Monday, March 4, 2013

Eating Railay

You are now probably wondering what we did on Day 3 of Railay.

...the answer is actually mostly nothing. You see, we arrived halfway through Day 1, technically, and had to leave halfway through Day 4. Half day here, two full days between, half day there, equals three days. Not much time to do anything real (well, not in the sense we had become accustomed to, anyway).

And I had the unfortunate luck of...

...not being able to hold anything down after we got home after deep water soloing.

I won't say it was food poisoning, because I don't think it was. I've had that before, for about two weeks, after some unwashed fruit in Morocco (which was absolutely delicious by the way, and completely my own fault), and this didn't feel like that. Well, not really anyway.

This was more of the extreme headache, pain everywhere, too weak to move or do anything but lay there helplessly kind. I could barely walk and stand up straight. Sleeping was even difficult (mostly because I had to get up every few hours). I literally threw up everything that went down, including water, for the next 48 hours after coming home from soloing.

So, I'm gonna guess it was a combination of things: too much sun (mild sunstroke of some kind...I mean I've been living in a place that has basically no sun, for the past year, despite my overzealous use of sunscreen), likely a bout of dehydration, and latent seasickness. Also possibly a latent reaction to jellyfish toxins, but seems unlikely. Everyone else had the same food as me (including my sister) and they didn't get sick. She did feel a bit uneasy that night but nothing happened. I was the only one who had anything go wrong.

So you'll understand why after a certain point the food journaling suddenly stops. I did eat some food, but basically it came back up. The recording was not exactly happening as readily as it was before, so forgive me for that.

And without further ado...

The foods of Railay.

Our first night there we checked out the backpacker/climber side of the peninsula and decided to have food there, seeing as how food (and just about everything else) is much cheaper on that side. We found a cute little beachside restaurant (which is basically all of them, we just chose one that we thought looked good, not knowing that we would need to go through an unlit jungle path in order to get back to our hotel later) and ordered our grub:

I ordered first a pineapple shake. The drink menus at these places (of the nonalcoholic variety, which I was becoming a huge fan of) are fantastic, and decently large. I would argue even more exciting than the alcoholic drink list, which is always rather extensive (they do cater to those who love hard alcohol). This pineapple shake was no disappointment either. Despite its name, there was no dairy in it, and was more like a pineapple smoothie - pineapple, ice, and maybe some juice. Very refreshing and surprisingly, not that sweet.


My sister ordered something off the menu which we got more familiar with as the trip progressed - fried noodles in gravy. I don't remember the exact name of it, but basically this one was a chicken variation and the noodles were actually crunchy. Fantastic either way. It's similar to one of our favorite Chinese dishes back home (dein mein). Chicken, carrots, green veggies, and crispy noodles soaking in a chicken gravy. Savory and sumptuous. Not too heavy either. That's one thing about their food - always the right size for the heaviness.


And my dish - pan fried noodles with chicken. I was coming to love their noodles (not that I didn't already, as they're always fresh and so squishy). Flavorful and always with fresh veggies. This one had carrots and a green veggie that I've seen everywhere (I've also had it in the States but don't know its English name...generally we call it "hollow stem" when we order it).

I'm a big fan of how cucumbers are always the garnish. I left no prisoners.


For dessert (since I was getting the hang of this whole food thing), we ordered pineapple fritters with honey sauce (which was really just honey, maybe slightly watered down).


Piping hot, straight from the fryer. Literally chunks of fresh pineapple, battered and fried with honey to dip in. Wonderful, a tropical delight. I've always loved pineapple (despite the fact that if I eat too much of it I either get horrible mouth sores or a little bit of heartburn...ugh, old age ruins me!) and this did nothing to suppress that. Ah tropical life, your food is so good!

The next day was lots of quick eating. Breakfasts were all covered by the hotel (which we finally got to take advantage of - we had actually been given breakfast by our previous hotel in Koh Phangan as well but failed to ever make it there...say whatever you like about that but it was well worth the experiences we had instead of getting free breakfast) and were fantastic - little pancakes and french toasts with honey syrup, chicken sausages, fresh fruit, cold cereal and milk, usually some variation of noodles or fried rice, and always juice and coffee. We ate our fill of the free breakfasts because we were always out doing some wild grand activity during the day and would only be eating several hours later. Those were definitely worthy free breakfasts.

Anyway, lunch the next day was on us though, inbetween climbing and snorkeling. We sat down at one of the cafes on the Walking Street before meeting up with our snorkeling crew to grab a quick bite:

I finally managed to order a Thai tea with my food and my impressions - once again, pretty much the same as offered in California! I've not been let down my Thai-American brethren. I was very excited to find this out, and happy to enjoy my Thai tea (which is always delicious, sweet, and refreshingly cold). Fabulous, sweet, creamy, decadent.


For actual food I ordered the ginger beef. While still delicious, this was probably one of the more uninteresting dishes I ordered on the trip. The gravy was fantastic, but it was mostly a stir fry of onions and meat with very little inbetween in the way of veggies or something unusual. There was much ginger flavor, which was wonderful, and it was fresh, but all in all it was not exceptional compared to most of the food we had.


(You know the quality of food you're having is exceptional when something that is already delicious is considered bottom-of-the-barrel).

And in case you are wondering - some of our activities did indeed provide food. While the climbing session in the morning did not, our evening snorkeling/bat watching/night swimming activity did - chicken fried rice. We ate our fried rice while waiting for the bats to come out. And our soloing provided fried chicken on a bed of deep fried onions and sticky rice. Both worked well for the strenuous activities.

After our snorkeling my sister and I did some shopping around the walking street and picked up some dessert from a hilarious cart there:


Though his cart advertised Thai pancakes, I wouldn't exactly call what he made "pancakes:"


It was delicious, whatever it was. We got the banana and nutella variety. I walked away to buy a postcard while he was making it, but my sister claimed that he made it in such a fashion that it was clear his only intent was to make it as fast as possible so he could go back to doing nothing. Island worth ethic is all I can say. :)

His product was delicious in any case. Saucy, warm, and filled with fresh ingredients. One thing we noticed, if I haven't mentioned before - Thai bananas are amazing! They're unlike any other bananas I've had in my life. Sweet, smooth, not chalky at all. Clearly the bananas I've had all my life before these have been fake! False bananas! True bananas are smooth, glossy things with real banana flavor - what banana candy tries (and fails) to mimic. Wonderful they are, full of flavor.

And that's the end of the food I had in Railay, unfortunately. I had breakfast the next morning, the fried chicken on the soloing boat and then...I started throwing everything up. We were supposed to go out to dinner before meeting up with the solo crew again to get our pics for the day (my sister went in our stead) and watch a free muay thai boxing match that was happening at the bar they were all meeting up in but alas, I was bedridden in our air conditioned room (thank god for that), watching HBO and trying not to vomit all over myself (luckily I could limp to the bathroom every 20 minutes or so). I was half-conscious through Terminator 3, Immortals, and In the Land of Blood and Honey (sad, but surprisingly good). Not a bad situation, all things considered, but I would have preferred to see the free muay thai match instead.

We left the next day after checking out the nice beaches on the other side of the peninsula, which was all I could handle before vomiting up my breakfast on the side of the walking path (awkward in the best of times, I assure you).

Off to the Krabi airport and to Bangkok.

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