A Thailand Experience
by René Hasekamp
"Come, we eat duck tonight", my wife said. And when my wife says anything with "come" in it, it means that there is no alternative! So we would have duck that night. No problem, by the way, because we are both fond of roasted duck.
We were in Phuket Town at that time, and my wife had just consulted a Thai restaurant directory, where she had found a very highly praised Chinese restaurant. And a Chinese restaurant is the place to eat duck, so what were we waiting for?
We stopped a tuk-tuk and directed the driver to the place, as well as we could. The restaurant was not easy to be found, but as it was so highly praised in the restaurant directory, and because we desperately wanted to eat duck, we took the trouble to find it.
Because -as will appear soon- there was something not as it should in this restaurant, I give you the name. I believe it is not a place where my visitors should go. So at last we arrived at "Laem Thong Restaurant" in Phuket Town and walked inside. There were not many people there, but maybe it was a bit early.
To be certain that we could eat what we wanted, my wife asked on entering: "Do you have roasted duck"? The waiter said that they did have that of course and handed us the menu. It was one of those handy menus for tourists, with pictures of the dishes next to the names. Very convenient. We looked and looked, but we could not find any duck dishes, so my wife called the waiter who had assured us that they had it, and asked him where the duck dishes were exactly on the menu. The man pointed at a roast chicken. "Here you are". "But that is chicken!", my wife said in an offended tone. "Oh yes, but is almost tastes like duck. It is very good", the waiter said.
My wife is not easily made speechless, but this was too much for her! After having spoken some less friendly words to the waiter she said to me: "Come, we go". At the beginning of this experience I already pointed out that when she uses the word "come" there is no discussion possible. So out we went again. She threw the restaurant directory in a dustbin close to the restaurant. "Worthless!", she said. "They say that the place is very good, which is clearly not the case!".
What to do now? We were becoming quite hungry and wanted to eat duck more than ever. The solution was simple:
If you are looking for the best Chinese food available in Phuket Town, there is just one place: The Rooftop Restaurant of the Pearl Hotel. So there we went. When you want to have dinner at the Pearl Hotel in Phuket Town, do not make the mistake to walk into the restaurant (really more a cafeteria) on the ground floor. Walk to the lift and go to the rooftop restaurant. You will not regret it! Before the waitress could hand over the menu, my wife asked what duck dishes they had. The waitress answered that there were several possibilities, but that she advised the Peking Duck. If you have seen the pages with menu suggestions on this site, you will have seen the Peking Duck menu, consisting of three courses, we had that evening at the Pearl Hotel. It was more than delicious, and we can recommend it to all our visitors. The Pearl Hotel is not cheap, but there you get the real thing, and it is quite different from the restaurant that tries to sell chicken for duck to ignorant tourists!