Thai Jungle Food in Rayong at Tamnanpar !
Jungle food is a thing I discovered in Rayong province at Tamnanpar (ตำนานป่า) ! This restaurant setup in a gorgeous garden/jungle is a feast for the eyes, but even more for the belly!
The menu has a bunch of interesting and unique food specific for this region of Thailand. As we were two, we settled for 4 dishes !
The fried fern in oyster sauce came first (pak kood nam man hoy / ผักกูดผัดน้ำมันหอย). Typical stir dry with a strong garlic and salty oyster sauce taste !
Next is the signature dish of the place, the “yam tamnanpar” (ยำตำนานป่า). A big mix of morning glory, winged beans, edible flowers, mushrooms, minced pork, shrimps, fried garlic, dried coconut and chilies, of course. What a mess of great flavors ! There is a strong sweet taste wrapping the whole thing with the perfect hint of spiciness to remind you that you are in Thailand.
Let’s get wilder with this big portion of stir fried deer with fresh chilies (kwang phad prik sod / กวางผัดพริกสด) ! The taste of the meat was lightly gamy but the texture, while soft, had this slight stiffness that makes it unique and not comparable to, let say, pork meat.
The last dish came as a revelation to me ! I fell in love with it. It is called “gaeng moo cha muang” (แกงหมูชะมวง) which transliterates to pork curry with Cha Muang leaves. These cha muang leaves are hard to find outside the east of Thailand, making this dish unique ! The curry was very sweet and oily, thanks to the fatty pieces of pork. By the soft texture of the juice soaked leaves, you could feel that this curry has been simmering for a while ! This is not a complexly flavored curry, think about a shit load of palm sugar with tamarind juice, but damn, it taste good !
The restaurant is located in Ban Phe, 15km outside Rayong City, along the main highway. It is about 6km from the center of Ban Phe, popular embarking point to get to the island of Koh Samed. Eating at Tumnanpar could be a great way to spend some time in town on the way back from Koh Samed. The restaurant is linked to a resort of the same name, don’t be surprised of the big parking lot when you arrive.
The bill was totaling about 700baht which is fair for the portion size. I totally recommend Tumnanpar if you are in Rayong or simply looking for a new food adventure in Thailand. Only one condition, you must try the gaeng moo cha muang 🙂