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The Mexican Food In Pattaya Is Not Good


Jingthing

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Pattaya suffers from a drought of GOOD Mexican food.

Chiang Mai has Miguels and at least one decent California burrito joint.

Bangkok has Tacos and Salsa run by a REAL MEXICAN, as well as Sunrise which does respectable California style burritos.

Then there is Pattaya.

Had a burrito at Bob's BBQ. OK, he claims it is Tex Mex. The pork in it is GROUND PORK. Yuck. The good taste, not there. Crap, sorry.

Had at burrito at Tequila Reef. The carnitas didn't taste like carnitas. The spice level was zero, the flavor awful and this was with so called enchilada sauce on it. Crap, sorry.

Had some tacos at Sam's Jomtien. OK. The tortilla for a soft taco was flour, that's wrong. The meat was dry. At least they included some somewhat spicy salsa on the side.

OK, I haven't tried Mikes but have heard it is also mediocre at best.

There is nothing here that comes EVEN CLOSE to Miguels or Sunrise or I am guessing Tacos and Salsa. We now have our spanking new shopping center in our great beach metropolis and Pattaya can't pull off EVEN ONE half decent Mexican place that really tastes like something a Mexican food lover would recognize as good Mexican food in the whole joint?

Even from a purely commercial point of view, it doesn't make sense. I have to admit Tequila Reef packs them in for the decent margaritas. Thats almost a shame because it means they do not have to do good Mexican food to make a baht.

Edited by Jingthing
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Because they want you to eat good old fashioned fish & chips?

That's an excellent point. Now I am not a Brit so can't pretend to be an authority on what good fish and chips are supposed to taste like. However, we had a number of Brits who said they liked some places' fish and chips in Pattaya (as do I). In the case of Mexican food, there aren't many Mexicans here but there are some Americans and if an American told me they think the Mexican food at any of those places I mentioned (to be fair haven't tried Mike's yet) was anywhere near comparable to good Mexican food in the US or even Bangkok and Chiang Mai, I would think they don't know what the food is supposed to taste like. HOW HARD CAN IT BE? It has been proven it is possible to do decent versions in Thailand.

Pattaya, our beloved whoretropolisTM cannot claim to have everything if you can't get a decent BURRITO here! I am not hung up on the different kinds of Mexican, real Mexican Mexican, TexMex, CaliMex, NewMexMex, etc., ANY kind of good Mexican food would be better than NOTHING.

Now I offer a possible solution. If you have food biz experience, you may want to contact the MEXICAN owner of Tacos and Salsa in Bangkok. He just might be interested in helping to bring REAL Mexican flavor to our slice of pervadiseTM.

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Edited by Jingthing
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I think Sam's is about as good as it gets in Pattaya. I didn't try the soft tacos, but thought the crispy tacos were decent. I think the chicken crispy tacos and asade quesadillas might be his best menu items.

You might want to try Big Al's cart on 2nd Road, across from Big C. I think both Sam and Al don't have the finances to start up a decent Mexican food restaurant. They both have experience in restaurants in SoCal and Mexico, so they have a leg up on the TexMex competitors. Their operations just seem to suffer on the execution side, particularly ingredient selection.

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I think Sam's is about as good as it gets in Pattaya. I didn't try the soft tacos, but thought the crispy tacos were decent. I think the chicken crispy tacos and asade quesadillas might be his best menu items.

You might want to try Big Al's cart on 2nd Road, across from Big C. I think both Sam and Al don't have the finances to start up a decent Mexican food restaurant. They both have experience in restaurants in SoCal and Mexico, so they have a leg up on the TexMex competitors. Their operations just seem to suffer on the execution side, particularly ingredient selection.

Why don't you all try Mikes?

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Prospero has given you some good advice!

Mike's is a regular stop for me every couple of weeks, when I feel the need for a "Mexican food fix".

I lived in So Cal for most of the last 30 years before moving here. Mike's, IMO, rivals any of the good Mexican restaurants there; and, by the way, that includes his Margaritas, which are excellent.

I have had better in So Cal, mind you. But Mike's would definitely rate as above average there. Good sauce, quality ingredients, and great quantity. The 'quesadilla supreme' he serves is really more like a burrito than a quesadilla, in that it is "burrito shaped". You can't pick up a triangle-shaped piece of it, as is the case with quesadillas served in So Cal. But it is HUGE, and it is delicious!

