May 26, 2012

Tunk-Ka Café

Our longest-lasting controversy is about the river-side café, and while I sing about its charms, such as the chilled, oaky, buttery chardonnay served with chicken breast and sauce hollandaise, or the light wood paneling, or the shady riverside terrace with its muted, yet clipped conversations about Muffy who failed to make partner with Allen & Overy, or the color coding of the awnings, always dark green, preferably in the hex value #00693E (Dartmouth Green), brèf, while I am singing about the river-side café, Chang is dreaming of food markets, this Asian contraption that encumbers the innocent hungry-man between various food stalls where everything is cheap, and abundant, and smelly, and sticky, and eaten with chop sticks.

We are on our first excursion across Phuket now, and the understanding has been that we would end up in a food market, but the first food market didn't pass Chang's muster even though it was located in the Korean neighborhood of Phuket Town, because the Thai girl behind the Korean garlands didn't speak a word of Korean, and so we are driving on, and it is already past 12am, the time when Chang is overwhelmed by hunger and everything stops until he finds a place to restore himself. He suggests we turn right, but I continue straight, and we are mysteriously led up a hill when signs appear which speak of the Tunk-ka Café. The road ends in a parking lot, and everything is coded in dark-green, including the lush, tropical forest, and Chang wants to flee, but is overwhelmed by hunger now, and we, who haven't been to a riverside café in eons, we end up in the first HILL-TOP café of our life, by sheer serendipity.

The Tunk-ka Café. We have to descend a long staircase. Chang is scared. Have a look at the menu first, he cries, but the prices are reasonable, to his disappointment.

One world, folks, one world, trust the color coding. Sure, there are local specificities --- fans blowing in all directions even though the hill-top is supposed to provide a hill-top breeze --- we are first seated in the crossfire of four fans, but it's not a problem at all to change tables and we find ourselves at the best table with a view of Phuket Town.

Admittedly, Phuket Town is a fairly mediocre sight, but that's not the café's fault. We order lime soda, Chang has shrimp with rice, I order chicken with coconut curry. The conversation at the neighboring tables does not center on Muffy because most patrons are Asian (a good sign) and so they talk with muted, yet clipped voices about reincarnation.

The best Thai food I had in my life. Subtle, to the point, oaky, buttery flavors, basil from heaven. And the tropical rest rooms! My bladder felt like reborn.

I paid 50 bath for my lemon soda and 100 bath for the coconut curry chicken, ca. 5 USD in total. You can contact the Tunk-Ka Café at 07621 1500,  reservation recommended.

We return to the parking lot, and the monkeys are awaiting us as if this were the very happy ending of a very outdated movie.

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