Tag Archives: Thai street food

Pride cometh before the fall – ignore my last post

Sick as a dog... like the blanket?:)

Some of you saw this coming: Swiftly on the heels of our most dramatic culinary adventure last week – eating raw durian (a fruit) and sticky rice – I was hit like a sledgehammer with the most violent food poisoning I’ve had since college. I mean it was brutal, out-of-both-ends stuff requiring Tarzan-like leaps out of bed to the facilities.

Oh, the irony

Even in my miserable state the irony of it all was too funny. In my last post I had confidently declared Thai street food fair game and now here I was, the ever-present occupant of my bathroom.

One thing was for sure: there was plenty of time to think. Plenty of time to analyze what had happened. Was I wrong to have taken the risk of eating Bangkok street food? Should I swear it all off?

A lesson

As much as my stomach was telling me never to eat Thai street food again, my brain knew better. This was a lesson in restraint and commonsense (the gooey fruit had been festering in a lukewarm milky substance for hours without refrigeration and I really should have known better than to think I could handle it). It was not grounds for a drastic retreat to peanut butter sandwiches for the balance of my stay in Bangkok.

My default MO is one of at least slight overconfidence. Often it pays off – I attempt challenges, assuming things will work out and then they often do. But occasionally you just end up loosening your bowels.

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Bjorn Karlman

Bangkok, Thailand


How to Eat Thai Street Food

OK, yes (as I admitted a couple posts ago) we are eating food from the Bangkok street stalls. And we haven’t gotten sick yet. The food is unbelievably delicious. But there are a few things to remember before you head to your first food stall:

Be brave!
Yes, it takes some courage to start eating food cooked by the side of the road in a foreign country. But this is one experience you need to have. I have simply never had such good, inexpensive food. You can get a great meal of Thai street food for $1.50. So be brave, walk up to the food stall serving the food you are most dying to eat, point at what you want and you will be well on your way to enjoying a genuine, Thai experience.

 

Eat cooked food
To ensure a decent level of hygiene, only eat food that has been cooked in front of you. The heat will kill the bugs. Steer clear of raw fruit or veggies (at least for the first few days while your stomach adjusts) as they may be washed in water that has not been purified. The locals can handle it but be careful here.

Living life dangerously! We are bad examples. We had raw fruit smoothies within our first week in Thailand... not generally a great idea but an expat friend talked us into it:)

Try new stuff
There is amazing range so don’t be afraid to branch out. We have been experimenting a lot with different dishes. The first night it was pastries, an omelet, spicy chicken, basil, rice and a fried egg. Since then it’s been a bit of a free for all. Curries, soups, stews and an embarrassing array of desserts. There is endless variety so there is no excuse not to indulge your inner foodie.

I'd like.... everything.

Skip Monday
A lot of Thai street food stalls close on Monday so you may want to stay indoors for your meals as the work week starts… Eat at the mall instead. In fact, a lot of the popular street stalls have their own branches in Bangkok malls (which stay open.). I’ll dedicate an upcoming post to the malls here but let me just say right now that they are so large they really should issue customers GPS devices.

The water issue
To avoid spending all night on the throne, stay away from tap water in Bangkok. It is not fit for drinking. However, restaurants that serve water generally serve purified water so you are typically OK having some.

To drink or to suffer curry burn... that is the dillemma.

Go with the crowd
There is safety in numbers when it comes to Thai street food. Hit up the busy stalls. They are busy for a reason and can be trusted more than the ones that get less traffic. This is one time it is absolutely appropriate to bow to peer pressure.

Have you had street food in Thailand? What did I miss? Feel free to add to the list in the comment section.

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Bjorn Karlman

Bangkok, Thailand