Let’s talk about spice. I can’t handle it. As in, the “mild” grocery store salsa had a fair amount of kick for me. At least five times a week here, my lips tingle, my tongue goes numb and my eyes water. However, I have the advantage of being “farang”, or “foreigner”. At my favorite Pad Thai stall, for example, they see my pasty whiteness and don’t even add a single chili pepper. Which is lovely, because then the flavors of shrimp, fried shallots and peanuts can come out. Delicious; sometimes I get it wrapped in a thin, cooked egg (see below).
I was a vegetarian for 2 years, then started eating meat again for Thailand. Food is a huge aspect of culture that I wanted to fully embrace, and I didn’t want burden/impose on my host families with my special dietary needs. And for both of those reasons I’m really glad I’m not vegetarian here. But, more importantly, I am supremely glad I get to try the street meat. Vendors sell marinated, grilled pork and chicken on a stick practically melting on your tongue with a bag of sticky rice for 20 baht (~55 cents) which is usually my breakfast.
I haven’t noticed much dessert here. That could be because sugar is in literally everything (smoothies, fried rice, and soup). But it also could be because of the fruit. The best mango, papaya, pineapple and other unknown fruits I have ever had have all been devoured in the past three weeks. And while that makes for a great dessert dipped in a bag of chili sugar, they are even better made into smoothies. Usually taken with a few large helpings of the fruit itself, crushed ice, and a few good heaping spoons of sugar. No matter what the fruit, it’s absolutely fresh and delicious.
Watermelon smoothie. Probably my favorite type, but I have yet to explore all the possibilities.
There are three foods that never cease to make me happy, no matter how my day is going. The first is coconut ice cream. Made fresh each day with coconut milk and with fresh shavings of coconut, this is heaven on earth. The vendor, a block away from our classroom, gets at least three or four American students buying her ice cream at lunch every day.
The second delectable is banana-chocolate-waffles. My friend and I had five in two days. Mushed bananas are added to waffle batter, and the waffle is taken like a taco with chocolate syrup added to the middle.
One of the many banana-chocolate-waffles consumed in Chiang Mai.
The third amazing concoction is honey toast. It’s basically french toast with a lot of powdered sugar, chocolate, nuts, and fruit on it. It’s in most cutesy coffee shops that are everywhere around my apartment.
There are some foods that aren’t readily available in Thailand, including avocados, cheese, and garlic bread. And while I miss these foods, I have enjoyed the food I have experienced (except chicken foot soup and silk worms), regardless of if I can taste what I’m eating by the end of the meal and how I feel later on.
The rest of the images are an amalgam of food pictures I’ve taken to give you a better idea for what I eat on the daily.
My roommate took me out for Korean BBQ. Yet another reason I’m so glad I’m no longer a vegetarian.
Banana-chocolate-crepe. With lots of whipped cream. This is my third of the day, and the enthusiasm is not lessened. At all.
We’re pretty sure this is duck egg. It, and quail egg, are available at a lot of street vendors and are usually grilled rather than hard-boiled.
A typical lunch at the U-Center; Pad Thai with chicken or egg and a kiwi smoothie.
Thai tea is not really what it is in America. It’s more of a blend of Thai tea and a foamy cappuccino.
I can’t remember what this called, but it’s a sort of pork broth with tofu, pork, egg and rice noodles that is eaten for breakfast.