Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Eating Tips in Thailand

Food in Thailand is customarily HOT, spicy HOT. Most Westerners cannot handle the level of spice that Thai people enjoy. To help you order a tasty and pleasurable meal, I would advise any visiting Westerner to use one of the following two phrases (based upon your preference): 1) "my pet" - not spicy; and 2) "pet nik noy" - a little bit spicy. The food is awesome in Thailand and this tip should help you enjoy it even more.

Fortunately I am now able to eat at the Thai level of spice. In fact I would put in the upper percentile for being able to handle the spiciness. Believe me, my body still reacts to the chilis, initially with hiccups to the first few bits then after I get used to the spiciness my nose starts to run, and will continue to run through the rest of dinner. Why do I do it you might ask? Well I have found that the chili brings out so many other flavors that I now understand why the Thai people eat spice at that level.

Thailand Photo Blog - View my 'Thai Foods' set on Flickriver
A warning about street food - There is an old Thai saying "a little bit of dirt makes the food a little bit more delicious" (rough translation). For Westerners, buying food on the street can have a negative impact upon your health with the possible contraction of various gastro-digestive problems. While most street food vendors are clean, this is only by local standards. I live by a simple rule which has served me well while living here in Bangkok, the rule is:"only eat from the street what is cooked in front of you". This ensures that the food is fully cooked before you eat it. Unfortunately, this eliminates a lot of food served on the street, but it is better to be safe than sorry!

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