Archive | May, 2012

It’s Not Just Pad Thai, Y’Know

10 May

First authentic Pad Thai for 30 THB

I can never forget how my dad, cousin and sister laughed at me when I ordered Pad Thai at a popular restaurant in Chiang Mai. I could not help but feel embarrassed especially in front of my cousin whom I just met that morning. All the more embarrassed when I had him drive around in search for my cellphone only to find out it was under the blanket at his house. Silly me for being a forgetful and ignorant tourist in front of Thais. My instinct was to hide behind my dad and say shyly, “I’ m sorry. I don’t know what to order”. Then, thanks to my sister who explained to them (while laughing, mind you) that Pad Thai was the ONLY most popular food we know of that’s Thai. And thank God, she ordered for me Khao Soi, which was equally sumptuous with all that hot and spicy curry filled with soft and fried noodles.

Khao Soi – ended up ordering this at the Boat Chiangmai

I really do not know where this idea of Pad Thai being the most popular Thai food among us. It might be because of the Thai that’s affixed to it that makes it popular here. But surely my chinky eyes opened too wide when I saw the price for a serving of Pad Thai at that resto. It was 40 THB – that’s more or less PhP 50! And I really regret ordering that kind of food here considering how much the local Asian/Thai restos charge us for a plate – PhP 160 at the least. Tsk tsk tsk… All my dad could say was, “let’s order that somewhere”. With somewhere he meant at home (Khon Kaen) where they sell it even for less, by the street.

 

Oh, by the way, I got my first taste of Pad Thai in Thailand when I reached my dad’s hometown, Khon Kaen. We got there just before dinnertime so I still got to choose what to eat for dinner. Drove through the little market nearby and sure there was a line of several carts offering different kinds of grubs. I was just taking it in…

This is how they prepare Pad Thai by the streets

You see, Pad Thai is just like ordering fish ball or tempura at the turo-turo. This is their turo-turo along with some carts of sausages, BBQ, various viands and Som Tam (green papaya salad). There are carts that sell an assortment of food, while some have their own specialties. I could not resist but take a photo of the woman preparing Pad Thai. She had automatic hands and reaching for an ingredient here and there.

It’s just dismaying for me to realize that their food over here is overpriced and the taste altered. But I don’t blame them because it’s not our own. Of course, you need to consider that the ingredients were of course cheaper there and more expensive here. You’re paying for the ambiance as well. But I just think we, as Filipinos, need to be educated about these things. More or less the ingredients are available here. If they’re not, most of them can be planted here. We have almost the same weather, but I’m not too sure about the soil. But generally, we can grow what they’re growing. We just need to bring them here. The preparation, we can always learn. There are so many possibilities of bringing in affordable and authentic Thai food here. I hope that happens in the future so people won’t have to pay an overpriced plate of Pad Thai, or order something else that’s reminiscent of a real Thai meal – with dessert of course!

Som Tam vendor by the road outside our village

 

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And I’m back!

9 May

A view from inside the Grand Palace

Hey guys! Just came back a few days ago and I have so much to share to all of you: food, culture, travel. A whole lot of all those. This is actually my first time abroad and everyone in my family, including myself, felt very anxious since I was travelling alone. Thank God, I got there and got back safely. Or else I would not have anything to tell you guys LOL.

The Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho

Thailand is a country you must visit and save for if you’re into history. There is rich history there and a balance of old and new. You can go every few years and visit a different part because the whole country is just like ours, pretty much culturally diverse. What’s in Bangkok is just an introduction of what the whole country has to offer. Krung Thep, or Bangkok for us modernized citizens, is the capital city of the whole country. Its an east meets west kind of thing where you see the tourist district as something very historical but when you move to the other part of town, you’d be awed by bright lights, skyscrapers and store signs that are in different languages.

Golden Chedi at Wat Prathat Doi Suthep Chiang Mai

Like I said, Bangkok is just the tip of the iceberg. You move to another city, another area, you would taste and see a different aspect of their culture. A som tam (green papaya salad) in Krung Thep is entirely different in Issan (Eastern). BTW, my family lives in Issan so I didn’t have to worry much about getting the BEST tasting Som Tam in Thailand. When we went to Chiang Mai for a few days, a different taste  burst into my mouth – clearly depicting another culture.

at Wat Prathat Doi Suthep

Chiang Mai is in the Northern part of Thailand and it’s also one of the places that EVERY tourist should go to. You don’t really have to worry about being there and being scared that no one speaks English. It’s just as touristy as Bangkok, even more. There are several backpackers because of the COUNTLESS of attractions to discover; both historical and natural. I could just live in Chiang Mai – totally in love with it. It has the influence of the Lanna culture, which in my opinion is very much like the people of Northern Philippines as well – especially their arts and crafts.

Anyway, this is just an overview of the adventures I have had on my first visit to my Father’s homeland. Will keep you guys posted!

Sawadee ka