Phitsanulok is somewhere between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. It is a small city, but I have heard of it already because Joel’s aunt lived and worked there and their family has stories and memories of the city. We never got to explore much of the city but we did have some “stopover” hours on our way to Chiang Mai, and there are two things we would go back for — friend chicken and Pista Cafe!
I booked a room at a hotel called Amarin Nakorn instead of going to a cafe and waiting for the midnight train because we did not want to be lugging around our bags and pile them in a cute cafe. Also, we wanted a place where we can take stretch our legs and take a nap before we ride the sleeper train because we were not expecting to get so much sleep from a moving vehicle. I booked the hotel room through Agoda and paid $13.14. It was a cozy hotel with low ceiling and dated furniture and furnishings. The bath tub scared me, and I found the bottle opener attached to one of the walls in the bathroom weird.
After we have done that day’s work, Joel and I decided to explore the neighborhood. We walked towards the river and got scared when a snake walked past us in the sidewalk. The river was strong and brown that day but the river side was quite. I read they have a riverside night market but 5PM is not yet night time in Phitsanulok. In fact, it is still going home time and no stall in the riverside market was still open.
After reaching the end of the riverside night market, we decided to cross the street to get dinner and to the hotel Walking towards the direction of the hotel, we found The Pista Cafe. We were smitten by the industrial interiors and found it almost empty so we sat down and ordered coffee and dessert.
They only had a bannoffee, which actually went so well with the coffee. I asked if they were selling coffee grown in Thailand and, yes, they did. So I asked to have a cup prepared and they gave me a cup of drip coffee made from coffee beans from northern, northern Thailand, which was where we were heading. The coffee had a fruity note (which I would later learn to find in many local Thai coffee). After the refreshing cup of coffee, we made a final decision to get back to the hotel to have dinner. And on our way there, we found some people lining up in a corner stall. And we were curious what it was about.
It turned out to be a line for probably the best fried chicken I ever tasted! The stall had no name but it was near the hotel and was facing Phitsanulok’s clock tower. The chicken was so crunchy and well-seasoned. A quarter cut and one sticky rice was only 75baht.