Some people travel the world to try the different foods. There are magazines dedicated to such people and the people who read them. I am not one of these people, I am not a completely fussy eater as most of the time I will willingly try something new and exotic. But I do eat with all of my senses. Food for me should first smell so good that your mouth waters at the slightest hint of it flouting through the air. This should be like in a cartoon when the person or animal is picked up and and floats to the kitchen to find where this amazing aroma is coming from.
The second sense is the look of food, a brightly coloured fruit will draw more attention than the dull one. No one puts a sloppy looking picture of a burger, half cooked with rotten lettuce on the large picture outside. Its not that I’m saying food that looks like mashed up goo is not delicious, I’ve eaten hundreds of amazing curries that look more like what you would expect to find in a toilet the day after a party then on a plate in a nice resturant. My third sense is touch, or more to the point texture. I’ve never liked the texture of fruits, they tend to be to hard or to soft and the bits always get stuck in my teeth giving me hours of annoyance. Meats that are to chewy just make meal times take longer and if you like to chew before eating you may end up with jaw ache.
The taste. If your food has passed all of my dislikes and made it into my mouth I would hope for it to taste good. Fruit to me tastes so much better when mixed with milk and ice and put into a blender until I can drink it through a straw. Vegetables that are in season will always have that fresh crunch when cooked just right and who would want to eat meat that has passed its sell by date? Not me.
By this point most readers would be thinking: “how is she not fussy?”, but would understand my points, I’d hope. There are also a few things I can not eat, such as fish which tends to make me very sick and mushrooms that make my stomach hurt for days after eating the smallest bit. Whilst travelling Southeast Asian countrys like Thailand, that are renowned for their foods, I have discovered that most of their food is made with some form of fish base such as shrimp past or fish oil that I have a strong reaction to. This had made finding the right foods very difficult not to mention the fact that when I have said I do not eat fish most places will make chicken feet as the only alternative.
Unfortunatly this has left me with very limited choices in Thailand. Also, after the first few reactions I have been very reluctant to try anything new. Although my food choices are limited, I have had the chance to visit a few local markets that range from all you can eat buffets to ready made meals from every continent as well as fruit and veg to cook your own.
In Laos I would go to the night market and eat from an all you can eat buffet of different style vegtables. This market would have everything you can imagine streched out over what was the road just hours before. The food was not mouth watering and I’m sure no resturant would dream of serving it, but for the small price of 50 pence I was happy to digg in and it gave me some practise with chop sticks.
Thailand markets range greatly, first you have your street food markets where little stalls selling pork, beaf and chicken on a stick at 5-10 baht is the first thing you will normally see. Next comes the corn on the cob drpping with suger water, a range of fresh fruit and orange juices. All this will be lining the streets making it next to impossible to get anywhere with out being tempted buy the excotic smells. Thailand’s next markets are your stalls set out of the way, usually in a carpark or they would be perminant fixtures. The stalls will range from spicy food, mexican food, Thai food ect you order from the stall or in some cases the van and then take a seat. When the food comes you eat it there or you can take it away. These make for a good social gathering and oftern will have music that almost fits with the busy, rushed atmosphere.
The last type of markets are the make it your self, where fresh fruit and vegetables are layed out on tables hidden behind back allyways. I will admit after my first trip to one I was put off when a giant rat was making it self at home on the carrots but I’m sure there are nicer ones around. In my experience you are better going to the street stalls as most rats find it too busy. But the smaller back ally markets do tend to be a little cheaper and have a wider range of foods, you just have to find one you are confortable buying from. After all it’s you who will be eating it.
On a side note, most of Thailands food has MSG in it as it adds to the flavour. I have never had a problem with this before but the build up in your system can lead to health problems. I will always find it funny when people say how healthy Thai food is knowing this fact