it was done deal before they sat down and really just a workable excuse for a good lunch and what better recommendation could Blues Blues Art Food and Cafe get, then the local constabulary choosing their lovely cafe to pore over the small print.
Top Shopping Tip
The artwork, small paintings, wall hangings and sculptures are by the owner. It is all for sale and well worth a browse.
Menu Tips and Terms
raat khao, raat meaning over, khao rice
phat prik gaeng talah, phat, fried, prik gaeng, curry paste, taleh, sea, shortened form of arharn taleh, seafood
yam wunsen taleh, yam meaning salad, wunsen, glass noodle, taleh, seafood