Before I went to Thailand, all I heard was “The food is amazing”. But having spent over a month there, I wouldn’t describe the food as amazing by African standards, interesting maybe, but not amazing. The food (I could stomach) was very basic and healthy, maybe too healthy, if there’s anything like that. It was almost as if the food (most of it at least) was crafted to deliver nutrients than for enjoyability.
The things I didn’t quite enjoy with Thai food are:
Sugar in place of salt
The Thai do not season their food with salt, they use sugar instead. Ever had meat without salt but with sugar? I did and after 2 bites I asked for the bill. I couldn’t stomach it. It just tasted weird. If you want salt, use Google translate to write salt in Thai and show the vendor. Sometimes they do not have and sometimes they do.
Also when they put spices, you’ll feel like you just ate fire! You’ll feel like you just swallowed a Ford Kuga. Wow. It burns. If you can’t handle spicy food like me make sure you tell the vendor “No spice” when ordering. Don’t even ask for a “Little bit of spice” because you’ll get fire in a plate.
Too much soup!
Also the food is healthy yes but rice and steamed vegetables really are not my kind of cuisine. Also the food sometimes drowns in soup! In Zimbabwe we do not have such. I tried it and I decided it wasn’t for me. If you want soup but not excessive amounts then ask them to give you in a separate bowl then you can add the amount you want to your food.
And I’m not talking sushi. There’s what is known as ‘dancing shrimp’ you eat the shrimp alive! You spoon it up, watch it wiggle in your spoon, put it in your mouth, and you murder it with your teeth and try not to gag in the process.
Then there’s raw meat served with blood 😥 . You can ask for extra blood if you like.
Just when I thought I’d seen it all, along came developing frog tadpoles covered with fermented stinky fish sauce! I just wanted to puke.
Expect to find all sorts of fried insects in Thailand food stalls.
I saw a lot of vendors selling these in Khao San road, Bangkok. I guess when people get drunk they feel more daring! I didn’t try them though, although I think I should next time.
I called them “colourful eggs” because they were not the normal brown eggs. Eggs are available in all forms in Thailand, you can have them fried, boiled, pickled, preserved, marinated and ones with embryos inside! So always ask what you buying, don’t assume.
The eggs with embryos inside look like this inside. They are said to be amphodisiacs.
The food I loved
I fell in love with Pad Thai and mango sticky rice though I preferred them in small doses 🙂
The sushi and some of the seafood was refreshingly delicious. The fried ice cream was divine, watching the woman make it was so fulfilling.
Also you get lobster at a fraction of what we pay here in South Africa!
1. Always carry hand sanitiser in case you want to eat with your hands.
2. Most of the fried rice is prepared using egg. If you are allergic to eggs then ask for plain rice rather.
3. Have a list (in Thai) of the ingredients you are allergic to so you can communicate with the vendor.
4. Try as many dishes as you can. Food is cheap, if you don’t like it toss it in the bin and buy something else.
5. Most street vendors speak as much English as you speak Thailand. So keep your conversation minimal, using just key words and sign language.