Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hamid Restaurant is located just across the street from Lee Garden Hotel in central Hat Yai. During Mam’s and my monthly junket to Hat Yai, we decided to try this place. It’s a certified Halal Muslim restaurant (in accordance with or permitted under the Shari’ a or code of law based on the Koran) that came recommended to me by an acquaintance.

The place looks empty in this picture, but believe me; Hamid Restaurant does a very brisk business everyday and is a very popular restaurant for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The clientele who were present, while we patronized the establishment, were mostly Malaysian and Thai Muslims and one group of interestingly dressed individuals who appeared to be from the Middle East.

Once seated and given menus, Mam typically made her decision in about three minutes while it took me at least ten minutes to order. The menu was substantial, listing several types of beef, seafood, fish, appetizers, soups, noodles, chicken and vegetable selections, as well as deserts and beverages. Nice clear photos of the available dishes were scattered throughout the menu, with number coding and descriptions in English, Thaiglish, Thai, Arabic and Malay.

Thaiglish is my personal locution for English words written by a Thai person who doesn’t know how to spell English words. While living in China I called this phenomenon “Chinglish.”

I found myself torn between the “Serloin Steak,” and the “Chicken Gordon Blue.”

The curry dishes looked appetizing but I am a big coward when it comes to curry since I like it, but it doesn’t like me and tends to mess up my innards a bit. Stupidly I settled on the Chicken Gordon Blue (180 baht), fully knowing that it wouldn’t come to my table bearing ham, since Muslims don’t eat pork, believing the pig is a filthy animal.

I admit feeling a bit ashamed ordering such a dish in a Muslim restaurant, when there are so many other exotic treats to be had, but I’ve always feared ordering something I’m not familiar with and not liking it once served.

Mam was served quickly, her two dishes arriving within ten minutes of her ordering them, while my order didn’t arrive until she had finished eating. Her two choices were a small dish of mixed vegetables and tofu in brown sauce (50 baht), and a small dish of assorted seafood and vegetables (60 baht), along with a plate of white rice. I tried a bite of her mixed vegetable dish and it was absolutely delicious.

When my order finally arrived, it was surprisingly big. A large salad served up with a huge dollop of salad crème, alongside a generous heap of crisp shoestring fries and a huge chunk of deep-fried Chicken Gordon Blue.

I gobbled up the delicious fries and ate the salad before attacking the chicken (I’ve always eaten things one at a time, ever since I was a child). Upon slicing into it, I found the ham to be substituted by a hot dog and some thick creamy substance that I assumed represented the cheese.

Truth be told, I wasn’t impressed with the Muslim version of Chicken Cordon Bleu, although the salad and fries were delicious. But, that’s what you get when you order up American type food in a Muslim restaurant. Sort of like ordering a hamburger in a Chinese restaurant…it just isn’t the same.

Oh well, live and learn I suppose.

Mam and I have vowed to try a different restaurant every month while in Hat Yai to do our monthly shopping and visit the Internet café. I hope to provide more restaurant reviews in the near future!

See you next time!



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