Like other places in Thailand, Ko Tao is also home to the delicious late-night street snack roti (pancake). Ko Tao's roti is no different to the roti anywhere else: but in this case, it's how you cook it that makes all the difference. Ko Tao is home to the legendary Pancake Ninja: this guy can be found in his little stall on Sairee most nights; and no matter who or what you've witnessed previously, you ain't seen flippin' til you've seen him in action. In 30 seconds flat, pancake cooking meets Kung Fu. Check out the video.
Roti isn't a Thai dish as such — at least, not as far as I'm aware — but they've got plenty of it on the street here in Pai, and I hear that they have it elsewhere in Thailand as well. It's a very thin pancake, cooked in about 30 seconds over a hot stove (from a small handful of dough), and commonly offered with such fillings as banana, chocolate and pineapple. As well as being delicious, roti is also the perfect dessert to fill that gap in your stomach, which seems to so annoyingly form several hours after dinner. The street vendors are well aware of this magical property that their pancakes possess, and as such, they can be found flippin' and sizzlin' every night, well into the wee hours of the evening.
This was yet another savoury street snack that Marie, Claire and myself sampled at the Pai night market this evening. These pancakes are made primarily from ground corn and from coconut milk, with a bit of rice thrown in for good measure. Unlike the grilled rice pancakes, they're quite petite, and are generally sold by the dozen or half-dozen. There was a long wait for them this evening — despite the fact that they were cooking them in batches of about 100 — but our patience was well rewarded.
Grilled rice pancake was one of the many delicious, fresh-cooked street snacks that I discovered at the Pai night market this evening. Its appearance is not so appetising: it's black and flat and slimy, and it looks not unlike what I imagine a female uterus would appear like (when grilled). But don't be deterred by this: the pancake is sweet and chewy, and it's divine. Best eaten fresh off the coals, in no more than 5 bites and gulps.