Sarah and I think we are in heaven with the food here in Thailand. We like to stop for lunch at little road-side restaurants where Thai people are eating. The food is usually spicier and better than the places that cater to tourists. Almost all of these places are made of bamboo and some are raised off the ground on stilts. The first time we walked on one of those we thought we were going to fall through! The floor is really spongy. Maybe it wasn’t made for big white people like us. (We took a picture of Sarah with Mr. Lek and Mr. Jut and when we showed it to them, they pointed to Sarah and said “big!”. Her worst nightmare!)
It is always fun to order at these little places. We always try to speak Thai and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sarah is getting pretty good now. She knows how to order eggs in the morning and how to say “I would like to pay now”, “What do you recommend?” and “It was delicious, thank you.” If the staff can’t get through our accent, they usually let us look at the dishes in the kitchen and point at which ones we want. Today we ended up with a chicken-feet curry. We weren’t really sure which parts to eat and which to leave behind. Do you crunch up the bones in the feet, or just nibble the skin off the outside? We are usually the center of attention at these places. The Thais are always smiling at us and sometimes I even get offered a sip of someone’s whiskey to drink! If anyone speaks English we always get asked where we came from, where we are going, and whether or not we are married. Once while eating breakfast, we got passed by a guy riding an elephant and most people in the restaurant were still staring at us!
There are also smaller stands everywhere that only serve one type of food like pad thai, fried bananas, or sticky rice. Here is a woman making some pad thai for us.
Sticky rice is cooked inside bamboo over a fire of smoldering coals. It is sweet and a little smoky - it reminds us of barbeque back home. You peel back the bamboo and eat the rice like one of those orange push-ups you used to eat as a kid.
We have spicy food for every meal of the day. For breakfast we either have a Thai omelette over rice or some type of curry. Yesterday we had red curry with shrimp and pineapple and today we had roti and chicken curry. My stomach sometimes hurts from all the spicy food. If it gets too bad, we just stop and get some fruit to cool off though. Our favorites are mangos, watermelons, and bananas. The fruit is so fresh and good here. I never liked mangoes at home in the US, but I love the champagne mangoes they have all over the place here. We also tried mangosteens today. They have a hard, fibrous shell sort of like a pomegranate and are really juicy, sweet and just a little tart on the inside.
A lot of the bungalows we stay in have western toilets, but when out and about we have to use a squat toilet. It is a porcelain platform with grooves where you put your feet (barefoot…someone tell Britney). Then you squat over it and let ‘er rip. I usually take my pants off to avoid an embarrassing situation. There is no toilet paper used with these toilets. You spray yourself off with the little hose next to the toilet, or use your hand and the water dipper if there is no spray hose. Cold water up your butt is a great way to start the day!