Street Food, Bangkok
Bangkok is a food heaven; a sensational culinary journey and taste experience that is unrivalled and guaranteed to delight your taste buds. Apart from renowned Thai cuisine with its blend of spicy, sour, sweet and salty, the smorgasbord includes every other famous type of cuisine found in the world.
TOM YUM GONG as it is after all Thailand's national dish. 'tom yum goong' is an aromatic hot and sour soup with shrimps and mushroom (sometimes with other seafood too).
PAD THAI is stir-fried rice noodles with egg, peanuts, dried shrimps, tofu, bean sprouts, tamarind juice, and, sometimes, squid and shrimps. If you want to try the best 'pad thai' in Bangkok, don't bother with its rip-off version sold on Kaosan Road. There's one proper 'pad thai' restaurant not too far from there called 'Thipsamai'.
If you are a party animal...or a booty animal...you will most probably end up hungry at that odd hour when you wld not find any dazzled restaurant or joint open!!
Not to worry... a short trip frm Sukhimvit towards Paturnam is all you need to eat Local Thai Food till abt 4am in morning...
Nonetheless...you shld like the Local Thai Food...
The attraction is that the meal is really inexpensive as well as charmed by the usual bees of BKK!!!
Youve probably heard great things about street food as well as horror stories from eating the snacks from the road. Well Im not a big explorer of weird bbq food items in Thailand - half the time I have no idea what they are serving/selling - but every once in a while I give it a try.
For some reason I decided to give a stick of chicken hearts a try.....yes that right....these are chicken hearts......I have tried them before so this wasnt some big experiment BUT some small alley in BKK makes it a little more interesting. Long story short....they were good, I didnt eat them all, and I came out of the experience none the worse for the wear.....maybe the lucky flowers on my neck kept my stomach safe.....that or the alcohol!
Funny thing about this scene is my home doctor was adament - before I left - that you dont eat eggs or chicken in asia (ie:bird flu??)......I knew that was nuts BUT I didnt expect to be eating bbq chicken hearts from some street vendor in some back alley about 6 hrs after we arrived in town....makes a good story and a good picture though!
I guess the morrale of the story is: Dont be shy.....TRY!
You may already know that Thai people love their food hot. If you don't know this -you will learn shortly.
Thai people love their chili so much they put it on fruit. They place a sugar chili mixture in a bag-then dip the fruit inside or you can sprinkle it on top. It's so good and can be addictive. Usually they sprinkle the mixture on green mangoes, but i have seen it done on strawberries.
In Thai cooking, they are always looking for a balance. An almost Thai ying yang affect. They want sweetness (palm sugar), saltiness (fish sauce), heat (chili), souriness (vinegar). All these items will either be incorporated in your food or found as little jars on your table as condiments.
If you don't like spicy foods-you can have
-pad thai. A noodle dish with prawns (shrimp in usa), some tofu (not always), green onions, and egg thrown in with some rice noodles.
-beef/chicken stirfry with sweet basil-just ask for less chili
-cashew fried chicken. I am not sure if this is a 100% Thai dish, since it seems Chinese style and could have been made for the tourists. Anyway, it's rather good.
Not all chilis are quite hot-just stay away from the tiny ones. The smaller -the hotter. For instance-the chili padi or firecracker.
Just stay away from the papaya/mango salad unless they are making it for you. It's a very delicious crisp salad-but they love to load it with chili.
Street food can be safe to eat if you know what you are looking for. Anything(soup-noodles and such) are safe if they are booling hot. With meat-if it's fresh and not been sitting around- i am sure it is fine. Everybody's digestive systems and strengths are different so be careful.
I would avoid most hawker stalls by the Chao Phraya river. The food is fine. But i have seen vendors washing their plates and chopsticks in Chao Phraya river water. The street vendors that will cook things to order are best.
-banana or fruit murtobak-fruit grilled pancake with condensed milk
-quail egg omlette cakes
-have to try little kuehs (or sweet cakes)
-pad thai noodles
-som tom ( papaya salad-if you don't like anything to hot you could avoid this or ask for less chili).
Drink the dark green "Bua Bok" juice at Bangkok SkyTrain stations like National Stadium Station, Nana Station and Thong Lo Station to cure your headache and sore throat after walking all day long under the sun in Bangkok without any umbrella.
"Bua Bok" refers to Asiatic pennywort, a unique herbal annual that grows along damp places of Thailand. Its fresh leaves contain carbohydrate, fibre, Vitamin C and a high level of calcium. Its juice is highly popular among the Thais.
"Bua Bok" is used to treat foot and mouth disease, internal contusion and high blood pressure in Thailand too.
For me one of the major fascinations in a radically different culture than mine is to watch the people. This seafood seller is a good example of a person that knows he is selling a good quality product.
The sem-covered food markets are full of new sights and smells. Among those new to me were the "dragon fruits" -- see my travelogue of the "green market" for more on this fruit and the markets themselves.
Papaya pok pok (thai style salad)
rice with variety of dishes
kau pat gong/gai (fried rice with prawn/chicken)
Pork, beef and chicken are the general item you can choose. I think no matter what kind of meat you eat, the sauce is the best prat of B.B.Q..