The significant lover and I were lucky enough to not only be awake for midnight on New Year’s but to be celebrating in Thailand with two of our loveliest friends.
Needless to say, we gathered plenty of stories from our day spent with elephants at Patara Elephant Farm in Chiang Mai to toasting on top of one of Bangkok’s rooftop bars. There are lots to share but I wanted to start by giving you my favorite takeaways from our trip:
- Don’t be dainty with ginger: The home-cooked meal (above) was served to us as we sat on the porch floor outside a village woman’s home. Bowl after bowl of jackfruit salad, larb, rice, and chicken soup was passed through the open door of the woman’s home and we ate damn near all of it. Each ladle of soup had two or three large (refer to photo) slices of ginger and this wasn’t the first place we had noticed the generous amounts of ginger used in cooking which made me think that next time I reach for my micro-plane, I should reach for my knife instead.
- Real chefs are street chefs: Not to discount the hundreds to thousands of fantastic restaurant chefs around the globe, one idea became truth to us all on our trip through Thailand and that was to skip the sit-down restaurants with their modern accoutrements and stick to the street food regardless of where the chefs are washing the dishes. With produce and meats selected that morning, these street food warriors cook until they run out of ingredients or until the ingredient supplier stops making his rounds.
- Chiang Mai Sausage is the best sausage. Enough said.
- Road rage is poor form: No matter how much any of us gripped the cage of the tuk tuk or each other in the taxi, we realized the Thai people seemed to have this driving etiquette down to…well not science but a Buddhist practice of tolerance. The lines painted on the streets were more of guidelines, the vehicle horns were used as warnings not aggression, and cutting people off or driving on the shoulder was more than acceptable behavior. Of course the latter would never be acceptable in the States but just maybe, we could all cool it and keep our temper because we’re all trying to get somewhere.
- Coconut does the body good: I don’t think my pantry is ever going to be without a can of coconut milk from now on. Eating fresh coconut, getting massaged in coconut oil, having coconut ice cream in a coconut, nibbling on coconut pancakes at the floating market, CURRY—there wasn’t a day when coconuts weren’t present and to tell you the truth, I didn’t get sick of them once.
The food and drink being cheap enough for second and third lunches and dinners certainly helped to keep us going from wat to wat and island to island but affordability aside, Thailand has turned my palate upside down. It’s been over two weeks since we returned and I am still craving boiled rice and pork in the morning and double fried chicken wings in the afternoon. I even miss sweating as if I’m in the middle of a plyo session when I’m only having a bowl of khao soi. Thailand, you have my stomach.
Hope to share more about our trip with you all soon.