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Estragon Khao Noi


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(March 11th)

The BP Hospital lived right down to my expectations as far as the food goes. The menu looked impressive, but at 6pm as the meal was wheeled in, I knew immediately I wouldn't Touch it. It's the smell - definitely related to the stuff served up when flying, and school dinners. There's clearly a worldwide conspiracy to kill off all airline passengers, school kids and hospital patients.

Good job then I had smuggled in a delicacy from the Estragon (Khao Noi near soi 9, East Pattaya). Tonight it was to be 'souris d'agneau', or lamb shanks in English. The BPH seems to be aware that relatives of patients prefer to bring their own food, providing a large fridge and a microwave in the room's kitchenette. So far, so good.

The lamb shank is the costliest single item on the Estragon's menu at 350 baht. I had bought a fresh baguette at 35 baht... but no veg. I thought at least the hospital salad would be edible. Sadly though it not only looked anaemic, but tasted the same.

2 minutes in the microwave and the lamb shank was ready. Stupidly I had brought a corkscrew, but no knife. Hospitals don't do knives in Thailand - but in the event a knife was completely unnecessary anyway. The delicious and tender meat just fell from the bone, and the slightest pressure from a spoon cut straight through it. The sauce was perfect - just the right side of overpowering. There was a ton of meat on this small bone, I could happily have shared half with a friend.

No veg, so the best part of a baguette complemented the meat, and in the privacy of the room, I could and did lick the plate clean. The sauce was superb.

Half a bottle of Côte du Rhône red from Friendship, and I'm feeling pretty mellow. Looking forward to the next visit from the nurses....


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