Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Farang-free night market

We have been eating the same varied Thai dishes that are offered up by pretty much each and every restaurant on Koh Phanghan and Koh Tao for the past five weeks. We had memorized the menus and other than a few times we were able to get our hosts at Love Lip Bungalows to whip us up some real local food we had not experienced some real Thai food... the Thai food that Thai's eat on a daily basis. So after we got into Surat Thani on the mainland we headed out for the local night market. Surat Thani is not a tourist town and at best is mentioned as a waypoint in the guide books. We were excited about the opportunity to experience a little bit of culture and food that was not packaged for resale to westerners. We arrived at the night market to find a crowd of mostly what appeared to be hourly wage workers stopping by after a long days work for groceries and some quick food to tame the hunger of a hard days work. We were not surprised we were the only westerners in the entire market and certain this would mean we could get our hands on some real Thai food. The stalls were merely makeshift kitchens and grills fashioned to motorbike sidecars. The options ranged from Thai curries over rice, meats on a stick (god I love this stuff), fish and octopus on a stick, breads and pastries, oddly colored liquids of uncertain purpose, to sweets of questionable origin. I went in after some Laab, minced meat in citrus sauce with basil and some Thai curry, which I have had before on Koh Phanghan. The taste was delicious, but it came with a Thai chili spice that provided I heat which I have never experienced before in my life and will probably require a trip to the clinic if I experience it again. None the less it was a great taste of local Thailand, and unlike markets in many other countries in the world were you run into dogs roaming about we ran into a pet of a different sort, this elephant, trying to quench his hankering for some sweet fruits.

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