As you get to the second set of lights coming into town, at the junction of Chotsana and Tha Pae Roads, there’s a row of three little restaurants on the right, lacking English-language signs. All are very different styles and all are very good. (These are between the Auang Kham and Baan Fang hotels).
First up is a popular barbecue and sukiyaki spot where a four-person set will set you back 199 baht, while next door is the Doraemon Steak House. Look out for the stuffed blue 22nd century toy cats outside – you can’t miss it. The tiny Thai-style "steak house" serves up on wooden trays some passable imitations of Western dishes; various steaks with a choice of French fries or mashed potato, pizza, pasta and pork ribs. They are Thai renditions, but you can’t go far wrong with pork fillet, salad and chips – especially for 129 baht! Pizzas start at 78 baht, carbonara just 55 and they have ice cream for dessert and beer in frozen glasses too. The third in the row is a Chinese-Thai cafe, Khao Tom Kaing Wiang doing as the name suggests: rice soup, but also your standard Thai classics on rice or as separate dishes at standard prices. It opens until 01:00 to flog a few sobering rice soups to late stragglers from the karaoke bars round the corner.
Fang’s most upmarket dining is to be found at Cottage Restaurant, back on the main street just next to the bus station. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but glass doors open into a pleasant seating area with wooden tables and chairs on one side of a small lawn and comfy sofas on the other. There’s an extensive bilingual menu, covering the full range of Thai favourites, plus a few local specialities too. The quality is very good, though you may you need to ask them to go easy on the chillies if you’re not used to them. Considering the standard and setting, prices aren’t too bad and for two people you ought to get away with 400 baht or so for a slap-up dinner. Service is efficient and friendly, and they’ll be able to find a waiter who speaks some English. There’s also live music, Thai country style, every evening from 19:30 onwards. Note that the owners are planning a revamp, so while the location and menu won’t change, the frontage and name will. Closes at 0:30.
Finally, just across the road next door to the Bangkok bus office, is a good Chinese noodle and dim-sum spot. They offer steamed dim sum, various noodle dishes plus coffee and tea at cheap prices. They open until 20:00 or 21:00 in the evening.
Bar-wise Fang has a number of options, most of them gathered together in the same street. Continue west from Phumanee on Suan Dok road and the next crossroads you’ll see the BB Club. There’s a pool table, wide screen TVs showing sport, loud music and mini-skirted waitresses. The food is pretty good though again it’s Thai pub grub, where the idea’s to load up the chillies so diners drink more. Prices are reasonable, with most dishes going from between 60 to 100 baht and a whole fish for only 200 baht. Just past BB is a string of pubs, bars and karaoke joints. Most are similar to BB and most serve decent food including one that advertises pizzas. All have similar hours, from 18:00-ish until 00:30 prompt, when Fang’s finest are liable to turn up.
Roughly speaking, the further you go down this street the more the emphasis shifts from food to karaoke and the more the line between waitress and hostess blurs but being Fang it’s all rather soft -- so don’t worry, Chiang Mai’s Loi Kroh this is not. Anyway, this is a fun spot to shoot a game of pool, nibble some spicy bar snacks, sup a couple of cold ones and meet some of the friendly townsfolk.
Fang no longer has a night market as such, but of an evening food stalls are dotted all the way down the main stretch of Route 107 while itinerant food vendors ply their wares up and down Bar Street. Locals say during cool season both a night market and a weekly walking street market ought to be up and running.
Barbecue & sukiyaki restaurant (no English name): Tha Pae Rd (Route 1089); open daily 17:00 (ish)-00:30.
Doraemon Steak House: Tha Pae Rd (Route 1089); open daily 10:00-00:30.
Khao Tom Kaing Wiang: Tha Pae Rd (Route 1089); T: (093) 131 1610; open daily 09:00-01:00.
Cottage Restaurant: Route 107 (next to bus station); open daily 17:00-00:30.
BB Club: Tha Pae Rd (just past Phumanee); open daily 18:00-00:30