December 27, 2012
Update. I'm currently in the heart of Western Europe, in the country of The Netherlands. It's cold, it's dark, and as a result, fireworks and weed are readily available. However, I now find myself constantly dreaming of warmer destinations. Of all the tropical paradises I have spent my days in, there's only one that is planted firmly at the top of my thoughts. Thailand. It's a magical place. A very special place. A warm and soft place known for far more, than just ping pong balls.
People from around the world dream of heading to the "far-away" exotic destination of Thailand. Australians are fortunate to be located in the same global sub-neighbourhood, making it an easy choice for either a week, month, or year long holiday. Although Queenslanders may be jumping online booking Brisbane to Phuket flights at the same rate that Western Australians are filling up resorts in Bali, I feel that the number one spot in Thailand, by far, is the city of Bangkok. And a big part of Bangkok's success, is the all prevalent culture of preparing, cooking, selling, buying, an eating food - on the streets.
Street food in Bangkok is everywhere. On almost every street, all over the truly huge city that is the Thai capital. Every street, every lane way, every Soi. For most hours of the day. On busier streets, vendors take it in shifts, moving their mobile "restaurants" in and out of location, to suit the time of day. At the same location in a 24 hour period, an ever changing landscape of breakfast/lunch/dinner/late-night-snack vendors unfolds on the streets. Pork noodle soup. Fried chicken. Crepes, sweet and savory. Spicy salads. Repeat.
Bangkok's street food vendors are a loved fixture of the city. They fill the streets all over the capital, for most hours of the day. Thai street food is cheap. A dollar gets you a decent meal. Thanks to the huge level of competition, the comparatively lower wages, and the fact that the Thai locals and expats alike have embraced a culture of heading outdoors and dining in public. There's an enormously healthy supply of food vendors, meeting the needs of the insatiable demand of millions of the city's residents. Day in, day out. Night after night.
On the surface, it just shouldn't work. Seafood, on a blistering hot day in the middle of an enormous city, with no refrigeration Attention to detail - said nobody ever upon inspecting the cleanliness of a set of chopsticks provided to "dine-in" customers, on the grubby set of mismatched plastic picnic tables and miniature chairs normally found near vendors. "There goes a rat." "Where?" "He ran under the table over there...he's quite a big one." - you are much more likely to over-hear in Bangkok. Despite this, the chances of you getting ill - at least to a small degree - are reasonably high. Don't be alarmed, you won't die, and you probably will be fine the next day, or maybe the day after. Next time, order something much spicier with less pork, and you'll be Thai street food hardened in no time.
If you would like to experience the real deal in street food, head to Bangkok, Thailand.
Bangkok is a street foodies wet dream come to life.