Let’s eat!

The upcoming trip to Thailand will mark my longest stay there thus far; it will also mark my longest stay in Bangkok. I have a simple policy regarding food in Thailand: Street vendors and food stalls are king. For the most part, they specialize in a dish or two, and they usually do it well. At these places, I’ve had 25 Baht (70 cents) chicken-on-rice plates better than any restaurant equivalent in the states or Japan, ditto for 50 cent bowls of egg noodles and 40 cent plates of fresh stir fried veggies. Thailand is a chowhound’s dream, simply because of the quality and widespread abundance of street food. One added bonus to this experience is keeping a mental list of the best street vendors/locations for specific kinds of food. The closest possible comparison to the states I can think of is taco trucks in LA – people remember where to go for, say, the best carnitas tacos, and share that information by word of mouth. A certain taco truck will gain a rep and maybe a following over a period of weeks or months, and then suddenly disappear. And chowhounds driving by for a quick midnight carnitas injection will wonder if it’s just a day off, or if the owner got sent back to Mexico. And there will be much mourning; somewhere a cholo pours a can of warm Tecate on the curb. So it is also with food stands in Thailand.
However, I have been to some excellent restaurants in Thailand as well. There’s that outdoor place by the Chao Praya river in Bangkok that Nam’s sister takes us to each time we visit – we’ve already planned to hit that place up this time, as well. There was that awesome seafood restaurant Nam’s aunts took us to when we announced our engagement – T had a messy foodgasm when he ate 3 huge Giant River Prawns there. And there’s the rundown little Vietnamese cafe in Nam’s hometown where they make the best springrolls I’ve ever had (although the pack of rabid dogs that attacked me outside were kind of a bummer). You may notice a pattern here: Basically every kick-ass place restaurant I’ve been to in Thailand was introduced to me (usually by Nam’s family). Which I suppose is natural, seeing as how she’s my wife and all, but it brings me to the next point.
I OFFICIALLY DECLARE THIS UPCOMING TRIP (second only to our wedding, that is): CHOWHOUND’S DELIGHT AKA Finding the Best Eats in Thailand, Part I
I even have a plan.
I am researching other’s studies into this area before the trip. See here and here for an example of the kind of articles I dig, as well as the boards up at Chowhound and Fodor’s. Of course we will do extensive exploring by following our noses/instincts, as well.
So who’s with me on this?

9 thoughts on “Let’s eat!”

  1. OK, but no more outdoor yakiniku if we’re sitting under the gazebo in windy conditions. I like having the choice of whether or not to ingest insects instead of having a set menu.

  2. I am *so* with Adam on this point. I’m trying hard not to remember that particular story. “Raining” and “bugs” should never be in the same sentence. But good food sounds good.

  3. Pack of rabid dogs. As I remember, Nam had to get treatment for rabies after getting bitten by a dog, right? I swear to you that if some dog tries to bite me, it’s going into the stew pot or getting skewered, whatever!
    As for vendor food, I’m hoping everyone remembers the rules for food safety regarding food-on-the-go….that avoiding raw stuff, vendor drinks sunk into dirty water or ice cubes in drinks and other questionable food handling practices, might keep the runny-tummy illnesses away. Trust your intuition and beware of “I dare you” scenarios!

  4. as a founding member of the California chapter of FOG (Fat Oriental Guys), and you as an honorary member – we share symmetric culinary views. Of course when we get on the boat, we will be FOG (Fishing Oriental Guys). I intend to wear Depends and consume every damn thing. I’m in.

  5. I too am not into the “I dare you” scene, but I too am a lover of the outdoor stands. But with my lactose intolerance, I am careful about what I have. I am not too into the insect eating scene, but the deep-fried ants probably have the same texture as tenkasu, so that MIGHT be alright if we venture down that road…

  6. Deep fried ants taste like… nothing. Tenkasu would be a good comparison, except they usually deep fry in heavier oil and use a heavier batter. Chocolate-covered ants are somewhat tastier. The mark of a real man is the ability to eat a deep-fried 4″ cockroach. This is why T and I can call you all “boys.”
    I double dog dare you.

  7. If at least half of us don’t get sick, you will not have taken us to authentic places…And I am proud to say that after $34,000 worth of an education, I will be able to name any type of diarrhea you may have…(including explosive) Hey, did Kohei ever tell you his explosive diarrhea story? Pam must be SOOOOO proud!

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