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The chef at the grill on Big Buddha hill

No Name Restaurant, Big Buddha Hill, Chalong

Monday, October 27, 2008
Open: 10am-5pm

Address: Big Buddha hill

Style: Thai roadside

Price range: Chicken legs and wings (20 baht) pork satay ( 7 baht) coconut (30 baht) water (20 baht) beer (35 baht).

Specialty: Easing hunger

What the manager says: Niran Jaiduang told us the restaurant had been open for two months. His family saw it as an opportunity because many people were trekking up the hill to visit the Big Buddha. Customers include many overseas visitors. Takings sometimes reached 1000 baht a day.

What Phuketwan says: Wandering around the Big Buddha brings on a desire to fill the belly. Rather than drive six kilometres down the hill then start looking, we stopped at the first place on the road back. Because the Big Buddha is now a tourist drawcard, the road leading up to it, still dirt for part of the route, is now beginning to attract local entrepreneurs. In the past we have bought some unusual fruit, gathered from the surrounding jungle, from a roadside stall. Now some small shacks with spectacular views across the valley to Chalong pier especially have been added. We've eaten at a local place at the base of the hill and once tried to stop for lunch at a larger restaurant with an imposing view, only to find that the chef had taken a holiday. When we dropped by at Khun Niran's to be greeted with large smiles, chicken and pork sticks were sizzling on a small traditional griller. The happiness (mee kwam suk) from the Big Buddha seems to spread down the hillside. We tucked into the chicken and sticky rice. There are six seats at a counter and two tables, each with four chairs. A sign out the front says ''Water in Body.'' This actually means ''Drinks.'' English is spoken, and broken. We would be surprised if this little business doesn't become a much bigger one.

How to find it: Keep heading up the hill. Khun Niran's place is the last one before the Big Buddha, on the right. If you see the buddha's back, you will know you have gone too far. It's easier to find on the way down.

Parking: Anywhere you like.

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