Thai Cuisine: Indulging in Bangkok’s Culinary Delights

Thai Cuisine: Indulging in Bangkok’s Culinary Delights

Food. Such a simple word yet so layered like a multi-tier wedding cake. It begins as a necessity, builds into a want and dangerously dangles as greed at times. However, if it holds ground well it can build into pure pleasure.

That’s where it stands for me – on the tier of bliss. Food is not just about satisfying hunger but it’s an entire ritual. I like food well presented, wine served in the right glass and to take hold of it with the right cutlery or fingers – whatever it demands.

Food is not just about satisfying hunger but it’s an entire ritual.

So when I went to Bangkok, Thailand–my first trip to Far East Asia–I was eagerly looking forward to broadening my palate (and not-so-eagerly my waist size!) through the opulence of Thai cuisine. As a native of the Land of Curries, India, I wanted to experience the Thai counterpart of curry. There was more in store than I expected.

After checking into the hotel, I decided to take a walk down the nearby soi (meaning street in Thai) to familiarize myself with the surroundings. I noticed that the soi was crowded with food kiosks selling everything from fresh fruits to fried fish, sausages to donuts. Over my five days of travel through the city, it was easy to see that every street seemed to paint the same scenario with myriad variations of food. Food is an obsession here and one must not be deceived by the petite Thais. People walking down the street–be it those going to work or the ones leisurely stepping out–are accompanied without fail by a plate of dim sum, a bowl of fruit or something to gnaw on.

Not being the type who is overly experimental with meat and fish, I was concerned about my choices in a place where both the aforementioned are staple ingredients in food. So, on the first day, I played it safe by ordering the most familiar thing on the menu at the food court – ginger fried rice and stir fried veggies in oyster sauce. I don’t think the meal was on my plate for more than five minutes. It was lip-smacking!

We Indians are very proud of our basmati, and I was astonished as this rice on my platter was more flavorsome than dear ol’ basmati!

From there on, I enjoyed one big gala feast. Shrimp tom yum soup, Thai red curry with prawns and jasmine rice, and pad Thai were part of my meal almost every day. I have tasted these dishes at different venues–from 15-seater shacks to glitzy five star restaurants–and one thing that doesn’t change is the quality. The freshness of the seafood and thickness of the coconut curry are the same everywhere, which I really appreciate. Also, in most places, the portions are enormous and the prices are incredibly reasonable for the kind of food served.

The first time I ordered Thai curry, which was served with jasmine rice, I was taken in by the flavor of the rice. We Indians are very proud of our basmati, and I was astonished as this rice on my platter was more flavorsome than dear ol’ basmati! When I asked the waitress what they had added to the rice, she surprised me further by saying that it’s the rice’s natural flavor. After polishing off the meal, I went to the nearest supermarket and picked up a bag of this aromatic delight to carry home.

The street food in Bangkok also reveals some little wonders. During the shopping and site-seeing sojourns, the exotic fruit and juice vendors provide relief from the hot sun. The jackfruits, guavas and pineapples are must-haves. Also, a swig of the acai berry juice stashed in ice-boxes and sold on the sidewalks is very refreshing and tasty. For those who like to eat the insects and animals that one would only be familiar with through lab experiments, they are available everywhere – fried by the dozens and ready to be devoured. I stayed away from these as I prefer the creepy crawlies in the lab than in my tummy!

Food is an obsession here and one must not be deceived by the petite Thais.

Although I made it a point to travel by the legendary tuk-tuk during my stay, I preferred to commute by the Sky Train. The BTS Sky Train seems like the only way to escape Bangkok traffic, and it is extremely safe even for women tourists. So a distance that consumed a good half of an hour by taxi or tuk-tuk took only about five minutes by train. I was excited about the train travels as much as for the tiny kiosks outside the station selling crisp waffles, hot donuts, Thai coffee and tea. The coffee is okay–nothing out of this world. But the jasmine iced tea felt like heaven sliding down my throat. Iced tea is served with milk in Thailand and a tall glass of green jasmine iced tea gets one all recharged and set to walk through the endless shopping sois in the city.

For those who prefer drinks of the fermented sort – there is awesome Thai beer! Popular local brands are Chang and Singha – both lagers. Also, most international spirit brands are available here which can be enjoyed at the pubs and lounges that transform Bangkok into a party zone by nightfall.

Food. Such a simple word yet with different connotations. The trip to Bangkok added another layer – one of delectable memories.

Thai Cuisine: Indulging in Bangkok’s Culinary Delights

About Shambhavi Pai

Shambhavi PaiShambhavi Pai is a marketing professional turned editor and writer who has now moved from the sunny comfort of homeland Mumbai to London for love. Follow her on Twitter at @theindietrotter.

One thought on “Thai Cuisine: Indulging in Bangkok’s Culinary Delights

  1. Avatar
    PRAKASH
    June 1, 2011
    Reply

    After reading the article, I am impatiently waiting to travel to Thailand! Keep up the good work

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Top
Loading...