It’s quite hard going in Thailand when it comes to food. I say that because I am a bit a of a health freak. I have a preference for vegetables, whole grains, low-fat, low-sugar, low-salt foods. Food and health is important to me. So, after just a few weeks in Thailand I will admit I am struggling – food is not particularly healthy; so far at least. Lots of deep-fried, non-vegetable, sugary dishes. And in Thailand, they put sugar in everything. In the 7/11, if you’re feeling hungry wanting some snacks… well you’ve got a choice of sugary buns, cakes, steamed buns, sugary yogurts… not to mention the neon coloured drinks. Order a smoothie and usually you will get syrup added to it. At first I was loving all the sweet stuff, but now I am just hungering for some healthy, sugar free food and drinks.
The local eateries on the street sides are probably the healthiest option but even then things are fried. You can get a meal from 20 baht (65 cents or 40 pence) upwards which is way cheaper even than cooking at home yourself; it really is a bargain. The locals are very friendly and welcoming too, as it can sometimes be intimidating among locals in a foreign country. It’s really quite tasty, with simple ingredients and I think it can more often than not, be tastier than eating in a restaurant and paying triple the price. The problem in Thailand I find though, is the portion sizes. They’re more like child portions and I yearn to feel full up! For this reason, I do have a tendency to treat myself quite regularly to a 100 baht (about $3, or £2) steak/ burger and chips.
As for the fried meat and unidentifiable meat balls on the streets… The street meat guys have got me, my tastebuds have adapted and I now love the meat skewers. You can buy sticks of meat including sausages, meatballs and deep fried chicken from the streets for 10 baht a piece, granted some of it is weird and over processed… but it grows on you. Especially when you have it smothered with the chilli sauce which I have also now acclimatised to (although it is actually reasonably mild anyway). You can also, although quite rarely seen, purchase cooked insects from some of these vendors.
One time I picked out some skewers from a street vendor in Bangkok.. thought they looked nice and meaty.. Well, one of them was barbequed livers and the other, which I thought was pieces of chicken – I took a nice, big mouthful and… crunch. It turned out to be something like baby birds on a stick… I don’t have a clue. They had boney spines along the middles and some kind of yellow, inardy substance inside. For the more adventurous though… sure give it a bash!
I did, however, manage to finish them – I do hate to waste food… or anything for that matter – but it was not a very pleasant experience.