All The Crazy Food I’ve Tried

You might have noticed that I post in chunks. I go weeks without anything, then post a bunch in one day. That is the type of person I am. Lazy, with occasional bursts of enthusiasm.

I realized that I’ve forgotten to chronicle one of the most important parts of life in Thailand…the food. Since I’ve gained a solid 15 Ibs, food is clearly playing a very important role in my exchange. So without further ado, here is a comprehensive list of all the Thai foods I have tried (that I can remember off the top of my head).

  • Fried rice: It’s pretty much the same as restaurants in the US. Rice, fried, with some egg and chicken, shrimp, or pork if you request it.
  • Pad Thai: Very different from what you get at American Thai restaurants. The only vegetables are bean sprouts and the occasional shred of carrot. Otherwise it’s got egg, peanuts, crispy pork skin, lime, and tiny little krill/shrimp things.
  • Som Tam (Papaya salad): Probably the most quintessentially Thai dish aside from Pad Thai. There are many varieties, but the basic is shredded green papaya and vegetables, with some kind of chili/ fish sauce. It’s sour, usually a little spicy, maybe crunchy if peanuts are involved. Pretty popular with tourists, although I’m not a huge fan.
  • Noodles: They come in all shapes and sizes. Thin, wide, yellow, white, clear, green, you name it. There’s the Thai equivalent of Ramen (which is far superior, coming in many flavors with far more toppings and larger serving sizes). My usual noodle order, at school, consists of yellow noodles with pork, bean sprouts and cabbage, seasoning, and crispy chip things. Then I like to top it off with fish sauce, sugar, and lemon juice.
  • Tom Yam (soup): Usually some kind of lemony, spicy/sour broth with fish, mushrooms, or meat floating around. Thai people aren’t big on carefully preparing things so mushrooms are whole, and meat or fish are big chunks with lots of bones in them.
  • Stuff wrapped in banana leaves: Usually some kind of dessert. Thai people traditionally use the large, sturdy leaves of the banana tree for many things, especially food preparation. Small bananas (not much longer than a finger) may be cooked in them, or sticky rice, or coconut milk. Coconut cream cooked in banana leaves is one of the best, and simplest, Thai desserts.
  • Rice cooked in bamboo stalks: Sticky rice with red beans is somehow shoved into a hollowed bamboo stalk, which the vendor splits open for you when you buy it.
  • Weird dessert soup: There’s one kind that’s thick sweet coconut milk broth with colorful marble sized balls of some kind of rice flour floating about. There’s also the classic assortment of weird jellies and melon with ice and coconut milk. Thai people are into jellies, which are apparently made from Thai herbs.
  • Fuk Tang: So the word “fuck” means pumpkin in Thai. Tang means gold. This is basically just fried pumpkin with egg and Thai basil.
  • Omelettes: No milk or cheese, just egg, some fish sauce, maybe a little pork, all deep fried in lots and lots of oil.
  • Sticky rice: It’s rice. Specially cooked so it clumps together really well. This means you can eat it with your hands, and use it to soak up sauces and such. I often eat it for breakfast, with fried chicken, pork, or some kind of sausage.
  • Crickets: Crickets. Fried. They’re crispy, crunchy, salty, and very high in protein. Not a meal, but a common snack that can be found at markets. Just don’t eat too many; they’re tough to digest.
  • Grasshoppers: Not as fun to eat as crickets. They’re much bigger, with spikier legs that just make them way less appetizing. They taste about the same though.
  • Dried chicken stomach: A tough, greyish beige snack. Not my favorite. They aren’t very flavorful, but the taste they do have isn’t great.
  • Pancreas: My mom handed me a grilled pancreas on a stick one day. It tasted like dried blood. Enough said.
  • Weird blood stuff: I can’t figure out if it’s actually liver, or some kind of processed blood based meat product. Whatever it is, it tastes like blood.
  • Rice porridge stuff: Can’t remember the Thai name, but it’s basically just soft, soupy rice served with egg, pork, and in my case, shredded raw ginger, bean sprouts, chopped green onions, fish sauce and pepper. The kind of food you want to eat when you’re sick.
  • Awesome fruit: Thailand wins the fruit game big time. They have everything. The apples are imported, so they aren’t great, but instead you get a mind numbing array of tropical stuff. Longan is great. Pretty similar to a lychee but with smooth, light brown skin that you peel off. Thai people like to buy big bunches at roadside stands on long car trips. There’s also mango, papaya, guava, bananas (my province is famous for tiny, super sweet bananas), rambutan, all kinds of melons, coconut, citron (the world’s largest citrus fruit, huge and green and tastes like a sweet, bland grapefruit), durian (big, spiky, and nasty smelling), and pineapple. Pineapple in Thailand is a different fruit from the kind you get in the US. In fact, I probably won’t ever eat pineapple again outside of southeast Asia. It’s a thousand times sweeter, a hundred times juicier, fruity and floral and delicious smelling.
  • 7-11 goodies: A 7-11 is a candy shop for those who like to buy weird junk food. You can get toothpaste and deodorant, cigarettes and liquor, Moji and edamame, cake rolls and pandan custard sandwiches and cheese croissants and green tea. The best part is, you can get your frozen fried rice and your ham and cheese croissant microwaved, so you don’t have to cook anything (convenient since Thai houses are pretty spare in terms of cooking appliances). Plus you get to ride your bike out in the wonderful sunshine, feel briefly guilty for spending so much, and then remember that it was all less than 3$.

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