Saturday, July 6, 2013

Eating Our Way Through Bangkok

No more alone time for me! I met up with Andy in Bangkok a couple days ago to embark on the final month of my adventure. He's taking a month off work, and I am, as you know, funemployed, so here we go Southeast Asia!

One thing I have learned about myself through my travels is that I am not a city person. I like living in a city in America, but when traveling, I find them loud and polluted and hot and hurried and dirty and crowded. Turns out I am tangibly happier when in a small town or the countryside -- it's just so much nicer

BUT here we are in Bangkok and I'm making the best of it. We're seeing all the things, walking to all the places, and eating all of the food! And Thai food, as you probably know, is especially awesome. From the street-side restaurants, to local ice cream flavors, to fancy roof-top restaurants; we're on a mission to try as much of it as possible. 

On the streets, there many many many are food carts of street snacks. We tried these little taco-ish things that I'm guessing were made of buckwheat flour, then covered with a bit of egg, dried fruit (maybe apricots?), then sprinkled with what looks like shredded cheese but we later learned is made of egg.

There are also tons of little "restaurants," i.e. a cart and movable kitchen set-up with plastic tables and chairs on the sidewalk. Some places you order what you want, others have already-made pots of curries you can point to. I guess I should have taken more pictures...

The next step up are restaurants, many of which are open to the street, but have actual real estate and fans (woot). At such a place we got what was recommended to us as the "best pad Thai in Bangkok." I expected a bit of a tourist-trap, but this place was legit and full of Thai people. We both got their special -- shrimp pad Thai covered in egg. So good, and I think about $2 per plate.

The next day we walked to a big public park and OMG look at the giant lizards that crawled out of the pond when it started raining!!!

On the way back we stopped for lunch at a roadside soup restaurant. I asked for chicken soup, and they brought me a steaming bowl, which was full of all kinds of chicken. Literally. The look on my face was clear, priceless, and absolutely terrified. 

I tried to psych myself up to eat around the offensive parts, buuuuuttttt, adventurous eater though I am, there are feet in this soup. With little chicken toenails! Laughing at the horrified look on my face, they smilingly switched it out for a bowl of normal chicken noodle soup. Much better thanks!

Andy got the fish ball version. I don't strongly dislike fish balls, and they're not super-fishy tasting at all, but they have a strange bouncy texture that throws me a bit.

Post-lunch we got some desserts to go -- let's call them Thai empanadas, filled with coconut, sweet bean, and pineapple.

We also bought some chrysanthemum tea, which is supposed to help sore throats (damn the pollution!), and an assortment of unidentified dried fruits while walking through China Town. The sales people are all pretty happy to let you try things if you ask, which is great for confused foreigners like ourselves.

For dinner on our last night in Bangkok (and last night in Thailand -- Cambodia here we come!) we splurged for a fancy rooftop restaurant and bar. I was super-dressed up for my traveler self (i.e. skinny jeans), but awkwardly underdressed for the location of course haha. Oh well who cares! The view was awesome and the food was pretty great too!

We got pork and shrimp spring rolls, pork belly with crispy fried basil, tofu with cashews and vegetables, and asparagus with mushrooms. 

And for dessert LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT IT! We stopped at a street cart for this: a crepe-ish pancake (but butterier and crispier), filled with fresh banana and topped with sweetened condensed milk and chocolate sauce. Why don't we have these in the US???

Sweetened condensed milk is all over the place here -- on desserts and in drinks/coffee yummmmm -- and I am such a fan!

So like I said, we're off to Cambodia (Angkor Wot) to see what that country had to offer. I'll keep you posted.

Oh and a parting shot from a grocery store aisle in Thailand. Because one of these things is not like the others...