Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tasty Tasty Thailand

Well, it's no secret, I love Thai food. Nothing more to say really.

Maybe it  was a minor blessing finishing the race two stages too early, I was free to roam the streets and see what peculiar things took my fancy.

This was the first dish I encountered when I arrived in Thailand. I had flown Air Asia via Kuala Lumpur then onto Bangkok. I had 12 hours and a night to kill before flying out the next morning to rockin' Ubon Ratchathani. So, operation street stall I walk out of our hotel near the airport and the area is looking pretty baron, no big city here. I walked for a k and found a bunch of stalls all slowing down after the lunch rush. Well, I wasn't too choosy, I was tired and oh so hungry. The first stall that was clean, fresh and smelt tasty was where I sat. After some smiles and a bunch of pointing I ended up with one of the best meals I had the whole trip. 

A grilled fish (of what variety, I have no clue) that appeared to have been sitting around for a while but was still good, with a really, I mean really, tangy and spicy chilli paste which was salty with fish sauce, spicy thanks to the bucket load of dried chilli and sour with tamarind, no sweetness either. It was given some crunch with a few spring onions thrown in the mix. Nice on the rice, but truly at home on the dark fleshed fish. All the sweetness was waiting in the green papaya salad, which was also, the best (and one of many..) green papaya salads I had all trip. Papaya, peanuts, limes, tomatoes, snake beans, whole garlic cloves, dried shrimp, some obscure purple flower petal (???) and a tamarind, chilli, vinegar, sugar dressing. All pounded with vigour by this crazy old Thai lady who couldn't believe I was eating all those chilli's!

 These were discovered in a night market after stage 4 and were hence named by Rob and I, the chicken condom. A gelatinous but sticky rice paper crepe was spread on a hotplat, filled with chicken mince which had a bunch of local herbs, the only one I recognised was saw tooth coriander, rolled up, and cooked. Then boxed up with a sweet vinegar style sauce and some diced bits of liver and you were on your way to a sticky, gloopy but oh so tasty heaven.

Next up was an assault on the grilled meats stall. Anything, I mean anything, on a stick, grilled. It's here. Where? Well an obscure town in the middle of Thailand.... But I digress, this is where carnivores come to die. Pork belly, some part of the chicken which I could not for the life of me identify, and a whole bunch of offal, all graced the three sticks I consumed (sticks not included). And I consumed them rapidly, because they tasted great. I've definitely had better, but given each one was about 25 Australian cents, I was happy.

And then there were bugs. Dried, crispy, and frankly just a little bit odd. Grab a leave and wrap em up. 3, 2, 1, and...chew. Well. Hmm. They tasted like, Bugs, I guess. The had this strange medicinal taste. If some Thai guy told me that they were supposed to cure ailments I'd believe him. Buuuuut, I probably wouldn't buy them again....

And so off to Korea I head. It'll be tough, a long race will require a lot of food, but there shall be no street adventures until after the last stage. As nice as it is exploring around and eating god knows what from god knows where, there nothing worse than a 225k stage with an upset gut. And no one want to end up like Boonen

Eat well.

Footnote- Thank you Rob Doyle for taking the photos.

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