I'm seriously getting in touch with my inner hunter/gatherer these days I have to say. A fair amount of my day is spent thinking about what I can eat, when I can eat, and where I can find food. Fortunately - our brains are specifically designed for this task!
First thing in the morning... or you know, whenever I end up leaving my apartment I usually go across to the gas-station minimart for some breakfast on the way to school
Mmmm... bottled water & surprise pastries! Actually I've figured out that this one is some approximation of chocolate - so it's my go-to breakfast when they have it. (They only stock 1 or 2 of each flavor everyday, so it's kind of hit or miss).
If I'm really hungry, or I don't have a morning class...I'll wait until like 11am and go eat lunch as my first meal.
This is one of the first restaurants I went to as it's on my street... just a little ways up. But the first time I went, the waitresses (who looked really young) just laughed and laughed at me. I mean, yes I couldn't string together two words in Thai, so go ahead and laugh. But when you're hungry and you just want food - it's not a great feeling. I had asked for Pad Thai but apparently they don't serve it there. So I pulled out the only other meal I knew at the time "kow pad gai" (chicken fried rice) - the girls still laughed at me, but some older guy from the back of the restaurant (the cook - their dad - both? who knows) was like "Kow Pad Gai" and nodded. So I ate. I think it might be a Chinese Restaurant...or something. While eating I noticed a menu with pictures - it was all different kinds of bao. So the next time I went I just pointed at one of the pictures of bao (they all look the same from the outside!!!!) and got some kind of sweet bbq pork filling. It was okay... but I just didn't like the vibe.
Fortunately, this restaurant is just across the street.... well, across the street and down half a block.
There's a whole hive of people working at this restaurant and I'm never quite sure who I should be talking to. But they are all very friendly and tend to laugh *near* me not so much *at* me. They seem pretty tolerant of my experiments with speaking Thai. The first few times I went all I ate was fried rice... but then I tried a "What do you recommend" and they brought me Larb. There was pork and liver and sticky rice, it was edible, but not my favorite thing. Since then, I've made learning new foods a top priority and am constantly asking people from school "nee arai" (what's that?) and what I should order.
In the past couple of days I've picked up a couple new food words and can now ask for noodles, and vegetables, and can order a meal that does not appear to be fried. I think I know the word for eggs and am working up the courage to ask for scrambled eggs at some point.
There are a few street vendors around here, although not many. This gal sells fried chicken, a number of packaged baked goods (I had some apricot filled fried dough-type-things that were not great) and a few things wrapped up in banana leaves. I've had mixed experiences with the banana-leaf wrapped foods. Once it was that absolutely heavenly coconut sticky-rice mixture... but another time it was a spicy chicken and herb/veggie concoction that had a number of small bones in it. Disturbing.
There's a restaurant just behind the school, and I've eaten there a number of times, but honestly - the place is disgusting. It's nowhere near clean, and you can see bugs crawling over the walls and tables. The food is pretty good though, it's always served really hot and I've never found anything unsettling in it - or gotten sick. Still, I wouldn't go there if there were another option nearby... but there just isn't. Once I get that motorbike though....
Today after my last class the Head Teacher (who lives in my building) asked if I wanted to stick around and go to the food-court with one of the office staff (who has a car). It was nice to have an actual Thai person with me at the market, because I could ask her what things were, and where I could get what I wanted. It turned out though that I didn't need her language skills because one of the booths had salad rolls packaged to-go. I thought of Mrs.B back home and had to get some!
Those orange things are super tiny shrimp. I thought they were shredded carrots, but then looking at the picture I was like "that carrot has an eye." Hmmm... it was yummy. The sauce is molases based... but has chili peppers in it. A bit of a surprise for me.
I'm still trying to sort out *when* to eat. Monday - Wednesday I have class straight from 2pm-9pm. The first day I'd grabbed a snack to eat on the car between my off campus & on campus classes, but by the end of the day I was still so hungry I wanted to pass out. The second day, I had a few crackers for breakfast, a big lunch, then picked up some to-go food before my class and kept it in the fridge at school. I got to eat a few cold fork-fulls during the 10 min break in my 2.5 hour class, and brought the rest of it home. Not ideal... but it worked. Today I ate a big meal at around 10am, then went to start planning my classes. I was hungry again by 1pm, so I had a big lunch - knowing it would have to last me until 9pm. But then I was really full through my classes.... and I picked up the salad rolls in case I got hungry later.... but I'm still not. Oh well. I'll sort it out one of these days. And you can rest assured that I'll blog all about it. ;)
TAG - Code Mango