Ahh, Thai food..
A reason good enough to include the country into your travel plans. If you have plans to visit the country, don't forget to check online for affordable accommodation on Expedia hotels.
Having tasted a good variety of meals and dishes, I came to a somewhat strange conclusion.
The food sold on the street, or eaten on the "street", as is the case with beach restaurants, is generally better than the one ordered in a fancy restaurant.
A lady enjoys her meal bought on the street, Bangkok, Thailand
The latter is often too sterile for me, and I don't know if that's a psychological effect, or our genes send signals with a message - food tastes better in the fresh air.
If you don't get this sort of impulses in your brain, I'll give you another one. I promise your wallet will like it.
Pad Thai with vegetables costs 15 baht in Khao San road. Want an egg on it? Add 5 baht.
Fresh and crunchy.
The same meal ordered while sitting down, will have a price tag of around 40 baht.
Remembering what I said earlier, I can't complain that my taste receptors like cheaper food better. Unlike with whiskey, unfortunately.
There's another reason. Eating the food made on the street is so much sewn into Asian culture, that missing it leaves the whole point of visiting a country such as Thailand, rather weakened.
There are a few pieces of advice that are not to be missed, and if you stick to it, no diarrhea will harm you:
- Start your culinary adventures with.. the food you are used to. Order it in your hotel restaurant. It will adapt your stomach to herbs, dressings and spices that will inevitably be different from what you use back home.
- After a day or two, try a few local dishes, that don't sound two exotic, and have a minimum of ingredients. Pad Thai in case of Thailand. It will also be a good time to experiment with meanings and levels of "hot" (i.e. spicy). And aftereffects.
- Starting from there - try a dish on the street. Just make sure the food is being made after you ordered it, or at least very recently (few minutes ago). In this case you will avoid the effects that heat, insects and general dirt in the air are capable of doing to a meal that has been sitting in the open for two hours.
- Look for places with good turnover of people, preferrably - a mix of locals and tourists. It's a sign that the raw food is fresh and hasn't been kept for too long before processing. Spotting tourists mean that the food is edible.
- If the meal you'd like to have looks suspicious, forget about all the other advice given above, and walk away. Go someplace else. I understand, that in the beginning all the food will look strange and suspicious, but after a few days you'll start distinguishing what's normal and what's not.
The above has worked for me like a charm. After 11 months in Asia, I did a full blood test, to find out if I didn't catch any parasite or infection. The results showed I'm clean like a baby.
The advice is more suitable to people that have a vacation of at least two weeks, as I believe that if you have just a day in a city like Bangkok, you'll want to disregard the risks and soak up as much experience as possible in a shortest time.
Which is not the way Asia should be experienced.