About Thailand…

Guys, I ate Thailand. I know how much you were looking forward to going there; but sorry, it’s gone. Parts of Cambodia too — most of Sihanoukville.
I wasn’t expecting much from my trip to Thailand. In fact, we pinned the destination with some reluctance. All the desis go there, so we were wary. I am not fond of meeting my kind abroad. But it was cheap and a good place from which to kick-off some travel writing since I will be funding it myself until fame catches up.
But as we found out, it’s very hard to not have a good time in Thailand. I opened my mouth the minute I got off the plane and shut it only when I got back on.
We were there for nearly a month, with about a week spent in Cambodia. If I had to give you one piece of advice about travelling to the latter, it would be: Don’t exchange your dollars. If you asked for more, I would say: In Siem Reap, ask for Mr Hong. In a land of survivalist rickshaw drivers, you’ll want the gentle Mr Hong. Call him on +85512325405.

About Thailand, we did a bike trip, we went to Krabi, and we ate through the land. There’s a lot of food that went undocumented, but here’s some that didn’t:

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In Angkor Wat, when you order pancake with sugar and lemon, it’s an actual cake made in a pan. Dessert for lunch.

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I am not one for unidentifiable meat. My usual routine for meals was to point to the noodles, the vegetables I recognised and dump in shrimp. I are shrimp like it was salt. I ate variations of this mix, but my favourite was one with glass noodles. Cambodia does a spicier version.

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Sorta the same thing in a soup-y base. Point, point, pay.

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The Khmer barbecue makes you work for your meal. We no-thank-you to crocodile meat and settled for prawn, fish and chicken. Into the moat flow the meat juices, in which cook noodles and vegetables.

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Prawns in white pepper. Unremarkable. Siem Reap.

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Snakeskin fruit. Tangy. Bitch to peel.

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Most commercial establishments in Sihanouville are run by foreigners. We stayed at SeaView hotel which had happy hours for meals. This is vanilla ice-cream with a hot, fresh raspberry dribble. I’m sure it had a fancier name, but this is what it was. I had some nice salted orange liquor crepes from the French guy next door. Called again by a much fancier name that I can’t recall.

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Caramelised banana chips. Sugar is a vital component of all my meals.

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Sugar dusted bun filled with sweet rajma mash from a Japanese coffee shop on Sukhumvit Road, Thailand.

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I have recurring dreams about this Japanese bun. The fragile and crisp shell is a Swiss Bank for custard cream. Green Tea flavour is omnipresent in patisseries and the plain custard is good too. It’s at the Central World Mall food court if you are going. Pick up some for me please.

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An eggy-pork bun from Chatuchak weekend market. Not a fan.

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Also at Chatuchak, water chestnuts covered in a sort of jelly, I suspect China Grass, and served with chilled coconut milk and ice. Did not do it for me.

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Lemongrass juice. Too sweet. Even for me…

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Grilled various things. I had the banana and the sweet potato. Good for breakfast if you can’t find a fruit vendor.

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Deep fried dough coil covered with crystallised sugar syrup. At Chiang Mai night market.

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Passionfruit juice. Without sugar.

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Chewy waffles with coconut. Chiang Rai

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Mint flavoured candyfloss. Chiang Rai. My civilisation lacks flavoured candyfloss. My culinary inventor friends and I have often discussed how to amend this. This came in coils, that sat upon each other. Much fluffier and denser than our variety.

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Coconut milk dumplings. Meh. Chiang Saen. Saved me from eating food that couldn’t be bothered to disguise the fact that they were dead bodies.

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Like a sweet uttapam folded over coconut gratings that have been lolling indecently in sugar.

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Bangkok crepes are crispier, like dosas.

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Noodle soup in Krabi. Did not do it for TB.

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My travelling companion loves burgers. This one was at Good Dreams Hostel in Krabi town, and quite acceptable. Mike’s Original Burgers in Chiang Mai was our favourite.

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Green curry with shrimp.

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One of my favourite things to do while travelling is check out the bhaji market. I usually buy fruits for breakfast because I’m crankiest on an empty stomach. Fuelled, I am all set to look for a second breakfast. Thailand handed me little packet of cut fruits at every corner. Some I forgot to photograph in my havratness. Raw and ripe mangoes, Chinese apples, berries and some I didn’t recognise. Above are mangosteen, rambutan and a kind of pear.

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A whoopee pie at Bangkok

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coconut icecream with roasted peanuts

Coconut ice-cream at Bangkok and Chiang Saen. I liked the northern cousin better, topped with roasted peanuts.

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A Japanese cheessecake with green tea layer. That rosette felt like red bean paste. Most curious.

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Ancient ice cream in Taro root flavour. Creamy. Didn’t have a chance to try all the flavours — my stomach could not process as quickly as I ate.

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Crispy pancakes with sweet egg cream and salty desiccated coconut. I met these guys on our second night in Thailand and only weaned myself off after I ate 25 of them in Chiang Rai.

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We did a road trip to the golden triangle and enroute, there were roadside vendors selling pineapples. I scored this little fellow. Juicier and less tart than the Indian variety.

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Dragonfruit juice. A lot of our gluttony played out against the background of the Chiang Mai night market. I was a real lady of the night there.

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I don’t remember what juice. Not pineapple, or dragon fruit. Chrysanthemum?

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Classic waffles with plum sorbet. Tart. Chiang Mai night market.

Malay crispy pancakes2

Malay crispy pancakes2

Crispy Malay pancakes, more visible as you go south. I was introduced to them on Ao Nang beach and promptly consumed three. The lady selling them was flattered. They come in dozens of versions and so many escaped my clutches. My favourites were the crispy, lemon and sugar, and cinnamon avatars.

Things missed:
Fried seaweed: Available at 7/11.
Sushi by the penny: Rows of sushi arranged by price. Five to 15 Baht tops. So for under Rs 500, you can pack in a lot of raw fish and rice foreplay. I beginning to find my food-sex references disturbing.
So many burgers
Chicken satay
This glass noodle, shrimp thing at a street vendor in Bangkok
Kaukswe at a noodle house in Bangkok

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A common situation

I have trouble saying ‘No’. And when I say Yes, I take complete charge of the task, convinced my reputation, relationship and future depends upon it. Sometimes, I can’t execute the task for reasons beyond my control. I can’t just explain that to the people depending on me. I don’t use the simple truth, no no. I rely on a grand lie. I am not only letting you down, I’m letting you down TO BROKER PEACE BETWEEN NATIONS. Sorry, I can’t style for free because I need to fly out to Pakistan. I’m sure you understand.

What do you do?