Next up: another sticky rice treat wrapped in banana leaf, and then fresh coconut ice cream that tasted like it just had fresh coconut and ice in it – it was incredibly refreshing and light.
Then we had what we thought was lunch: more Khao Soi, a little different from the one at the farm, but just as delicious. The chicken was served on a leg inside the bowl of soup, but the meat was so tender it just melted off with a nudge of the chopsticks.
We stopped by a stand selling longans (a fruit), and since none of us had tried them, Day insisted on getting a huge bunch. They are very similar to lychees.
I loved the relaxed feel to this whole tour – if we were interested in a street food, Day bought some for us to try; it was very casual and flexible. Very shortly after both the Khao Soi and the longans, we arrived at a famous restaurant, Huen Phen. We thought Day was joking when he took us into the restaurant and announced that he would now order lunch for us! No, the Khao Soi was apparently our “appetizer.” All six of us considered ourselves good eaters, but we were groaning at the thought of eating more. We finally convinced a very disappointed Day that we could get one dish for all six of us to sample, and he went off and ordered. He came back and happily announced that three entrees were on the way! Needless to say, we all did our share as much as we were able. We had a Burmese pork curry, a minced pork curry (both similar to the dishes we had at the Khantoke dinner), and a dish of larb, minced meat salad. All three were excellent, but I was too full to sample more than a small bite of each.
Next, we went to a wonderful old Wat, Wat Chedi Luang, parts of which date back to the 14th century.
It was pretty clear by this point that Day was a fairly devout Buddhist. He wanted us to participate in a monk chat at the wat, but either we were there at the wrong time, or he didn’t get enough enthusiasm from us, and we just walked through the monk chat area instead of stopping. He then led us in to the large main temple, where he wanted to lead us in a short meditation session.
Luckily, it only lasted about three minutes – it was absolutely impossible to get into any sort of peaceful state of mind with so many other visitors milling about and kids both playing and crying. But it was sweet of him to try, and all six of us participated to varying degrees.
The tour finally ended at the lovely Makka hotel, where we had a refreshing lemongrass iced tea with a few sweets Day had picked up at an earlier location in the tour – Thai marshmallows and coconut pudding wrapped in the ubiquitous banana leaf.