The English Sunday Roast Dinners Of Thailand

If I were asked what I love about Thailand the most, I could answer in many ways.

It’s plain hard to not mention that you see amazingly beautiful, pretty, cute, and mignon young women every day who will always smile if you greet them politely—even at my age. It’s a polite dirty old man’s paradise. I was witness to polite dirty old man as a kid, watching my grandfather. He was so dapper and pithy with a tongue-in-cheek grin, it made everyone laugh—including my grandmother.

I didn’t think and reflect on it back then, but now that I’m that, I surmise that it’s a sort of targeted and measured self-deprecation that’s made acceptable, welcome, and humorous by being only mildly suggestive—never vulgar—up to a level of honest and wholesome flattery. Everyone knows that men, no matter their age, appreciate the sexuality of young, prime, and attractive women the most. It’s nature’s way. It’s OK to acknowledge that when done politely and tastefully. You’re not dealing in reality if you harbor the fantasy that only bad and awful old men are turned on by young and beautiful women. Imagine life if all men at all times were not… It’s just part of what makes the world turn for the better.

…The other thing anyone can mention about Thailand is that it’s a crazy beautiful country. I was on a vid chat with Lothar “Lute” Nikoley the other night while he was visiting Reno, NV, at a steak dinner with three of his younger brothers—Ingo, Wolfgang, and Ewe—where I got to vid-chat with all of them, my uncles with a 61yo nephew. Dad then tells me he was looking into Thailand a bit and it’s about 2 times the surface area of California. Yea, it can surprise you, the driving distances from edge to edge. Here in Phuket, I’m 1,400 KM from the village home in Sisaket.

I’ve traversed and taken a lot in over the space of two years.

…Then there are the islands of Thailand, hundreds of them. Check it out. I did a post about the ones I’ve visited and now live on.

…Or, you could affirm your love for all the Buddhist Temples. I have come to love them. All of them, as they are eclectic and unique in their own individual ways. There are about 40,000 buddhist temples in Thailand.

My favorite so far is Wat Luang Pu Suang, Sisaket Province (วัดหลวงปู่สรวง จังหวัดศรีษะเกษ)—only 30 minutes from the rural home and Thais travel from all over their country to visit. Thais refer to it as “The Chicken Temple.” The legendary monk who started and presided over it was a huge fan of cock fighting…his non-meditational indulgence, I suppose. And just as we have our own legends—like FDR—he was virtually immortal and could be incorporeal and disappear. So, physics magic on the one hand, economics magic on another. We have other political myths that far surpass both.

Anyway, it’s filled with small and large figurines and statues of rosters. Vendors for miles in every direction on the roads sell figurines and statues of roosters. It’s delightful. You have to see it.

Thais often use the simple word “big” when they mean more precise things like hard, long, more, a lot, high, etc. Moreover, I’ve yet to tell my girl that we commonly refer to a rooster as a cock. You see where I’m going with this… So, rather than a typical inquiry from your western wife or girlfriend, ‘are you hard? do you have a hardon? is your dick hard?’ you’ll get big cock? which can be an intimidating question. So one day I’ll go buy one of those larger rooster figues so when asked the question I can answer solidly in the affirmative.

…In terms of small scale temples, there’s the place 500 meters down the road where, when out in the village I arise at 04.00 just like the monks. I brew a joe, lite a smoke, and peacefully listen to their morning chants in the still, before the village roosters start crowing. Careful doing that. It might reel you in and give you a different perspective about a lot of stuff you thought you already knew for certain.

That’s your brief introduction. Now let’s get to English Sunday Roast dinners. It turns out that there are a significant number of British (and UK in general) expats in Thailand. It’s tough to get real good numbers because as with all things, those who do the numbers do them because a desired result is important to them according to whatever it is they’re on about. This is about the best treatment of that I could find.

A study carried out by the Institute for Population and Social Research at Mahidol University using data from 2010, suggested that there were approximately 440,000 expats living in Thailand, which included 141,000 Chinese, 85,000 Brits, 80,000 Japanese, 46,000 Indians, 40,000 Americans, 24,000 Germans and 23,000 French nationals.