I'll be most interested to see the opinions of others, when you try Mike's. Especially you, Jingthing, since I haven't tried any of the others; and, if you like Mike's, I won't bother to! :-)

Since I'm happy with Mike's, my only regret is that there is no Mexican food place over here on the Darkside. We've got nearly everything over here now, with the exceptions of Mexican and Japanese restaurants.

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Simply put, IMHO, there is no restaurant in Thailand that serves authentic Mexican food!

Having traveled extensively in Mexico, I've never found a restaurant or roadside food stand that

didn't have decent and spicy salsa picante, yet I've never seen it in Thailand. Well, except for

some _weak_ tomato based substitute. That's kinda like a Korean restaurant never having Kimche,

a Thai place not having Nam Plao or Nam Phet, nouc mam in Vietnam or yu lu in China.

Plus, the Mexican dishes found in Thailand are a poor attempt at duplicating real thing.

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Simply put, IMHO, there is no restaurant in Thailand that serves authentic Mexican food!

Having traveled extensively in Mexico, I've never found a restaurant or roadside food stand that

didn't have decent and spicy salsa picante, yet I've never seen it in Thailand. Well, except for

some _weak_ tomato based substitute. That's kinda like a Korean restaurant never having Kimche,

a Thai place not having Nam Plao or Nam Phet, nouc mam in Vietnam or yu lu in China.

Plus, the Mexican dishes found in Thailand are a poor attempt at duplicating real thing.

I wonder how many authentic Thai restaurants there are in Mexico.

Edited by prospero
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I wonder how many authentic Thai restaurants there are in Mexico.

Irrelevant. Indeed probably none that are authentic. There aren't Thai people in Mexico. There are plenty of potential customers for good Mexican food in Thailand. I agree about the salsa issue but am hearing good reports about the Mexico City style salsas at Tacos and Salsa Bangkok. Britmav, what would a Brit know about Mexican food, sorry ...

Edited by Jingthing
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Pattaya suffers from a drought of GOOD Mexican food.

Bangkok has Tacos and Salsa run by a REAL MEXICAN, as well as Sunrise which does respectable California style burritos.

Then there is Pattaya.

So why not talk to Greg and get the master franchise for Chonburi Province and open a couple branches in Pattaya. Mexican food is not complicated to make or cook...you basically have a half-dozen ingredients cooked and folded a couple different ways. Maybe you'll make a mint and stop complaining about the cost of living in Patters :o

PS: You neglected to mention the Blue Parrot on soi Pattaya Land 2...noting spectacular but if you desperately need a Mexi-food fix...it will do in a pinch.

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I have spoken to Greg through this board a long while back. He didn't seem interested in doing that anytime soon and now has a big Bangkok operation keeping him very busy for sure. I tried the Parrots year ago. It was disgusting. Never again.

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Mexican food is not complicated to make or cook...you basically have a half-dozen ingredients cooked and folded a couple different ways.

So wrong. :D

Let's see if you can source masa, lard, corn tortillas, nopalitos, chayote, tomatillos, pablano chilies and real Mexican cheeses like asadero, manchego, and queso fresco. :o

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The Thai food in uk isnt good or authentic,how strange is that.

I don't know London but I am wondering is there at least one place there that the expat Americans go to? For example, go to Miguels in Chiang Mai and you will find many Americans. That is because the US and Mexico are merging into the same country demographically, so most Americans now know what good Mexican or good American style Mexican is supposed to taste like. I am sure the SAME base of customers exists in Pattaya.

OK, I am not saying Miguels CM would be hot shit in California, but for Thailand, it is close enough, and they could serve that food in the US without being laughed at.

I agree with zaphod that Mexican cooking can be magically complex (watch Like Water for Chocolate) and the reality in Mexico does not match the stereotypes, but on the other hand, running a basic taqueria that replicates some basic true Mexican flavors is possible here.

Oh, someone mentioned Big Al's. I did try a burrito there a good while back. It was better than the Reef and Bobs (which isn't saying much) but not good enough to my taste to try again.

Edited by Jingthing
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I doubt there is a very big market market for Mexican food.

I have been to T Reef and it is disgusting but having said that I think Mexican is probably only really popular with expat yanks.

You would think it would be very easy to do considering the ingredients and the time it takes to prepare the food but apparently not.

No great loss and it is very easy to prepare tacos and burritos at home if you really have the craving.

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I had the enchiladas today at Mike's Mexican Food. The good news--the refried beans were pretty good and the rice was quite ok. The bad news--the enchilada sauce was watery, and even though I ordered 'spicy,' it was anything but spicy. In fact, bland best describes it. The filling was chunks of stewed beef--again rather dry and bland. They used flour tortillas--a first for me in enchiladas.

