Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The food of Bangkok

Ah, our last food adventures in Thailand: Bangkok edition.

Unfortunately my inability to keep down food continued into the beginning of our Bangkok adventure, so although I was eating food again, I did not necessarily keep it down. You can ignore this fact though and just imagine that I was awesome about it all and enjoyed it nonetheless. This is partially true. :)

Our first meal was dinner after our long journey from Railay. We decided to pick up some street food from the nearby market that was happening around our hotel and it was not a disappointment:

While my stomach was still being a failure I tried to keep it on the simple side. But I just couldn't resist this braised egg and meat. It came with a ton of rice but it was delicious. Savory, a little sweet, and so very very stewed in deliciousness. It's unfortunate that I couldn't concentrate on it so fully because my stomach was still misbehaving but know that it was still a wonder to behold.

This veggie soup was the second dish we picked up, from the same vendor. It was just the right thing for me since I was feeling under the weather. It had boiled pork and some sort of cabbage and other greens in it. It had the most peculiar flavor in it though - sort of like what pork tastes like after it's been preserved and pickled and a little bit fermented. There's no other taste like it, but I've definitely had it before and it's what one would call (politely): an acquired taste. I like it, generally speaking, so I had quite a bit of it.

And my sister finally caved and got the fried chicken of her dreams. Fried chicken is pretty abundant around Thailand and we'd been drooling over it our entire trip. The verdict? Exactly as amazing as one would expect it to be: fried, greasy, and a little bit sweet, flavored with five spice and something else and exactly like the drumsticks our grandmother used to buy us from Chinatown as kids. Man that fried chicken is good. If you've never had Asian fried chicken before, you should get your hands on some - it's not to be missed.

Our second meal out (since I had breakfast at the hotel and lunch I only was able to keep down Fanta) was once again at the market around our hotel. This time I decided I was hungry (and stable) enough to keep down something real. So I ordered this man's delicious pad-thai like dish. Oh man it was amazing.

Peanuts, bean sprouts, green onions, chicken, egg, the works. Fabulous, fresh, and hot. This one wasn't as flavorful as the other ones we'd had previously, but it was still delicious. Generic savory and tasty. I did eat the whole thing (which was huge, considering the amounts I'd been eating the last few days) and maybe that wasn't the smartest idea, but whatever, I was starving, it was delicious, and I was in Thailand. It was going to be devoured.

Our last full day was the floating markets. I had the special experience of getting wonderful pork noodles from one of the vendors cooking boat-side. He was wonderful and friendly and didn't speak any English. I asked him what his favorite item on the menu was and this is what he gave me:

It was delicious. Once again flavored with five spice, containing thick wide noodles, a cooked egg, and lots of strange pork pieces (I'm guessing they were innards...oh the chewy rubbery innards)...and wonderful. Had that strange meat-preserved-pickled taste I've been trying to describe with other foods. This is just something I'd come to expect in certain foods. Didn't detract from the awesomeness. It was a gorgeous dish, either way.

And later that night, before our ladyboy experience, fabulous roadside noodles:

This one was delicious and a bit greasy, but unfortunately not memorable. I recall the deep-fried triangle and the meatballs (which were more likely fish balls, given their texture), but unfortunately that's about it. What can I say? Too much good food in Thailand means something's gonna be forgotten. :)

And yes, admittedly we did get McDonalds on the trip. Late night hunger meant questions of what was still open (and available via taxi). So a Big Mac and fries were obtained. Verdict? They taste the same in Thailand as they do in the States and in Helsinki. Who would have thought?

And my final dish in Thailand: bowl of chicken noodles for breakfast, down the street from our fancy hotel. This was arguably the best bowl of noodles I had on the entire trip. The broth was sweet and gently flavored, had cilantro and clean pieces of chicken in it, and the entire thing just felt...right. Even though the air was muggy and hot, I didn't feel smothered by this dish. It was...in a word: perfect.

Needless to say, coming back to the slightly flavorless palette of Finland after the bold flavors of Thailand was a bit abrupt, but well...gotta return sometime.

The food of Thailand really is as incredible as it looks. Go check it out yourself. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. :)

(Btw I have been given words of warning from various people about low-quality street food...so, to this I say: use your judgment and choose wisely.  We didn't have a problem with any of it while on the trip, despite my getting sick, but well, just be careful and look after yourself. Otherwise: please enjoy yourself to the fullest!)

Happy eatings!

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