Thursday, January 14, 2010

Street Food

I have met my match. The Thai and Lao people LOVE food. Maybe more than me. In Thailand, the standard greeting between friends is not "Hello" or "How are you?" but rather, "Have you eaten?" I love that - happy bellies equal happy people. The street food was perhaps my favorite cultural aspect of the trip (actually - not true - the Buddhism trumps all). But still - the street food was spectacular. The distinction between street food and restaurant fare was often not all that pronounced. Most restaurants had street-side counters selling take away in addition to their more formal seated service ("formal" being a very relative term). But restaurants aside, you could walk down any old sidewalk and find good eats out of carts, off of portable grills, from women carrying hand baskets or at impromptu stands. From the soft plump dumplings with fillings both savory and sweet, to steamed packets of fish wrapped in banana leaves, to fresh-wrapped spring rolls, to fresh fruit juices, to anything grilled (bananas, ears of corn, hot dogs, meatballs, chicken legs, whole fish....) - it would be impossible to not find something that would suit your tastebuds. And it was all dirt cheap - you could eat on the street for mere pennies, literally. I tried valiantly to taste it all, in the name of research. You can thank me later.

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