Thai Food, Volume Two

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I felt a little lame after my first week in Thailand. I had spent almost all day every day hurrying towards Bangkok, with just a few minutes’ rest to peruse the street foods, enjoy some supermarket airconditioning, and perhaps snap a couple of photos. I hadn’t yet experienced Thai food in all its coconut-milky, galangal-rooty, miniscule-chilly-peppery glory. What did I come for if not for that? Time to dig in! Above: Tom Yam Gung soup, spicy, sour, rich, and slightly fishy all at once.

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New fruit spotting! Meet the Long Sat (maybe Lang Son). Looks like a longgan from the outside, looks like a mangosteen from the inside, and tastes like a grapefruit.

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Sweet and sour glass noodle salad.

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The omnipresent Som Tham, once again sweet and sour and spicy and rich all at once.

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Coconut ice cream with candied pumpkin and roast peanuts. Served with a plastic spoon, true, but no bowl – just a coconut shell!

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Running errands around Bangkok, we hit the jackpot with this spring roll stall. A standard backpacker-district spring roll is three inches long and costs ten baht ($0.33). These were twice as long and three for the same price! Crazy-cheap dumpling munchies and three perenially hungry cyclobums: a match made in heaven.

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Still dont’ know what this stuff is. But it’s fried, it’s cheap, and it’s kind of green, so I can pretend it’s a vegetable.

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Yeah, plastic-free!

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Unrelated street pastries with mushroom filling inside – ten for a dollar, and they taste exactly like Pizza Combos snacks from my childhood.

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Breakfast with the Monk 1 – ginger and scallion porridge

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Potato and sweet potato balls.

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Steamed and salted edamames

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Coconuts – nature’s gatorade, with an awesome mix of nutrients in the water, plus a bonus couple spoonfulls of fatty flesh! At $0.30 to $0.50 cents each, they’re a perfect excuse to get off the bike for a couple minutes. This straw she gave me? I’m still using two weeks later.

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The Lord Supreme of all donut-genre snack. I asked the vendor in crappy Thai if the food was vegetarian; she answered, in English, “Yes. It’s flour, coconut, and sugar put together then fried.” Hello calories, energy, protein, deliciousness, and unsayable satisfaction. ($0.67)

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Breakfast with the monks 2 – all of this was given to us in plastic bags, which the monks opened and decanted. I found most of it undecipherable and not particularly appetizing: some liver, some sweet and crunchy fish heads, stinky leafy stew, pumpkin corrupted with fish, mincmeat, etc. I tried my best to live up to the culinary explorer airs that I like to out on, but most of this stuff gave me the shudders. I grazed on rice, pumpkin, and cupcakes, then resolved to stop at the first battered banana shop I passed by.

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Mushroom, baby corn, and julienned ginger stirfry.

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$0.50 breakfast rice gruel with ginger, veg, and an egg.

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Beloved donut holes! The ones in the foreground are black sesame outside with a sweet glutinous rice filling; the ones in the background have a sweet sugar glaze and salty mung bean pate’ inside.

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ULTIMATE CALORIE BOOST! Battered ‘naners – the thinner the better.

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Using a bit of Thai that Tara (also vegetarian) had taught me, I made my first stop at an open-air roadside restaurant and said “Do you have curry? Vegetarian, no meat, no beef, no chicken please.” No longer surprisingly, the woman answered in English: “Oh, you’re vegetarian? How about red curry? You like spicy?”

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I still haven’t broken the habit of stopping at Tescos. They often have discount fruit and bread on the day of expiration, and the air conditioned bustle can be a nice change of pace after several hours of riding and podcasts.

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Always good for a laugh. I bet this one would go well with a box of South Korean “Dick Sticks.”

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More Pat Seu from the side of the road – a dollar’s worth of fat rice noodles with eggs and kale.

Finally, a section on Bangkok’s treats:

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South Indian “Masala Dosa:” a thin, crisp pancake made from fermented rice and bean flours with spicy potato filling and cool coconut and mint chutneys. ($4ish, or $0.50 in India.)

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Israeli: humus, falafel, baba ghanoush, and greek salad ($5,or $1.50 in India).

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One of about five platefuls from Khun Churn, an incredible organic vegetarian buffet. $5 for the meal. Well worth the hour-plus cycle ride each way.

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Northern style “Khao Soi” noodles: hearty egg noodles in a coconut milk / red curry sauce, served with raw mini-onions, pickled cabbage, bean sprouts, long beans, lime, and crispy egg noodles on top.

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Ohohohoh buffet! And, they’ve even got a branch in Chiang Mai. See you again in a week…

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3 Responses to Thai Food, Volume Two

  1. Anna Z. says:

    A friend who lived in Thailand turned us on to the Khao Soi at a local Thai restaurant–but it’s not on the menu, so you have to know to ask for it special. It’s delicious. Oh, and I was thinking of you tonight as I made my first batch of kimchi! (blog post on it likely to follow)

  2. Melissa says:

    Your food post always make me hungry. :p Thailand sounds awesome. I was hoping to make it there, when I was in Korea but never did. 🙁