I shall commence the tutelage of you ignorant fools by explaining in simple terms what I mean by English Breakfast. I recently posited that the correct ingredients are:
sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, baked beans, black pudding and toast. Fried bread optional. Points deducted for the inclusion of any form of potato”.1
After a series of long and frequently heated discussions with fellow Brits, I have begrudgingly accepted that whilst a fried tomato is also required, potato-based additions, whilst remaining optional in status, should not result in the deduction of points. Fried bread was also overwhelmingly agreed to be optional. Bad luck, Pants Elk2. Black pudding, whilst mandatory for Northerns, may be considered optional by the weaker, more effeminate Southerners or other filthy foreign types.
Now read my words and weep in the realisation of your insignificance, as I dispense the devastating details of how even mere mortals such as yourselves may feast upon the entrails of pigs, in the same manner of style in which I choose to do so, which is obviously the only possible correct way of ever doing anything.
Whilst the ingredients for our oleaginous3 offal are indeed available from Bangkok’s classier supermarkets, this meal is best enjoyed whilst desperately hung-over, or ideally still actually drunk, perhaps after a long boozy sleep on the floor of your apartment or hotel room. In other words, this is not a meal you should prepare for yourself – because in order to enjoy it, you need to be in a state rendered incapable of cookery.4
I will leave the appropriation of such failure of faculties as an exercise to the reader, but suffice to say that alcohol is a sure-fire winner. Since you will be devouring an English breakfast in the morning, I will however recommend getting drunk in an English manner, ie. fifteen or so pints of lager (bitter or stout5 are also fine, if you like that sort of thing).
Vodka or scotch are acceptable spirit-based alternatives. Other spirits, particularly rum, are not. Jack Daniels is a girl’s drink.
Once you’ve peeled yourself off the floor, removed any sleeping hookers from your apartment, and generally completed the bog-standard ex-pat morning routine, you will need to visit an English pub. This is important. You should not visit an Irish pub, because they foist queer bread onto unsuspecting breakfasters.6
And you should not visit an American bar, because Americans consider this to be food:
The above image is genuine, although the chocolate chip variety appears to have been superceded in its incorrectness by the face-gnawingly wrong Artificial Blueberry Flavour. Great Satan on a tuk-tuk, these people are insane – not to mention inconsistent – I once observed an American tourist happily devouring a steak and kidney pie in a chip shop in England, and was gobsmacked when half-way through this delicacy, the stocky sightseer asked the staff what was actually in a steak and kidney pie, and was informed that the chief ingredients were, in fact, steak and kidney; whereupon he had a strop and refused to finish it – ignorance is evidently almost as blissful as is composing the longest wholly irrelevant run-on sentence I think I have ever commited to a page.
Anyway, I will shortly be reproducing the above picture onto a range of t-shirts, stickers, badges, tattoo stencils and so on. Feel free to use it next time an American tries to argue about the merits of American food. Or sports. Or politics. Or indeed anything at all.
Once you have decided which of Bangkok’s English pubs you are going to grace with your hung-over, slightly lumbering presence, you will need to travel to that location and order food from the service staff who take the orders from customers who want to eat the food. I have discovered that these are called waitresses.
At this point, you are committing yourself to the obligation of a financial transaction. And since it’s common knowledge that we all loathe even the very idea of paying any more than we absolutely must for any services rendered in Thailand, you should take inspiration from some (or indeed all) of the following opening gambits, conceived by myself during my time here in the Land of Smiles:
- Haggle. You should always haggle to the point of exhaustion – the Thais love it. If a full English breakfast is listed on the menu at ฿350, for example, offer the money-grabbing waitress ฿218 and your phone number. Or ฿157 and a snog. They love it.
- Bide your time. Just as you should never pay a barfine after 12.30am (“Meet me at the 7-eleven, na!”), nor pay more than ฿1,000 for long-time after 1am (and if ever you break this rule, it is vital that you then lie about it on the blogs and forums), efficient time-management can also come in handy at feeding time. Since breakfast is a morning meal, demand an afternoon discount if you’re eating after 12pm. “Maybe no more customer come. Better you give me for ฿100 than not sell any breakfast”, you might leer at the stuck-up cow.
- Gamble. Thais love to gamble! If the first two methods fail you, why not whip out a pack of playing cards, and suggest a quick game of poker. I personally like Lebanese/Southern cross, 40/80 the ante with 5s and 2s wild – winner pays for breakfast! If she’s not looking keen, or claims not to know the rules (haha, what kind of idiot doesn’t know how to play poker?!), or things are looking otherwise bleak, you can always save face by down-ball-optioning the glimbart-slide-stakes with a quick hand of gin rummy for an extra sausage and five beans.
- Drug. A handy yaa baa pill ground-up and sprinkled into the communal som tam that the waitresses are picking at in the corner or the bar will not only transform the demure service staff into wild-eyed bisexual nymphomaniacs, but it might also result in their tiny little haywire brains entirely forgetting to bill you for the food!7
Once you’ve placed your order8, there will unfortunately be an inevitable delay whilst your food is being immolated. Here are a few suggestions as to what you could do with your time:
- Offer the waitress ฿329 to suck you off under the table
- Pop open the laptop and live-blog your dining experience – many pubs now have free wi-fi!
- If you didn’t bring a laptop, send SMS updates to your twitter feed – even the low-tech paupers can now entertain the masses with the minutiae of their mealtimes.
- With judicious use of the ancient Asian art of origami, your napkin can be fashioned into a natty hat.
- Or a dove.
- Or a paper aeroplane.
- But not a very good one
- That’s it.
Eventually, your meal will be delivered to your table by the now-usually visibly angry waitress. Breathe in the aroma of the world’s finest meal. It’s all yours. I find that this is a good time to pluck a sausage from the plate and make suggestive gestures to any of the service staff who are still prepared to make eye contact.
Now using your cutlery, chop the fuck out of it, put it in your mouth and eat it, you cocking idiots – must I explain everything?
4. Oh, All Right Then
The finest English breakfast in Thailand, in my humble opinion, can be acquired at the Black Swan Pub, just by the stairs to Asoke BTS station, on the south-west side of Asoke junction (near the old location of the Sports Academy).
With respectful, eyebrow-waggling apologies to BigBabyKenny.
- ^ See here.
- ^ And here.
- ^ Greasy.
- ^ Insert topical political gag here.
- ^ Incidentally, bitter and stout drinkers frequently … are.
- ^ See soda bread.
- ^ Or addiction and death.
- ^ And/or successfully convinced the manager not to remove you from the premises
- ^ The exception that proves the rule, with regards to Irish pubs.