So there are two types of people: Those who see danger and cringe and those who see danger and smile. And while I am normally on the smiling side, I became a scaredy cat in Thailand. When it came to the food that is. Thank goodness we were told before arriving that Thai spicy means you’ll be weeping as the food goes in and weeping as the food goes out.
Now I love spicy food, but the thought of gripping my thighs while on some random toilet, while my stomach spews bursts of hatred and fireballs through my you-know-what, while on my vacation, was just too difficult to bear. I didn’t chance it. I definitely ate spicy. But definitely not Thai spicy. Do I regret it now? A little bit. I think it’s important to submerge ourselves into whichever culture that we’re in. And while I would’ve never eaten food so spicy every day, I absolutely feel I should have tried to go all the way at least once.
One thing to be appreciated about Thai cuisine is that breakfast is just that, a word. Outside of hotels that accommodate tourists, breakfast in Thailand is also what’s eaten for lunch and dinner. On our very first morning, we were presented with a breakfast buffet that consisted of duck eggs, various soups, fried rice and vegetables. While my two friends were guzzling their glasses of water, I found everything to be just right. In other words, you must discover for yourself what you think.
This was only my portion of breakfast, which I surprisingly ate most of. Maybe all that flying did something to my body, or maybe I just love good food so much. You’ll never know. Naturally, myself and my two friends were playing a sort of food version of the game Twister as we stuck our forks and dipped our spoons over each other’s arms and into each other’s dishes.
Full disclosure: We didn’t realize from the start that we were looking at a duck egg, so its fire red-orange appearance sort of freaked us out. We stared at it. We wondered at it. We wondered how organic a chicken had to be to make an egg such as this. It was either that or there was something seriously wrong with it. (I remember being in Haiti years ago and seeing a marked difference between the local family raised egg yolks and the imported ones. I figured maybe this was that.) But when we were told it was duck, we all breathed a sigh of relief. Mystery over.
I just love how what’s completely normal for one person is a completely bizarre to another.
Once we were out into the streets, eggs and toast became a distant memory. On every street, it seems, there are people selling food. For lunch, we stopped at a soup station on the side of a wide road.
Four huge pots of various soups are ours to choose from. Full of vegetables and your choice of chicken or pork, spicy or mild, it is the last thing we thought we’d want on a hot day. But our morning experience has us all hooked and we want more soup, no matter the temperature. Apparently like everyone else in Thailand. There’s a variety of additions that might be added to the soup, and every paying customer sits at a long table side by side on little stools to eat, as cars and scooters whizz by behind us.
While shopping in the various locations we visited, Phuket, Chiang Mai, and the Phi Phi Islands, we saw vendors selling foods of all sorts.
I learned that they have a thing about hot dogs. All of the hot dogs look like they are dressed for the prom. Street food is an art. There’s the savory.
And the sweet.
Then there are these guys. Yes, they are caterpillars.
Dessert made with ripe bananas and coconut milk.
One of my new favorite dishes: Sticky Rice with Mango
Here’s a little bonus before I depart. On our first night in Thailand, we walk into a 7-11, which are quite ubiquitous over there. It was then that we knew we weren’t in Florida anymore.
P.S. Drink as much watermelon juice as you can. You’ll never find better. Never.