The cost? 260 baht including a bottle of water (reasonably priced at 20 baht). If I had gone to the Tex-Mex buffet, I would have had a much, much, much better meal for about the same price. Overall, I was badly disappointed.

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I doubt there is a very big market market for Mexican food.

That is silly. Sunrise in Bangkok and Miguels in CM are doing great!

I think Mexican is probably only really popular with expat yanks.

That may be true but if Pattaya can support a 100 places with Ye Olde Limey Pub, there are certainly enough Americans here to support ONE good Mexican resto, I am sure of it. The market is here. No doubt. 100 percent.

I had the enchiladas today at Mike's Mexican Food.

Your description of the food makes it sound quite terrible. Thanks for the warning.

Edited by Jingthing
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The best Tex-Mex food in the area is at the Beaver Bar in Ban Chang.

I drive there often and the West Texas menu is great.

Ask for Larry, but the girls know how to prepare it. You won't be sorry.

Edit in: Beaver Bar is located on the Strip of bars leading off Sukhumvit, heading towards Green Valley.

===========================================

I went to Tequila Reef with Tolley a couple of years ago and got food poisioning. Haven't been back since.

Edited by chuckd
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The best Tex-Mex food in the area is at the Beaver Bar in Ban Chang.

I'm not a huge fan of Tex-Mex, although the best chili rellenos I ever had were from a restaurant in El Paso. Since it's in my neck of the woods, I'll give Beaver Bar a try. I've been to Offboard and Camel Bar and both serve relatively palatable food. I hope Beaver Bar serves more than just tacos and furburgers. :o

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I don't know London but I am wondering is there at least one place there that the expat Americans go to? For example, go to Miguels in Chiang Mai and you will find many Americans. That is because the US and Mexico are merging into the same country demographically, so most Americans now know what good Mexican or good American style Mexican is supposed to taste like. I am sure the SAME base of customers exists in Pattaya.

Speaking of which, JT, nearly all of the customers at Mike's are American. Every time I've been in there (about 10 visits now), there are other American customers. Of course, all of my visits are at lunch time, so there aren't many customers. But, honestly, I've never heard anything but Americans in there.

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Speaking of which, JT, nearly all of the customers at Mike's are American. Every time I've been in there (about 10 visits now), there are other American customers. Of course, all of my visits are at lunch time, so there aren't many customers. But, honestly, I've never heard anything but Americans in there.

Interesting that you said that, seeing as I went there today. There was a table of three Brits and a single lady, who I didn't hear speak, at another table. So I guess my visit bucked the odds.

There's no way I'm going to go back there at 250 baht a pop to find if maybe there is a decent item on the menu.

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I had the enchiladas today at Mike's Mexican Food.

Your description of the food makes it sound quite terrible. Thanks for the warning.

Good grief, JT! Haven't you been here (or alive, for that matter) long enough to know that food is an extremely individual thing? I appreciate the opinions of others, but use it only as a general guide. I said that I think most of Mike's food is very good. One poster says the enchiladas he had sucked. The only way you'll know for sure is to try it yourself.

Again, I suggest either the California Burrito, or the Quesadilla Supreme. I do agree, however that the salsa isn't nearly spicy enough. We can talk to Mike about that. I'm sure he'd be willing to make the "spicy" order just that.

Also keep in mind what was said earlier about truly authentic Mexican ingredients. They simply aren't available here. So all Mexican restaurants have to do the best with the nearest thing they can find. You'll never find Mexican food here that will match the best available in the bordering States of So Cal, Texas, Arizona, or New Mexico. I consider that caveat when rating Mike's as very good.

Can you find papaya, mangoes, and other of the magnificent fruits native to Thailand in the USA? Absolutely not! The tropical fruits available in US markets are all nearly all from Mexico, and they can't touch the Thai fruits. All ethnic food is best at the original source of the ingredients. Whatever our individual home countries and tastes, we just have to deal with that fact here in Thailand.

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One poster says the enchiladas he had sucked.

Wow. When did I say that?

If I recall correctly, I gave a very balanced opinion of them, saying that the beans and rice were pretty good. If the restaurant doesn't do enchiladas well (I picked it because it seems a very basic Mexican item and nothing else seemed much more appealing), why do they even offer them?

I admit I could be wrong-that I picked the one mediocre thing on the menu, but they should take it off or improve it. As thing are now, I'm never going back because spending 260 baht on a mediocre meal is not appealing to me (nor to most expats).

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One poster says the enchiladas he had sucked.