That’s a lot of Brits. The Chinese are invisible, almost literally (and “nobody” likes their hubristic culture around anyway). It’s so damn good that the ants, bees, and Borg—as I characterize them—keep to themselves. So the phenomenon of the Brit expats in Thailand is really the brunt of this post. I have more British and other-UK friends and acquaintances than in my prior 61 years put together.

You wouldn’t be surprised to hear that I can get fish & chips, bangers & mash, shepherd’s & cottage pie (I know the difference), and an English breakfast from any number of places. That was true in Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Pattaya, and here in Phuket. Easy. I don’t have to drive far.

But What About a Proper English Sunday Roast Dinner?

I’d heard of them but had never experienced it first hand and that’s a damn shame, living 59 years before your first. Of course, we have all kinds of great dinners, holiday feasts, cook offs, BBQ, and whatnot in US but the English Sunday Roast is just quite special for being ubiquitous, traditional, and conservative—by which I mean it doesn’t change. I like it when great things don’t fucking change.

There’s no NEW AND IMPROVED!!! no 2.0, or UPGRADED. It’s just a perfect Sunday dinner. Leave it the fuck alone.

There are two types: one’s called Sunday Roast and the other, Sunday Carvery. Basically the same elements but in the former, you’re served a plate and that’s enough; in the latter, it’s buffet style and on offer is roast beef, pork (roast and ham), lamb, and chicken typically. I like both. My favorite for carvery is the Sportsman in Pattaya. My favorite for the single plate dinner is The Tavern at Kata beach, a 15 minute motorbike ride. The beef is fork tender filet and if you opt for the lamb, it’s a shank and the gravy is so delightful with a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, and sweetness that you’ll think it’s Christmas.

In terms of distinctive elements, the principal one is yorkshire pudding. No yorkies, not proper. You can’t even call it Sunday Roast. Our “dinner rolls” in the US don’t even qualify for a comparison. A close corollary is the sauce or gravy. So, instead of butter for a dinner roll, you have a nice-tasting sauce in which to dip your yorkie.

One place I go to here in Phuket—run by south Africans—takes great pains for the sauce, doing actual demi glace—where beef bones are roasted and then boiled with some meat and simmered with mirepoix, then reduced.

The most eye-opening thing for me though? The side dishes. In the US, our meat is relatively inexpensive so meat-based feasts tend to not put so much effort into side dishes, with exceptions, of course. For example, my mom has a whole recipe book including all of our favorite side dishes we’ve had at family gatherings all of our lives. But those are special occasions and my dad and brothers love them all, plus our mom and grandmothers.

But a lot of times and in a lot of places, especially restaurants—and I’m talking about restaurant offerings here—the sides are nothing to write home about in the US. Who’s never passed on the rubbery steamed mixed vegetables that even melted butter, salt, and pepper can’t fix…alongside a $40 steak?

It has been a pleasure these last two years to love and enjoy the side dishes every damn time. It doesn’t matter what they are—you name ’em—they’re just good. Really good. Vegetables cooked perfectly and since I’ve yet to detect any rancidity, they must be using decent cooking fat. Just fucking delicious. It’s ironic, but the meat on the dish loses its preeminent status for me. The sides are that good.

…So I guess it’s time to stop fucking around and just give you the photos, right? Well here you go. It’s not all-inclusive, just a random collection over two years, various establishments in varied places around Thailand. I’ve included a picture of bangers and mash from The Islander here in Phuket and cottage pie from Sportsman in Pattaya.


I began writing this as a paid-member post. But as I got further—and knowing the photos I’d be putting up—I decided to make it a member-post, paid and free. So, free members, you dodged a bullet there. If by chance you want to sleep safe in the comfort and assurance of never cutting it so close again, you’re welcome to upgrade.

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Since Covid killed my Cabo San Lucas vacation-rental business in 2021, this is my day job. I can't do it without you. Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. Two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance this work I do, and if you like what I do, please chip in. No grandiose pitches.

3 Comments

  1. Christina M. on February 27, 2022 at 22:02

    Exquisitly beautiful country.

  2. Peter Collins on March 2, 2022 at 12:22

    Guinness to wash it all down….yes please!

    Great article Rich

    • Richard Nikoley on March 2, 2022 at 12:24

      Fun to put together because I love it so much, love getting together with all my mates, and meet new ones. So congenial always.

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