Good Food Blog
Bangkok, the city of food on sticksPosted at 12:02PM, 14 April 2008 by Holly Jones - Former researcher, bbcgoodfood.com
The sounds and sights of Thailand's capital city are a shock to the senses; the bustling traffic, the wide-mouthed tourists, friendly locals going about everyday life, together blend to form a world of the unknown. But the thing that strikes most, as a first-timer in this fascinating city, is the abundance of street vendors selling their food wares from what are little more than barbecues on wheels.
With Bart in my wallet and my first day traveller nerves fading, I headed out with my friendly Tuk Tuk driver to explore the Bangkok food scene. I had been told that Thai street food was amongst some of the best Thai you can eat, so despite an apprehensive start I peservered on my Tuk Tuk to explore the city.
My first true encounter with street food was around the Grand Palace. A small square off from the palace is home to around 80 different vendors, many selling similar foods, mostly on sticks.
I stood in wonder and observed people buying - I was not sure what as I couldn't decipher what was on the sticks - but it sold fast. The unknown aromas filled up the small space between the vendors and it was quite amazing.
I struggle to whip up the perfect pad thai on my four-ring gas burner with a fully stocked kitchen, so I was completely in awe of the way the Thai people cook, churning out noodles and pancakes with ease. It was my first day in Thailand and I felt like a true tourist, standing and watching things that were a basic everyday occurrence to the locals, but a complete wonder to me.
That said, I was too scared to order anything! With an abundance of choices, jet lag, the unfamiliar heat (it was December and hot), and currency confusion, it was hard to approach the stalls to buy anything. I know it sounds ridiculous but first-time nerves took over and it took me a while to find my feet.
For all the pink eggs, bizarre sausage-looking snacks on sticks in plastic bags, with sauce poured over them, (does anyone know what these actually are?) and other foodie wonders, I was only gutsy enough to try some barbequed corn on the cob. Maybe next time...
Are you straight to the front of the line or loitering in awe when you encounter foreign street food?