Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Wed May 18 2016

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  • Worldwide Scott | May 18, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Adventures in Street Eats: Pad Thai on Ko Yao Yai

    Adventures in Street Eats: Pad Thai on Ko Yao Yai

    Photos by Worldwide Scott

    Thailand is hands down one of the street food capitals of the world. How do I know? Well, it's been drilled into me by pretty much every travel blog I've ever read and television show I've ever watched about the country for the last decade or so.

    I also know it because it happens to be true.

    Yes, when you're in Thailand, you just simply have to feast on the streets, as the sizzling and spicy flavors that come forth from the curbside stalls and small kitchens to your plastic plate are without equal.

    READ MORE: Bangkok Cooking School: A Thai Cuisine Labor of Love

    What if you find yourself marooned on an idyllic resort on a fairly lonely island? How do you get your Thai street food fix then? Funny I should ask, because we found ourselves on the Thai island of Ko Yao Yai in that precise predicament a while back.

    It was our first trip to Thailand, and we had been anxious from the moment we crossed the border to get our hands on some street food. Unfortunately, we had gone immediately from the airport to the island of Ko Yao Yai, and had quickly discovered that the amazing resort we were staying at might possibly be the only food option on the island.

    This wasn't an emergency per se — the resort served great food — but it was slightly milder than we were hoping for, and just didn't have that “street food credibility” we were looking for. We had heard rumors from staff  (I pestered them repeatedly) of a small handful of street food shacks a few miles down the road, but without having any mode of transportation, we were pretty much resigned to the fact that we would be eating all our meals at the resort.

    (I know, I know, first world problems and all that).

    After asking about the street food shacks for a third night, and for a third night being told that it was probably too far to walk, and for the third night me looking very sad at getting that answer, one certifiably insane, I mean generous, staff member offered us his own personal motorbike to go out and get food. An angel among us, if you ask me.

    At first, were slightly tempted to turn down his offer out of some sort of misguided sense of politeness, but our grumbling stomachs and sense of adventure made sure we didn't blow this amazing opportunity. A few minutes later, we zipped out of the resort and proceeded to follow our nose past both palm trees and wooden Thai homes into the Ko Yao Yai night.

    We approached a bend, and on the other side of it, I saw a simple wooden restaurant. There were chairs out front, lights flickering inside, and the smell of something fantastic cooking inside. We pulled up the motor-scooter and hopped off, and I approached the front door.

    Nobody came out to greet me, say hi, or offer me a menu. No big deal, I guess I will just go inside and find them. As I turned the handle, the handle turned from the inside and I came face-to-face with a woman. A nice woman, a friendly woman, but a woman who didn't work a street food stall.

    Yes, I had just tried to walk in to a random person's house.

    With our collective tail between our legs, we proceeded up the road where we eventually stumbled into a genuine shack-style restaurant whipping up specialties for family and neighbors, and they warmly welcomed us to join in. Over the next hour or so, we communicated with the owner's son who told us about the restaurant and the dishes and pleasantly presented our plates of fresh made Pad Thai.

    READ MORE: Thailand Closing Koh Tachai Island Indefinitely in October

    Was the food better than the fare at the resort? Slightly. Was the experience one I'll remember for the rest of my life? Definitely.

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Worldwide Scott The Adventures of Worldwide Scott

Worldwide Scott Born in the U.S.A like Springsteen but trying to see the world like Pitbull, Worldwide Scott is the voice behind the hard-hitting travel site of the same name. Employing a groundbreaking strategy of visiting destinations, coming home, and then writing things about them on the internet, Worldwide Scott only tackles the tough questions that other writers wouldn't dare touch: Is travelling fun? Are there pretty places in the world? Do people in other countries wear clothes? Does Europe really exist? And if so, what's the beer like there? Stick around, he's going places.
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