Wow. When did I say that?

If I recall correctly, I gave a very balanced opinion of them, saying that the beans and rice were pretty good. If the restaurant doesn't do enchiladas well (I picked it because it seems a very basic Mexican item and nothing else seemed much more appealing), why do they even offer them?

I admit I could be wrong-that I picked the one mediocre thing on the menu, but they should take it off or improve it. As thing are now, I'm never going back because spending 260 baht on a mediocre meal is not appealing to me (nor to most expats).

I guess it depends upon your definition of "sucked", Jimmy. :o As I define it, your description of the enchiladas (I didn't mention the other items on the plate) was bad enough to say that they sucked; especially when including the "value" issue you noted.

But I do disagree with your personal feeling that you'd never return to a place because of a bad experience with one meal. I would never say that it's "wrong". It's your personal policy, and obviously you have every right to it. But I'd always give a place a second chance; particularly for a hard to find ethnic food.

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Also keep in mind what was said earlier about truly authentic Mexican ingredients. They simply aren't available here. So all Mexican restaurants have to do the best with the nearest thing they can find. You'll never find Mexican food here that will match the best available in the bordering States of So Cal, Texas, Arizona, or New Mexico. I consider that caveat when rating Mike's as very good.

I reject that. There are places in Bangkok and Chiang Mai that are pulling off the flavor. A lame excuse.

And yes if a place is really bad, why give them even one more baht when there is so much competition out there? On the other hand, I do realize that it sometimes depends on what you order. Some places do one or two things well and the rest of the menu sucks.

I don't care if the only customers Mikes ever had are Americans. That was not my point. My point is that if there is someday a place as good as Miguels in Pattaya, I guarantee you it will have an instant loyal crowd of American expats, and it can build on that, including with Thai people. Americans craving anything even resembling Mexican food will sometimes break down and eat these bad copies, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't be so much more loyal and regular for something REALLY good.

Another point, I disagree that ethnic food judgments are all that subjective. For example in San Francisco year after year the exact same burrito joints get voted the best in town by Mexican food lovers and food critics. For someone who knows what a food type tastes like, they can objectively tell you whether it is decent or not. Now of course there are personal preferences, one person likes black beans, another person likes refried beans with lard, but some things are set pretty well. The key is you need people who know what the food SHOULD taste like. That's why this potential new trend of actual Mexican chefs here could mean a new phase in Thai-Mex.

Sometimes I think the Americans here are too tolerant of bad food from their region. What Brit would order mushy peas again from a place that served cold canned peas smashed with a mortar and pestle seasoned with fish sauce rather than real mushy peas? Would an Italian say its OK cook Italian pasta dishes with rice noodles? Would an Indian say its OK to deep fry nan? Would a German accept a hot dog as a bratwurst? You get the picture.

Edited by Jingthing
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Mexican food is not complicated to make or cook...you basically have a half-dozen ingredients cooked and folded a couple different ways.

So wrong. :D

Let's see if you can source masa, lard, corn tortillas, nopalitos, chayote, tomatillos, pablano chilies and real Mexican cheeses like asadero, manchego, and queso fresco. :o

I'm not one to fetishize my food...basic ingredients well prepared and nicely served will do nicely for me. I'm sure all that stuff is nice and tasty but let's be realistic here...we're in Thailand okay. We are lucky if to find avocados on a regular basis.

A basic Mexi-restaurant or burrito shop uses a few basic ingredients cooked several different ways or in different combinations...that's why Sunrise can do what they do with the ingredients available in Thailand.

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Bottom line is what most of the potential customers want here are the basics you would find at a Taqueria in the US. I think Mexicans call these foods antijitos, just a subset of their food culture.

Tacos made with good corn tortillas

Burritos

Quesadillas

Chile Rellenos

Chimichangas (not really needed)

Fancy wet burritos (smothered with sauce, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, red sauce)

GOOD SPICY SALSAS with jalapeno peppers

Guacamole made with good cados

Flautas (not really needed)

The meats! The key for most of these: the quality, cooking, and spicing of the MEATS (really I think only a Mexican cook would be able to pull that off here)

Beans choices, vegetarian refried beans would be great

Good Mexican style rice

OK, I guess people expect enchiladas also but most taquerias don't have them

In Mexico, a taqueria would typically have tortas, Mexican sandwiches on bread, but non-Mexicans don't expect that.

Of course, if a place only did tacos and burritos well and had all the elements right, the rice, beans, the MEATS and the wrappings, that would be a great place to start.

Edited by Jingthing
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