Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wild Week Day Two: "Eating Out" In Thailand

A row of roasted duck and chunks of pork and chicken ready to be served!

Welcome to Wild Week Day Two:  "Eating out!"  If you missed reading Day One about my trip to the market to survey some wildly-awesome and wildly-odd things, click here to read that post!

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, don't expect this to be an exhaustive list of everything awesome or different you can find in a regular Thai restaurant.  I just grabbed by camera and snapped some shots when we went out to eat a few nights ago after meeting with our church.  But, this should give you a quick peek into the every-day of restaurant goers here in our country.  You could, basically, split the options in two vague groups of rice or noodles.  Yes, there are soups and vegetable sides...but everything is either served with sticky rice, yellow rice, Jasmine rice, etc...or rice noodles, egg noodles, etc.  You get the idea!  But, what about meat?  Well, here, why chop off the head or skin when you save time and cook it all together!?  

Roasted Duck (head)...they almost look sad!

A very basic dish - chicken (skin on) over rice.  A spicy sauce and curled blood cake (left) is on the side.  

Here's what Treavor had for dinner.  It is basically the same thing as above, but with fried chicken instead (and, a chicken broth soup up top).  No animal heads to be found here!  Too bad we didn't get the duck.  Or...maybe I'm OK with that!

Fermented, salty fish head.  Not the most appetizing thing to put over my rice...but I hear it is a common dish!

If heads aren't your thing...or you just want some curry or vegetables...there is almost always a set-up like this on every block in town:

Platters of prepared foods to go over rice are displayed in the front of this restaurant.  You can either order it to go or choose it to be poured over a plate of rice for just a dollar.

Eggs are a staple here just like everywhere else in the world.  These scrambled Thai omelette's look awesome!

This is another really common soup dish.  You choose the kind of meat (raw) or meat balls (everything from fish to beef to pork to mystery meat!)...then the cook dips it into a boiling broth with a mesh ladle...adds noodles and veggies...and you have a delicious, quick, made-to-order soup.

Then, you add any of the above (peanuts, dried chili's, sugar, fish sauce with peppers, you name it!) and the taste is how you want it. 

I ordered something similar...egg noodles with veggies, broth, sliced red pork and won tons.  It was on my table in less than a minute!  
This is on just about every table in Thailand and in just about every dish there is.  There is no escaping the fish sauce!
If you are thirsty, the wildest thing about drinks in Thailand is that they are so so cheap.  There aren't shrimp shakes or anything crazy like that...but there is Thai iced tea, coffee, thick and creamy...and if you can put it in the blender...just about any fruit shake you like.

Everything you see listed is unbelievably cheap - 10 baht is 33 cents, 15 baht is 50 cents and 30 baht is a dollar.   A fifty cent iced coffee with dinner? Don't mind if I do!

Variety is the spice of life!

Thai drinks would be lacking without this surprising ingredient...sweetened condensed milk!  It is a staple for iced tea, coffees and even some fruit drinks are enhanced with it.  I bet you'll never look at Carnation the same if you sample drinks made with this.
Need a quick bite because you can't sit at a restaurant?  Meat on a stick!  This is one of the thousands of street carts that make and sell food right on the sidewalk or the side of the street.  No health codes here!  :)

...or, seafood meat on a stick!

Yep...that is a raw squid that you see!  It is only 66 cents...but I think I'll pass...

The seafood grill...right on the side of this portable street cart/mini-restaurant.

I have to end this post with dessert (getting picture-heavy already...right?  your Internet browser probably hates me right now!).  Here is one popular option that I passed on the way home:

Rotee, or roti, is most every foreigner's friend and enemy.  Friend?  Because it is awesome!  Enemy?  Because your waistline will soon expand with your addiction.  Moderation is recommended.

First, the cook pulls out a lump of dough (like crepe dough) and she spreads it thin on her metal prep area.

Then, she flips it around like a roti artist.  I have tried this technique is hard to pick up!
Next, she puts the dough on a heated, oiled surface, tops it with my desired filling (I chose egg and banana)...

...and as it cooks, folds it into a neat little pocket of goodness.

It cooks for a minute or two and browns the outside.  So hungry!

She chops it up like a super-roti ninja...

Last, she tops it with an obscene amount of sweetened condensed milk (see?  i told you!  secret ingredient!)...

...and she adds chocolate sauce because I asked "pretty please."  All of that for $1.20!  That was more than I paid for noodles that night.  It was worth it.

I haven't even mentioned other Thai restaurant (and home-cooked) staples...Coconut Chicken Soup, Pad Thai, Chicken with Thai Basil, and the obvious, Fried Rice!  Click on those dish names for links to recipes/pictures of those or go here for a page of several different famous dishes.  

The kids are hungry for dinner and I think I have given you enough already to make you call your nearest Thai take-out - so, thanks for reading and experiencing more of the wild territory of Thai living (or, should I say, eating?).

See you tomorrow for Day Three of Wild Week!

After reading the last two posts, what is the most appetizing or unappetizing thing you've seen so far?  Share in the comments below:

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