Thursday, September 27, 2007

Good Thai Eats

My Psychology of Diversity class was talking about culture differences and our guest speaker from Japan talked specifically about food related differences. This got me thinking about our trip to Thailand and some of the differences we experienced there.
Our hotel was attached to a mall, think Rivercenter in SA. The mall had several of the same restaurants as in US, but some totally different flavors. Baskin Robins had Green Tea ice cream and Mangosteen sherbet. Pizza Hut offered a sea food pizza- prawns, squids, baby clams and mussels. Pizza Hut also had the yummiest shakes with flavors like Kiwi Apple. Brent was particularly captivated by the host and her Pizza Hut hat. Swensen’s had an ice cream dish that boasted jackfruit, corn and jelly, along with a scoop or 2 of your favorite flavor. There was also a small grocery store in the mall, Topps, on the bottom floor, where I could have spent hours scouring every last product. Lay’s carried chips in flavors like seaweed, wasabi, salt and pepper, and prawn. Picture our bread isle here… Picture every loaf replaced with a bag of rice instead… Picture the isle facing it full of oil. Imagine eating rice for every meal every day of your life! The produce section in incredible! Mangosteen, rambutan, longan, durian, litchee, mango, pomelo are some of the new fruits I tried. Mangosteen and pomelo were my favorites; durian was by far the worst! Check out some of the fruits here.

We mostly drank water while we were there. Our hotel room would provide 2 glass bottles each time the room was cleaned (daily). We also bought a few cases of plastic bottled water. Occasionally when we dined out, we ordered sodas. Regular sodas came in recycled glass bottles. And typically cost around 15B. Diet sodas came in cans, marked Lite, and cost around 30B. There was not a single place we went that offered soda “on tap.”

Our hotel offered a breakfast buffet, talk about a broad range of food! The Western side offered corn flakes and cocoa flakes (strange concave shaped pieces), bread pudding (I am positive at least 1 of the 3 pounds I gained came from this), French toast, and toast. There were several items I was never able, or courageous enough to identify from the other side of the buffet, some kind of cream of wheat looking substance to which many added unidentifiable foods (green onions was all I could recognize). There were coconut milk fritters (?) with either green onion or corn mixed in. I tried the corn ones, pretty yummy. Phad Thai, for every meal, yes, breakfast too. Tommy was a big fan of what he always referred to as “the fried chromosome looking things” despite the sign that said “Chinese donuts.” These were yes, chromosome shaped, but much like a more substantial hunk of funnel cake. There was a bowl of sweetened condensed milk to top it off. I preferred to use the sweetened condensed milk on top of my sticky rice.
I had never eaten Phad Thai before our trip. The first time I ate any was at the breakfast buffet at our hotel in Bangkok. I only tried a little bit because I wasn’t sure what it was. When I sent Tommy back for more, there was none left. The first time I ate it and knew what it was was at the Riverside Restraunt on the Mae Ping in Chiang Mai. Delicious! They typically serve it with a pile of bean sprouts on the side, I passed on these, preferring the cooked ones already in the meal. It is also served with a key lime and a small bowl of soy sauce. I’ve had Phad Thai here in Texas a few times since being back. I didn’t care for either, and I might actually say one of the times, it was gross. I am truly glad I didn’t try it here before heading over, or I might have really missed out.
My favorite dish in Chiang Mai wasn’t even on the menu. There was a small place a block or two from our hotel that we frequented for cheap and yummy food. In the US fried rice is served on the side. In Thailand, it’s the main course. On our first visit to The Lemon Tree, Dr. Eitel, asked about an item that was on the menu on a previous visit. Chicken Fried Rice with Pineapple. This is seriously one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. Sounds like it’d be simple to make right? I am quite positive nothing in the states could come close.


  1. You've made me very hungry! Too bad we haven't found anything here that can really compare to a Thai prepared Pad Thai. The best one I had was at the Black Canyon Cafe in the Central Mall.

    We must not forget about Roti, the pastry/desert. Yummy.

  2. it's actually phad thai
    and the best was at riverside
    and roti was only ok



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