As soon as it was confirmed that we would be going travelling for an indefinite period of time around South East Asia, my mind – but more importantly my stomach – began to get very excited and work up one almighty appetite. I mean, I love my food and thoroughly enjoy the prospect of wolfing down portions of fantastical size. To be honest with you, most of the time I only made it through many of the days working in the office back home fantasising about; what am I going to eat for lunch today? And after that had settled (maybe 15minutes), what am I gonna have for dinner? I’m sure many of you are the same.
Therefore, having the potential to consume a large range of foods from different counties, of which I had already heard such great things about, at my own discretion was certainly one of the most appealing factors for travelling in the first place. As such, I thought it would be only fair to share some of the wonderful – and not so wonderful – food I’ve had the pleasure of devouring over the past 3 months across 4 countries. In the first of 4 blogs on this topic, I decided to kick things off with my personal favourite …….
Taking the Heavyweight Championship of South East Asia is Thailand. I always like to grade my food on three very important categories: quantity, quality and price (don’t get me wrong presentation is nice, but it means fuck all when it’s in your mouth and when you’re done eating). In my experience, Thailand consistently absolutely nailed those three categories. Particularly Northen Thailand, for example Chang Rai, Chang Mai, Pai and especially Udon Thani, were outstanding. The street food there was delicious and varied , ranging from beautifully seasoned and delightfully crispy fried chicken for around 30-50 Bhat (80p-£1.10), to the super spicy, but super tasty Papaya Salads that you can get in a bag from as little as 20Bhat (50p). A multitude of mouth watering deserts and fresh fruit can also be purchased for a similar price. Put it this way, for that price and that level of delicious I was one full boy for a long time, the food baby was certainly overdue.
Down towards the South and in the Islands food would be on the whole more expensive than the North, although not by much perhaps on average 20bhat or so. We did have one or two more average meals and even one shocker – I’m looking at you random beach restaurant somewhere in Koh Phanghan (not what you need after one too many buckets the night before!) – however, on the whole the quality and quantities were brilliant. One of the best features about Thai food is the price. This rectified any issues of quantity as quite often I would find myself ordering a couple of meals at once. Big lad.
Favourite meal – Udon Thani, can’t remember the name of the place as it was in Thai – as was the menu – so apologies I can’t be more specific. However we ordered a giant Barbequed Snapper fish, Sticky Rice, Papaya salad and various delcious dipping sauces. The taste was unreal. Beautifully seasoned, just enough spice and the fish literally fell off the bone. All for 250 Bhat (£6) for the two of us.
Favourite Dish – It just has to be the Pad Thai. I had some phenomenal curries, particularly the massaman, however for as little as 40bhat (£1) and the ability to change the taste to your preference, you just cannot go wrong. I did find the taste varied a lot around the country, unusually down to the sauce used, nevertheless it was always aquality and regularly left the one who didn’t order it with a serious case of food envy. If in doubt Pad Thai is a great shout.
Don’t forget to stay tuned and keep your eyes peeled for my next blog, revealing which country takes No.2 !
By Ben Knight