I really love Thai food. Really. I know, I know. Every farang lists the food as one of the main reasons they love Thailand, right
after the ease of a mentally and/or physically decrepit foreigner to “get” a beautiful woman here and the low cost of living. But these are usually the same people who have to have their weekly intake of pub comfort food, eat at McDonald’s, and think Sunrise Tacos is real Mexican food (or good food, for that matter).
No, I really love Thai food, and I am a food snob. Not as far as price or presentation (“it’s expensive and hip and all the hi-so people eat here!”), I could care less, but in terms of taste and quality. And that Thailand delivers in glorious ways. (Ambience can be important too, and another wonderful aspect of the Thai dining experience, but later for that subject). I love Thai food because I lived in cities (Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City), where people know and love the best of westernized Thai food, so our ignorance on the depths of real Thai food makes the dining experience here so striking and delicious. And the food back there, it’s not bad, for the west it tastes damn good. But since living here I’ve begun to realize how it barely scratched the surface of Thai cuisine.
Northern, northeastern, central, and southern cooking make the diversity of Thai cuisine quite incredible and delicious. I’ve been in Thailand a little over a year, and have only had a few of the standard Thai dishes I would always have back in the States. It’s mostly been dishes that I’ve never seen on menus in the west. Add to that the fact that you can pretty much eat what you want when you want. Fried chicken for breakfast, fried chicken for dinner. It’s all good, and that really suits me. Don’t get me wrong, I get the craving for a big American breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns, hush puppies, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, every so often, but for breakfast rice, stir fried something, a fried egg, and some heat just seems . . . right, to me. Also, you can have it so luxuriantly spicy. And to the dismay of even my Thai friends there is no such thing as too much prik nam plaa. Is there a more perfect condiment? In the west you have to know to ask for it, because Thai Americans assume it’s too strong (i.e. good) for the western palette. And for most it is. But since the first time my Thai friend introduced it to me in the States I was hooked. To the point I take note of the variety of prik nam plaa brews when I visit different restaurants/vendors. And now I go way overboard dousing my food with it, but it really is a thing of beauty.
There are a couple of things that just don’t exist in Thailand, food wise, and things I miss terribly. Good Latin/Central American food, and American Southern/Soul food. If any farang end up reading this blog they will probably give me some suggestions, and I’ll try, but I can already tell you the verdict, nah, not so good. But as much as I look forward to eating these things when I go back to visit, I’m more than content. I’m in food heaven!
I know, lacking food and restuarant specifics, but much more food talk to come . . .