Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The many stages of eating pad thai

I went on a trip with the bf recently. We hauled off our fat asses to Bangkok for five days. It was actually my 4th time in the city, but it's my first time visiting solely for vacation. The last three times, it was just meetings and presentations the whole day. So the only places that I went to were hotels, malls, schools, and hospitals. (I previously worked for a publishing company that's focused on medical and scientific books.) I'd wake up, get into business attire, go to the meeting, visit the mall if the meeting ends early, have dinner at the hotel. Soooooo exciting, I know. This time, I intend to get the full Bangkok experience. It's also the bf's first time in this city, so in a way, we're Bangkok "virgins." The only thing that I absolutely decided not to do is go on an elephant ride. Those poor creatures. With my weight, that ride would be torture on the elephant. Seriously though, I don't want to promote any form of animal exploitation. That's why I still have mixed feelings when I visit the zoo.

Of course, high on our list is Thai food. I love this cuisine. Each bite is salty, sour, sweet, umami, and spicy at the same time. It's like a parteehhh in your mouth. Consider, tom yum. It's my favorite Thai dish ever. I had it every day for the entire time we were in Bangkok. One time, I even had tom yum fried rice. So satisfying. Anyway, tom yum's a soup that's sour, spicy, and savory. Surprisingly, I prefer it to be really spicy. The kind that makes your ass burn when you poop. I discovered a stall that sells my kind of tom yum at a very reasonable price, like dirt cheap, like less than $2. And as a bonus, it comes with a crispy omelette. (You know me and my love affair with all things eggs.) The bf asked if he could get a taste of it, so I willingly obliged. One sip and then he shouted, "Son of a b***h!" So when I ordered it again the other day, we just call it the "son of a b***h" soup. The bf wouldn't have any of it. Oh well, more for me.

And then there's pad thai. I've never had pad thai prior to this trip. I'm not too big on Asian noodles, especially the local one we call pancit in Filipino. I wouldn't say no to it if it were offered to me, but let's just say that the only time I'd happily consume it is if it were the only food left on the planet. Same goes with spaghetti bolognese, at least the Filipino version. I don't get why it's sweet and has hotdogs. I share the same feelings on this dish with my siblings, which usually was a problem when we were growing up. Many children's parties serve this kind of spaghetti, as children love to eat sweet stuff after all. So when it was served to us, we'd begrudgingly eat that cloyingly sweet pasta. Woe are we. But hotdogs on sticks with marshmallows—love those.

So after we've had a temple run in Bangkok, the bf and I decided to have lunch at a sidewalk stall run by a lady who makes pad thai. I figured it couldn't be that bad. And it has eggs in it, so that's a plus. But I didn't have high expectations. When the lady served us both our orders of pad thai, here's what happened.

Hmmmm... Noodles seem springy.
And they have that pink-ish color.
That's the bf's soda.
I haven't had soda for the past five years.
Did I say springy? Now I feel that the noodles are actually rubbery.
Takes an effort to get a decent forkful, or spoonful in my case.
Hot dish is hot. It's just been cooked by the charming lady after all.
And I'm thinking, not a good idea to have something hot on a humid day.
Here we go with my first bite.
If it ain't good, it's just less than $2 anyway.

Oh my goodness! Here's my plate in less than 5 minutes!
It was sooooo good!

Now I have one more reason to love Thailand even more. I found I noodles my taste buds like. I love that it's a complete meal in itself. Carbs, carbs, carbs! And it can have different stuff mixed into it—pork, chicken, shrimp, veggies. I still can't get behind 100% on the texture though as I'm looking for some crunch, but that's a minor quibble compared to its taste. So now, Thailand is the land of tom yum and pad thai, which I learned during a museum tour is Thailand's national dish. It's also one of those things that tells you if a restaurant is any good. Like sweet and sour pork in Chinese. If you want to know if a Chinese restaurant is a good one, order their sweet and sou pork first. If they can't even get that right, then get your ass out of there.

And, of course, something bookish. A friend from the book club and game night group mentioned a secondhand bookstore named Dasa Book Cafe in Sukhumvit. We visited it during our first day and immediately fell in love with it. It's such a charming bookshop, where you can spend hours browsing their collection. It has three floors too. So try to visit it when you're in Bangkok, dear reader. It'll give you much needed respite from the city's craziness.

He who gave the name "son of a b***h" soup
Amid the stacks in Dasa