I know I promised to tell you about food, but describing Thai food in 500 words is like describing the universe in one page. I thought I’d start small and tackle breakfast. Everybody here has breakfast, often a few of them, since Thai people eat small and often. Ubiquitous Thai street chefs cook food to eat on the spot or take away in a plastic bag strong enough to withstand a nuclear attack.
Thai breakfasts are light, flavorful, imaginative and pretty. Cereal is rare, since milk is seldom part of the picture – dairy of any sort is just starting to find its way in Thai diet since cows don’t like it hot. Yoghurt is more common, including the fruity kind, like the Bulgarian one coming straight from Turkey.
Doughnuts are desert. Toast, pastries and coffee are frequent farang fare throughout the day. Fresh pressed OJ, often squeezed while you wait, is everywhere for half a dollar a pop. The multitude of fruit would make you dizzy. I still don’t recognize half of them even though I’m experimenting every day.
Whether it’s spring rolls or crispy pork with rice, it’s all fresh and delightful. The flavors – salty, sweet, tangy, spicy play havoc with your tastebuds.
Non-Thai options also abound: street-side cafes offering eggs and toast to tourists, Indian restaurants offering dosas, Chinese restaurants with endless varieties of Dim Sum, breakfasts of all sorts cater to all tastes.
As you walk on the streets in the early morning you see workers and students stopping to have breakfast at one of the many food stalls or open air restaurants. It’s often noodles with some meat – chicken and pork are most common – and plenty of fixings to spice it to taste. It’s delicious, satisfying, hot and easy on the wallet – less than 2 dollars.
Crispy pork belly on rice is another favorite It’s so crispy it crunches as you bite into it and delight in it’s salty fatty goodness. It comes with its own broth, hot and flavored with chives. Thankfully the fire hot chili sauce comes on the side.
Coffee is plentiful and good, and is enjoyed often wherever, whenever. Thai seem to prefer drinking the 3-in-1 kind of instant coffee with sugar and milk, but expresso and capucino are easy to come by, beautifully crafted often from Thai grown coffee and cost about one dollar.
I discovered that breakfasts at home aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, even if you don’t set the house on fire. Cooking outdoors has it’s merits though, since the landscape compensates for my burned bacon -wannabe fried pork belly- and the cleanup was Steve’s project.
I hope you’re all doing fine and enjoying life. We are.
See you next week?